The Latlndia and Mestizajes: Of Cultures, Conquests, and Latcritical Feminism

3 Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice 63 (1999)

University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper

43 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2015

Date Written: 1999


In this journey, I want to engage in critical race feminism praxis by searching for the answer to Paula Gunn Allen's important question: ''Who is your mother?" The requisite interrogation, however, is not the facially evident one -- I know and adore my mami. Rather, the journey on which I want to embark is the one mapped by Professor Gunn Allen, one that requires the plaiting of a broader, deeper, more complicated routing than "that woman whose womb formed and released you, " although that, too, is a path fundamental to our being. Professor Gunn Allen is talking about a different, larger layer of creation: the cultural, social, political, communitarian, historical passages that constitute a peoples. She is contemplating the sources of production of knowledges that will provide context, history, culture, spirituality, meaning, and direction to our multidimensional lives.

This enterprise of locating our madres is, to be sure, a daunting task. The space from which to deploy and in which to center such an endeavor is a necessarily complex landscape that can accommodate and sustain the architecture of our multiple and complex histories, our multilingualism, our diverse cultures and experiences, our mestizajes, our hybridity. Critical Race Feminism (CRF) is a movement committed to exploring the reality of the lives of women of color in order to end their subordination and to ensure their full citizenship in all geographies. LatCrit is a closely related theoretical movement premised on an anti-subordination agenda and committed to building community among all peoples and to interrogating the politics of identity through the necessarily pan-ethnic lens ofLatinas/os.

Combined, a LatCritical Race Feminist (LCRF) project that embraces our hybridity facilitates an interrogation of the present order, its history and varied power locations, and their impact on socio-economic and psycho-social consequences. LCRF is grounded on the richness endemic to the multiplicity, similarities, and disparateness of our histories. It knows our daily existence within our own, unfamiliar, and foreign communities. Thus, LCRF is a safe, though not quiet, anchor from which to deploy the interrogation of the multiple meanings of feminism, human rights, personhood, and identity. Such a project allows a reconstruction of society that is committed to a principle of social justice, developed from and embracing of all aspects of our identities.

Women of color are world travelers who routinely trespass border crossings across Fronteras of race, sex, class, ethnicity, nationality, color, sexuality, and language. To locate or identify our forebearers we must travel this intricate, elaborate, and tangled expanse. In the process. we need nuevas teorfas that recognize our hybridity/multidimentionality. As an ideology, LCRF offers an appropriate location from which to launch our search for our mothers.

Keywords: LatIndia, Critical Race Feminism, women, mothers, madres, subordination, identity, feminism

Suggested Citation

Hernández-Truyol, Berta Esperanza, The Latlndia and Mestizajes: Of Cultures, Conquests, and Latcritical Feminism (1999). 3 Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice 63 (1999); University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN:

Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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