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7 Performing Indigeneity in a South Texas Community: Los Matachines de la Santa Cruz Norma E. Cantú

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

NORMA E. CANTÚ

It’s a brisk morning in early March 2009 in San Antonio, Texas, and the annual women’s march celebrating International Women’s Day is about to begin. We will march past the Alamo, past San Fernando Cathedral, past the hotels and businesses with early morning tourists and local patrons. The march will go from Travis Park to Milam Park—Anglo names for spaces that in the old days were called “plazas.” A young girl no older than twelve, dressed in a long brown cotton skirt and a red blouse with a red headband across her forehead, holds an eagle feather. She will do a water blessing before the march begins. Her father, who also has a red headband and is wearing a white cotton shirt and pants, beats a flat drum solemnly. The crowd of a couple of hundred people hushes solemnly and listens to her soft song. She dips the feather in water and sprinkles the ground. Some of us face the four directions as she sings her blessing prayer in a language we don’t understand. Could it be Coahuiltecan? That was how Fabiola, one of the organizers, introduced her—as a member of the Coahuiltecan nation. But pretty much all vestiges of the many dialects of that language that were spoken in South Texas for centuries are gone. Erased. Only scraps survive, mostly in old prayer books; the Christian prayers used to indoctrinate the native people paradoxically remain as testaments of the old language. As a child, I went to “la doctrina” to learn the Catholic prayers—in Spanish, of course. But I also went to see the matachines dance to the beat of the drum. In this chapter, I focus on the latter, the folk religious dance tradition of los matachines, as I interrogate the indigenous identity we as Chican@s identify and disidentify with in the particular area of South Texas.

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17 Is Ugly Betty a Real Woman? Representations of Chicana Femininity Inscribed as a Site of (Transformative) Difference Jennifer Esposito

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

JENNIFER ESPOSITO

Popular culture texts inform us about our social world. They teach us about ourselves and also about “Others.” We learn who is valued in the larger society as well as who is marginalized. Although popular culture reflects our society, as an institution it also helps construct ideologies that we live out and perform in our daily lives. People may turn to texts for information on what it means to be a particular race/ethnicity, gender, social class, and/or sexual orientation. Visual images thus become textual lessons that become inscribed on lived bodies and incorporated into ideological structures of society. For bodies already marginalized in the larger society, the power of representations becomes much more pronounced. In fact, a “burden of representation” exists whenever a marginalized group is represented in popular culture.1 This is especially true for the Latina body, as Mary Beltrán argues: “media representations of the Latina body thus form a symbolic battleground upon which the ambivalent place of Latinos and Latinas in US society is acted out.”2

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Introduction Toward a De-Colonial Performatics of the US Latina and Latino Borderlands

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

CHELA SANDOVAL, ARTURO J. ALDAMA, AND PETER J. GARCÍA

Latinas and Latinos represent the largest and fastest-growing ethnic community in the United States after “non-Hispanic” Whites (14 percent of the US population, approximately 55 million people in 2010).1 Yet the cultural impact of US Latina and Latino aesthetic production has yet to be fully recognized within the US nation-state and beyond. This book moves beyond the by now de-politicized and all-too-familiar cultural theory of the twentieth century and beyond so-called “radicalized” examples of aesthetic production to unravel how culture is performance. Moreover, the following chapters travel beyond the linguistic surfaces and aesthetic limitations of “Latina and Latino” cultural production to reveal the less familiar and unexplored performance terrains of the “Borderlands.” Indeed, Performing the US Latina and Latino Borderlands is a book that challenges readers to engage those profound intercultural, psychic, social, and transnational effects that are being generated through US Latina and Latino testimonio, theater, ceremony, ritual, storytelling, music, dance, improvisation, play, nagualisma-o, call-and-response, spoken-word, visual, body, digital, and sculptural enactments. Each contributing author introduces readers to performance topics, performing artists, and performative enactments that comprise the field of Borderlands Performance Studies. This field is identifiable through its commitment to an alter-Native cultural engineering, the technologies of which we editors identify as “de-colonizing performatics,” and the mestizaje, the hybridity, the bricolage, the rasquache interventions organized around de-colonization that we call “perform-antics.” Join us then as we set the academic stage where complex scholarly engagements are linked with the entertaining, enlightening, and emancipatory aesthetics of Borderlands Performance Studies.2

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24 Rumba’s Democratic Circle in the Age of Legal Simulacra

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

BERTA JOTTAR-PALENZUELA

The procession to the rumba in Central Park starts at West Seventy-second Street, and the first spiritual stop is John Lennon’s memorial, “Imagine.” Each Sunday, fans adorn the shrine with flowers, candles, and idiosyncratic offerings as devotees play acoustic guitars, flutes, and, occasionally, drums. The rumba procession continues past Asian masseuses promising full relaxation in twenty minutes and Daniel Webster’s bronze statue reminding us: “Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” At this point, you can hear the rumba drums; on your right, a jazz band plays along West Drive. As you walk toward Cherry Hill fountain, the rumba pulse fuses with the sounds of the pan-African djembe circle at Bethesda Terrace. Continue toward the lake, where the Colombian opera singer navigates his gondola through the Victorian landscape and the tourist economy surrounding it. Down the hill, near the bow bridge, is where you’ll find the rumba circle.

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19 No Somos Criminales: Crossing Borders in Contemporary Latina and Latino Music Arturo J. Aldama

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

ARTURO J. ALDAMA

Anti-immigrant discourse in general and anti-Mexican hate speech and hate crimes in particular are a central piece of contemporary US political and public culture. The racist sense of entitlement by anti-immigrant xenophobes is echoed in a variety of formats including public radio, prime time news shows, and the blogosphere, and it is a central platform of many Republican senators, governors, and elected city officials such as mayors. Anti-immigrant games such as “Catch the Wetback” are the new form of political theatrics on many college campuses, and the Southern Poverty Law Center that does the Klan Watch has noted an incredible increase in hate-motivated violence toward those perceived as undocumented in the United States in the last several years.

The issues that concern me most are the arrogance of power and the absolute sense of racial entitlement that drive the supposedly fringe paramilitary nativist and neo-Nazi vigilante groups along the border and throughout the United States (which, in a loose chronology, include the Barnett Brothers, Ranch Rescue, the American Border Patrol, the Christian Identity Movement, the National Alliance, and the Minute Men) that have spread into the American mainstream. In fact, the political and public cultures of the United States carry an enormous weight of transversal racial hostility, evidenced most recently by Arizona Senate Bill 1070.1

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