Bloggers at the Three Sonorans have, again, pointed fingers of accusation at Chicanas of Tucson. It seems that we (and a few men) are responsible for divisiveness within the community, for accusing rapists and misogynists of their crimes, for calling out the men and women of the Chican@ community for their hypocrisy and machismo and for demanding that Precious Knowledge be abandoned as a source of financial support by Save Ethnic Studies because a victim of crime directly involved with the film asked that it be so. And this is a bad thing?
Underlying the blogger’s concerns over a current issue involving copyrights, profiting and local artists is a broiling anger towards Chicanas who insist upon speaking about the inequities and injustices that they have experienced from within the community movement. And again, the blogger persists in attacking the accusers rather than naming the crimes and acknowledging that these problems exist. We do not pretend to know his motivations, and they don’t really matter. What is relevant is that he continues to imply that a woman’s concerns are not valid unless they have been legitimated by the community and, in this case, the men of the community. The blogger points his angry finger at Chicana feminists as the problem, though he willingly admitted in a recent post that he knows little about feminism.
Contrary to what Three Sonorans suggests, leaving the Chicano movement behind is not a tenant of Chicana feminism (aka Xicanisma). Xicanisma, as both an academic discipline and way of life, did not originate because Chicanas were so enamored with “White” feminism that we decided to create the “Brown” version. Nor are we so feeble-minded that we cannot think for ourselves and our communities. Our studies are grounded in the commitment to our communities, our ancestors, and our children. Our actions are rooted in the knowledge that real progress does not occur unless and until the needs and concerns of all members of a community are addressed.
Believe it or not, Xicanisma developed as a response to the persisting efforts of academics and activists of all colors–including White feminists– to keep us silent. Chicanas—and all women of “Latina” heritage– continue to encounter these efforts to silence. It is nothing new to us, our mothers and grandmothers often prepare us for it, so we know from the time we are small this is something we have to face. We also know that if we are going to ever change anything, we have to continue to fight those efforts, even when they are coming from within our own communities.
The bloggers at Three Sonorans would do well to brush up on Xicanisma before further attacking it and the men and women who support it. They may be surprised to learn that it too draws upon Indigenous knowledge to promote equity and justice for men and women. We know that our Nahua traditions do not just speak of Quetzalcoatl but of our female energies too, such as Xochitl, Coatlicue, and Tonantzin. We know that our ancestors sought the counsel of the women before war. We know that women were speakers, leaders, healers, and artists. We know that there was a time when men and women honored one another and stood up for that. We work to live those traditions and teach them to our children. And try as they might, no one will silence us in those efforts.
A suggested reading list for Three Sonorans for an introduction to Xicanisma—we’ve thrown in some Indigenous knowledge too for good measure. (Note that writings by these authors too contain precious knowledge): Gloria Anzaldua, Ana Castillo, Cherrie Moraga, Emma Perez, Antonia Castañeda, Chela Sandoval, Alma Garcia, Sandra Cisneros, Michelle Seros, Aida Hurtado, Gabriela Arrendondo, Sonia Saldivar-Hull, Alicia Garcia del Gaspar, Norma Alarcon, Tey Diana Rebolledo, Vicki Ruiz, Carla Trujillo, Andrea Smith, Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko, Wilma Mankiller.