The painful memory of colonization

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Flying at 32,000 feet in the air and I find myself having a difficult time. Not because I feel as I have been thrown like a paper airplane through the air. No. It is because my brown body carries with it inherent memories of conquest and colonization.

The trigger? The majestic sight of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl creeping up on the horizon. And as I saw your outline out of the ridiculously small window from my economy class seat, an intense emotion rose from deep inside – intermixed with pride, sadness, and grief.

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As I gazed upon the valleys that surround you, I couldn’t hold back the steady flow of tears as my Mexican cells remembered what our Madre Tierra and our people experienced over 500 years ago.

The naysayers are quick to say that we are now far removed, that all is well. But if you think about the finite amount of time humans have existed, the memories are still fresh.

I’ve gotten into the debate so many times before and have countless times heard the glossing over and trivializing of the conquest by even those who claim to be aware. But I think that deep down every Mexicana/o there is that tiny seed of painful remembrance.

As I walked down your beautiful, bustling streets I was continuously reminded of the aftermath. I didn’t see one light-skinned Mexicana/o asking for a peso. It was our not so distant indigenous abuelitos who still bear the burden for the rest of us and suffer the consequences of an imposed and savage hierarchical system that dictates the worth and success of a human body.

Although I state without any hesitation que soy orgullosamente Mexicana, I know that we are not all regarded in the same manner. My cafe con leche skin color has afforded me privileges that you will never know or have.

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You are what this Xicana is most proud of, but yet you are the one the system relegates to the bottom.

Que hacemos? How can we begin to remedy the stronghold of the disease?

It has been said many times over that only a revolution could dismantle us from the grip of it. Pues que venga la revolución!

En tu rostro moreno veo mi reflejo. Y aunque te causa un chingo de dolor, me llevas dentro de tu ser y corazón.

#lablogadora #chicana #mexico #notconquered

Artwork by Dolores Guerrero-Cruz –

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