*TW: breathe as often as you can, this writing's a bit dense: meant for adults and critical thinkers
It's been a long month, I'm finally back home in LA; where I'm starting to digest the beautifully complex experiences I had the privilege to enjoy around family this Latinx Heritage month. On previous trips I arrived guns-a-blazing with a love so radical that my cries for justice sounded like accusations that no one could possibly take responsibility for. I didn't mean to make you feel like you were at fault, no one said you were.
Can You fix hundreds of years of White Supremacist genocide? No one asked you to. Am I capable of disentangling the complexity of mestizaje on my own: at least accepting European and Native Blood inside? I can at least recognize the way many lost blood for one group to assert itself the dominant empire.
Can I align on the way to support others in the authentic liberation (and still check my privileges and biases when necessary)?
Hispanics/Latinos/Latin@s/Latinx folks/Latines this month honor the survivors genocide (of the people and the culture). In spite of mestizaje (AKA, the Spanish version of “kill the Indian, save the Man”) many Latinos practice the traditions of these ancestral lands within us and our daily and seasonal rituals.
Let’s first acknowledge: we will never agree on a name. The joys of not being a monolith means that we, pride ourselves as people unique to our own LatinXperiences and context: we love our cultura AND because we love it, we want it to grow.
To grow, we gotta stop centering European ancestry in how we refer to ourselves; upholding white supremacy quietly enables racism towards black and indigenous people.
Yes, the Latine community still has to reckon with White Supremacy (specifically anti-blackness and anti-indigenous) but many of us find love and pride in being a part of “the people” –––(especially in the face of countless oppressive regimes, dictatorships, US lead coups, failed neoliberal projects that have left millions in poverty and continue creating climate refugees). And all of this has been normalized and celebrated through Western pop culture over the past 500 years; in particular Hollywood, history books, Classrooms, and now social media.
Historiography: the study of historical writing –––– historiography helps us examine not only history itself, but also the broader overlying characteristics that shape the recording of history itself. Who is telling the story?
Hollywood Westerns helped normalize the border vigilantism of the Texas Rangers that birthed today's Border Patrols; alongside dirty, lazy, violent “wetback” stereotypes that enabled the violence we’ve witnessed against legal asylum seekers from all over– most recently Haiti. Follow the roots of Latino representation in cinema to our modern screens and you’ll witness dehumanizing misrepresentation or historic under-representation
It’s hard to narrow down "what to watch or not watch,” just be. aware. of a White supremacist capitalist, patriarchal agenda that centers whiteness and puritan values and Others everyone who comes from a community with their own cultural values.
If you’re looking to unpack the stereotypes of Latino Cinema; Chon Noriega and Charles Ramirez Berg are your dudes but never count out a Queer Chicana Queen like Gloria Anzaldua to contextualize the culture we consume and create. And finally, one of the most fluent discussions of history's connection to our present day I have ever heard: Settler Colonialism - In The Thick Podcast.
The paths you can take to find the truth are endless;
just make sure you are critical of your sources.
QUE PASA, MI RAZA? “ASÍ PASA LO QUE PASÓ, PASÓ” NOo PUES, TE PASAS! ooops... SE ME PASÓ, ME PASÉ ME PASA. & yet, I won't let another day pass where I don’t check the colonizer's presence in the room: unless the moment calls for safety>pride. Let it go. We can flow, on the way. Your failed attempt to erase indigenous peoples from their own land and world history is being counter-storied.
Overall, The trip across the Americas has been a lesson in unlearning & relearning history; something that starts with accepting and loving ourselves as we are :☯️: without normalizing or desensitizing ourselves from those who have been and still are hurting.
This season, spread love not the virus. Honor your ancestors and those who have made it possible for you to enjoy this life. Most importantly, honor indigenous knowledge that will continue to lead us through to an environmentally just tomorrow. #LANDBACK
Con Mucho Amor,