“Anchor Baby” the Slur from a Xicana Perspective


This picture is showing three different artworks. The top left work is titled “Christ the Anchor Baby” it is 33″ x 33″ and is mixed media on wood panel.  The bottom left is titled “Anchor Baby”, 33″ x 33″ and is acrylic on panel.  Both of these older works were done in 2009 and were part of a one person show  called Borderline at Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito, Texas.  The third work on the right is a detail from a work I’m calling “Breach Baby.”  It is a work in progress that is woodcut. It is 2 x 3 feet.  It shows a baby in what is known as the “breech” position, a presentation that makes birth a potentially dangerous situation. The proper birth presentation should have a baby’s head facing down. Behind the child is an anchor, which tells us this child in limbo is also an “anchor baby.” An anchor baby is a derogatory term used to describe a child born to undocumented immigrants. The birth of an “anchor baby” anchors the child and their family to the United States. This slur was often used right after 911 by right-wing broadcasters such as Lou Dobbs who were stoking fear in America about foreigners, immigrants, and particularly Mexican immigrants. The work also shows a scroll and abstract views of land, which symbolize the U.S. and Mexico. A woman’s body as a vessel and political battleground is the context for this birth. “Breach Baby”  will be part of the Texas Size Breach Project with Art to the Third Power and will be printed February 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.

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Celeste De Luna

Artist and Cabrona at Tejaztlan, mother, repelona.
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