AfroLatina

What I liked most about the reading was the relation to identity that was established. She is an Afro-Latina lesbian. There are a lot of intersections within that one identity. Because of this, she found it hard to relate to anyone at all. She questioned the validity of her identity and felt isolated from her communities.
Identity is often overlooked within the Latinx community. Although we all fall under this one large umbrella term, there is a lot that differentiates us from each other. Being of Salvadoran and Dominican descent, struggle with identity within my Latinx community is something I’ve faced first hand my entire life. We often times isolate ourselves from each other even though we all share this umbrella term subconciously. This is a problem that needs to be addressed because it divides us as a community and hinders any sort of progression. We need to understand that although our struggles might not all be exactly alike and we may not look alike either, we are still marginalized as a unit. It is only together that we will ever be able to destroy these boundaries that prohibit us from moving up the social ladder.

Jugando las escondidas con la migra

La migra viene
Hay que esconder
Como si fuera niña otra vez
jugando las escondidas
Quisiera ver un futuro
en este mundo
Pero si me mandan pa mi país, mejor me muero yo sola
antes que me matan a mi
No quiero morirme así

Entonces, porfa
no me buscas
Déjame aqui escondida en paz
Comi si fuera niña otra vez
Es que yo mas prefiero pasar mi vida escondida
que encontrada y muerta

This is in response to the podcast “Femme Defense.” The podcast was recorded shortly after the election and touched upon how many undocumented immigrants were feeling in danger. They went on to discuss the different ways women can protect themselves in times like these. This got me thinking about the different ways in which undocumented immigrants protect themselves. It’s really hard for them to do so since they are not protected by the government. In this case, their best form of protection is to hide from the government/ICE. It’s sad to have to always live a life in fear and in the shadows, but for some this is their only option.

Dominican Presence in Academic Spaces Extra Credit

What I found most interesting about the talk was the lack of representation in academia. This isn’t something new to me since I have always noticed that my professors and teachers tend to generally be white. However, it was very touching to learn that there have been significant people of color in academia, although their legacies have been suppressed.
I also really liked Ramona Hernandez’s talk on the importance of studying Dominicans. I feel like, up until college, I never learned about Dominicans and their significance. This is really sad for me especially because I am half Dominican. I learned a lot about Dominicans, particularly Dominicans in New York, through her talk. The number of Dominicans in New York is rapidly increasing, and we are a force to be reckoned with!

Stop Crying or I’ll Give you a reason to Cry About

“Stop Crying or I’ll Give You a Reason to Cry About”
The bruises and the scars remain on my back…
The bruises and the scars remain on my heart…
But it was all out of love
It was all for my progression and success
But I must confess
I am scarred.
I try so hard
to forget
I try so hard
to imagine a future
In which I don’t hit mis niños
Yet at the same time
Lo encuentro duro pensar su futuro
If I don’t.

This is in response to the recurring theme of the body and the opening passage “The Body Re/members.” In my personal experience, my body has always been a target for my parents. I think it is just part of the culture, as they were also beaten as kids. So, whenever they would get angry at me, instead of speaking to me, I’d just get hit. Because of this, I struggle with whether I deserved it or not and how I will discipline my kids in the future. I don’t want to hit them, because I never liked being hit myself. Yet, at the same time, I have no idea how else to teach them right from wrong.

Dispelling the Sombras…

K,
I know why you stick around now. It isn’t because you love me, because if you did you would not treat me the way that you do. It isn’t because you just wanted me for my body either, because if that were the case you’d be long gone by now. You stay because I’m so submissive to you. You stay because I’m drawn to every word that comes out of your mouth and because I cling to you so necessarily. You feed off of it. You gain power from my vulnerability. But the more of myself I give to you, the less I have to myself. I am no longer me because of you. Over time I have lost what I love most about myself. Before you, I never took shit from anyone. I was radiant and almighty. But, because I wanted you so bad, I gave you the best of me and now you won’t give it back. Your superiority brings you joy… te has hecho mas hombre y mas fuerte. Y a ti que te importa, if your power means my detriment, so be it.
I hope you realize what you’re doing and you find some other way to protect your fragile masculinity some day.
-Michelle

This is a response to the reading, Dispelling the Sombras, Grito mi nombre con rayos de luz by Ines Hernandez Avila. In this reading, she describes the effects of erasure. She focuses on the roles race/ethnicity and gender in erasure. Her opening quotes that focused on gender got me to thinking about my own life and led me to reflect upon why men behave the way they do.

Response to “The Christmas Present”

Sam,

I know you are no longer the person you once were but do you know the damage you have done? She was crying for help and I’m not sure you realize how much you made her suffer. You took her life at sixteen. She had so much going for her, so much she could be.
Two years later your child lay wrapped in her arms. In those moments she was untouchable but as soon as baby Christian went to abuela she was yours.
Yours to fuck, yours to beat, yours to destroy.
Pobrecita.
I remember the day she came to us. It was Jimmy’s birthday and we were all in Connecticut. Christian was with abuela.
I was seven and Katherine was eight. Angelito by Don Omar played in the background. She was eighteen.
I know you are no longer the person you once were but do you realize how desperate someone has to be to seek help from a couple of children?
Pobrecita.
She showed us her scars and pointed out her bruises. Con sus ojos lleno de lagrima, me dijo, This is where Sam hit me. The lashes were scattered across her back. At each curve black, blue, and purple were splattered, deep in color.
¿Y como que íbamos entender? Diablo. ¡Tuve siete años!
Katherine and I just stared as the song played in the background…
Amaneció bajo las alas de la muerta. Aquellos brazos de hombre que la aprietan fuerte.. Y vuela, vuela vuela. Angelito vuela. Que ya no me queda muchas horas de vida…
And that’s when you walked in.
What the fuck are you doing? you said as you unbuckled your belt.
I remembered every time papi would take off his belt.
It meant she was in trouble.
It meant she was getting a pow-pow.
It meant Sam was going to give her a real reason to cry about.
And that’s when you hit her.
I know you are no longer the person you once were but she was crying for help, she was suffering, she was scared. You’re lucky she’s still with you. Appreciate her and teach Christian to never become the person you were. Please.

-Michelle

Extra Credit: Arisleyda Dilone

Arisleyda Dilone’s short documentary Mami, Yo y Mi Gallito was very interesting to watch. What stood out to me the most during the film and discussion was the concept of identity. Although I am not intersex, I was able to relate to Arisleyda Dilone. Her relationship with her mother was what really brought this relationship out. Her mother discussed what it is to be feminine in the film. To her, it meant looking pretty and wearing makeup. It was the stereotypical idea of a girly girl and it fit all of societies standards. My mother feels the same way. Every time my mom would find me wearing men’s clothing she’d tell me, “Mija, esa ropa es para barones. No te miras bien con eso puesto.” Contrary, every time I’d walk downstairs with my makeup done and a dress on she’d say, “Wow, mija! Te miras bien bonita. Eres igual a mami, ¿no?”
I identify as a woman, but I don’t seem to understand why I have to fit into the societal norms of what it is to be a woman. If I like the way a certain article of clothing looks, it doesn’t matter to me whether it meant to be for a boy or girl. The same goes for behavior. Having to be passive, sensitive, emotional, or caring just because it’s what my gender is supposed to do is absurd to me. Hearing Dilone’s experience with gender norms and her mother’s opinion on it was very relatable and interesting to think about.

You must do a better job at convincing me.

I can’t help but think he isn’t real. I mean seriously?
A man in the sky who watches our every move and guides us through this life? Please…
You must do a better job at convincing me.
I have zero guidance. There’s no one looking out for me. Spare your breath because I can’t help but think he isn’t real.

I mean, seriously. All of those times I found myself surrounded by people who did not look like me: those fair skinned, god loving humans who hated me so much.
You spick.
Dirty Mexican.
I’m not even Mexican!
Go mow my lawn, you worthless piece of trash.
How could a God, a being so divine, treat the people who shout these words with pride so well? How could a God, a being so divine, leave me to be treated like shit?
For in the name of this same God my people were slaughtered!
Do you really expect me to believe he exists to guide and protect me?
You must do a better job at convincing me.

Think about it.
The little girls who are stripped of their innocence daily by men who you would think they should be able to trust.
The women who spend their entire lives with a man who beats them each time dinner is not prepared when he arrives
The ladies who spend fourteen hours working to get paid just as much as her male coworker who only works eight.
All the women who are not so “feminine” and so they are deemed a
Dyke,
and thus bound to end up in Hell.
And all the ones who get called a
Bitch
Slut
Whore
Loose
because she has sex with men who do the same thing but are called a
Champ
Player
a Man.

A God would never create such a world.

I’m tired. I’m so god damn tired of listening to mami tell me that Dios is watching after me.
That if I don’t behave, Dios me va castigar.
I’m so god damn tired of hearing it.
Next time you preach his words to me, I want you to explain to me why women keep getting
Raped,
Abused,
Beaten,
Killed…
I’m so god damn tired of hearing it.
Tired of letting it all happen.

Think about it.
He is an excuse for our oppression.

You really expect me to devote myself to some man in the sky? To trust his almighty being with my life?
He can’t even protect me from the men on this earth.
What makes him any different from the rest?
I mean, seriously. You must do a better job at convincing me.

I wrote this in response to the readings “Lightning” and “Esta Risa No Es de Loca.” Caridad Souza’s testimony really spoke to me and is something I can relate to. I tied it back to “Lightning” because I find the idea of a God absurd when so much oppression occurs in our society. It was especially interesting because religion wasn’t necessarily forced upon Quintaneles. Despite the scientific knowledge she has of the supernatural world, she has this idea of God. Don’t get me wrong, she has every right to believe in whatever she wants to believe in. I, on the other hand, just can’t seem to find this idea of God. It’s always been something that has bothered me and have been unable to really talk about. Every woman in my family is very religious, so I don’t really have anyone to express my thoughts to on this subject. No matter how much I try to explain it to them, they can’t seem to see it from my point of view.