Moraga and her Cultural Pursuit

The thoughts expressed within A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness by Cherrie L. Moraga seem to pinpoint and capture the psychological struggles that she experiences for being identified as a Chicano, lesbian female. The piece additionally pinpoints her underlying fears for the Chicano people and their cultural standing within a society which is infatuated with wealth and an unwritten hierarchy that substantiates the treatment and perception of people based upon their race.

Moraga poses an interesting question within this piece where she states, “I wonder why so many of us, Chicana and Chicano writers, remain so enamored with white people, their privileges, and their goodies: the seduction of success” (5). This made me consider whether the ‘success’ that Moraga highlights is not just pinpointing the materialistic attributes that Chicana and Chicano writers believe to come with such a racial code however, the ‘success’ can also be attributed to how there is an established ‘white’ identity which is what Moraga feels is lacking within the Chicana and Chicano culture. “Why do we remain confused about who we are? Not Black. Not Indian. Not White, then what?” (5). She additionally pinpoints that her racial identity has always been “ambiguous” in comparison to her sexuality which she has firmly asserted and stated from the age of 21, “I’ll go to the grave queer” (12). This disassociation with her culture in comparison with her sexuality would, in my opinion, appear to generate a strengthened connection with the Lesbian identity over her cultural identity because of the indistinctness that overshadows the Chicana/Chicano identifier. However, this does not appear to be the case, “…today I feel like my lesbianism modifies a growing Xicanismo, where the revolutionary consequences of my cultural identification generates my activism, my art, and my sexuality” (13). From this, I understood it as Moraga stating that the ambiguity felt within her culture drives her motivation to seek an established category like that of a ‘Lesbian’, for those that come after her which would then further their own individual sense of identity. This sense of further identifying with her culture than with her sexuality is exemplified when she talks about strategies for revolution as a Xicanadyke mother and how it exists “more solidly within the cultural-political framework of American Indigenism than in any U.S. gay and lesbian or feminist movements” (8).

A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness even within its title describes the transition that Moraga seems to experience in regards to her thoughts towards her cultural identity and sexuality.  The interesting thing is how she has had to adapt to a lifestyle of being a minority within a minority and not only this, but additionally raising children within such an atmosphere. Through her words, Moraga’s sense of devotion to both her culture and sexuality is nothing but inspiring.

—- DA

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Filed under Week 9: Cherrie Moraga and Alison Bechdel

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