They peddle the documentary DVDs
like political leaflets, presenting them proudly
as they solicit support and monetary contributions
for the cause.
They are vending a symbol of gender subjugation;
a film that is stained with allegations of sexual assault;
assertions that were muffled; claims that were
minimized; and cries that were choked in the name
of the cause.
They have contaminated the cause and
have even attempted to hijack it.
Does the end justify the means?
No, not here!
We were all clear
about our cause.
It was wrapped around keeping our precious
Mexican American Studies courses that
enable our youth to gain relevant knowledge
to successfully catapult forward in a
Students were and are at the
center of the cause; at least for us.
After all, what we learn is empty
without knowing who we are.
MAS courses allowed all content that
was learned to stream through a perspective
that brought definition to it.
We honored one another (In lak ech)
in our learning spaces.
The film was meant to tell the story of this cause,
in truth (panche be) through student and teacher voices.
The film was meant to offer protection to our youth from
further oppression through our united voices.
The film was meant to help rescue our perspective.
All of these voiced intentions were merely propaganda
upon which nothing but exploitation ultimately took place.
The intentioned promises were all broken.
We knew that the antagonists- Horne and Huppenthal-
and others with like-lower consciousness, were the ones
with the scheme to remove the Mexican American perspective
from anything taught, keeping us forever bound
in Damned Ignorance.
Gradually, as most revelations occur, it became clear
that our cause was not at the focus of saving ethnic studies.
Internal antagonists within our movement took on an assault
within our trusted movement.
A deep contamination of the cause took place through
the elevation of male egos;
the Frankenstein-like creation of a hate-based attack blog;
the exclusion of womyn in decision making;
excessive consumption of alcohol at functions;
the persistent exploitation of young womyn;
intimidation tactics to silence any word of sexual assault;
the lining of pockets with total lack of accountability;
excuses for a man with a known and legal record of domestic violence;
cheap and wrongly founded blog attacks on activist womyn;
a “destroy all-nuclear” strategy in the event of legal defeat – one that has embraced loss and proclaimed the death of MAS;
the ill formed notion that one segment of the movement was
and the list goes on ad nauseam.
With the many unfolding revelations,
many left the corner of deception, misogyny
and Damned Ignorance.
Energy shifted within the movement.
We stand here
And the external and internal
antagonists, alike in so many ways,
are all recognized
for what and who they are and
what they have done.
The recognition itself is a form of accountability.
The cause is the path;
not the tyrannical attorney;
not the regressive blogger,
whose multiple muddles
have minimized him from three to zero;
not the moth-eaten sexist bato activists who
desire nothing more than to resurrect their egos;
not the documentary that epitomizes
the drastic wrong turn on this path.
The cause is the path on which most of us have remained.
The path is clearer and conviction is more solid.
I make the mistake sometimes, as many people do, of putting people I look up to on a moral pedestal. While I was a student in the Mexican-American studies classes I was in awe of my teachers. They were my social justice rock stars. I believed that they would always be defenders of justice and protectors of humanity. They told me at every opportunity how important it was to stand on the side of people, not profit or ego. Yet, as I write this there is a Mexican-American Studies (MAS) teacher promoting Precious Knowledge somewhere.
It is difficult for me to describe the betrayal I feel. I looked up to these teachers for so long and they were always after me to challenge myself to “do the right thing.” However, here they are supporting the film Precious Knowledge while knowing about the sexual assault, harassment and exploitation of young people perpetrated by the director. I never thought that the incredible people who transformed my life could disappoint me so horribly.
After I learned about the domestic violence incident involving a man close to the teachers, I was again devastated to learn that it was just part of a pattern that had been going on for years. While I was in the MAS classes my teachers spoke of this man like he was a demi-God, all the while knowing what violence he perpetrated at home. How could they, with good conscience speak about feminism and sexual harassment through stories like Vatolandia and at the same time praise and promote a man who uses violence against women?
I understand and want to clarify that not all of the teachers are equal participants in covering up these assaults. However, by not speaking up, they are still guilty of maintaining the same detrimental silence. The refusal of the teachers to speak up and defend women, and youth, some of whom are their former students, astonishes me. They have been playing the martyrs in the struggle and I am sick of the excuses. I understand that the past two years have been hard on them and their families, but it has been hard for all of us.
It is choices like keeping around a lawyer who has terrorized women and youth in Tucson for decades that makes me question their integrity. It is the silence against the accusations made by a rogue blogger. It’s the cooperation with Precious Knowledge and their role in silencing the survivor of assault that makes me think that the teachers may want to readjust their priorities.
A few MAS teachers do not approve of what malintZine has been doing. It is ironic because I think in many ways what malintZine can be defined as Panche Be, a core principle in the Mexican-American Studies classes. We seek the root of the truth.
Just like you taught us to.
Do you all realize what has happened?
Photos, films and still life displays are being favored over the living, breathing human individuals themselves.
These captured moments in time – immortalized forever – reminding us of the “good old days” when everyone could actually work and function together for a more just and historically accurate education, one that represented us all. These frozen and professionally edited images take us back to a nostalgic time, back to when we once respected each other, when we once felt safe around one another, back to when we once trusted each other.
We go back and reminisce because currently those sentiments no longer exist.
In the Tucson Ethnic Studies community in the year 2013 that is gone now.
And rather than work hard and attentively to regain back what has been lost with honesty, humility, dignity and a sense of moral values we cling on to physical objects that allow us an escapist type sense of comfort; looking to the past, obsessing with the past, fetishizing the past.
As if the present and future growth of this community is no longer important.
I don’t want to be part of any movement that uses disillusionment as a coping mechanism to unacknowledged and unresolved forms of gender violence.
What a waste of energy that must be, to uphold a glossy paper and roll of film movement – a voiceless shadow movement toured around the country rather than upholding the actual local community base itself that is absolutely hurting right now.
That is not building, that’s just showcasing to unaware spectators all of our faces that are no longer present, our mouths that are no longer open, and our eyes that no longer see truth.
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.
I have played a spectator role with the Tucson machismo circus that has taken place for a series of months. I have watched this so-called “beef” created by men stating that man-haters are after them, and care more about taking an online blogger down rather than focusing on reviving Ethnic Studies. Let me break down some consciousness for you, DA, the fight to bring back Ethnic Studies begins with you. The problem here is patriarchy, and your failure to recognize your volatile actions within your “community.” As a self-ascribed journalist, you praise men like Sean Arce and place them on a pedestal for being the “face” of a movement. You ignore writing about any women, unless it is for your convenience. As a blogger, you pick and chose what topics you wish to write about and cover up realities such as domestic violence cases committed by these Chicano “idols.” Why are you so pissed off that a group of women have gathered together and created their own blog that calls out your bullshit? Are you afraid because their words are true? Or is it because the narratives that these womyn tell discredit your news articles? I can see it from New York: you’re scared. You are doing the same thing that the state is doing, you’re censoring true histories. As a self-ascribed journalist you are expected to write the “real” stories and narratives according in our communities, right? Then why do you fail to include the whole truth, and constantly use your media platform to bash empowered women who threaten your narrative? Censorship, false histories, and distorted realities are exactly the same bullshit we see in the history books, and the reason the Arizona State Legislature banned Ethnic Studies. They, like you, fear the truth. They fear the real histories and personal narratives of people of color because it threatens white supremacy and it threatens the patriarchal system which you all fight to keep intact. You may not be white by DNA, but your actions and behavior sure the fuck are. You threaten women, censor women, and wish to continue to dominate the struggle with your macho bullshit. Tell me, DA, how are your actions different from those who hold patriarchal powers like your nemesis (I should say your equal) Huppenthal? You both have attacked a minority community because you fear them taking power. Any power that a womyn of color possesses through her words are a threat to your masculinity.
This morning I looked at my news feed and saw your post, “In Celebration of May, Moon, Mothers, and Womyn.” I thought that you finally got it, I believed you had turned over a new leaf—I was wrong. Your post made me angry at your underlying attacks on women through this contradictory essay that is ostensibly geared at honoring women, the life givers. Not only do you continue to use your hetero-nornative approach within your blog, your bullshit machismo rants overpower the original reason you supposedly wrote this post— to honor the mujer. You are so scared, extremely scared, of Malinztine. You are scared of them because they are pointing that smoking mirror right back at you and showing you the real perception of who you are: a sad, pathetic man who only has machismo and a blog to hold on to.
Within your blog you mention that your partner is Chicana, bilingual, has family on both side of the border, and is, or was, poor. Sorry to burst your bubble, DA, but I am also a Xicana, poor, bilingual, with family on both sides of the border—as are many other Chicanas. You celebrate your partner’s struggles and fail to recognize the struggles of her peers, the women of Malinztine. Just a couple of months ago I remember you posting a status that attacked a single mother, who is Chicana, and is in poverty. Why did you choose to attack this woman and choose to honor another when both have the same histories and struggles? Oh, I get it: you got to penetrate one of them; therefore it is ok to show love for that woman while disrespecting the rest of us who carry the same personal experience. Let me teach you something that you might have chosen not to consider in ethnic studies books — you are full of patriarchy and hella full of shit. How dare you write a blog where you seek to reconcile your differences with women in Tucson and then slap them in the face with your sexist and hetero-normative words?
Then you proceed to make an ass out of yourself and declare that your partner is “embodying the greatness of a woman.” Why — because she is pregnant and has your “DNA” inside of her? Would she be even greater if she were cooking barefoot for you in the kitchen? Oh, this stung a little; well it hurt for me to read your post today. Mujeres should be honored every single day, not only when they are carrying your child. Are you so blind that you fail to recognize how hetero-normative your blog was today? You should know better than to ever make these types of comments. Have you forgotten about a woman’s moon cycle? You know, the period in time where they carry the most energy and are the strongest? This occurs every month, not only when DA’s “DNA is implanted inside of her.”
You mention the moon — by which I am sure you must have meant Coyolxauhqui. How dare you even mention the moon and the female energies and powers without understanding your own people’s history. Coyolxauhqui was killed by a man, her limbs destroyed because she was seen as too strong and powerful. I find it insulting that you reference the moon when you continuously cut off the spiritual limbs of the women in the struggle every day with your machismo, words, and failure to gain consciousness as a man of color. You attack all of the modern Coyolxauhqui’s who are the womyn warriors in my community. Your attacks on them are direct attacks on me. You have insulted my sisters and me enough, and now it is time to fight back.
This is a new time in the history of Xican@ struggle where women do not hold their tongue nor step back behind men, waiting for their order. We love the movement too much to allow for your love of domination and sexism to destroy the minds, bodies, and souls of women who have done more in their young lives than you ever will in your life time by sitting back and being an armchair revolutionary. Your time is up, DA, you are at the point in your life when you must decide if you will change or if you will continue being the person you are today. One road leads to destruction, while the other leads to reconciling the damages made and moving forward in the struggle as equals. You can’t be a feminist or an equalist and choose to respect one pool of women while disrespecting the other. I share the same struggle that your partner had, and that same struggle also belongs to my sisters in Tucson. I think you might have forgotten about the philosophy of In Lack Ech —that attacks that you are staging against my sisters are a direct assault to me —moreover, the only one you’re hurting in the end is yourself and the thoughts of the child your are about to bring to this earth. You must change your ways and think about the 7 generations after you. Do you want your future daughter in the struggle to experience violence, subjugation, and abuse like we did? You must change now if your answer is no. As a Xicana who writes as a method of personal healing, I ask for you never to put down women of color and their words. As a Xicana who is on the frontlines of a movement, I have been a victim of verbal abuse and assault and have used Malintzine as a space of healing. Your campaign to shut down this blog is a direct effort to continue to keep us silent victims. The only ones who profit from our silence are you, the Chicano Machista males. You will no longer be free to bash women without a rebuttal from one of us. I thank you for making me angry enough to write my first post on this blog. On a final note, you are full of contradictions and macho bullshit. Try to come at me DA Morales; I would love to see you try.
Those with the smallest minds have the biggest mouths.
I can see your shattered ego all the way in Colorado.
You can be as angry as you please over a depiction of you that occurred at Malintzine’s event a few months ago. You can call it man-hating. You can call it sexism. You can call it gender violence. You can criticize the Tucson Weekly for being racist, but the embarrassment you feel over people applauding everyone’s favorite Xingona mama kicking your ass is nothing compared to the embarrassment we feel every time you write a new article.
The annoyance you feel every time someone calls you out on Facebook for your discrepancies, your lack of ethics, and most importantly, your protection of a known woman-beater is nothing compared to the irritation that rushes through our veins when you try to proclaim yourself as a progressive. You continue to cry wolf, and play victim. You spotlight articles that are targeted at you, or men you follow like a lost puppy, and use that as evidence of hate. You target articles that promote Malintzine and proceed to give your two cents about why it is sloppy journalism. For someone without a degree in communications, you sure seem to think you know a lot about what makes a good reporter.
The ecstatic happiness you get from comparing Malintzine and their supporters to Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, and John Pedicone is nothing compared to the joy we feel when we see your fan base shrinking as we provide the stories you have refused to tell. You know nothing of the bliss when we see the emails pouring into Malintzine talking about men exactly like you and the abuse they suffered at those assholes’ hands. You are unaware of what its like to know you’ve given people a voice, because you continue to perpetrate one agenda.
It’s takes a long time for a woman to realize it’s okay to be a Chingona, but now that I have, I won’t be going anywhere. I like the sight of a man pissing himself because of the power I now possess. It doesn’t matter that you don’t agree. Your thoughts are trivial when there are so many more people calling for Malintzine than there are calling for you.