January 15, 2015

Put@ Rants of Being an Hijo de la Chingada

She straddles two worlds and remains fucked by both: La Chingada! I come back to La Malinche because of her disidentification that burdens her body and the signifiers of her identities as determinedly marginal. Octavio Paz names her passivity that renders her defenseless; she is left nameless and disappears into the void. The very void that appears between the First World of the academy and the Third World identities that make up our embodied subjectivities that are called incompatible, frauds, less-than, unintelligible, but mostly are just illegible to the White straight eyes that read them. What they don’t understand is that this disidentification is a survival strategy.

In his introduction to his seminal text, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, José Esteban Muñoz employs disidentification as a strategy for systems of power and our queer subjectivity: “one that neither opts to assimilate within such a structure nor strictly opposes it” (1999, p. 11). But the void that exists between systems of power constructs and impasse that sentences queer bodies to the role of the passive and the defenseless; in ways that continue to perpetuate the silences of the closet that inhibit queer voices from accounting for their own cultural production and the artistic productions of their position in this time and the spaces they occupy and embody.  

Gloria Anzaldúa, comadre: We haven’t stopped speaking, and they haven’t stopped trying to listen. But we speak a language clashing worlds don’t understand; a language they are not ready for. Mujerista and feminist theologies have already questioned the erotics of power in place that fail to account for the everyday experiences of bodies in difference, which enables the claiming of our sexual experience as hijos de la chingada through the dexterity of transdisciplinary approaches and the repeated tolerance of the discomfort that exists at all epistemological levels. How the put@ subject understands and interprets the world around her is a theological question. But she remains surrounded by hostile worlds that are difficult and dangerous to describe. Worlds that impose a necropolitical agenda upon her subjectivity; she is not counted, she is not human (considering relationships between Mbembe’s necropolitics and his response to Foucault’s biopower). 

Why are we so quick to accept La Malinche’s passivity? The cultural narratives we have taken for granted let her remain obsolete and lost. We created her nothingness. Let her be angry! I am dissatisfied with the interpretation that her being is entirely left to the shadows and she’s been abandoned by both worlds: by both her chingones. What if the anger that comes from the shame she experiences is a necessary queer intervention in understanding the put@ aesthetics at work that cripple queer brown bodies in cultural production, but also the academy. But La Malinche is not Job. The anger from the trials in her life is not celebrated as a test of patience and faith. Her faith is already discredited. She becomes Job's wife, by giving up on the abusive power that is imposed upon her family and children. Instead, she haunts with La Llorona wanting to reclaim her children; sorting through the fragments of dis-membered bodies. It is precisely the systems in place that have failed to give her accurate representation. La Malinche commits acts of dis-grace. Undoing the grace that was never extended to her in the first place. The indecency of the put@ opens her up the messiness of human sexuality that defines our Christian fetish with the humanness of Christ’s incarnation (variation of Marcella Althaus-Reid’s “indecent Christ”).

I take a theological approach to reading La Malinche because of my own disidentified subjectivity. Exercising a language that I have been burdened with, while also resisting other languages that I choke on through my forced interlocutors. Beyond that, I continue to enjoy and celebrate my formal training in theology and religious studies. Like La Malinche, I can never fully go home. I will remain a product of two worlds, fucked by both of them with my body left exposed and beaten. But I can find resistance in that embodiment and my familiarity and comfort within theological discourses prohibit me from abandoning it entirely. Instead, I need to continue to create new paradigms by which to articulate the differences we’ve been fucked by—to consider the failure and the impasse as spaces for theological inquiry. Pasivas fuck back.