Decolonization

Movimiento Mondays: Posts To Read This Morning 7/6/15

Why is Washington Saying Very Little About Puerto Rico

Whether it is by choice or necessity, the Puerto Rican diaspora is growing at an unprecedented rate.  Migration is fraying the socioeconomic fabric of the island. It is upsetting to all Puerto Ricans, particularly those who grew up in its heyday. But as the diaspora grows so does the island’s power. It is up to Boricuas to choose how to use it.

Read more at Latino Rebels


The Political Discourses of Black Indigeneity, and Why it Matters

As is our custom, we began to debate politics, popular culture, and just straight shit talking. Our conversations ranged from whether Beyonce can be a feminist, to how someone could support racist mascots. Then, we started to debate current happenings in the D (Detroit!). The bulk of our discussion was centered on how hipsters⎯white hipsters⎯are moving into Detroit, and setting up businesses downtown. One of my friends called it gentrification, the other homie chimed in and made a distinction between urban renewal, which is what is happening downtown, and gentrification, which is happening all over the city. I was pretty quiet, after all, I’m a historian, what do I know about contemporary politics?

Read more at Native Appropriations


IMAGES: CHICANO-CON AND THE SAN DIEGO YOU WON’T SEE AT COMIC-CON

While San Diego Comic-Con has become linked with the city’s economy, it’s worth pointing out that one reason other cities probably feel they have a shot at wresting it from San Diego’s grasp is, there’s very little inside the event that actually reflects the city.

Over the weekend, the Chicano-Con exhibit began putting more of the “San Diego” back into this sphere. The event, a pair of two-day art exhibitions inside Barrio Logan, a neighborhood less than a mile from the convention’s high-rent district that formed its identity in the early 1900s with the infusion of refugees from the Mexican Revolution.

Read more at Racialicious


 

In Mexico with Frida Kahlo

Frida is an artist of the post-modern world.  She painted about the parts of us that the homogenizing force of modernism and industry attempted to deny.  She illustrated the belittled world of feelings – the struggle to see ourselves as whole, beautiful, precious, especially because of our differences and imperfections.  She painted the world as herself – in fragments.  In the course of doing so, she turned herself, uni-brow, mustache and all, into an icon of beauty, cultural pride, and the unsinkable, inextinguishable, undefinable stuff of which we are made.

Read more at Race Files

 

“Skirting the Issue”: a response & call to action

Moontime Warrior

I submitted a shorter version of this op-ed to the Winnipeg Free Press on June 17, 2015, in response to Professor Joanne Boucher’s opinion piece entitled “Dress-code message at U of W sexist”.

After this, the WFP published a response, “Pipe ceremony dress code uncalled for”, where Prof. Boucher was quoted once more, along with four men (any one of whom could’ve redirected media attention to an Indigenous woman). The voices of Indigenous women and Two-Spirits excluded on an issue that at its core impacts our bodies and our lives. We are the ones who face the consequences of these discussions, along with the backlash.

Finally, rather than choosing to publish anything submitted by Indigenous women (or any of the many Indigenous women academics who speak publicly on ceremony and protocol), the Winnipeg Free Press published an editorial calling the whole thing a result of “identity politics”. The issue of…

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An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling about the American Wizarding School in Fantastic Beasts

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by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Native Appropriations

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I am unabashedly a huge Harry Potter fan. I first encountered Harry when I was in Junior High, volunteering at the public library (nerd status, I know). The children’s librarian handed me book one, and I was hooked. I even used to frequent Harry Potter message boards back in the day with my friend Kathleen (we were “Parvati” and “Lavender” cause we also shared an interest in divination, ha). Anyway, all this is to say, Harry holds a sacred spot in my heart. But I’m not one of those fans who can recite things verbatim, or remember every tiny detail, so if I’m missing something, I hope one of those fans will help me out.

I’ve been interestedly following the news that there is a new Harry Potter prequel-of-sorts in the works, for Fantastic Beasts and Where…

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Why I Teach The Walking Dead in My Native Studies Classes

thenerdsofcolor

by Cutcha Risling Baldy

So a friend of mine wrote me a message on Facebook that went a little like this:

Question: how the heck do you get through to someone that thinks natives need to just get over it?

Answer: Shake them? I never advocate shaking people, but maybe something is loose in there. Tell them to take a Native American Studies Course (it ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it).

But if I’m being honest, lately, when this comes up — and isn’t it telling that it comes up often enough that I can begin with “lately” instead of “well the last time, a long time ago, man I can barely remember that time?” — I like to tell them about The Walking Dead.

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Decolonial Voices MixTape, Vol 1: BRWN BFLO, BAMBU, MANE ROK, & ROCKY RIVERA

Here’s a visual mixtape, of sorts, dedicated to promoting those voices that work towards decolonizing minds and disrupting oppression-repression through hip hop music! All of the following artists not only provide a  soundtrack to the struggle of various communities, but they do it in consistently fresh ways. Enjoy!

 

1. BRWN BFLO “What’s Good?”

 

2. Bambu “Beach Cruisin’ (Kid. W.I.K. Remix)”

 

3. Mane Rok & Deejay Tense “This One’s”

 

4. Rocky Rivera feat Otayo Dubb “Beautiful Struggle”

 

 

2 Blogs Decolonizing Thanksgiving

“[T]he present Settler argument presumes that since the injustices are historical and the passage of time has certainly led to changed circumstances for both the alleged perpetrators and for the victims, the crime has been erased and there is no obligation to pay for it…[b]ut this idea, so commonly held by white people, is wrong; it assumes that the passage of time leads to changes in circumstance. This is fundamentally untrue, especially when made in relation to Onkwehonwe, Settler societies, and what has happened between us. Between the beginning of this century and the beginning of the last, people’s clothes may have changed, their names may be different, but the games they play are the same. Without a real change in the realities of our relationship, there is no way we can consider the wrongs that have been done as historical. The crime of colonialism is ongoing today, and its perpetrators are present among us.”Taiaiake Alfred

Alfred’s words have a rather powerful significance as we consider the forms of physical, spiritual, and mental colonization during Thanksgiving.  It is quite disturbing (and telling) how white settler society celebrates a snapshot in time without granting even a moment for critical reflection to the absolute devastation indigenous people suffered at the hands of the colonizer. But more to the point, the past lives on today so we mustn’t fall victim to ideologies, epistemologies, and discourses that frame the sins of the past as long since forgotten. In this somber time of reflection and healing it is important to seek and spread knowledge to decolonize the ways in which settler society (re)produce and maintain hegemony. With that said, the following blogs provide valuable information in our efforts to challenge colonization. Enjoy and saludos!

1) Broken Mystic’s The Truth About Thanksgiving: Brainwashing of the American History Textbook explains:

[A]s children dress up as Pilgrims and Natives to reenact the romanticized version of history, they are not only perpetuating stereotypes, but more importantly, they’re being embedded with lies. What do they really know about the Pilgrims and the Natives?

2) Stephen L. Pevar’s, “Thanksgiving? The deprivations and atrocities that followed,” at the Oxford University Press Blog writes:

Accounts say that the generosity of the Indians saved the colonists from starvation during the harsh New England winter of 1620…[but] [v]ery few schoolchildren are also taught… about the deprivations and atrocities that occurred to the Indians afterwards, first at the hands of the colonists and then by the United States government. Ironically, if the United States believes today that it has a poor immigration policy, imagine how self-destructive the Indians’ immigration policy was by welcoming the very people who would soon seek to destroy them.

4 Documentaries Every (Person) Educator Should Watch

Many activists and educators are demanding for a public school curriculum  that produces a critical and relevant education, especially for those students who have historically been marginalized within the school system. For those of us who are disrupting the systemic failings of public schools and challenging the normalization of pushing students of color out of a high school(/higher) education, it is important to look for every available resource that might develop a more inclusive and engaging environment for learning. Whether through mentorship, teaching, or expanding your own cultural consciousness the following documentary trailers should serve useful in your effort towards unpacking privilege and understanding the strict binary systems of race, gender, and sexual orientation that exist in (settler) society, as well as within the classroom.

1. Precious Knowledge

Truly a remarkable film about the end of the Mexican American Studies programs in Arizona. This film reveals how politics shape the classroom, how history and literature are not neutral subjects, and how students can become empowered through education.

2. Under the Bridge

Under the Bridge is a powerful documentary about the struggle for the creation of Chicano Park in San Diego, CA. Throughout are history lessons in the Chican@ Movement, decolonial practice, protest, and a revelation in the need for space in order for culture to thrive. Under the Bridge presents a beautiful lesson in using art as a decolonial methodology as Chican@s reclaimed land, placing artistic cultural symbols that laid claim to the stone pillars and walls that have been erected by colonization and capitalism.

3. Two Spirits

An extremely moving and sorrowful story about the horrific murder of Frank Martinez. However, the valuable lesson in Two Spirited people provides an interesting commentary on the false gender-binary established by colonization. One of the most important films in regards to the intersectionality of race and (trans)gender.

4. Miss Representation

Miss Representation should be seen by young women and men alike. It critiques the sexism and misogyny within the American patriarchy by critically examining the media’s role in consistently disseminating sexualized images of women. Kwame Appiah’s discussion of ascription comes to mind, as these limited scripts presented in media provide young women with limited views of their own future, not to mention the limited perspective that men have of women after constantly seeing women through sexist prism.

 

A Recipe Towards Decolonization

(Decolonization is the act of disrupting  the various systems of oppression and repression. It is the dismantling not only of the legal and physical barriers that limit colonized peoples, but also it is the radical process of removing those ideological and mental barricades that continue to colonize our thoughts. Mental decolonial praxis demands that individuals and whole groups of people participate in the reclamation of history and cultural traditions. It necessitates the disruption of historical and cultural colonization, which has displaced peoples from knowing their ancestry. This post is in honor of those who cry out, “¡Ya Basta!” as they seek the knowledge, wisdom, and practices of their elders.)

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“The recovery of the people is tied to the recovery of food, since food itself is medicine: not only for the body, but for the soul, for the spiritual connection to history, ancestors, and the land.”

-Winona La Duke

I recently stumbled upon  Luz Calvo and Catriona R. Esquibel’s  “Decolonize Your Diet,” on Mujeres Talk. They believe there is a need for radical decolonization in the way in which we think about food. According to Calvo and Esquibel,  “personal food choices…[are] political acts” and as such, we must “[r]esist cultural imperialism by reclaiming ancestral foods.” This is imperative due to the historically exploitative practices of the American agriculture industry, the cancerous chemicals that migrant farm workers are exposed to (many of which are  Mexican@), the reality of GMO’s and the diseases perpetuated by the American food industry, as well as the displacement of cultural knowledge by depending upon corporations for growing and supplying food. What’s more, Calvo and Esquibel problematize the argument that health is linked to income by stating:

there is one notable exception to the equation of poverty = poor health—public health scholars have found that recent immigrants from Mexico have very low rates of mortality, infant mortality, and illness compared to other groups. Public health scholars have dubbed this phenomenon “The Latino/a Paradox.”(1) Recent Latino/a immigrants, mainly from Mexico and Central America, have better health than Latinos and Latinas who were born in the US. The health of recent immigrants rivals the health of the [w]healthiest Americans!

This presents a rather perplexing issue within our health care system, as the United States views health through a capitalist lens wherein wealth equates to a healthier lifestyle as well as the ability to afford better health care. But what the above quote truly reveals is the way in which indigenous and decolonized diets work as preventive care. It also underscores how the Mexican@s/Chican@s/ Xican@s/Latin@s living in the United States have a larger chance of having health issues stemming from colonized food industries.

For instance, people of color are transformed into diabetics through the food industry in the United States, not through pure genetics. Ameliamontes.com has a pretty concise summary of Michael Montoya’s Making the Mexican Diabetic: Race, Science, and the Genetics of Inequality.

This book is a phenomenal read that explores how diabetes is constructed through other factors rather than simple genetics.

This book is a phenomenal read that explores how diabetes is constructed through other factors rather than simple genetics.

Accordimg to Ameliamontes:

“Genes do not cause chronic disease,” Montoya writes.  “Genes in certain bodies under certain conditions contribute to disease susceptibility” (187).  This may explain why in a family of 3 children, two have diabetes and one will not develop the disease.  It is not simply about blood but about a number of other factors (diet, exercise, living conditions, etc.) having to do with societal and political constructions.

Montoya’s book which was just published (University of California Press) is an excellent study in how our society is creating a population highly susceptible to chronic disease– whether or not you are of Mexican or Indian descent!
Making the Mexican Diabetic provides excellent arguments that point towards decolonizing our diets for our own health, but also in understanding how colonization has clearly led to the creation of health problems in our people. By returning to diets that do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, GMO’s, and heavy pesticides (among other things) we can begin to unravel the dependence upon a food system that does not have health in mind. It is also the first step in reclaiming our peoples health by participating in traditional food preparation–a holistic approach to decolonizing our minds, bodies, and souls.
(if you’re interested check out the decolonize your diet Facebook page to try delicious and healthy decolonized food)

 

Fall Reads: 6 books to decolonize your mind

In that practice of striving to disrupt oppressive-repressive discourses and decolonize the mind, I’ve decided to post 6 books that changed my life–some of these are banned from being read by high school students in Arizona. I realize many of these are pretty much a no-brainer for those of us who are already attempting decolonial praxis in our daily struggle, but nevertheless I feel deeply indebted to these authors for impacting my life with their radical words, ideas, and their overall activist approach towards writing.

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Drink Cultura: Chicanismo by Jose Antonio Burciaga

This is probably the least difficult and fastest read on this list. Funny and informative, Burciaga’s autobiographical essays explain Chicanismo and Chicano identity through his eyes. This is important because too often we get history and stories told about us by the colonizer, so it’s always good to find books that explain through their own voice.

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Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces by Juana Maria Rodriguez

Rodriguez complicates what ethnic/racial/gender/sexual identity is by analyzing how it is constructed in various social settings and how it is reinforced by these spaces, as well as how we maintain identit(ies) through performance. Her case studies are extremely informative and worth a read!

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Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980 by Kimberly Springer

Inspirational work that details the inner-workings of Black Feminist Organizations. Springer lays out the rise and fall of these important groups, such as the Combahee River Collective. This book serves as a blueprint for organizing and is especially important to those of us interested in building coalition and consciousness raising groups to enact change within our communities.

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Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity by Chandra Mohanty

Mohanty is amazing! By combining feminism and decolonial theory we are given a third world feminism that challenges the hegemonic whiteness that is found within feminist thought. Essential decolonial reading for all–including men.

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Disrupting Savagism: Intersecting Chicana/o, Mexican Immigrant, and Native American Struggles for Self-Representation by Arturo Aldama

Aldama’s work broadens the understanding of Chicana/o identity, situating it within the context of indigenous experience. By beginning with the colonial power structure defining indigenous people’s as savage, either noble or fierce, we are given a deeper understanding of how conversations in the media today develop a binary of white superiority and Chicana/o inferiority. Aldama’s book is extremely refreshing when we consider how compartmentalized Chicana/o and Native American scholars/studies can be. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in the intersection of Chicana/o and Indigenous identities, histories, and shared realities.

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Borderland/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua

Such an important foundational text on Chicana feminism and border studies. Anzaldua speaks to the experience of countless Chicanas and those of us living in-between society’s strictly defined boundaries of race, (trans)gender, and sexual orientation. If you haven’t read it yet all I can say is, “JUST READ IT!”