The painful memory of colonization

Flying at 32,000 feet in the air and I find myself having a difficult time. Not because I feel as I have been thrown like a paper airplane through the air. No. It is because my brown body carries with it inherent memories of conquest and colonization.

The trigger? The majestic sight of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl creeping up on the horizon. And as I saw your outline out of the ridiculously small window from my economy class seat, an intense emotion rose from deep inside – intermixed with pride, sadness, and grief.

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As I gazed upon the valleys that surround you, I couldn’t hold back the steady flow of tears as my Mexican cells remembered what our Madre Tierra and our people experienced over 500 years ago.

The naysayers are quick to say that we are now far removed, that all is well. But if you think about the finite amount of time humans have existed, the memories are still fresh.

I’ve gotten into the debate so many times before and have countless times heard the glossing over and trivializing of the conquest by even those who claim to be aware. But I think that deep down every Mexicana/o there is that tiny seed of painful remembrance.

As I walked down your beautiful, bustling streets I was continuously reminded of the aftermath. I didn’t see one light-skinned Mexicana/o asking for a peso. It was our not so distant indigenous abuelitos who still bear the burden for the rest of us and suffer the consequences of an imposed and savage hierarchical system that dictates the worth and success of a human body.

Although I state without any hesitation que soy orgullosamente Mexicana, I know that we are not all regarded in the same manner. My cafe con leche skin color has afforded me privileges that you will never know or have.

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You are what this Xicana is most proud of, but yet you are the one the system relegates to the bottom.

Que hacemos? How can we begin to remedy the stronghold of the disease?

It has been said many times over that only a revolution could dismantle us from the grip of it. Pues que venga la revolución!

En tu rostro moreno veo mi reflejo. Y aunque te causa un chingo de dolor, me llevas dentro de tu ser y corazón.

#lablogadora #chicana #mexico #notconquered

Artwork by Dolores Guerrero-Cruz – http://www.warnockfinearts.com

Short-length as a possible reflection of society’s current state of consciousness

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Over the last year or maybe more I’ve noticed that the length of shorts women are wearing has significantly decreased, I mean seriously decreased. [Note: not all women of course.]

I, as many others including men, women, and children, can’t help but to take note of the hefty piece of cheek hanging out of cut-off denim shorts the loca is wearing as she passes by.

I wonder out loud as I look in horror – did she look at herself in the mirror and think that really looks good? And who is she thinking it looks good to?

Seriously people, what up with the exposed nalga look?

I was recently reminded of this obnoxious trend as I sat and had my afternoon cafecito in one of the plazas in Oaxaca.

I’ve been teaching here for almost 2 weeks and I have not seen one, I will repeat, not one of the Oaxacan women sporting nalga-shorts. But yesterday as I sat at the plaza enjoying Oaxaca captured in a cup of dark, rich coffee I was abruptly reminded of the ‘show-as-much-of-your-pale-butt’ trend as a group of young white women passed by. Every single one of them was wearing beyond short-shorts, some of their shorts practically up their rear ends and another with one cheek more exposed than the other.

I couldn’t help but notice the looks of disbelief and slight shock on the faces of the Oaxacan family and the abuelita walking behind the young women. It made me stop and remember a thought that had passed through my delirious brain before – is the condition of our society somehow reflected in the short-length worn by especially young women in the US?

Does the ‘show-me-as-much-of-your-nalgas-without-fully-showing-it’ look represent an utter lack of caring and responsibility to our society and people in general?

I mean the girl with more than half her left cheek must have cared very little about the children and elders that would be walking behind her when she decided to put them on and then actually walk out of her house with them.

Am I outdated? Am I showing my age? Are you thinking I’m acting like a traditional Mexicana [what does that mean anyway]? Is my disapproval of the trend not in line with 21st century freedom?

Well I don’t know about you all but in my head I can’t help but think that this ‘I-don’t-give-a-crap-I’ll-show-my-butt’ attitude is adding to the current state of messy affairs the US finds itself in.

It’s not that I think for a second that we should regulate the female body, heck no to that. But I do think that this ‘show-your-ass’ in public look is a reflection of an attitude reflecting disrespect and shallowness.

In conclusion, save the butt-show for home gente!

#lablogadora #chicana #xicana #nalgashorts

Proud to be Mexican

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Who cares what that idiota Trump said about los Mexicanos. As if we didn’t know that deep down every white person they’re thinking some garbage about us Brown and Black folk. That we’re lazy, sleazy, loud, inferior, or whatever other stereotype their mind is conjuring up.

But, people who think that way, including los vendidos y confudidos that walk among us, have probably never step foot in Mexico, nuestra madre tierra.

A couple of weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to attend a festival in Oaxaca. There were so many times that I had to stop, breathe in deeply, observe my surroundings, and reflect upon the space I was in. From the buildings to the people to the food, everything so alive and thriving.

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That’s one of the distinct differences between los estados sufridos and Mexico – la vida social. In Mexico you feel and are suddenly alive. There’s so much activity all around. People moving about every which way, the architecture, the sculptures, el arte everywhere, and all of the micro-businesses that thrive.

Elotes… Paletas… Loud cumbia… Los tacos… Ojos morenos… Movimiento…

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And no I’m not such a naive pocha so as to paint it all rose-colored, for nuestro Mexico, as every other place, comes with it’s own sets of challenges. Crime. Poverty. Classism. Racism. Corrupt government. But, one thing you can’t deny is that every nook is teeming with life and activity.

So as I heard about what el tonto de Trump said in regards to our powerful, intelligent, and resilient Mexican clan I thought to myself – what an absolute ignorante. Ignorante like the rest of the bunch who have attributed such negativity to nosotros los mexicanos. I could hear my abue saying – “es que no saben mija.” Pues no saben y son una bola de ya sabes que.

The other day as I sat with one of the young woman from our leadership institute I made it a point to tell her at least a few times – “Be proud of who you are. Be proud to be a Mexicana. For those who say all of those negative things about us, es que no saben y son ignorantes. They don’t know the beautiful culture and traditions of our people who are filósofos, matemáticos, científicos, artistas, gente tan trabajadora. No saben. So walk with your head held high because you are MexiCAN!”

So next time your brain returns to the erroneous thought that all of us are narcotraficantes or criminales, ask the Mexican sitting next to you to give you a good cachetada so you can snap out of that absurd thought.

#trumpeltonto #proudmexican #lablogadora

Arte: Lourdes Villagómez: crucigramas del folklor mexicano

When did we stop caring?

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Or maybe it’s not that we don’t care. It’s that too many of us care more about what’s the latest Reality TV chisme than we do about Mother Earth and even less about the human condition.

[Disclaimer: this doesn’t apply to all and most likely not to those who will take a moment out of their busy lives to read this.]

I’m trying so hard not to go there but I must.

I waited for you the other day. I even sat by the door so that I could give you the latest update as you walked in but you never showed your face.

I hate FB on so many levels but like many others I’ve succumbed to it. Social media can feel like one of the organizer’s greatest tools, but the pendejada can be so deceiving.

Over 20,000 people had supposedly read that Guardian article written about our struggle and thousands have been reading our posts, or so I thought. That’s why I couldn’t believe that we were basically alone at such a pivotal time. I kept waiting for you so that we could say to their f…ed up faces that our gente does care. That we could have been a group of at least 100 women and children who stood up to those liars who want to steal our water for they have already stolen the land.

Although your absence hurt like hell, I can’t say I completely blame you for not watching my back. I know why you don’t want to waste your time playing their one-sided game. I know that you know that this is all one hell of a show that reminds us that there is no such thing as democracy. Yeah I know all of that.

But I say to you that we can’t give up. If we give up now it’s like giving up on our abuelitos y abuelitas. It would be like handing over our precious and sacred water to those f…ers without a fight. It would be saying to that farmer who just spent all day in the hot sun – ‘me vale madre tu cosecha.’

The other day I caught myself saying that it’s going on two years that we’ve been involved in this battle. Then I reminded myself that these wars have been going on since those hijos de la chingada arrived and invaded our lands and they will continue to make a profit at our expense, especially if we don’t resist.

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I refuse to be conquered. I refuse to be bought. But most of all, I refuse to have to look into the eyes of one our elders and say that we gave up.

We need you raza. With you by our side we are stronger.

#santolina #stopsprawl #chicana #resistance #lablogadora

The questionable act of FB un-friending

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I can almost guarantee that every single one of us on the Facebook hook has been un-friended at some point or another or worse yet, has committed the act on someone else.

Scenario: The other day that I was seeking self-entertainment I decided to actually spend time peering into the lives of my FB friends. To be completely honest, this is something that I don’t do very often. I am one of those almost uni-directional FB users. Meaning that I post, often for the act of concientización, but, I don’t spend much time on the newsfeed or looking at individual’s pages. I haven’t formed the habit of FB spying because part of me feels a bit wrong doing it, as if I’m violating some type of privacy policy or partaking in an act of gazing.

But, on this day I wanted to take a closer look mostly to see what other locos were posting on their pages. I had in particular been thinking about someone who belongs in one of my outer academic circles and wanted to snoop in on him a bit but as I searched his name and pressed enter I quickly realized the cabron had unfriended me! I was thinking ‘no f…ing way!’ What had I done to this person? What had I said that had annoyed or bothered him to extent of going through the necessary steps required in the act of unfriending?

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What does the act of unfriending mean in the age of social media takeover? Should I take it personally much against the teachings of The Four Agreements? Should I take offense? Should I plot a virtual revenge of sorts? Should I send him a friend request just so he knows that I know that he committed such a low and petty act against innocent me?

Haha, none of the above.

I had to remind myself that I had committed the heinous act against others, many of who to my more reflective and reasonable thinking, did not deserve the act themselves [well maybe the former student who kept posting very inappropriate pictures of herself and the other loca who had been so utterly disrespectful and had exhibited such disloyalty did earn the unfriending act]. I can clearly recollect those moments of annoyance with something a person had done or said or for that matter, posted, that had driven me to that point of no return – the clicking of the unfriend button.

What does the act of FB unfriending say about relationships and friendships during these virtual times? It seems as if social media has trivialized human connection to such an extent that without much thinking we give the green light to friend relative strangers while simultaneously it has become too easy and too quick to remove someone from our circle of supposed friends.

Moral of the story: next time you feel like unfriending someone, take a breather from the social media crap we are immersed in and realize that the act in whatever angle you approach it, can be read as a slight against another human being or was that the purpose to begin with? Hmmmm….

#lablogadora #chicana #unfriending #pincheFB

Toxic Raza

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Does the title need any explanation?

We know who you are and you especially know who you are.

You are the constant thorn in our side that reminds us that the greatest weight of oppression comes from our own.

Damn, it hurts to even write those words – our own.

You are the kind that nothing or no one will ever be good enough.

Nadie y nada.

If you step back and observe you notice there’s a pattern to it. God forbid anyone other than you and yours be noticed, be recognized, be thanked, or engage in anything.

“Who do you think you are? You’re not even from here.”

Those sharp words ringing loudly in my ears.

Always the same petty arguments used in their useless war. I ask myself – who are they fighting against? Who are they trying to pull down as they slip into the deep chasm of hate and self-loathing?

I think of the contradictions of it all. What happened to those hijos de la chingada who are from here but threw their gente under the bus to get trampled upon a long, long time ago?

My first breath of air was not taken on these lands but that does not prevent a being from growing roots. The naysayers forget that roots run deep and connect the people in ways that are stronger than what their narrow minds can understand.

Toxic raza so full of hate, spilling out and over, oozing into spaces that should be meant for only unity and change.

But the elders remind us that in spite of your poisonous words and thoughts, we have to move forward.

#toxicraza #chicana

#Santolina Nightmares

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I woke up with the same sick-to-my-stomach feeling I fell asleep with late last night. You know that horrible sensation you get in the pit of your pansa when you know you were wronged or when something really bad has happened or will happen? Yeah, that one. It seems as if my mind kept playing flashbacks of the hearing all night. Santolina has invaded my dreams the same way it stands to invade our backyards…

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I should just change my name to Santolina, not. My poor kids are probably sick of hearing the name. Poor plantita now associated with such stigma. It’s not you plantita, it’s the shameless developers, suits, and sellouts behind it all.

I couldn’t help myself again. I’ve been so ‘behaved’ throughout it all. I sat there and respectfully listened to all of it, every single misconstrued and distorted word that oozed out of the gaping hole they call mouth.

          Shame on you! Thank you for the falsity of the democratic process!

A long time ago many of us realized it was a game, a good for nothing show to be played out at the expense of the people. But yesterday’s commission-hearing-turned-telenovela, still managed to cause a burning sensation in my heart and mind.

I keep thinking about the 3 commissioners who continue to vote against the good of the community and the people. What are they thinking? What was it that led them to this point of no return? Is it power? Is it the perpetual 15-minutes of fame or shame syndrome? Is it some backdoor deal or barter in the works? Is it the lure of future political positions?

What do you tell a community when you know that there is absolutely nothing that you can say or do that will cause a shift in the thinking of these closed-minded politicos? What words can be offered to convince people not to lose complete hope in systems that continue to fail us?

Amidst the sinking feeling of hopelessness I was slapped back into place when I felt the little arms hug me from behind and whisper ‘I love you mami’ into my almost deafened ear. We do it for our children, their children, the seven generations to follow.

What these cabrones don’t understand is that it’s not about them, it’s about those to come. It’s about caring for the Madre Tierra that we walk on. It’s about ensuring our river continues to flow.

I had to remind myself last night as I shouted those words that I was not out of line. We have every right to voice our concerns. We know that we are on the right side of history and we will continue to fight for the wellbeing of our people, our tierra, and our sacred water.

Hasta la victoria!