A Fear of Loss and Change, Moraga’s Narrative

Can I connect to Cherrie Moraga?  Throughout her narratives, Moraga has located and placed herself within a very specific niche.  She is a xicanadyke.  She is a lesbian.  She is a Mexican.  Moraga explains her experiences to the reader with a very strog positions when dealing with anything “cultural”.  “So, I fear AIDS as I fear gang violence as I fear the prison industrial complex as I fear breast cancer.  I also fear the loss of Nuevo Mexico to New York artists; the loss of Mexican Indian curanderismo to new age “healers”; the loss of Dia de lost Muertos to San Francisco-style celebration of Halloween; the loss of indigenous tribal and familial social structures to the nuclear family (gay and straight); the cultural loss for children of color through adoption by white parents (gay and straight); the loss of art to commerce” she states strongly.  By the paralleling of these senteces and topics Moraga is putting these issues which she cares about in competition with what she is comparing them to.  She states that she fears the loss of a native, ritualistic healer to the new age one.  While this fear is perhaps understandable as it would lead to the loss of some part of culture it seems that she undermines the new age healers completely by placing the name healer in quotation marks.  Additionally, she fears the loss of culture that children of color would face when adopted.  This, however, is another form of culture evolving and growing.  Culture in fact relies on traditions and old ways, but a big part of culture is the way in which it interacts with its surroundings and its time.  By placing these two at different end she is not allowing for culture to evolve.  Sure these children would be exposed to a different culture than their skin color would necessary provide them, but in the process they are creating a new culture.  This new culture is the one that these children would be a part of.  They would interact with the world differently and thus have a completely new paradigm.  Is this something to fear?  Has culture not always changed and evolved?  Did the natives, the Aztecs who spoke nahuatl not conquer other tribes and impose this culture which Moraga so yearns for?

Some of these questions are what hinder me from fully connecting with and fully accepting what Moraga is conveying,  Her writing seems so focused on these fears that even as a Hispanic and Mexico born individual I have difficulty aligning myself with.  Is her purpose, however, to be necessarily relatable to a general population? She seems to write with such precision and passion that whether others who are not also xicandykes can relate is not something that is of much interest to her writing.  Nonetheless, while I do not find myself specifically drawn to her writing or her fears it is clear that it is purposeful.  She overall wants the preservation of a culture, a xicana/o culture a lesbian culture.  Through this preservation, however, she makes it seem like they are at odds with adaptation and movement, and thus make culture too stationary.

Basil Hallward


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Filed under Week 9: Cherrie Moraga and Alison Bechdel

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