Borders (En)Gendered: Normativities, Latinas, and a Latcrit Paradigm
46 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 1, 1997
This Essay, developed in a prologue and three parts, adopts Latinas'/os' world traveling as a metaphor for Latina/o multidimensionality and as a springboard for LatCrit theorizing. The Prologue is a brief diary entry of unfin de semana viajando mundos - a weekend of actual traveling between New York and Miami; law and familia; profesora and learner; colleague and hija; español and English; norte y sur; normativa and other; indigenous and alien. This abbreviated record of a Latina's life reveals, exposes, and unveils Latinas'/os' daily crossdressing simply by virtue of their latinidad. This Prologue thus serves as a concrete backdrop for the analytical, political, and theoretical points addressed in the remaining parts of this Essay which explores two sets of relationships vis-a-vis their significance to and impact on the development of LatCrit theory.
Part I uses narrative to compare and contrast NLW and Latina/o normativities of race, ethnicity, nationhood, and language. It exposes the race, color, ethnicity, gender, nationality, culture, and language fronteras Latinas/os must cross-the "othering" we experience-while traversing the world as defined by the dominant culture. This comparing and contrasting of Latina/o and "American" normativities in Part I defines the need for a LatCrit theoretical model that does not subordinate the Latina/o experience.
In Part II this Essay exposes how Latinas' assorted deviations from the normative male prototype, combined with gendered Latino norms, including the gendered nature of the Spanish language adding to these internal boundaries and confines, multiplies their fronteras and complicates their journeys. The borderlands created for Latinas by the overlapping gender biases of the external American and internal Latino normativities, exacerbated by gendered cultural norms, underscore the need for the development of teortas that specifically will recognize, embrace, and espouse Latinas' identities, interests, and issues. LatCrit is a teoria that can address the concerns of Latinas in light of both our internal and external relationships in and with the worlds that have marginalized us.
Finally, in Part III this Essay proposes a LatCrit theoretical model that uses Latina/o panethnicity, representative of race, gender, nationality, color, language, ethnicity, and cultural diversity, to stimulate and inspire the construction of a LatCrit matrix that places multidimensionality at the center of paradigm formation by plaiting a multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic fabric into its philosophy, construction, and logic. This model is important because it will recognize the multidimensionality of Latinas/os and the particular position of Latinas' dual relationship with the internal comunidad Latina and the external American culture in developing a discourse which incorporates our realities and identities.
Keywords: LatCrit, latinas, latinos, gender, multidimensionality
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