The Lavad@ Principle

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Have you ever noticed that the more lavado/lavada an individual is, the greater the material rewards they receive such as their pay?

It’s as if there’s a mathematical equation in effect:

Lavadismo* = ↑ Salary + ↑ Material Compensations

Lavadismo = ↓ Salary + ↓ Material Compensations

[*Lavadismo: defined as the act of being lavada/lavado; lavar – to wash; frequently used in Chicano/a culture to signify being brainwashed by the system; in other words, used in reference to individuals who have “sold out”; term lavada/o commonly said to individuals who have assimilated and are viewed as sellouts.]

Of course there are always the exceptions to the rule, the outliers. But seriously, has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? If you don’t believe me, put it to the test.

This is especially true at institutions for higher learning. The more the person is willing to go along with the system, the higher up on the material food chain they will be. The more the person has conformed, the greater the pay. The more the person is complicit and complacent, the better the view in their office.

Serio, have you ever compared what a community activist, a radical teacher, or a dissident makes versus un buen lavado at the local institution? Cacahuates versus mangos.

The sad thing of it all is that it makes utmost sense. Why? Because we continue to live in a hegemonic system. Hege-quien? In other words, we continue to live in a society with a most definite hierarchy of dominance – the ruling order who sits on top (and we all know who that is – whites along with their lavado friends) and the rest of us brown and black folk at the bottom.

Institutions within society have the job of making sure this system continues to work the way it was intended – keep those who define the rules on top while keeping the rest of the masses down below. So what clever institutions within society do is to actively find individuals who will ultimately conform and who whether they claim to be aware of it or not, will work to uphold the damned oppressive hierarchical system.

Example, have you ever noticed how the majority of raza who are placed (yes placed) in higher positions suddenly forget their roots and their familia, some of who are still on the other side of tracks? Many times it’s our own raza that behave as the worst gatekeepers.

So next time you see me with that sly smile on your face and your pockets filled with $ the system put there, just remember it’s at the expense and the continued oppression of countless Others.

#lablogadora #xicana #neversellout

El Conquistador

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Yes it has taken me a bit to come back to my writing space. Actually I’ve been submerged in writing but not the fun kind.

What I’ve been trying to shake off for over a week now is the short time I spent at El Conquistador. Yeah I know, what’s up with that? And the most ironic part of it is that it was for a major conference that’s supposed to be all in your face with the importance of multicultural education and diversity. The conference committee must have been asleep on that one or just totally clueless. Maybe they didn’t speak el Español? Quien sabe but they messed up and bad.

And what the heck was up with my brain not realizing the inconsistency before I even submitted to present? It didn’t hit me until I was actually there sitting in a stuffy academic talk when my brain shouted out – “que chingao?!” Yup just like a ton of bricks hitting me in the Chicana chompa all at once. I couldn’t help but to keep exiting El Conquistador so I could catch my breath. I would sit outside trying to make sense of it all while taking in the amazing Saguaros and Catalina foothills.


Here we were these supposed enlightened and critical folks talking our academic crap in this space that seemed to contradict the very essence of everything we were claiming. And as I sat there fighting the inner battle with my conciencia, I could almost hear that Hilton cabron laughing at us in the distance. Or was it just a coincidence they had chosen that name of all names for this resort in a space that had once belonged to the Native people of Arizona? El Conquistador. I am certain that the name was specifically chosen as a reminder of history not too far gone and definitely not forgotten, especially not by Native people.

So as I sat in this space filled with academics and maestr@s, I was conflicted. There was something, more like a feeling, that I could not brush off and during one of the many moments that I wandered outside of El Conquistador the space spoke to me and it whispered in my ear a reminder of my paternal Yaqui lineage.

20141107_120359Por eso estuvo mi alma tan inquieta. Porque tal vez por estos rumbos caminaron mis antepasados.

My being ached and the only thing I could do was to acknowledge this connection (and pain) when I started my session.

I know that I wasn’t the only one who understood this contradiction. There were a couple of other speakers who said something as well but I don’t think that they felt the same dull pain and tingling in the skin as I did.

And as I walked up and down the corridor I couldn’t help but feel strange and disconnected as I witnessed the academic high rollers off in their clique-ridden corner laughing as they opened their mouths to drink El Conquistador’s poison.

I don’t know about you but these things linger and create conflict within and I just needed to say out loud to El Conquistador – you didn’t conquer us all hijo de la chingada! Aquí estamos y algún día venceremos.

#lablogadora #notconquered #xicana

Seriously New Mexico (and Nation) que paso?

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Anybody else in deep depression or straight out anger this morning?

Maybe I should go door to door telling folks thanks a lot for not getting your behind out to vote.

4 more years of Susana la … (fill in the blank with your favorite word). And if that wasn’t enough of a slap in the face, now a Republican controlled NM House of Reps for the first time since 1950 and the punch in the stomach – a Republican controlled congress [just gagged and choked typing that].

But you know what this reflects? We’ve become flojos – yes I said it. Flojos after continuously hearing how were the majority this and the majority that. Well where the heck was that majority yesterday and where has that majority gotten us people? Um hmm, here to this point.

Maybe this nightmare will serve to wake us up from the apathetic slumber many of us have fallen into. Estamos dormidos. Complacent with so many electronic gadgets that keep us in a constant eye lock with el pinche Facebook, Twitter, and that Insta-crap.

On the other hand, of my obvious disappointment and disgust, I think that this is also a reflection of our disillusionment with the Democratas. I mean sometimes I have trouble discerning between our supposed democrat allies and the republican foes. And if we throw the dirty garras out there, sometimes our democrats behave worse than the republicans – what’s up with that? Is it that they have forgotten what it means to truly work for the people and for social, racial, and economic justice?

So reflecting a bit on this horrible, horrible pesadilla I think we slightly deserve it. We have earned that slap-in-the-face-wake-up call that will hopefully shake us up so bad that we can finally react. Imagine the power and the force if we really took advantage of our numbers?

Here’s my non-professional political analysis: that is exactly what scared the republicans into effective strategy. They are afraid of our growing numbers and the power that might bring with it. But instead of sitting back and giving up they armed themselves and strategized to kick our behinds and kicked it real good.

We need to wake up people! We need to unite to defend our communities. We need to organize in the same manner that the republicanos did. Si no lo hacemos y no reaccionamos, nos va llevar la chinflada.

Here’s to day one, only 1,407 to go.

#lablogadora #damnyourepublicans #democratswaketheF-up #aydioslasusana

Dia de los Muertos…going beyond the trend


Dia de los Muertos has exploded onto the scene with crazy face-painted hippies and colorful calavera coasters made in China. Could it be that for one of the first times ever, it’s actually popular to be associated with Mexicano-ness? Well… if you notice, the Mexicano roots of Dia de los Muertos have been conveniently left out. Day of the Dead this and Dia de los Muertos that… but nowhere to be found in the description do you find the word “Mexican.”

bike riders

Although I have to admit that I like to paint my face and that of my children, this has always marked a time of reflection and nostalgia. Despite the newest and coolest Muertos parties, we can’t allow ourselves, especially us Mexican@s to forget what these days (not just one day) means for us and for our antepasados.

We Mexican@s have always been so in tune with the cycles of life that “death” became something to be remembered, respected, and celebrated. To be alive means to have an end. That is our ultimate fate as living creatures. But for us “death” does not equate to the goriness and fear as is often depicted in American Horror flicks. For the Mexican@, death symbolizes transformation and the entering of the next stage to Miktlan – el lugar de transformación.

This time marks not only the transformation of human beings but the transformation of our precious land. It is the transformation to the resting period of our tierra that unselfishly provides us with sustenance. For those of us here en esta tierra de Atrisco, it is also the transformation of our acequias for they are entering their resting period as well and our precious water will cease to flow through them.

So behind my cool calavera face I am remembering those loved ones who have arrived in Miktlan and who are patiently awaiting our arrival as well. Death is never easy but as we were taught by our abuelit@s, we don’t ever truly die until we are forgotten – for our loved ones continue to live on in our minds, our hearts, and our beings…


Donde estarás?

Ya no te encuentro abajo de ese árbol que te daba de su sombra,

Allí sentadito en tu silla con tu paquete de faritos en tu mano y tu biblia en la otra, que tantas veces la cargaste y leíste que dejaste la huella de tu dedo por encima.

Mi abuelito tan trabajador, desde los 5 anhos ya entre los borregos.

Paletas, limpieza, bracero en la siembra y cosecha de este lado… siempre un trabajador.

Si pudiera regresar el tiempo tan engañoso, me iba corriendo a nuestra madre tierra para poder verte una vez mas.

Tu sonrisa, tu mirada, tus cuentos y enseñanzas siempre vivirán en mi ser y en mi corazón.

Abuelito… no te he olvidado y pronto estaremos juntos.


#lablogadora #xicana #diadelosmuertos

Chicana Heaven

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Did I die and wake up in Chicana heaven or what?!

From listening to the words of the great Ana Castillo to the nostalgic sounds of Las Cafeteras, I was in complete Chicana bliss yesterday night.

I kept thinking about how important those reminders are… reminders of who we are as people and how we are all connected – children of the border – as one of the singers said.

Tears at some point flowing because the sounds emanating from those bodies brought with them so many memories of the concrete jungle I grew up in, streets I ran free on as a child, my family as many others since then shattered and dispersed, primos lost to the other side, time and people gone to never be recovered…

la sunsetBut most of all the sounds made me feel this surging sense of pride as I looked around and saw all of the beautiful brown faces in the crowd and for this moment in time we were together, contentos, and of all places in this institutional space that still tries to hold us down but regardless of what it does to us and how it pushes its overbearing weight on our beings, we move forward and we survive.

So many images of mis abuelitos y mis tias chulas, still so missed but never forgotten. Como nos han enseñado – you don’t really die until you are forgotten. Entonces aquí viven en mi corazón y en mis ojos y en mis palabras.

Today I am so thankful for all of the powerful people I have met on this path and for who we are and what we strive to be.

Today I puff out my chest and strut my East Los stuff because soy Xicana guerrera y juntos vamos a seguir en la lucha!

#lablogadora #xicanapride #lascafeteras

FB Friends Forever

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So the other day I was out and about at an event I helped to organize and in the near distance I recognized a person I’ve been Facebook (FB) friends with for awhile now. I was busy running around making sure everything was going smoothly when I was almost in “hi” distance with my FB friend. I was about to let out a huge hola when she turned and walked off. “Que?!” I brushed it off and thought well maybe she didn’t see me and continued the work I had to do. A bit later I realized she had left. I kept thinking – seriously not even a hi, but I thought we were “friends?”

This leads me to my point. How many of us have a bunch of FB friends that we don’t even really know? I mean yes we’ve run into them here and there but if asked, we couldn’t even tell you much about them. We don’t really know their history, where they’re from, or even if we share similar philosophic values. And no what you’ve learned about them from FB spying doesn’t count people!

But this is what I’m tripping out about. Here we are “friend-ing” people up on FB and giving el random Joe Blow and La Juana access to our private lives but yet we don’t really, really know them. I mean I’m not the Facebook-ie that has any crazy crap on my account but still, my FB friends can peer into my family life and a lot of moments that have been important in my life.

So this has me thinking, is FB a reflection of the slight shallowness of our society and how we treat relationships with people? Okay before you get loc@ on me, let me explain because whether I like to admit it or not, I kinda like Facebook (ugh I can’t believe I said it out loud!). Okay this is what I mean – could it be possible that we have lost a bit of those real personal connections with people because of FB? We have come to know people through a virtual reality that can be deceiving. Like the person I mentioned earlier. I was really surprised that she didn’t say hello. I mean if she went out of her way to friend me up and even look through some of my albums (only know because she liked a really old pic), shouldn’t she have spent even more energy coming over to say hola to me in person? Nowadays it’s so easy to “like” what’s important to you and others through virtual space but not in the flesh and blood? Hmmmm…. don’t know if I completely agree with that.

All I’m saying gente is that there is something voyeuristic-like about FB. By accepting the friend request we basically give someone (whether we really know them or not) access to our lives. Before FB existed, would we have done that? Would you have handed over your family albums or your albums full of selfies to some vat@ that you didn’t really know? Yeah and what’s up with that people? Last time I was FB spying a bit on someone who I admit don’t really super care for, more than half of her pics were of her face taken in different angles. Seriously who does that? Am I behind o que?

Okay okay I’ll stop… Sorry to take up your FB spying time with this rant. Just something for you to think about next time you’re in a FB friend-ing frenzy.

FB friends

#lablogadora #FBfriendsforever #chalewithFB