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I Know Mexico Through Matriarchy: Journal Entry 1

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

I know Mexico through Matriarchy. My Mother is Mexican and before I can speak freely I must break down her lineage, which is also my lineage. By breaking down this lineage, I can break down all the ways being Mexican for me has felt derivative.

My Mother is the offspring of two Mexican American parents. Yes you can be both, both as in Mexican and American. A Mexican by ethnic terms can exist in that nationalist, racial and ethnic identities are often hybrid mixings' of one's identity politics. Mexican people are a hybrid of indigenous blood, Spanish blood, and a modest amount of West African blood. Depending on where in Mexico one's family is from, the results vary for how more Spanish, more indigenous and more Black one is.

My Mother is Mexican without being physically white passing, she has orange-brown skin and thick black hair. Her hair is wavy and coarse in structure. My Grandfather-my Moms Father, has similar features. However, my Grandmother- my Moms Mother, has an opal like white skin with olive undertones, her hair naturally dark and thick, her nose full and long, her lips plump and shapely. She’s more “Spanish” looking, a southern Spanish rather than a northern Spanish. Both my grandparents are ethnically Mexican but also aware that they are American.

When my grandparents speak about being Mexican, they speak from the heart, when my grandparents speak about being American they speak from the brain. A persistent undertone of exasperation and acceptance ravages their voice. America is a fixed place. I don’t always like it, but I can’t think of anything better at this time, so it is what it is. They don’t always like America but they accept it. Unfortunately America doesn’t like Black people, and in reality more than anything, Mexico doesn’t understand Black people.

My Mexican mother birthed a Black and Mexican baby, actually two of them. In total I am not only the aforementioned Mexican, I am also a Black that has been westernized phenotypically and genetically through various acts of colonization and enslavement. Lastly, my Mother birthed a girl. I am a Black and Mexican feminine offspring of colonization, enslavement, and imperialism.

I differentiate colonialism from slavery because I believe slavery is such a drastic act of inhumane anomalies that slavery should be categorized separately. Slavery was such a contumelious act of evil that still clearly fighting the act of emancipation, that we are so filled with fear that at any moment we wonder if our lives and most important rights can be and will be, stolen from us at any point.

Colonialism did entail slavery, but it also allotted for the mirage of more freedoms. Colonialism also implies converting, or assimilation. Colonialism implies an after, an end, although like slavery it is still persistent and can feel never ending, but it does indicate a time period that happened and is now over.

Colonialism, however, is not monolithic and with it we see that those who have infested land must also acquiesce to various climates. From the eastern part of the United States, midwest, rocky mountains, south and west part of the country. We see cultures birthed and with that came subculture, among subculture, among subculture.

I am from the United States of America<The Rocky Mountains<Colorado<Denver<Park Hill adjacent. A culture so distinct and true to my making specifically. Amongst me were peers that shared similar cultures with their own respective subcultures. Students I sat next to could relate to me to the extent that we were all from Park Hill for example, but they themselves had a different experience because they were from South Park Hill, a wealthier and more white side of the neighborhood. A side separated often by a single boulevard or cross street.

I named this journalistic series “I Know Mexico Through Matriarchy” because my connection to Mexico is through my maternal figure. This also means that my view of maternity and motherhood has been shaped through the lens of Brown women. My ability to be loving and affectionate through motherhood comes from a Brown woman. It also means my understanding of work ethic and femininity comes from my Mexican mother. This all has been sculpted and altered through the fact that I carry this nature of maternity, but it will be different from the mother before me because of the generation I was born in, and my Blackness will at times intercept my views of maternal manifestation.

Some have argued that I am delusional, because I not only believe that my Black and Mexican identity can co-exist but I also believe it can create. That being said I am Black and Mexican and believe I can live in my own distinct world and happily enjoy both heritages.

Unlike many Black and White children I know- I do not and have rarely, if ever, felt “caught in the middle”. I have never felt stuck in between polarizing worlds. I’ve never had a moment in which I did not know who I was because of my ethnic identity. At the worst I’ve felt inconvenienced or perhaps a tad stuck, but never did I feel I had to choose “one or the other”. I am also lucky that my Mexican Mother was not filled with anti-black sentiment. My Mom was acutely aware that the world would view her babies as Black first and choose if they’d get to know us enough to learn we are also Mexican.

This cultivated a feeling of unapologetic-ness in my sister and I. This attitude of “Yes I’m Black, but I bet you didn't know I’m Mexican too and if you do what are YOU going to do about it?”

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