RSS

Tag Archives: Cherríe Moraga

Welcome to Xicanisma

Bloggers at the Three Sonorans have, again, pointed fingers of accusation at Chicanas of Tucson. It seems that we (and a few men) are responsible for divisiveness within the community, for accusing rapists and misogynists of their crimes, for calling out the men and women of the Chican@ community for their hypocrisy and machismo and for demanding that Precious Knowledge be abandoned as a source of financial support by Save Ethnic Studies because a victim of crime directly involved with the film asked that it be so. And this is a bad thing?

Underlying the blogger’s concerns over a current issue involving copyrights, profiting and local artists is a broiling anger towards Chicanas who insist upon speaking about the inequities and injustices that they have experienced from within the community movement. And again, the blogger persists in attacking the accusers rather than naming the crimes and acknowledging that these problems exist. We do not pretend to know his motivations, and they don’t really matter. What is relevant is that he continues to imply that a woman’s concerns are not valid unless they have been legitimated by the community and, in this case, the men of the community.  The blogger points his angry finger at Chicana feminists as the problem, though he willingly admitted in a recent post that he knows little about feminism.

Contrary to what Three Sonorans suggests, leaving the Chicano movement behind is not a tenant of Chicana feminism (aka Xicanisma). Xicanisma, as both an academic discipline and way of life, did not originate because Chicanas were so enamored with “White” feminism that we decided to create the “Brown” version. Nor are we so feeble-minded that we cannot think for ourselves and our communities. Our studies are grounded in the commitment to our communities, our ancestors, and our children. Our actions are rooted in the knowledge that real progress does not occur unless and until the needs and concerns of all members of a community are addressed.

Believe it or not, Xicanisma developed as a response to the persisting efforts of academics and activists of all colors–including White feminists– to keep us silent.  Chicanas—and all women of “Latina” heritage– continue to encounter these efforts to silence. It is nothing new to us, our mothers and grandmothers often prepare us for it, so we know from the time we are small this is something we have to face. We also know that if we are going to ever change anything, we have to continue to fight those efforts, even when they are coming from within our own communities.

The bloggers at Three Sonorans would do well to brush up on Xicanisma before further attacking it and the men and women who support it. They may be surprised to learn that it too draws upon Indigenous knowledge to promote equity and justice for men and women. We know that our Nahua traditions do not just speak of Quetzalcoatl but of our female energies too, such as Xochitl, Coatlicue, and Tonantzin. We know that our ancestors sought the counsel of the women before war. We know that women were speakers, leaders, healers, and artists. We know that there was a time when men and women honored one another and stood up for that. We work to live those traditions and teach them to our children. And try as they might, no one will silence us in those efforts.

A suggested reading list for Three Sonorans for an introduction to Xicanisma—we’ve thrown in some Indigenous knowledge too for good measure. (Note that writings by these authors too contain precious knowledge): Gloria Anzaldua, Ana Castillo, Cherrie Moraga, Emma Perez, Antonia Castañeda, Chela Sandoval, Alma Garcia, Sandra Cisneros, Michelle Seros, Aida Hurtado, Gabriela Arrendondo, Sonia Saldivar-Hull, Alicia Garcia del Gaspar, Norma Alarcon, Tey Diana Rebolledo, Vicki Ruiz, Carla Trujillo, Andrea Smith, Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko, Wilma Mankiller.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Chicano Movement, Tucson movement

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Open Letter to the Men of the Left, Especially in the Chican@ Community, Especially in Tucson

We refuse to make a choice between our cultural identity and sexual identity, between our race and our femaleness. We are not turning our backs on our people nor on our selves.

— Cherríe Moraga, This Bridge Called My Back

There is one thing that the Left and the Right often agree on: women’s concerns (our rights, our safety, our health, our progress) are disposable, dispensable; they are a distraction from the truly “important” issues. We won’t address the issues of the Right here, but we say to our sisters and brothers on the Left: If you claim to be working for the liberation of your people, and for the liberation of other peoples of color, and you’re still beating or threatening or harassing or raping or assaulting or enslaving women, you are totally missing the point. And you will fail.

No one can be truly free, no one can be respected and have equality of opportunity — and certainly no man can have full personhood — until all women, especially women of color, are safe from the rages and oppressions and depredations/degradations of men, including men of color.

The racism of the world does not make it OK to take out your frustrations on those closest to you. It is not OK to terrorize someone you claim to love. It is not OK to (attempt to) silence women who are speaking our truth, and it is not OK to demonize those who challenge your petty authority (no matter how much you have struggled to wrest that status from the hands of the dominant culture).

You cramp my style, baby

when you roll on top of me

shouting “Viva La Raza”

at the top of your prick.

— Lorna Dee Cervantes, “Baby you cramp my style”

We are calling upon all men of the Left, and today, especially, we call upon the male leaders of the Mexican American Studies and Ethnic Studies struggles here in Tucson and beyond to repudiate the oppression of women in both institutional settings and in our homes and families and in the hard-working rooms of political organizing, la lucha.

We fully expect that those who have taught or claimed to believe in “In Lak Ech” will stand up and say: “Not in my name. No más.” Manifestations of widespread misogyny and sexism must be acknowledged before it can be eradicated — for the benefit of us all, women and men and children. We need healing, but not at the expense of silencing women.

If we are “your other me,” then you must look deeply at how you treat us and yourselves. You must open your eyes and look at the boys and young men who see you as role models and ask: “Am I teaching what I want them to learn?” Your actions must match your words. It is not women’s job to make this abuse stop. Men must stop these destructive behaviors in themselves and in other men. Men must call out other men to walk their talk. Be brave! Stand up for women! Clean up your own house, examine your own oppressor behaviors, demand change from your compadres. Until that happens, no true healing of our community, no true liberation, is possible.

We close this letter with the words of Norma Alarcón: “women are seen not just by one patriarchy but by all as rapeable and sexually exploitable,” and thus “to choose among extant patriarchies is not a choice at all” (“Chicana’s Feminist Literature: A Re-Vision Through Malintzin”).  Dismantling racism also demands a dismantling of sexism. We look forward to statements and actions from the men of MAS, from the leadership of the Chican@ communities, and from the larger Left/progressive communities.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Tucson movement

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,