Dear Sean

I’m writing to you with your daughter in mind. With my daughter and all our children in mind.

You’ve been nationally and internationally recognized and occupy the center of the Chicano Movement in Tucson – the civil rights battle for Mexican American studies, banned books and the legal fight against Arizona’s HB2281, all while perpetuating problematic internalized sexism that has been the root of our trauma over the last several years. You have said yourself, you’re a “machismo” a “macho” and your behavior with your partner, partners, our young men and women reflect that. You wear your male privilege shamelessly, more so when you’re drinking.

Too many of us – my sisters, my home girls, my comadres have been physically and/or sexually abused in our homes. Our fathers, brothers, tios and homeboys have never been held accountable and no one involved has healed. So I hope that someday you can understand what it triggers for us when instances of gendered violence take place in this home. When we listen to our former students we hear again and again this Mexican American studies fosters their/our chosen family. We’ve worked and fought tirelessly to feel free, safe, and loved around one another in the classroom, boardroom and in our work with one another.

It is because of ethnic studies so many of us can talk about our past trauma. It is also because of ethnic studies so many of us expect the cycle of violence to end with our generation. So that our daughters are never abused and made to suffer in silence, in rage and in heartbreak.

Women and youth continue to be dispensable to the Chicano Movement.

We are not commodities.

We are not casualties.

You are not entitled to our bodies, our attention or our energy.

You must understand this.

And no claim of “familial” relationships entitles you to us or our forgiveness.

You’re overbearing, too loud, too often the voice and energy that dominates our shared space and story at the sacrifice of women.

Step the fuck down – step back. The center of our movement needs to be a collective identity of our young people.  Any social movement leader, journalist, educator, director should want to challenge their machismo by continuously challenging gendered violence which includes homophobic and misogynistic language (feminism is not a joke!) and acknowledging and working to build up leaders who are not predominantly (solely) hetero-cis men and foster a willingness to challenge your internalized sexism.

I can no longer remain in the margin of a margin.

4 thoughts on “Dear Sean

  1. It took courage to post this. This and subsequent articles written by women have drawn Arce out of the shadows. I tend to agree with your more recent post. His letter is a baby step. It does not go far enough.

  2. I had read this right when malintzine first came out, but I just re-read it and I feel the exact same way… Nailed It Right on the Fcking Head! So on point, so succinct, so brave, so clear, so needing to be said.

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