my critique of single mamis…and encuentros…

August 21, 2009 § Leave a comment

i am having a lot of issues around access, communication,
expectations, and trans national community building.  so i want to
bring those to the table.

i have been really dealing with this for the past couple of months.
but honestly felt insecure about bringing these to the table.

ok so a few weeks ago i was in this conversation by email.  and i was kind of taken a back by the responses in this email.  mainly because i was speaking about issues i was having accessing communication technology and folks in the us.  you know how so much of our media work is us centered, hell us exclusive, and that marginalizes and excludes me.  since i dont live in the us.  pretty simple right.

the responses were… um… special.  one, silence.  two, hesitation.  three, defensiveness.

then i kind of just dropped the convo because the convo itself was marginalizing and excluding me.  and it was getting pretty exhausting. or more accurately i was having a hard time convincing myself to take the whole convo seriously.  i think it just came to a point.  the point when i was told that i was critical of single mamis.  that i just laughed.  and laughed.  and was like ok.  and trying to think of what to say that wasnt snarky, lol lol, or otherwise pushing up the dada absurdity of the conversation.  like.  yeah, i hate single mamis.  i hate my mother.  i hate all mothers.  whatever.

but the thing about this convo.  is that it was such a classic well intentioned pile on.  like there was one of me.  and then other folks responding to me.  supporting each others vision of what i had said.  misquoting me and then repeating the misquotation.  and me responding to the folk in increasingly long emails- because increasingly more people are coming into the convo each their slightly dift perspective on what is ‘going on’.  and me, trying to explain, why, and how, they have misconstrued my vision through their own lenses.

and in the moment in that convo. it all seems so logical.  that this is the way the convo happens.  no matter how absurd it gets.

but yeah it was at the point when i was told that i was critical of single mamis (and encuentros! yes, i am critical of gatherings of human beings who speak spanish…dont ask… i couldnt answer how the fuck we got there) after being told that the group had been created to support single mamis…and no one said anything in my defense…no one said…thats not true.  maia writes about motherhood and mothers, and critiques these categories and how they operate in our culture, and that includes single mamis, but there is no evidence that she is critical of single mamis, as people, or as single mamis.  certainly she disagrees with the words and actions of single mamis, but not their single mami hood…or whatever…something that added a little bit of sanity back into the convo.

but no.

so in defense of myself –some one. has to do it…i scoured my blog posts, emails, articles, etc to find all the critiques i have of single mamis.

here they are:

–some single mothers are relatively privileged in relation to some partnered mothers.

–what i worry about is making a singular divide between single mothers and partnered mothers.  motherhood and its varying intersections life styles expressions across the globe are infinite.

–dont you dare ever tell me that i grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth.  my mama worked damn hard for my freedom.

my critique of encuentros is much more extensive.  basically between treating me like an exotic black object, being pointed at, and stared at for days on end, seeing trans phobia, there being basically no child care available because some boys couldnt get their act together, reading white men use mayan women as a means to bash white women, etc. etc. etc my time at the zap womens encuentro was eye opening, beautiful and disappointing, maddening and enlightening, the best and the worst…

but you know, i had women claim that i was being critical of zap women, because i was critical of certain people at the zap womens encuentro.  whatever.  or that i was being critical of zap men when i talked about the sexism at the encuentro…even though i was mainly talking about nortenos.  and i do have criticisms of the zap movement.

you know me.  im just that angry, critical, demanding black girl that needs to be reminded how hard it is for mamis, how exhausted mamis are, and that we really need to support mamis right now.  and so i need to understand how difficult it is to balance working trans nationally while being a mami.

yeah, what would i know about balancing working trans nationally, paying the bills, being a mama, an artist, writer, and getting out of bed in the morn.

so i guess that is my critique of single mothers mamas mamis mommies and well of everyone else…sometimes folks, even single mamis, make statements about me or my words that are not true.  and then i correct them.

i am a bad bad girl.


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