28 2 / 2013
"we’re afraid the others will think we’re agringadas because we don’t speak Chicano Spanish. We oppress each other trying to out-Chicano each other, vying to be “real” Chicanas, to speak like Chicanos. There is no one Chicano language just as there is no one Chicano experience."
Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera (via cielito-lindo)
For fucking real.
Like I feel like there’s this weird competition among some latinas I know in trying to see who is more learned, progressive, outspoken, has sharper analysis…has accepted themselves more. Where’s our collective? Why aren’t we growing food together or writing theory and books about dream interpretation?
Instead we’re all trying to survive and make it on our own, and we make it seem like we owe our progress to ourselves but we don’t live in a vacuum…
01 11 / 2012
A democratic state can rightfully impose guilt because guilt is focused on bad acts, and this specific focus on behavioral violation can encourage empathy and motivate the guilty to altruistic action. Something different happens when the state seeks to shame its citizens by imposing a lasting stigma on their very identity: it is proclaiming that the person herself or himself is defective. Rather than motivating restitution, shame debilitates and encourages avoidance.
For example, it is reasonable to imprison individuals who break the law, but when former inmates are stripped of the right to vote for the rest of their lives, the state has moved from punishing guilt to imposing shame. Lifetime disfranchisement marks the citizen as defective and unfit for participation in a democracy. The shamed ex-felon is not invited to rejoin the community but instead is forced to the margins.
Though we seldom think of it this way, racism is the act of shaming others based on their identity. Blackness in America is marked by shame. Perhaps more than any other emotion, shame depends on the social context. On an individual level, we feel ashamed because of how we believe people see us or how they would see us if they knew about our hidden transgressions. Shame makes us view our very selves as malignant. But societies also define entire groups as malignant. Historically the United States has done that with African Americans. This collective racial shaming has a disproportionate impact on black women, and black women’s attempts to escape or manage shame are part of what motivates their politics."
13 10 / 2012
"As an immigrant and an honors student (before I got kicked out of that track senior year) and as a kid who grew up deep in the neighborhood, I had both narratives on me to an oppressive degree. And felt a lot of pressure to choose one side or another: to either embrace home like mad or reject it like mad. Of course within each choice was embedded a whole set of expectations. If you stay at home, don’t talk too much about books, don’t try to get motherfuckers to engage in “intellectual’ discussions,” don’t talk about an ethnic studies course you took or the study abroad you did in Japan. Same thing: if you go away to say college, don’t dwell too much on race and certainly not on how racialized poverty and class are in this country. Don’t mention white supremacy. Keep your ghetto shit to yourself. Of course I’m being a little stark to make a point, but it sure as hell felt stark growing up in it. Over time I became very aware that people had a lot invested in you choosing sides. You had to choose one or the other but not both, not neither. Complexity was out of the question. Multiple loyalties were another way of saying betrayal. I eventually realized that these bipolar choices were not only ridiculous, they would also require me to jettison the essence of who I am. My multiplicity, my complexity, my simultaneity. A lot of us in my cohort came to the same conclusion. It didn’t hurt that we had a lot of contact with people who had wholeheartedly embraced one side of the binary, and in the long run didn’t seem like it had served them too well."