Race-work, Race-love

Love letter to Miguel Piñero

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 at 10:49 am

My professor of Latino Literature, Roberto G. Fernandez, once told me “Blanca, your best defense is literature. Write it down, Blanca. Write it down.”

I started this blog with the idea of healing. Healing the racial battle fatigue. Healing the race-work some of us were destined to do. Healing the daily racial microaggressions we notice but don’t know how to confront. Healing the love that we have for the work we do, for the people we love, day in and day out. Healing. Healing. Healing. In the end, some of us “die seeking the cause” as Miguel Piñero puts it. But, as he continues, we find out that WE are the cause. In the end, I wonder, am I the cause?

If I am the cause, what can I transform in me that can be defined as a “cause”? I hide behind the academic cloak to gain respect for my opinions on education and race. But some of the people who I admire just wrote, just sang, just danced. Just marched. Just walked into segregated schools despite the harassment they received for being Black and Brown. Still, nothing in my life prior to entering college said that I should have been the one to continue on to a doctoral degree. This combined with a passion for race-work should be lethal. But what about the academic process dulls my Racial Divine? What about the academic process is helpful to transforming me from the “Angry Latina” to a Latina with a doctorate? Can I be both? Watch out now – she has a pen, a computer, and a thought that yes she may be the cause but that cause is similar to the causes of many others and by bringing out my voice – maybe I can help break the silence of other lives too. As many have done for me. As Mr. Piñero, you have done for me.

So where Miguel Piñero leaves off, I would like to continue. As a spiritual descendant of this great Latino poet, I want to say thank you for helping me get to this realization. By bringing out your voice, by helping us understand how you do your race-work, I can continue to further mine, my cause, your cause, OUR CAUSE.

If I am the cause, and I realize this early enough, then I cannot go down without a fight. Mr. Piñero you helped me and many others realize this by passionately describing this phenomenon, by telling us about your cause, by putting it down on paper and repeating it to the world. We pick this up and think, damn. This could be me. And perhaps there is a chance to save ourselves and in the process work with others who want the same thing. And if you helped us come to this realization early on, can you imagine what we can offer to the next generation of pen-holders, leaders of “the cause” ? Through you, we just may be able to get a clearer picture of what that cause is – some of us should know, because we have lived it. But in our need to get away from it – we lose ourselves and forget why we started this race-work in the first place.

By helping us redirect our understanding back to the self, my-self, then perhaps we can save ourselves earlier so that we may redirect our passion and our energy back to the race-work that so desperately needs us. Once we understand the cause to be “my cause”, once we get that healing in place, then we can look at the race-work that has yet to be done. Maybe we can even do both at the same time. Thank you, Miguel Piñero. Thank you.

  1. […] than they have to pick up their words where they have left off. Stated in an earlier post regarding Miguel Piñero, these spiritual mentors and ancestors give us one more piece to the puzzle to figure out this crazy […]

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