Who needs enemies when we have each other?

mujer calavera

Alright raza when does one finally earn their stripes? Please don’t tell me when I’m 6 foot under or actually in my case, strewn all over the Califaztlan coast.

Let me explain a bit more. I’m referring to the unfortunate reality in our communities, especially among activists, of the practice of “hating” on one another. When did we forget that we are all (or should be) working towards the same end goal? Or aren’t we all most concerned with the progress, success, and well being of our gente?

Last time I was at a community meeting I was pretty much torn to shreds and at one point I felt like losing my superficial cool and shouting – “who died and made you the patron/patrona of all activists?!” Chingao!

Isn’t what matters that we want to demand and make change in our white-ified institutions and in our communities or at least function as the perpetual thorn in their side? Do I seriously need to start carrying my activista CV and read it aloud during introductions? Hmmm… no, that might not go to0 well.

All I’m saying is that I’m tired of all of the divisive fronteras within us. We fight against the fronteras dividing our families but what about those darned fronteras we’ve set up among ourselves? We can’t successfully and completely tear down the outside fronteras until we destroy the ones between us.

I know, I know… I’m not supposed to be publicly talking about our garras suicias but how else will we confront and hopefully solve this problem we have.

I don’t think I’m above and beyond anyone of my camaradas. I read all that crap about the nature of internalized oppression and the colonizer/colonized mentality long ago. We hold each other down because we have learned from the bad example set by society. But what has put my perspective most in check is knowing what it feels like to constantly be at the bottom rung of the activist ladder.

Raza let’s stop wasting time choosing the best knife to insert in each other’s backs and instead see the power and beauty in working juntos – now that’s how we’ll put them in check.

Hispanics turning white?!

mexican bush

Ay dios mio could the nightmare be coming true that the raza is undergoing an identity shift from Hispanic to white? Yes I’m referring to the Pew study that came out a few months ago followed by the sensationalized article titled “More Hispanics Declaring Themselves White” published in the New York Times. Most disturbing, but yet based on an incomplete analysis was the following quote from that article:

“2.5 million Americans of Hispanic origin, or approximately 7 percent of the 35 million Americans of Hispanic origin in 2000, changed their race from ‘some other race’ in 2000 to ‘white’ in 2010.”

Do you remember the figures cited or did you block it out of your memory too? I tried my best to shrug off the media hype and the non-Latino (and some High-spanic) idiotas that suddenly became the experts on the topic who ended up making us look even worse but what’s new.  Anyway… I tried to sweep all of it under the dusty rug as inconsistent data but darn it I keep getting constant reminders that the pesadilla might be somewhat true! Believe me when I tell you that I have never marked off “white” on the hundreds of forms I’ve had to fill out over the years. I am proud to say that I’ve always checked off “other” or often times cross through the section with an angry and annoyed slash. But could it be that deep down inside almost every Hispanic is the secret desire to join the ranks of the whites? And what about forced whitening? Ok confession: to my horror I was classified as “white” on my birth certificate, so was my mom and dad, both very Mexicanos who could barely speak English at the time that I was born. What’s up with that Califas? Maybe it has to do with the fact that I was delivered by a sleepless and obviously delusional intern at the monstrous General Hospital.

Despite my reluctance to engage in the dirty garra topic, the saying that behind every lie there is some truth keeps ringing in my head. So I wanted to share some of the latest in my face evidence that our raza just might be trying to jump over to the white side of the fence:

  1. The continuous sightings of platinum blonde Mexicanas with colored-in black eyebrows at the local carniceria (you should have seen the weirded out look on the muchacha’s face as she stared at me from behind the register when I asked her if I could take a picture of her head for my latest blog – nope didn’t work!).
  2. The vato at an academic presentation introducing himself as “Won Rivers” aka Juan Rios.
  3. Paul Rodriguez’s bizarre and unexpected comments against the women and children detainees – seriously Paul? You think that letting them stay would send the wrong message to the rest of them? #WTFrank?
  4. The super Mexica-looking woman insisting that she doesn’t even understand Spanish at Pros – “Do I look like I speak Spanish?” said in an annoyed high-pitched voice when I asked her “donde estan las tortillas?”

I’m sure you have more to add to the list.

But before we disown our confused raza, let’s look at the issue from a different angle. We continue to face oppression, hate, and a heavy-duty anti-immigrant sentiment. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, racial profiling is at an all time high and the majority of Hispanics and Latinos are erroneously categorized as “illegal” or an automatic “immigrant” by the mainstream. And no matter how many bilingual ed programs we have, speaking Spanish is still not viewed as “cool.” When was the last time you heard someone say to the Mexicano at the counter – “oh I love your accent”? As opposed to the “oh my gosh where are you from?! I just love your accent!” squealed to the Aussie from down under shopping at Trader Joes. Uh huh you know what I’m talking about.

Every since that Huntington article in 2004 categorizing “Hispanics” as the new brown challenge (or better yet, threat), biases against brown folks continue to rise and if you notice carefully – they’re even afraid of us. Yup. That’s why they keep arming themselves for when we do take over (which we will!).

So next time you see the güera oxigenada at the carniceria or el baile, remember that her wanting to reach some likeness of “white” is ultimately a consequence and reflection of society’s continued ill will towards us.

(For an awesome schooling of the NY Times writer who wrote the we’re all turning white nonsense, see #LatinoRebels – http://www.latinorebels.com/2014/05/21/1-2-million-latinos-tell-census-theyre-now-white-and-nytimes-thinks-its-awesome/)

 

#lablogadora #mexicana-not-white #chalewiththewhitething

Hispanic or Highspanic?

not mexicano

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is the question.

First of all for those of you who haven’t realized it, yes there’s a difference! No you can’t just clump all of the Hispanics, Highspanics*, Latin@s, Mexican@s, etc. into one neat category no matter how great this looks on your form or application. Just because we look the same to you – i.e. narrowly viewed as short, round, and brown to the myopics – we come in all shapes, sizes, colors, intellects, and various political walks of life. No we won’t all be voting for Susana la ____________ (fill in the blank with your favorite word) and no we’re not all related despite what you think. The Gonzales from el Norte aren’t related to the Gonzalez from Durango.

There are actually huge differences in thinking you’ll encounter depending on where you’re at and who you’re talking to (referred to as ideology in academic-speak). Take for example the Hispanic/Highspanic debate. Los Highspanics, many of whom share similar patterns of thought, eating habits, and familial lines, have come to distance themselves from not only their Hispanic prim@s, but very much so from their distant Mexican@ second cousins. In fact, many of los Highspanics will straight out deny a possible familial relationship to many of us falling on the lower rungs of the Highspanic ladder.

Oh no? You don’t believe me? Well put it to the test. Find a well-to-do or super proud Highspanic and ask them in the most naïve tone you can muster – “Hey… wasn’t your abuelita from Mexico?” or “Have you visited your family in Chihuahua lately?” Then take note and observe how their faces will automatically react with ever so slight or unabashed aversion (which they can’t even control) to your so ignorant questions. “What? I’m not Mexican!” said in an indignant totally offended tone quickly followed by “I’m Spanish!”

Ever since my abrupt introduction to Highspanic thinking, I’ve always been very interested in how their brain waves have come to be wired. Although it never feels good to be looked down upon by gente who look like me (are you sure you’re not my prima?), I have also come to understand the history and oppression behind the mindset and use of term. After reading and researching the stories behind New Mexico’s quest for statehood and the ignorant stigma that became associated with “Mexican,” I understand my prim@s when they run from my Mexicananess.

So all of this to say, watch out with what term you use to identify brown folks. Don’t you dare call me Hispanic and especially not Highspanic and good luck to you if you mistakenly call a Highspanic a Mexican! Ajua!

*Some helpful clues to identifying a Highspanic: Many lack an identifiable accent after years of training themselves in White-speak; usually hold administrative and/or political positions; can be found in large numbers during the legislative session; live in the NE Whites (get it?); and are mostly pro Susana with a crazy outlier here and there.

#lablogadora #notHighspanicbienMexicanyque

We MUST Fight: 4 More Reasons NOT To Vote For Susana Martinez

La Academica:

Very informative piece on why we WILL NOT VOTE FOR SUSANA! #yaestuvosusana

Originally posted on Burque's Daily Loco:

MartinezBigOil

If we do not do something quick…Be afraid…very afraid. Recent polls show that Governor Martinez has a comfortable lead over Gary King. WHY??? How can any person in their right mind vote for her? I have decided to continue the attack in hopes that the People will rise up and defeat Susana this year. Here are 4 more reasons NOT to vote for Susana Martinez:

1.  She and her “Friends” are rich and believe that “the rich should get richer”

Susana Martinez vetoed a minimum wage increase in 2013 because she believes that $8.50 per hour is just way too much money to pay poor people. She blamed the Democrats for the veto because she was willing to compromise with $8.00 per hour and they wouldn’t budge fifty cents.

How stupid can she be?? She wasn’t willing to give the most vulnerable group of people in her state fifty cents…

View original 834 more words

“A given society is racist or it is not.” Frantz Fanon

How a society reacts to racial incidents is a reflection of how that same society treats and regards the people it most oppresses. 

Ferguson cartoon

This cartoon was published by the Columbia Daily Tribune on August 20, 2014.  What can we gather from this image and from the many other remarks that are being put out there about Ferguson? 

http://www.columbiatribune.com/editorial-page-pdf/pdf_7ba60545-29a1-5ad9-a1d3-b85b361ce6da.html

In this supposedly “post-racial” society, it has become the norm to brush off any incident involving race and when race is brought up, the eyes go rolling again and it is said (out loud) – “there you go throwing out the race card again!” 

Race, whether you like it or not or whether you want to acknowledge it or not, is at the heart of many of society’s ills. Race and racism have never gone away because there is a vested interest from those who benefit or pose to benefit from its continued existence.

Challenge: next time someone (or maybe you?) is uttering some problematic BS about Ferguson, Mike Brown, and any other related racialized nonsense, put an end to it and no silence does NOT count.  

#lablogadora #notpostracial #Ferguson

It is about race…

#ferguson

How is it possible that a human being can be shot 6 times, two of those in the head, without justification? Oh yeah, because he’s a young Black man, a person of color and thus preconceived by so many in our society as already a threat. Something similar happened to my brother, a young Mexicano, his car shot at 7 times by an angry cop, while on his way to my mom’s house only half a block from the scene. This was a little over a year ago. But our family is fortunate because none of those bullets penetrated his body and he is still with us, left to deal with the aftermath of it all. It’s the dreaded curse of being a young man of color in this society and it doesn’t matter if you are educated or not, poor or not, causing trouble or not….they are already guilty. Guilty until (ever) proven innocent. The system has always worked backwards for us.

The people have every right to protest, to scream, to shout, to gather… because the people are rightfully mad and fed up with the continued hypocritical patting on our back telling us that everything is okay. Well it’s not, especially not when police are given the right to fire into crowds that include families and children.

ferguson1

I’ve gotten into these tense race conversations so many times – conversations that so many people, including our own, want to avoid at all costs. But when we continue to hear about acts such as the one of Mike Brown, it is our responsibility to talk about race even when folks don’t want to hear it or deal with it.

Race is simultaneously real and not real. Race is “real” because humans make it real, especially those who benefit greatly from its continued existence. As soon as we are born we are racialized and subsequently will be categorized by others and society. The whiter and lighter you are, the greater the benefits. There are always exceptions to the rule, but the rule always holds.

On August 9th this 18 year-old shot dead by police, left there for hours on the ground while his family gathered around watching their own flesh lying in cold blood before their eyes. Society is deteriorating, all of the incidents and inhumane treatment of people of color around the world and our own backyard loudly and clearly attesting to this fact.

Over 500 years post-conquest (aka genocide, forced colonization, and subjugation) and things are still far from being “equal” despite what the media, politicians, and schools (yes schools) are shoving down our throats. The stories they continue to tell us and our children aren’t working anymore.

Death is not a penalty for theft, but being Black is. That is the horrible truth that our society doesn’t want to talk about that it continues to sweep under their rug, not ours.

One day things will be made right…

#lablogadora #Ferguson #notpostracial

#40something

No to Mommy Jeans

When exactly do we cross that threshold when we are suddenly considered “old,” “older,” or “too old?”

So I was driving my 12 year old to school when we came upon the insane drop off line and I looked over at her and said – hash tag (#) mommy problems (of course totally kidding because my older brother had recently forced me to watch that Saturday Night Live hash tag skit that remained implanted in my brain) and she looks at me shaking her head and rolling her eyes and says – “no mom you can’t do that you’re 40 something.” I looked at her, slightly struggling to remain cool, composed, and contained, and said “What?! I was joking you little nerd! #tweenproblems!!” To top off the #incident as I was driving off I turned up the radio and there was Blink 182’s “What’s my age again” coincidently blasting its reminder through the airwaves –

My friends say I should act my age
What’s my age again?
What’s my age again?

I swear it was my kid who was listening to it ;-) making me come face to face with that thought that has been lurking in the dark recesses of my mind for almost a decade now – have I reached the threshold??

Does #40something mark the point in my life when I’m supposed to chop off my long non-behaved curls and instead sport the short soccer mom hairdo? When I’m supposed to go through my closet and get rid of anything that could potentially be viewed as inappropriate or “too revealing” for my age? Am I supposed to now swap my favorite 140BPM station (yes techno people!) for the “light” mom pop station while I run?

What’s up with these societal impositions or am I stating it this way to make myself feel slightly better about realizing that I am at a different stage in my life now?

Hmmmm…

I can’t speak for the other #40something year olds out there but damn I feel good knowing that I can still outrun and outyoga a good handful of 20 year olds. I’ve decided that chale with society’s rules about who I’m supposed to be and how I’m supposed to behave. I’ll save that confrontation for when I’m 60.

I’m kind of liking those ridges and grooves and wild canas that have come to symbolize the life experiences I’m accruing.

Here’s to the best decade of my life…

#lablogadora #40something #xicana