mixed messages: black holes y un choque
i’ve been reading Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldúa (if you don’t already know this book or who this author is, look her up. you should know) and i finally arrived at the chapter called Toward a New Consciousness. Its probably the best chapter in the book, my personal favorite at least. I’ve also been reading various bits and pieces out of Frida Khalo’s diary (which wasn’t ever meant to be read let alone published, might i add). Both have inspired me to create something but i’m not sure what yet, we’ll see.
Anzaldúa is so on point (as always), especially in this chapter and i found multiple quotes that have helped me to feel validated identifying and being a mixed-race person. Gloria is so grounded and so centered in her mexicanness, in her chicana identity, I feel embarrassed, ashamed and saddened by my seeming lack of racial and ethnic know-abouts and ties.
She writes, “Her first step [la mestiza] is to take inventory…just what did she inherit form her ancestors?”
For me, this is unknown territory. A black hole in the lineage of who i am. For this i am all at once angry, frustrated, regretful, and sad. My biological grandmother mental health is in the trenches and she is slowly dying of dementia and years of a broken heart. I feel stuck when I think about this entire idea, because i LITERALLY don’t know. sure, i know the various titles of my various ethnicities, but i dont know from where or when they arrived on these lands or how they got here.
“Pero es difícil differentiating between lo hererado, lo aquirido, lo impuesto. She puts history through a sieve. Luego bota lo que no vale.” pg.104
We as a distinct racial group have special gifts given to us. We are the epitome of duality, y aunque somos torn, we are transversal, meaning that we intersect lines. “La mestiza constarntly has to shift out of habitual formations, from convergent and analytical reasoning that tends to use rationality, to divergent thinking that is characterized by movement away from set patterns and goals and toward a whole perspective, one that includes rather than excludes”. The mixed person seems to have a whole-er perspective of reality; not because we are of some extraterrestrial existence, but because we simply are forced to, it is essential to our survival in a society that would rather box us in than let us be.
I am both black and white, up and down, rice and bean, yin and yang, push and pull. With this ability also comes a set of challenges: this is what Anzaldúa called ‘el choque’. She writes “la mestiza goes through a a struggle of flesh, a struggle of borders, an inner war. The coming together of two self-consistent but habitually incompatible frames of reference causes un choque, a cultural collision” pg.100. I am concerned by the choque more than I am the number of cultural references she mentions. This choque is something I want to thoroughly explore. What is this choque for me?
some things that come into my mind:
the never-ending “what are you?” question
poc spaces interactions vs. the mainstream world
the mainstream world vs. poc spaces/interactions
adoption: not knowing my bio paternal side, and not a lot about my maternal side but existing as a mixed person, internalized racism from growing up in a white-identifying (read: colonized, now the colonizer) household.
attempting to intersect my various marginalized identities (womyn, queer, working class born and raised)
esta es el choque. this reoccurring clash. the rambling questions.
now for some arte.