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FPOD: QUOTE COLLECTION

The purpose of my quote collection is to express my journey of understanding relationality. Specifically, how I understand my position in relation to others, human and non-human. My experience in this course has been influenced by my previous class: Native American Feminisms. In that class, we were assigned to listen to Dr. Kim TallBear’s podcast “Moving Beyond Settler Sexualities.” (Listen here) Dr. TallBear’s words resonated with me. She explained that the ways in which our society constructions relationships as monogamous limits our relationships with others. Meaning, that we need to change how we define and prioritize relationships. Now, I actively try to be open to other ways of knowing and relating to others.

  1. “How is nationality made? Men make it with declarations and battles, transactions and deeds. But year after year the children are laid into the soil with their mother’s grief and endurance, tying these women to this ground with cords as thick and red as the muscles of their hearts.” (Levins Morales, Aurora. Remedios, 159.)

I chose this quote because I wanted to start off the collection with the idea of legacies. When discussing colonialism, people often trace the violent acts of white invaders. However, our survival is based on our mothers, the strong women who came before us, who we are built on and who we are still tied to.

2. In the beginning, our mother was a turtle, and we all came from her back. Not the tiny painted turtles you can get at pet stores, but the great green sea turtle, the hawksbill,the carey. The one they hunt for turtle soup, for the virility they seek in her eggs, the one whose shell is covered with whorls that map the universe, that they use to frame their eyeglasses, hoping to see.”(Levins Morales, Aurora. Remedios, 44.)

This quote is meant to express that the concept of mothers should not be limited to humans but extended to nature as well. Meaning, that we should consider our relation to every aspect of life that has nurtured or nourished us.

3. Knowledge involves listening, both to everything around us and to the stories that have been passed down to us. Knowledge then is relational.” (Weir, Allison. “Decolonizing Feminist Freedom: Indigenous Relationalities.”)

I chose this quote because it is important to remember that knowledge is relational. We must be open to all forms of knowing to gain fuller understanding of ourselves.

4. “Only when we have traveled to to each other’s ‘worlds’ are we fully subjected to each other … Knowing other women’s ‘worlds’ is part of knowing them and knowing them is part of loving them.” ( Lugones, Maria. “Playfulness, World-travelling, and Loving Perception)

This quote shows that we can better understand and love each other by “traveling” to each others’ world. Thus, by “traveling” to others’ worlds, we can expand our ways of knowing.

5. “Because I, a mestiza, continually walk out of one culture and into another, because I am in all cultures at the same time, alma entre dos mundos, tres, cuatro, me zumba la cabeza con lo contradictorio. Estoy norteada por todas las voces que me hablan simultáneamente.” (Anzaldua, Gloria. “La Conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness.”)

I chose this quote because as a mixed person, I can relate to Anzaldua’s struggle of existing in and between worlds. Anzaldua’s words express the ways in which people’s co-existing cultures and identities may contradict when they are thought to be separate and not in relation to each other. The different voices that speak to us, the different worlds we exist in and between, are constructed by those who came before us. Thus, we must be mindful of the voices that impose coloniality while strengthening those that protest it.

6. “Snake people learn to adapt, to be what is needed, to speak many tongues fluently, to wear and shed skins.” (Levins Morales, Aurora. Remedios, 107)

This quote illustrates the ways in which people adapt and change to relate to their environment in order to survive. Moreover, our existence today is based on the survival of all those who came before us.

7. “Pomegranate teaches community, teaches the delights of love, teaches us to nest in each other’s hearts, to cup the juice of life in our joined hands, union, communion, community of souls, the true and most ancient holy of holies where we find each other naked, place of ecstacy remembered in each cup of wine we bless. When the blow falls and the fruit shatters, let her seeds scatter far and wide on this earth, and spring up everywhere, a million orchards of joy,” (Levins Morales, Aurora. Remedios, 65.)

I chose this quote because Levin Morales used the construction of a pomegranate to encourage relationality and community through love and growth.

8. “You don’t know the places where our bones are, but we are your bones.” (Levins Morales, Aurora. Remedios, 93.)

This quote shows that our past is the foundation in which we are built. Although we may not always be aware of our ancestors’ histories, human and nonhuman alike, they are always within us, they are our hearts, our blood and our bones.

9. “One is connected by descent, country, place and shared experiences where one experiences the self as part of others and others as part of the self; this is learnt through reciprocity, obligation, shared experiences, co-existence, co-operation and social memory.” (Weir, Allison. “Decolonizing Feminist Freedom: Indigenous Relationalities.”)

This quote is meant to summarize that our ways of knowing should be inclusive of shared experiences and social memory. Meaning, that we should not consider the past as just impersonal distant histories but as our own memories and sources of knowledge.

10. “You who are descendants, do not forget us. You call yourselves by names we do not recognize, we were your grandmothers. We were from people whose names themselves are lost. The names of the places we were taken from are not on your map. But the places are still there, and we did live, and you are our children.” (Levins Morales, Aurora. Remedios, 110.)

Finally, I chose this quote to reiterate and emphasize that we are the living legacies of those who came before us. It is meant to remind us that although many names of our past may have been lost, they still exist because we exist.

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Instagram Quote Collection-Natalie

In the process of  creating this quote collection, I wanted to first and foremost, cement the basic points about decolonial thought, and then later apply this knowledge to the decolonial struggles, movements, and liberation methods of Mexico and Puerto Rico.

This particular “theme,” I’m going for is important to me personally, as I have never delved into decolonial thought like this before, and so these quotes are essentially what I learned throughout the way. These are the words that stuck out to me due to their simplicity, complexity, bluntness, non conformist, and overall liberating nature.

The first quote, one by Sandra Harding,  really bares the foundation as to what we have been studying this semester, and that is: that any form of colonization works because it appropriates control over women’s bodies and the reduction of power of Indigenous men. Bodies of women become the commodified objects that colonizers were looking for in the land itself, and thus, since colonialism and its internalization succeed by the interference and dismantling of gender the sexual relations of the Indigenous people, it is imperative that gender and sexuality is not neglected, but heavily emphasized in decolonial thought.

Since decolonization tends to refer to the region of Latin America, I thought it was important to emphasis that Abya Yala is the preferred name to refer to Latin America, meaning “land of full maturity,” in the language of the Kuna. Breny Mendoza’s article pinpoints how Iberian and British empires are tied in their imperialistic tendencies in the New World, and notices the exclusion of Abya Yala in world history, which fails to recognize the region’s impact on China, the U.S, Spain, Portugal, etc. The impact of the Iberian empire on the people of Abya Yala is also neglected in history, as only the British empires work on the United States is the focus of Western history. I personally learned an awful lot on the the intersections of Iberian and British colonialism, as well as Abya Yala’s position in a historical sense.

In learning about various regions, peoples, and their cultures, identities and so on, it is necessary to “travel” to each other world’s in the process, as well as listen, and give space. A decolonial lens means seeing others without arrogant perception, but with loving eyes, as to acknowledge and recognize someone’s perception of themselves in their world, and in ours. In doing so, Allison Weir points out that in listening, the two extremes of denial or romanticism should not happen because while it is important to learn, that particular knowledge remains with those who created it-essentially, we can only know what Indigenous people need or suffer through by them.

In using these methods and knowledge of decolonization, I applied them to Xicana and Puerto Rican feminism. The two nations are of course different, but both have obtained a “double consciousness,” a newly formed way of thinking that encompasses both the Anglo perception of being a colonized subject, and an identity formed by relationships with nation, gender, sexuality, language, race, and so on.

I emphasize this dual consciousness with Anzaldua’s quote, as well as Lugo-Lugo’s point about how Puerto Ricans have conformed or come to terms with their duality and deviance; of not being  a nation state or being integrated with the U.S nation-states.

I also found it important to emphasize that colonized subjects may engage in colonial practices as well. In reading “Settler Xicana,” Carrillo Rowe brings up a valid point, and that is that Mexicans have continued the legacy of colonialism by further marginalizing Indigenous communities, prioritizing whiteness and perpetrating stereotypes.

Finally, with the last two quotes, I wanted to call attention to how the various “worlds” of the colonized can actually be used as a form of resistance and rebellion. Since culture was stripped away from the colonized, since Spanish was deemed barbaric, practices, diabolic, or land seen as exotic destinations (as seen with postcards) to acquire, it is only right to reclaim what was was so often denied to us and to use it as a form of resistance (David Perez quote emphasizes this).

This concept of a dual identity as a revolutionary/survival tool is one that resonated with my own experiences. As I am constantly in between worlds, I may use the voices of these men and women to help me decolonize my thought, critically analysis my own culture/heritage and not simply accept what Anglo society or Xicana identity has given me, but have the ability to change what needs fixing.

Instagram story: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxCv11HHsvj/

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Instagram Quote Collection

In the beginning, I was wary of choosing quotes for this project. The process was slow, and it felt as if I was getting nowhere. I was stuck in my own positionality as a white women, and how I should go about presenting the information I have learned in this course, from predominantly women of color, and Black women. However, this class has furthered the realization that I may garner the lived knowledges of Black and Brown women and implement those knowledges in productive ways; and that even if I am not always correct, there is always room for growth and learning. I wanted to begin my piece with an introduction to one of the focal points of this class which was the effects of colonization, from which I moved on to more nuanced statements and quotes about how colonized women have learned to decolonize their lives and spaces.

My choices in using Lugones and Anzaldúa were in part because of my perceived connection to the sentiments of them, while also keeping in mind that I may activate them in slightly different ways that the author. I would like to flesh out a little more about my choice from María Lugones’, “The Coloniality of Gender”; I chose this quote not to bring attention to the horrendous ways that colonized women, including enslaved women, were treated, but rather something more relevant to myself. I wanted to bring attention to the way white womanhood is characterized, and how it is the job of white women to recharacterize themselves, how it is their (and my own) job to counter the notion that we are not, “fragile and sexually passive,” with the notion that we are no better than our Black Brown counterparts. (Lugones) I went on to bring attention to the interconnectedness of the colonization of Black bodies and Native/Indigenous bodies, as neither may be decolonized without the other, and this means reparations and sovereignty for all groups. This sentiment is not one I have heard many times before, but one that I would like to uplift because of its relevance to the colonized Black and Brown women of Puerto Rico.

Perhaps one of my favorite quotes from the collection was that of Paula Gunn Allen’s, “Some Like Indians Endure,” because of the sheer bluntness of it; ‘because whiteman took//all the rest.’ (Gunn Allen) Gunn Allen’s words spoke to the words of many other authors from this semester, in two simple lines. Following Gunn Allen, I chose another work of Lugones, from “Toward a Decolonial Feminism,” and Emma Peréz’s “Queer Subaltern Citizens: Agency through Decolonial Queer Theory,” to discuss that the work of decolonial studies falls on no one identity, or community, but rather on all identities and communities. I also wanted to touch on the importance of finding decolonial/postcolonial/anticolonial knowledges within survival, resistance, opposition and reconstruction movements/happenings.

The final quote that I chose for this collection may not resonate with me in the manner which the author resonated with it, such is most literature. This quote for me meant that listening to and learning about the stories of other colonized peoples and bodies will help connect each of us to one another; it will help bring together those affected by colonization, which is inevitably everyone on this Earth. This quote meant that through learning and understanding all of the ways the people of the world, and the world itself has been harmed, we will come into our own ways of healing our suffering and decolonizing our minds.

 

INSTAGRAM POST QUOTE COLLECTION (in order):

 

“Western Civilization is eating up the world, tearing great hunks of it from the bone.” Aurora Levins Morales, “1900: Civilization─Europe,” Remedios, p. 165

 

“We are not self-important, we are not fixed in particular constructions of ourselves, which is part of saying that we are open to self-construction.” María Lugones, Playfulness, “World”-Travelling, and Loving Perception, p. 16

 

“The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, ;nexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian—our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in the outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.” Gloria Anzaldúa, Towards a New Consciousness, p. 109

 

“Historically, the characterization of white European women as fragile and sexually passive opposed them to non-white, colonized women, including women slaves, who were characterized along a gamut of sexual aggression and perversion, and as strong enough to do any sort of labor.” María Lugones, The Coloniality of Gender, p.13

 

“Current structures of oppression are situated historically and relationally: to undo slavery’s legacies for Black communities, the territorial dispossessions of Indigenous peoples must be undone as well. And vice versa.” Joanne Barker, Indigenous Feminisms, p. 12

 

“If we acknowledge that the sovereignty of the land continues to persist and is Indigenous, then we have to challenge the legitimacy of the United States. This kind of approach asks us to pay attention to, work with, and be accountable to the ways in which global processes play out on Indigenous bodies in the places where we live rather than just in those places where we work.” Hokulani K. Aikau, Maile Arvin, Mishuana Goeman, Scott Morgensen, Indigenous Feminisms Roundtable, p. 86

 

the place where we live now

is idea

because whiteman took

all the rest

 

Paula Gunn Allen, “Some Like Indians Endure,” Haciendo Caras, p. 299

 

“One does not resist the coloniality of gender alone. One resists it from within a way of understanding the world and living in it that is shared and that can understand one’s actions, thus providing recognition.” María Lugones, Toward a Decolonial Feminism, p. 754

 

“And if I am persistent, I’ll find within those colonial ideologies the subjugated knowledges of people who created ways to survive, resist, oppose and reconstruct those ideologies.” Emma Peréz, Queer Subaltern Citizens: Agency through Decolonial Queer Theory, p. 24-25

 

“But if you take these stories as bitters, your own pain will dissolve into the larger stream of pain and you will find comfort with these women, for the poison they suffered and died from is the same poison, and if you eat bitters, drink bitters, speak bitterness with them, you will be cleansed. You will be healed.” Aurora Levins Morales, “Bitters,” Remedios, p. 64

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxBqoZhHOQi/?igshid=mp5nv98940nc

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instagram post

My Instagram quote compilation is meant to touch on the multiplicity of my feminist identity. Throughout the course, I’ve had to unlearn my pre-existing understandings of what it meant to be an active participant in the process of re-education of limited mindsets. At the start of the semester, there was only so much that I understood about the concepts of decolonization and post-colonialism. Before this point I had a habit of focusing primarily on the actions of colonizers rather than focusing on how the affected bodies navigate and manage their lives and environments thereafter.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw_o-ZTHI2L/

The quotes I chose for my project were meant to represent the actions of reclamation of space, bodily autonomy after violation, and the multiplicity of identity. As a queer black woman that has endured the struggles of living with a body that was once not something I wanted to claim as my own, the quotes I chose from Remedios resonated with me and I felt that they spoke the loudest to me. The first quote I chose from Remedios was one of my favorites because it depicted the origins of man as a brown-skinned woman rather than the overused Eurocentric version. The fifth quote from Remedios resonated with me due to past experiences along with the empowerment that can be found as result of telling one’s story.

I interpreted the second quote by Lugones to be how we are conditioned to accept the racial conditions of our environments and that the internalized damage of these actions are not intrinsically our faults.

The third quote I chose because this piece resonated with me deeply as I truly believe that in order to be an effective and efficient feminist, one must be able to understand the experiences of others without imposing themselves upon someone else. The fourth quote I chose from Journeys of the Mind because it also fell in line with my multiple feminist identities, much like the sixth quote by Lugo-Lugo. For me, these two quotes represented the ability to engage in an intersectional mindset use one’s multiple identities to become a proficient social actor. I understood the seventh quote to be a call for a retelling of Native/POC stories and histories to combat the blatant omission of key elements and moments.

The eighth quote I chose was from the Through the Eyes of Rebel Women journal where there was a call for the ending of mutilation of POC, specifically Puerto Rican, female bodies. Far too often I’ve come across cases where women of color are not listened to about pains they endure with their reproductive systems and they end up dying as a result, but then on the flip side of this, women are having their autonomy stolen from them as a method of racialized population control.

The ninth quote also resonated with me as a survivor of assault and as someone that now finds power in sharing my experiences and stories with others who have had to endure similar hardships. My tenth quote was my favorite as a black woman and I felt that it most adequately portrayed the desire for black bodies to be proud of their histories and origins rather than being ashamed of them.

Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color edited by Gloria Anzaldúa (1990):

Waters, Anne. “Journeys of the Mind,” 159-161

Remedíos: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenas, 1-26 “Bisabuelas”

Remedíos: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenas, 55-102 “Discovery & Huracán”

Morales, Iris. 2016. “From the Frontlines,” in Through the Eyes of Rebel Women: The Young Lords 1969-1976, 181-211.

Pérez, Emma. 2006. “Agency through Decolonial Queer Theory” Conference Paper 1-25.

Lugo-Lugo, Carmen. 2018. “Getting to the Colonial Status through Sexuality: Lessons on Puerto Rico’s Political Predicament from Women Writers,” Centro Journal 30:2, 234-248.

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Gaby Wood, Instagram Quote Collection

This blog post and Instagram post tell the story of my journey through this course, as well as some of the most valuable lessons I feel I learned from it. The quotes that I have assembled here are a reflection on our entire semester, with a focus on recovery and reparation for colonial acts and ways to move forward. The theme is more of a “where do we go from here?” type thing than anything else, and I chose quotes that stuck out to me as reminders of what we can do in our day-to-day lives to resist/recognize the scourge of colonialism and its lingering impacts.

 

My journey through this course has been a really privileged one, as I’m a middle class white queer person– I have never had to deal with and never will have to deal with a lot of the sorts of oppression we have discussed. For this reason, it is all the more important for me to use my position to amplify and uplift the voices of oppressed folks around me.

 

The first quote sets the tone for the remainder of the piece, and is something that each of us should remind ourselves of every single day– no matter who we are, or where we are, we are living on indigenous land. (Our school is on Lenape land!) Recognizing this is vital to any decolonial study. The next quote, by Micha Ca’rdenas, recognizes transgender women of color as being perhaps the most marginalized group that we collectively must protect and share the voices of. My third quote, from María Lugones, illustrates that when we make the effort to travel to one another’s “worlds”, we can recognize, aid, and better love one another. (I do not love how this one turned out edit-wise, but Canva was frustrating me.) The next quote is also from Lugones, and emphasizes the importance of coalition building in the collective struggle to disrupt colonialism.

 

I wanted to incorporate poetic language into this essay as well, because art in addition to scholarly work is vital to our resistance. For this reason, my next slide is a quote from Anne Waters, recognizing her value as a lesbian of color who “refuses to be washed out.” I then picked a quote from the Young Lords Party, whose important work shows, again, the importance of collective efforts, and urges POC to use “[their] culture as a revolutionary weapon.” The seventh quote, also from the Lords (written by Iris Morales) points to the U.S. prison system as a “form of genocide” (which it is) and urges the reader to have discussions about dismantling this system– a theme that has begun to gain (relative, though not exact) traction in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, with the idea of restoring the voting rights of felons and freeing those convicted of non-violent drug offenses. I hope these discussions continue and lead to real action.

 

Photo 8 is a quote from Joanne Barker, emphasizing the importance of remapping indigenous folks onto their native lands. This call for, effectively, reparations and “social recontextualization” really stuck out to me as a major theme of our course and my own class learnings. The following photo furthers this point, with a quote from Gloria Anzaldúa- “This land was Mexican Once, was Indian always and is. And will be again.” Who could’ve put it better?

 

The final quote, I feel, really ties this whole project together, with my favorite reading so far in this course– and of course, it’s Remedios. Again, this quote emphasizes collective healing and collective action, for the betterment of all peoples. And that, right there, is the story I would like to tell.

 

As far as my process for this assignment, it was difficult to limit myself to one theme and to find quotes that played off of each other perfectly– especially when there were so many I wanted to use. However, I really enjoyed going back through our readings to find them, and think it worked out nicely.

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Charlotte’s Instagram Quote Collection

The theme of my quote collection is empowering language as a tool to both foster self-awareness and create coalition. Each quote is laid over a symbol or piece of land that relates to the author or topic because one of the most powerful points that has been impressed on me in this course and these readings is that decolonization cannot be divorced from land.

I know that some of the symbols I used aren’t perfect. Some of the maps I used aren’t as precise as they should be. I did the best I could, not with the goal of perfection, but with helping myself to better link author with culture with land. And the process of creating those visuals was helpful for me. If nothing else, it shows the far-reaching extent of not only colonization, but more importantly, the decolonial theorists who rose up independently but went on to forge powerful international coalition.

I’m a white AFAB nonbinary lesbian with a car and a job and a year left to go on my degree. It’s important for me to acknowledge that I do have a lot of privilege and that I therefore lack perspective that the voices who shape this course write about. And it’s especially important for me to study writers because before I am anything else, I am a writer, too. But I write about gay mermaids and all I really want is a career writing about gay mermaids. It sounds silly, but I am 100% serious in saying it’s my whole life. As a lesbian, having seen myself in [very few] characters only to watch them die horrible deaths at an alarming rate compared to straight characters, I know that this is a problem other marginalized groups face as well, so I write diverse gay mer-heroines. Mermaids can and do come from anywhere and any-when. I try to write gay mermaids who are whole people, who are like me and unlike me in any way I can think of, who have experiences that have never been seen in a superhero backstory, but this class helped me realize where I can do better.

A while ago, I mentioned that the Lugones quote about dropping “enchantment with ‘woman,’ the universal” is probably the most profound quote of the semester for me for a personal reason. The reason is that it has caused me to re-conceptualize how I approach my own art. Gender is nuanced and means different things to different people in different cultures. A few months ago, because of this class, I started to slowly begin a process of decolonizing the Undine Isles (the home of the gay mermaids–can you decolonize a fictional place? I’m gonna go ahead and say yes) because my perhaps unattainable but no less worthwhile goal is that any reader should feel safe there. That’s what the entire project has always been about. This class made my personal art more of what I want and need it to be, so thank you to Dr. P and everyone for helping and being with me on this journey.

WORKS CITED

  1. Lugones, M. (2010). Toward a Decolonial Feminism. In Hypatia (Vol. 25, Ser. 4, p. 753). Hypatia.
  2. Gunn Allen, P. (n.d.). Some like Indians Endure. In Making Face, Making Soul: Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color (pp. 298-299).
  3. Anzaldúa, G. (1980). Borderlands: La Frontera. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books.
  4. Pérez, E. (2006, October). Queer Subaltern Citizens: Agency through Decolonial Queer Theory: Subaltern Citizens and their Histories [PDF].
  5. Lugones, M. (1987). Playfulness, “World”-Travelling, and Loving Perception. Hypatia (Vol. 2, Ser. 2).
  6. Chrystos. (n.d.). Those Tears. In Resist racism and eat your carrots. Retrieved from https://resistracism.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/those-tears/
  7. Aizura et al. Introduction. Decolonizing the Trans Imaginary. (2014). Duke University Press. (Reprinted from TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 1(3), (2014))
  8. Levins Morales, A. (n.d.). Declaracion. Retrieved May 2, 2019, from http://www.auroralevinsmorales.com/declaracion.html
  9. Levins Morales, A. (1998). Remedios. limited edition 2019 [PDF].
  10. Young Lords Party, The. (n.d.). 13-Point Program and Platform. In University of Virginia. Retrieved May 2, 2019, from http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/sixties/HTML_docs/Resources/Primary/Manifestos/Young_Lords_platform.html The Sixties Project, University of Virginia

#decolonization #fpod #feminism #indigenousfeminisms #puertoricanfeminisms

 

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Instagram Photo essay Part 2

The quotes I chose were in an effort to illustrate my journey in this class and all which I’ve learned.

I have never take a feminist class before, let alone take two in the same semester, but under the guidance of Dr. Pabón, I decided to give it a shot.

I’ve learned so much this semester and all of it important in the knowledge base needed to take actions to change the world. At first,  I really had difficulties understanding the readings, probably because it was my first time being exposed to feminism. However, reading  Marío Lugones’  “Towards A Decolonial Feminism” I read the first of my quotes and it really kickstarted my understanding.

Decolonizing gender is necessarily a praxical task. It is to enact a critique of racialized, colonial, and capitalist heterosexualist gender oppression as a lived transformation of the social.

That quote broke down, into a bite-size pieces,  what it meant to be fighting for decolonization and what we must do to fight it.

María Lugones made a point when talking about oppression and that we would not feel it if we were not resisting it so hard. That was really another important perspective because It made me realize that if you were unaware of the oppression others face how could we ever help them resist? I thought that was very important because its a call for those who are not constantly affected by these discriminations to keep an eye out for them and try to make a change.

Then I began to read Allison Weir and learn about the knowledge that had been lost over the years due to this colonialism.  A terrible action, all because the colonizers devalue everything that is not there’s. Then I imagine what the world would be like if we did know what they knew and how it could better us all as a society. Planting a seed of change in my mind.

Flash forward and we begin talking about Puerto Rico and how the U.S. continues to ruin the archipelago. What have they done under the mask of “goodwill and good intentions”.  I enjoyed reading the writings of  Morales,  Power, Suarez Findley, and …too because it really tied it all together form me, from the beginnings of class to now I began to really see the colonialism and follow its prosses throughout Puerto Rico. Seeing the devastation it left behind and the accountability it does not take is really heartbreaking. Yet, reading about these activists that took stands to fight for Puerto Rico showed me that change is possible. It’s just a matter of picking up your guns and walking into congress (whether that be metaphorical or not).

Learning all of which I’ve learned in class makes me want to learn more, and fight harder for the equality we need. To fight for the understanding which we all look for in our lives, and return the value stolen from those who have been oppressed.  We can all do this, but the beauty of fighting in the resistance is the many ways in which we can resist. That’s why the last quote, although out of context, really gets to me, because we can take what we have and imagine and wonder a world in which we better it.

Tieing this back into the beginning when I had first started with such a lack of understanding, I know realize that feminism and the decolonization practices are much more than learning. They are doing, whether it be little things or big things, but doing the most to try and combat the white hetero cis capitalistic caste system implemented by the colonizers. Although it will be a long road to pave it’ll get paved with the millions of actions taken by each one of us each day.

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Instagram Quote Collection

This assignment was particularly challenging for me, as my computer does not allow me to highlight texts from the PDFs we have read this semester. Since I did not have anything saved to work off on, I began collecting quotes by scanning through the texts and simply pulling phrases that I liked or that stuck with me. As my list grew, I noticed that while the quotes I selected focused on varying topics, I was able to string them along and make connections from one another. In this blog post I will be listing the quotes I collected, but they can also be found on neatly laid out on my Instagram post https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw99aKrHsIv/

  1. Indigenous feminisms is… not a thing whose meaning is prepackaged and applicable across time and space. Indigenous feminisms are contingent upon the historical contexts and social relationships in which they are articulated as an ethic of responsibility, which I would suggest is grounded in the governance, territory, and culture of the polity but reaches out through an ethics responsibility across political, legal, and cultural borders to other communities and nonhuman beings.
      • Indigenous Feminisms by Joanne Barker
  1. The heretofore-marginalized knowledge of Indigenous and Third World peoples is central to imagining alternatives to colonial capitalism and to more just connections between humans and nature. But it is imperative to be cognizant of the pitfalls and problematics of representing this knowledge, that is, of the political economy of knowledge production in order to guard against simplistic claims about decolonial ontologies and postcolonial futures.
      • Spivak and Rivera Cusicanqui on the Dilemmas of Representation in Postcolonial and Decolonial Feminisms

I started off this assignment with quotes that center indigenous ontologies. While it does not focus on specific ontologies and epistemologies, it highlights the importance of relationality to the land and others (both human and other living and non living beings.) These quotes also mention the failed attempts to embrace indigenous ways, whether it be through romanticization, appropriation, or colonizers capitalizing off of stolen and rebranded knowledge. In addition, these quotes explain the importance of not portraying these ontologies and epistemologies as simple and homogenous, as they are specific to each community and varied. However, as the last quote highlights, the capitalist world we now live in could benefit greatly by implementing these ways. Under our capitalist system, profit is but before human and environmental needs, which hinders us in all facets of life (even economic as surplus leads to economic crises instead of relief).

  1. At best, what the United States displays toward Puerto Rico can be classified as “paternalistic toleration,” so called because the toleration is one extended by the majority as an act of self-restraint by the majority (as an act of social generosity) to share a social space with a culture that the majority believes does not merit to share such social space. For minorities, paternalistic toleration is often purchased at the heavy price of not being recognized as equal participants in the polity, ironically the very thing that toleration is meant to cure”
      • A New Reality of Citizenship and Nation by Pedro A. Malavet
  1. The government forces us to live like roaches, always in the garbage. When we can’t produce in sweatshops to make them more money because of high unemployment rates; when we can’t buy their junk because they won’t give us credit to legalize the rip-off; when we’re no longer any use and become a threat of possible revolutionaries, they exterminate us like roaches, always in the garbage…
      • From the Frontlines, Abortions by Gloria Colón (text from Through the Eyes of Rebel Women by Iris Morales)

The next two quotes I chose to focus specifically on Puerto Rico and their relation to the imperialist and capitalist United States, which places Puerto Ricans both on the islands and in the diaspora as inferior. These quotes also focus on the empty promises of the United States and themes of colonial gaslighting. In addition, the quote from Gloria Colón mentions the criminalization of poverty and consequential radicalization of Puerto Ricans.

  1. Recognizing the profound influence of racialization and gendering is essential to an adequate understanding of the past, to efforts to transform the present, and to strategies to envision and produce a different future.
      • Coloniality of Gender and Power: From Postcoloniality to Decoloniality by Breny Mendoza
  1. We have the Third World woman holding on to her pregnant body, watching her already born children nibble on lead paint in place of food, watching the rats that gather to nibble on the toes of her children, worrying about having her insides ripped-up during an abortion.
      • From the Frontlines, Abortions by Gloria Colón (text from Through the Eyes of Rebel Women by Iris Morales)
  1. “You’re nothing but a woman” means you are defective. Its opposite is to be un macho. The modern meaning of the word “machismo,” as well as the concept, is actually an Anglo invention. For men like my father, being “macho” meant being strong enough to protect and support my mother and us, yet being able to show love. Today’s macho has doubts about his ability to feed and protect his family. His “machismo” is an adaptation to oppression and poverty and low self esteem. It is the result of hierarchical male dominance.
      • Borderlands, La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa
  1. I mean, when I see brothers off the block, hustlers, you know, talking about, “I got to deal with my male chauvinism,” when I see that man, I feel like we can do anything.
      • Palante by The Young Lords

This next set of quotes I selected begins to discuss the inextricable intersection of gender in the oppression of Latinx people. This form of oppression, and its byproducts such as machismo, were created specifically not only to impose Anglo traditions, but to further divide the population. Through this, organizing mass movements becomes far more challenging. However, as the last quote from Palante highlights, there have been great strides to progress past this form of toxic masculinity, which serves to hinder Latinx men with in white social spheres and Latinx women with in male dominated social spheres. In addition, the other quote by Gloria Colón gives us a visual of the specific problems faced by Puerto Rican women, such as struggles to support a family in such poor living conditions, lack of proper reproductive care, and sterilization.

  1. There can be no discourse of decolonization, no theory of decolonization, without a decolonizing practice.
      • Spivak and Rivera Cusicanqui on the Dilemmas of Representation in Postcolonial and Decolonial Feminisms (originally found in “Ch’ixinakax utxiwa: A Reflection on the Practices and Discourses of Decolonization” by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui)
  1. FALN [Armed Forces of National Liberation] solidarity with and on behalf of Palestinian self-determination served to illuminate the colonial reality of Puerto Rico by bolstering the claims of the political prisoners that they were “freedom fighters, not terrorists.”
      • In Solidarity, Palestine in the Puerto Rican Political Imaginary by Sara Awartani

I purposely chose these last two quotes to conclude this assignment. The first quote reminds us that decolonization is not a metaphor, and in order to go through the process of decolonization there not only needs to be a plan, but actions to follow. In addition, the second quote refers to groups who have become more militant as a result of demands not being met. These groups are criminalized and therefore have a shared sense of public disapproval. However, instead of being discouraged, they are able to use solidarity work to empower and validate each others struggles.

 

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Instagram Quote Collection

 

Through observation in the perspective of an afro-latina, queer woman in the United States, even before becoming educated in the “why’s” of things, I noticed how I and others like myself were often being silenced, belittled, overly critiqued, and hypersexualized. I noticed how though white women faced many of these injustices, women of color faced them more often and within an entirely different context. When looking for quotes, I wanted to emphasize what I learned about  the significance of race in colonial histories and legacies. I wanted to emphasize how the “othering” of indigenous and PoC women promotes the erasure and discreditation of valuable epistemologies, histories, and cultures. Many of the readings for Feminist Perspectives on Decolonization shed a light on how the overseas reaching claw of racism contributed to the justification of colonialism, abuse, and deliberate erasure, which meant a lot to my personal learning experience. To ignore the consequences of racism when taking on a decolonial lens is to ignore the indisputable truth. The intersections of race and gender are especially pervasive in histories of colonialism.

Because the effects of race and racism is something I constantly want to be aware of, I had already highlighted several quotes from our readings that caught my eye so it wasn’t too difficult to pull out my favorites. I started with the quote I thought was the most important; The “politics of erasure” is necessary to understand the historical trivialization of indigenous narratives, which includes the horrors of slavery. Though the idea “race” is a social construction, as who is perceived as white, black, etc. changes over the course of time, my next quote speaks about how the “coloniality of power” classifies people on the basis of the construction of race. The third quote depicts how the system feeds off the construction, describing how the term “illegal” has dominated discourses within the Latinx politic, but doesn’t circulate amongst undocumented Asian Americans in the same way. The fourth and fifth quotes relate to each other in how they describe the boundaries of who freedom is for: the “white, male, Eurocentric hegemon” and the sixth, seventh and eighth quotes depicts for whom freedom is not for. Afro-Latinas (the quote more specifically focuses on Peruvian women and society, but may extend to encompass many groups of women), are either caught as extremely invisible in one setting, or extremely visible in a belittled, primitive and sexualized way. My ninth quote serves as a call to action. It reminded me of a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “there comes a time when silence is betrayal”. If others choose to ignore the oppression of the black and indigenous woman, it is their duty to act against it. Through the final quote by Aurora Levins, I wanted to express that the mother of all comes from the heart of Africa. To disrespect your mother by abusing her daughters and your brothers and sisters,  is to abuse yourself, your legacy, and your ancestors.

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Instagram Essay

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw8MFSpg0oD/?igshid=e4pisahq8qfn

My instagram essay reflects on the centuries of violations afflicted upon the islands of Puerto Rico. Within my essay the topics of post-colonial Puerto Rican identity are explored through selected quotes from academic papers on the colonial status of Puerto Rico and its decolonization. Authors of the quotes I have included are Aurora Levins Morales, Gloria Anzaldúa, Eileen Findlay, Carmen Lugo-Lugo, Lynn Fujiwara, Anouk Essyad, and Pedro Malavet.

Creating my quote essay I was immediately drawn to Aurora Levin Morales’ poetic writing in Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertoriqueñas. The first quote slide from Remedios is meant to reflect the on current state of Puerto Rico by acknowledging its experience of colonial abuses. The idea of decolonization is promoted through the recognition of finding “. . . the voices of the conquered of my island” (Morales, 55). My second quote is also from Remedios and focuses on the rape of the Puerto Rican islands and their people. This quote on rape was the first one I picked as part of my project, I personally find it very disturbing. My third quote from Malavet America’s Colony is meant to represent the post colonial reality of the modern lived experience of Puerto Ricans stuck between the worlds of the oppressed fighting and living under the oppressor. My fourth slide is from Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands, and though her main focus is the social location of Chicanx people in the US Anzaldúa’s quote reminisces of indigenous pride. In my narrative I imagine a connection between a Boriken women choosing to embrace her indigenous roots as a form of resistance in a settler white supremacist society. My fifth and sixth slide discuss the commodification of Puerto Rico and its queerness by quoting Lugo-Lugo’s Getting to the Colonial Status through Sexuality: Lessons on Puerto Rico’s Political Predicament from Women Writers (236). My sixth slide reinforces the idea though we can use feminism as an inherently queer space, but we cannot not forget to assert the rights and importance of why we need feminism as a queer place. My seventh and eighth slide focus again on the metaphor and literal rape of Boriken women and the disavowal that has accompanied these historical violations. It is no coincidence that the spanish word for rape is simply violación. The ninth slide is one of the most powerful of in my opinion. The bones that are referenced as being in an unknown location are that of African and Boriken people forced into slavery where they most likely worked until death. At the same time the infrastructure of the US and its territories were builts brick by brick on the back of those forced into slavery. My tenth slide display hope and a call to action on how to resist “genocidal history settler colonialism” (505).

I do not personally share any personal connections to my project and its narratives. If anything my identification would be most similar to the social location of the privileged settler. My project is therefore a reflection and extension of what I have learned and continue to educate myself with through this class.

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands La Frontera.  Second, Aunt Lute Books, 1987. p. 104.

Essyad, Anouk. “Feminist Studies : Decolonial and Postcolonial Approaches : A Dialogue.” Nouvelles Questions Féministes, vol. 37, no. 1, 2018, p. 505. doi:10.3917/nqf.371.0170.

Findlay, Eileen. Imposing Decency: The Politics of Sexuality and Race in Puerto Rico, 1870-1920. Duke University Press, 1999. p. 56

Fujiwara, Lynn, and Shireen Roshanravan, editors. Asian American Feminisms and Women of Color Politics. University of Washington Press, 2018. p. 90

Lugo-Lugo, Carmen R. Getting to the Colonial Status through Sexuality: Lessons on Puerto Rico’s Political Predicament from Women Writers. 2018. p. 235, 236, 

Malavet, Pedro A. America’s Colony: The Political and Cultural Conflict between the United States and Puerto Rico. New York University Press, 2004. p. 6

Morales, Aurora Levins. Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueñas. South End Press, 1998. p. 55, 65, 93,

 

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