Educator Lily Wong Fillmore wrote that “Talk is a crucial link between parents and children: It is how parents impart their cultures to their children and enable them to become the kind of men and women they want them to be. When parents lose the means for socializing and influencing their children, rifts develop and families lose the intimacy that comes from shared beliefs and understandings.” In the end, Anzaldúa wrote that the Borderlands “are physically present . . . where the space between two individuals shrinks with intimacy.”
It’s easy to forget, in the talk of disciplines and languages, that when all is said and done, the story is about the people. Those who live in the Southwest Borderlands are the descendants of people who have lived here for millennia, and those who have recently arrived. They are parents who have dreams of a better life for their children, and parents who are concerned with maintaining the status quo, so their children can enjoy the lifestyles they are used to. Older people are moving at slower speeds than younger people. It is no longer a reliable fact that older people have more knowledge or even more experience than the younger people who have embraced technology, travel, and change.
The Borderland between individuals is frequently the site of dynamic emotion, of love, of anguish, of argument, of understanding. Intimacy is created not only by shared spaces, but also by shared knowledge, common experiences, and shared beliefs, values and understandings. Thus physical closeness between those who hold opposing beliefs and values can spark conflict on many levels. Love in the Borderlands is often challenging because of the differences in cultures, languages, attitudes, hopes, dreams and conflict. The Southwest Borderlands are full of conflicts over language, migration, guns, drugs, and money.
In the Borderlands, tensions are dynamic and constantly in flux because of the movement of people, and the transformation of ideas, cultures, languages and behaviors that create a moving target. At no other time in history have technology, information, and understanding grown as rapidly as they do today. The growth and continual change place enormous demands on the educational system to engage the new knowledge and develop ways for students to acquire it. When teachers are prepared only to teach what was known even 20 years ago, students are behind the world even if they are successful in school.