In the film Mosquita and Mari we touch on the topic of queer curiosity. One thing that stands our the most to me, is the fact that both sets of parents, question their daughter’s involvement with boys but never suspect that their daughter might be lesbians. As the film goes on, I as a viewer, was confused as to whether or not the girls were lesbians or just curious. The important thing to note is that, while many might dismiss the notion of they themselves, or others around them might be queer, it is actually not something new. I know that for my family, when I had a close friend they never suspected anything unusual. It wasn’t until an outsider, mention to my parents, that others might believe I was gay because of how close my friend and I were that the gay witch hunt began. It took many awkward conversations over a long period of time, and a boyfriend to finally shake that idea out of my parent’s head. One thing I vividly remember, was how everyone who discuss the issue of homosexuality with me equated it with sin, and foreign. For my article I would like everyone to read about the Muxes in Mexico. So, while many argued that anything that was not heterosexual was wrong, we find that in Mexico itself there is a tradition that is inviting and respectful to different gender identities. It is important to note that these ideas are believed to be a long legacy of indigenous practices, so much so that some would argue that these sentiments are more traditional than homophobia.
In the lecture “DNA and Blaxicans,” Dr. Annemarie Perez discusses the black and white binary within American society and how that affects race identities among individuals. The black and white binary is the ideology where only black and white folk are recognized within communities. Although the black population is one of them most oppressed groups in the world, the other ethnic groups in between of this binary who are also mistreated and abused because of their historical and cultural backgrounds go unrecognized. In the article “Race Beyond Black and White: Four Reasons to Move Beyond the Racial Binary,” author Scot Nakagawa addresses the issues that rise from looking through societal issues using a limited viewpoint. Nakagawa lists reasons to which it is important to move past the black and white binary:
- “Ignorance of our multi-racial history is the enemy of civil rights”
- “We are all profiled differently by race, but all of the different ways in which we are profiled serve the same racial hierarchy”
- “Race is central to the struggle over citizenship in America”
- “In order to achieve racial equity, we need to complicate our understanding of race”
In other words, to make our society more progressive and accepting, people need to stop influencing the use of social constructions such as race; this only makes categorization of others more common and silences the cultures of those who do not belong to just one group. No ethnic community is more important or “pure” than the other. These racial hierarchies within American culture have only damaged the way people can openly and proudly express the various heritages within their identity.
Just like author Nakagawa, being bi-racial and bi-cultural brings its challenges when it comes down to identification. For a long time, I felt as though I had to choose between my Mexican and Salvadoran heritage. Since I did not know many Salvadoran folk within my community, I only identified as Mexican. This caused me a sense of guilt because I wanted to be prideful of both my cultures but I did not want to keep explaining myself to people every single time. I then transitioned over to identifying as Latina since that term was a bit more inclusive, however, people still made assumptions that all Latinas/os were Mexicans. Now, I simply say I am Chicana/Salvadoreña because I feel as though I am representing both sides of my family in a balanced manner. And besides, the way I identify should only make myself feel comfortable and the best way people could support me is by simply acknowledging that there are different layers to my persona.
In the readings for this week the main themes are race and identity. Also that there is not only a white and black binary there are other several races, and often times they become biracial. For example the reading touched upon Blaxican. This is a term for a mixture of someone who is black or Mexican/Mexican American. In the article that I looked for this week titled “Race and Racial Identity Are Social Constructs” by Angela Onwuachi-Willig in the New York Times, it talked about race not being biological. Someone who is black in the US might seem white in Brazil or colored in South Africa. Race is socially constructed and often times people feel a certain way about their race because of the way they are treated. An example given was in marriages between black-white. Often times a black individual will gain privileges because they are surrounded by white people, and then they will feel safe, competent, and not seen as a criminal. However, a white individual will experience discrimination because of the relationship they have with someone of color. They will make them feel less white because they are no longer perceived in a good way as before. Society has never accepted other races that are not white. People of color are always experience prejudice. There is not such thing as Civil Rights as the author stated because centuries later people of color are still experiencing higher unemployment rates than whites, also being segregated in schools, and they are more likely to be shot and killed by the police. These experiences make it hard for people of color to take pride in their race. However, there are some that have learned to embrace and love it no matter what others think in society.
This week we continue to discuss racial/ethnic identities of multiracial people. I chose an article called “Between Black and Brown: Blaxican (Black and Mexican) Multi-racial identity in California,” written by Rebecca Romo, as it resonates perfectly with this weeks topic. Through “in depth interviews with 12 Blaxicans in California, the author shows how individuals have to negotiate distinct cultural systems to accomplish multiracial identities” (Romo, 2011). Romo (2011) argues that Blaxicans have to “choose, accomplish, and assert a Blaxican identity, which challenges the dominant monoracial discourse in the United States, in particular among African Americans and Chicano/a communities” (403). Reason being, is that race has been constructed to embrace the black/white binary, which creates problems for people of multiracial identities. For example, my daughter, who is Black and Mexican, a multiracial child, is often referred to as a black young lady. Her physical traits take on more of the African American identity so she “marked.” This is problematic because it denies multiracial people’s heritage, or makes them choose between one or the other. Similar to the 12 Blaxicans interviewed in the article, my daughter also actively “asserts” and identifies as a multiracial Blaxican. Because she experiences the same issues that the people in the study face, she has to make it a point to say she is Blaxican. She doesn’t want to choose-her daddy is Black and I am Chicana, so she wants to embrace all aspects of her identity. It has been hard for because people have remarked, “Your Mexican? But, you do not even speak Spanish.” Or, people have remarked, “You have pretty hair for a black girl.” My baby is never Mexican enough or Black enough, so she says she is Blaxican. She identifies with both-her dads side, and my side, even though she is mainly around my mom’s family, who is Mexicano/as/Chicano/as. She may throw in her my dad’s European Greek side, once in a while. But, she mostly says she is Blaxican.
Romo, Rebecca. “Between Black and Brown: Blaxican (Black-Mexican) Multiracial Identity in California.” Journal of Black Studies, vol. 42, no. 3, 2011, pp. 402–426. www.jstor.org/stable/41151349.
For this week, we continue to explore racial identities for Latina/o individuals in the U.S. We learn how Latina/o’s Chicana/o’s individuals come from different racial identities that are combined of a variety cultures, food, language, music, and others. In the U.S there is a variety of different mixture of racial identities especially among Latina/o’s. As mentioned in a previous blog post, Walter Thompson Hernandez is a part Mexican and black biracial young man those identities himself as Blaxican in Los Angeles. Through his photographs on his Instagram account “Blaxicans of L.A” Thompson Hernandez documenting the many individual in Los Angeles that identify as both “Blaxicans” capturing two different culture into one. As a result, he describes the multiple identities that Latino. As I was researching, I came across a New York Times article entitled “For Many Latinos, Racial Identity Is More Culture Than Color” by Mireya Navarro discusses how in the last 2010 Census Bureau more than 18 million Latinos checked off the box that said “other” on the contrast from the 2000 census bureau which only had 14.9 million Latino registered under “other.” Navarro indicates how in the U.S there are many Latino do not fit into the racial categories that done by the government. The census categorizes are divided based on the common physical traits but how Latinos tend to identify themselves and their ethnicity. However, Navarro describes how Latino or Spanish origin “maybe any race, and more than a third of Latino check other.” She indicates that there are multiple identities between Latina/o’s. The census causes problems among Latinos because they are often have to question the race they belong to. Many Latinos are racially mixed within Indian, African, European, and other ethnicities. As a result, the Latino communities are blended with different racial identities but Navarro mentions how some Latino’s have a hard time wondering what category they belong due to their mixture of identities. She mentions, how “race to me gets very confusing because we have so many people from so many races that make up our genealogical tree,” Navarro implies that even Latino families do not identity their children as Latino in the census form because of the confusing of categories they belong to. Similarly to Walter Thompson Hernandez, Navarro discusses about how there different and very common for Latino’s to identify themselves within multiple identities. I thought it was interesting to see how both tell how it is difficult for someone to identify with one more than other racial categories but also how in Latino’s there are t identify with other cultures too.
With everything going on in the world the last couple of weeks i wanted to keep it light hearted. Since we were talking about the topic of being bi-racial, specifically Blaxican. it made me think of food, and how great it must be to live with someone who can make really great mexican food and also make really great soul food and my mouth watered. imagine having gumbo one night and the next some carne con chili, i’m so about that! i started looking online and found a food truck that does just that, and its called “Blaxican Food Truck”. Its a food truck who’s concept is mexican soul food. The owner of the food truck describes the as he was trying to think of a name he remembered a slang term “Blaxican” that his friend would call him growing up in LA. I think the food truck is a great example of cultural fusion, and is really clever. I hope the food truck is a successes, and definitely something i would love to try.
The article, “Being Blaxican in L.A.” by Janice Llamoca, she talks about Walter Thompson-Hernández. Walter was born in Los Angeles and he was Black and Mexican, or which he calls himself, Blaxican. In the interview Walter explains that it was a struggle to understand his background and how he identified himself. Regardless of the struggles he faced he was comfortable with his race and his mixing. This brings me to an article I found by Philippe Leonard Fradet, which is, “Never Enough: Growing Up Mixed-Race with a Mix of Friends”. In this article, Philippe, explains that his father is white, and his mother was black and Native American. He explains that growing up many kids would ask him “what was he?”, as if he was an unidentifiable artifact. He describes that growing up, it was hard for him to come to terms with his racial identity. He explains that growing up it was tough to fit in with his friends because to some people, he was not “black” enough, and to other people, he was not “white” enough. He describes, “Even though some of my peers and elders saw me as “whiter” than others, I still faced a great amount of flack because of my darker skin, because of my tight and frizzy curls, and because I was half black and Native American” (Fradet, Web). He explains that he had no connection to his Native side, but he just wanted to be “Normal” like most of his friends. Philipe had to go through understanding that he was not different, he was just “Mixed-raced” and that was normal. He goes to conclude that he was just never enough and that just because he his Mixed-raced does not mean that his identity has to be lost.
This week’s topic had to do with self identity and figuring out who we are as individuals. There are many people now becoming of a mixed race and while some people will gloat and express how awesome it may be there are other’s who struggle with this. An article that I found is based off a video that Buzzfeed had made about people who are multiracial. They speak about how they don’t fit in in either one of their races because thy are not 100% that race. Some express that many people that they cross paths with will try to come up to them speaking a language and they have to tell them “I don’t understand”, and they continue to express that people expect them to fit certain stereotypes and while they may try to do so they fail because their other race isn’t that and can’t help succeed. Being of mixed race has faced its struggles because people have not been able to express who they are always having to make sure that one race doesn’t outshine the other. One man explained, ” We talk about race like it’s this built-in intrinsic thing. But the reality is, we’re mostly talking about looks, right?” . This statement does agree with what we face in society everything comes down to looks. Towards the end of the video and article the people that had been asked shared that even though people get confused about who that person may actually be they are okay with it. They embrace who they are and have become who they are because of the mixed race. One of the girl’s said “you don’t have to fit a mold that other people think they should fit”. Which shows that they are breaking any stereotypes that people may have set for them and embracing who they are.
Reading the article Being Blaxican in L.A, made me do Latino connection with the “Casta System.” A system used in Latino America to represent and identify you race and ethnicity. The system was based on how much “Black” or “Spaniard/European” you had. This “system” was enforced solely through the color of skin tone, and your parents as well. The people who were mixed with black and Spaniard were considered Mulatto. And the term Mulatto in the Casta system would place you 5th to the top. Not bad right? But have a Casta System, was it really to identify a person, or was it to keep suppressing others based on their skin tone. In the article Thompson-Hernández , is Mexican and African American, what would he be considered in the Casta System? In today’s time he is considered to be biracial, and to be mixed Black and Mexican may put him in a disadvantage. Not because Latinos want it that way, but because America has made It that way. If you are not White/European/Spaniard, you are most likely the marginalized or the “other”. As a Latina women, who is not mixed but my family members are Mexican/Guatemala/Salvadorian/Black, I don’t understand the oppression in our community. I would like to think that the more diverse the U.S. is, the more beautiful this country would be. If this election has taught us anything is, we need to be one, and accept all. We cannot let society oppress people who are part of this nation. The Casta system in my eyes, seems like a modern day racial category, who is lighter and who is darker. People like Thompson, should not be ashamed or put down for being of a mixed ethnicity. We should empower all people who are diverse and different.
This week’s assignments were very interesting but there was one that really stuck out to me. This assignment was the NPR interview with Rubén Martínez. During the interview, Martínez talks about the resistance of people during the L.A. Riots. This relates to an article I read in The Los Angeles Times called “Anti-Trump Protest continue for second day in California following a night of vandalism and arrest” by Joseph Serna. The article focuses on the protest that have happened due to the election of Donald Trump. This article relates to the interview because Martínez talks about how the L.A. Riots served as a method of resistance. This is similar to the protest that are brought up in the articles. The people of Los Angeles are protesting to resist the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. The article paints these protest as a bit negative. This is similar to the way the L.A. Riots are seen by a lot of people. However, both the protest and the L.A. Riots show that the people have the ability to resist. The people have the right to fight against what they feel is oppressing them. Sometimes it comes off as negative but sometimes protest and riots are the only way a message of resistance can be expressed. Martínez described the L.A. Riots as a method of resistance which is similar to use of protest by those in Los Angeles to resist the oppressive government.