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Moreman, Shane T.
Performativity and the Latina/o-white hybrid identity
h [electronic resource] :
b performing the textual self /
by Shane T. Moreman.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2005.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 191 pages.
ABSTRACT: This study is an exploration of Latina/o-White hybrid identity for constructions and negotiations of hybridity as performed in the lives of individuals and as rearticulated in discourse. These discourses are drawn from interviews with nine individuals, stories of my own life, and three published memoirs. Despite these different forms, all the self identified Latina/o-White hybrid individuals speak to the difficulty of imagining and enacting a hybrid identity within todays discourse on race and ethnicity. This study articulates these difficulties as lived experience, theory, and performance come together to argue for and against hybridity as a model for contemporary identity. The project rests mainly on the theory of performativity and the theory of hybridity. In Chapter Two, I interview nine participants. While Whiteness was consistently re-centered in their self-perceptions, this re-centering disrupts naturalness to their racial identity.Race is understood beyond the visual and into the performative.This disruption of naturalness allows room for a more imaginative approach to race. In Chapter Three, I utilize the Mexican pop singer, Paulina Rubio, as a backdrop to my own theoretical and material performative embodiments of hybridity. I deconstruct the perceived hybridity of Paulina Rubio, and I theorize the lived-experience of my own hybrid performativity. I demonstrate how hybrid performativity,while theoretically achievable, loses its material efficacy.In Chapter Four, I do a close-reading of three memoirs written about and by Latina/o-White hybrid individuals. The range of hybridity, being thrust upon and beinga strategy, is reproduced as a continuum across different hybridities of the Latina/o-White hybrid individual. The continuum moves across five hybrid strategies for languaging identity: imposter, mongrel, homeless, bridge, and twin. Chapter Five is a summary of the dissertation.
Adviser: Dr. Elizabeth Bell.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Performativity and the Latina/o-White Hybrid Identity: Performing the Textual Self by Shane T. Moreman A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Communication College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Elizabeth Bell, Ph.D. Navita C. James, Ph.D. Stacy Holman-Jones, Ph.D. John McKiernan-Gonzalez, Ph.D. Date of Approval: January 28, 2005 Keywords: Communication, Hispanic, Intercultural, Ethnicity, Race Copyright 2005, Shane Moreman
i Table of Contents List of Tables iii Abstract iv Chapter One: Introduction 1 Rationale for the Study 6 Identity: Self, Other, and Racial Other 6 Performing an Identity 15 Multiplicity of Self and Other 19 Preview of the Chapters 27 Chapter Two: Acting in Concert and Ac ting In Accord: Performativity of Latina/o-White Identity 30 The Terms of Latina/o Identity 34 The Ineffable White 35 Between the Many-Named and the Never-Need-to-be-Named 37 Constructing and Negotiating Iden tity through Material Practices 39 Constructing and Negotiating Identity through the Visual 47 Constructing and Negotiating Identity through Discourse 52 Constructing and Negotiating Identity through Performative Acts 58 Conclusion 65 Chapter Three: Paulina Rubio Y Yo : Questioning Hybrid Perfomativity 70 Paulina Rubio: ?Eres la persona que te dices? 76 Moving as She Moves and Mouthing He r Words: Hybrid Performativity 85 Globalized Media as an Opportunity for Hybridity 91 A Hybrid Identity Foreclosed 99 Chapter Four: Memoir as Equipment for Living: Hybrid Performative Identities 108 Textual Production of Hybrid Performativity 112 Performative Trappings: Langua ge as Binary/Hierarchy Trap 118 Performative Trappings: Performing Whiteness 123 Performative Trappings: Words that Produce Their Subjects and Effects 126 When Performativity Meets H ybridity: Beyond the Trappings 131 A Continuum of Strategies of H ybrid Performativity: The Imposter 133 A Continuum of Strategies of H ybrid Performativity: The Mongrel 139 A Continuum of Strategies of H ybrid Performativity: The Homeless 144
ii A Continuum of Strategies of H ybrid Performativity: The Bridge 145 A Continuum of Strategies of Hybrid Performativity: The Twin 147 Hybridizing Art with Love 150 Chapter Five: A Grammar of H ybridity in the Subjunctive Mood 154 Overview of Significant Fi ndings within the Chapters 158 Performativity & the Latina/o-White Hybrid Identity: Performing the Textual Self 161 Implications for Future Research in Hybridity 164 References 170 Appendices 179 Appendix A: Informed Consent 180 Appendix B: Interview Schedule 183 Appendix C: Letter of Support 184 About the Author End Page
iii List of Tables Table 1: Breakdown of U. S. Population by Race 12 Table 2: Interview Participants 32
iv Performativity and the Latina/o-White Hybrid Identity: Performing the Textual Self Shane T. Moreman ABSTRACT This study is an exploration of Latina/oWhite hybrid identity for constructions and negotiations of hybridity as performed in th e lives of individuals and as rearticulated in discourse. These discourse s are drawn from interviews wi th nine individuals, stories of my own life, and th ree published memoirs. Despite these different forms, all the selfidentified Latina/o-White hybrid individuals speak to the difficulty of imagining and enacting a hybrid identity within todayÂ’s discourse on race and ethnicity. This study articulates these difficulties as lived experi ence, theory, and performance come together to argue for and against hybridity as a model for contemporary identity. The project rests mainly on the theory of performa tivity and the theory of hybridity. In Chapter Two, I interview nine participants. While Whiteness was consistently re-centered in their self-percep tions, this re-centering disrupts naturalness to their racial identity. Race is understood be yond the visual and into the performative. This disruption of Â“naturalnessÂ” allows room for a more im aginative approach to race. In Chapter Three, I utilize the Mexica n pop singer, Paulina Rubio, as a backdrop to my own theoretical and material performative embodiments of hybridity. I deconstruct the perceived hybridity of Pa ulina Rubio, and I theorize the lived
v experience of my own hybrid performativity. I demonstr ate how hybrid performativity, while theoretically achievable, loses its material efficacy. In Chapter Four, I do a close-reading of three memoirs written about and by Latina/o-White hybrid individuals. The range of hybridity, being th rust upon and being a strategy, is reproduced as a continuum across different hybridities of the Latina/oWhite hybrid individual. The con tinuum moves across five hybrid strategies for languaging identity: imposter, mongrel, homeless, bridge, and twin. Chapter Five is a summary of the disse rtation. This summary begins with a discussion a theatrical production. La Virgen del Tepeyac The chapter makes the argument that the Latina/o-White hybrid indi vidual confuses grammatical correctness, consistently placing these subj ects within the subjunctive mood. The chapter rests with the conclusion that the instability of performativity, as evidenced in La Virgen del Tepeyac and the Latina/o-White hybrid indivi dual, provides an exemplar of the multitude of possibilities in everyoneÂ’s identity.
1 Chapter One: Introduction She begins to write a story t hat will not leave her alone. She would like to forget it; she would also like to give it shape, and, in s haping it, find revenge: for herself, for her story. She wants to exorcise that story as it was, in order to recover it as she would like to remember it. --Sylvia Molloy Certificate of Absence Throughout my childhood I had the good fort une to travel back and forth across the U.S./Mexico border. My small Sout h Texas hometown was only hours from the border crossing cities of Laredo/Nuevo Lare do and Brownsville/Matamoras; and my family and friends moved across the Rio Gra nde for things like entertainment, cheap medicine, and bulk food items. Today when I tell people who are unfamiliar with Texas that I am a Texan, they usually ask about metropolitan areas like Austin, Houston, and Dallas. In contrast, my Texas memories are filled with the grain s ilo silhouettes of Tynan and Orange Grove, the cow-do tted pastures of Agua Dul ce and Mirando City, and the dusty farm roads of San Isidro and San Perlita My Texas is a deso late Texas of tilled black fields or green flat ranches or fence lines that stretch miles and miles along Highway 59 with nothing but monte to the left and monte to the right. ( Monte is a Spanish Tejano word for tangled, thick brush.) Like the Rio Grande River that divides the United States and Mexico, my small South Texas hometown, Skidmore, maintains strong delineations between Â“WhiteÂ” and Â“Mexican.Â” (Mexican denotes not a Mexican-national, but anyone of Mexican descent.) In my public school, the trend is still that college bound students (Whites) are in the A
2 class and the others (Mexicans) are in the B class. In town, the eastside of the train tracks is mainly for Whites, and the Westside is mainly for the Mexicans. And, of course, at death we are separated forever with the Whites and the Mexicans in different parts of the Evergreen cemetery. Growing up, I crossed th e borders, and I existed in both the White and the Mexican contexts. My Spanis h-clumsy tongue usually got laughs at quincaneras bodas and rosarios And to adjust to othersÂ’ English-clumsy tongues, my name changed from Shane to Chane to Chango When I graduated from high school, I left Skidmore. I tried to leave behind the local, small town racist politics that drew a heavy line between Whites and Mexicans. While attending school at the University of Texas at San Antonio, I rented a room from Ida, a Mexican woman who aff ectionately and symbolically adopted me as her son. I surrounded myself with other small town es capees from places like Yorktown and Agua Dulce. And I took on odd jobs in the downt own area where English was definitely the second language. Even though I left behind sm all town racist politics, the demarcation between White and Mexican was still heavily drawn all around me. I was living in a Spanish-named city scattered with Catholic missions older than any American Revolution New England landmarks. Yet everywhere aroun d me it was apparent that English White culture dominated historical significance. The metaphor of race relations writ large was that of the battle of the Alamo. A lesson of the Cradle of Texas Freedom is how Texans must never forget that, although the Me xicans defeated the White Texans, the outnumbered-Whites defiantly fought till their ow n death. We were all supposed to be inspired by such valiant heroes. The subtex t was that the Whites may be outnumbered in this city, but they will not be defeated. Remember the Alamo.
3 At this time in both Skidmore and Sa n Antonio, I was White. Although I labeled myself White, my family and their friends ha d often let slip the s ecret of my Mexican father. At eight, one summertime no-school day, I lounge in my parentsÂ’ bed watching cartoons on their TV. My boredom gets the best of me, and I begin to snoop through their things. At the top of their closet, I find a journal my grandmother had given my mother on her 18th birthday. The journal, a ritualisti c tradition by my gr andmother for all her children, contains entrie s written by my grandmother about my momÂ’s life. My grandmotherÂ’s concluding entry reads, Â“The following blank pages are so that you can pass this tradition onto ShaneÂ…Â” My mom tried to write a few entries, but they are scribbled through. She starts and re-starts, scribbling through word s and starting over. Through these scribbles I read lin es like, Â“your father loved you very much. He wanted to be your father, but I just couldnÂ’t stay with himÂ…Â” I never tell my mother about finding this journal, but some years later I re-discover the journa l and the scribbled-on pages are all torn out. At twelve, at a community summer barbecu e, an old friend of the family named Gladys sees me in a crowd of adolescents. I had not seen her for years, not since my grandparents sold their house on Cambridge Str eet in Corpus Christi. She cradles my face in her crooked-fingered hands, locks eyes with me through her bifocals, and says, Â“You look just like your father. YouÂ’re the spit ting image of your father. YouÂ’ve got his eyes. I bet youÂ’re going to be tall like him too.Â” My White fa ther has light, sky blue eyes, white skin that tans to a reddish tint, and stands only 5Â’ 6Â”. Then at my fourteenth birthday party, my tipsy aunt makes a remark about my tan complexion. Although not swarthy, I am much mo re olive-complected than the rest of
4 my family, and I darken very easily. My aunt drunkenly quips, just within earshot, Â“HeÂ’s starting to look so Mexican.Â” I grow into adulthood hyperaware of the identity politics between Latina/os and Whites. Among other th ings, these politics hold the reason for the secret about my father. Finally, when I was twenty years old, my mother told me. I learn that my White father, the man who gave me my last name, is not my biological father. She tells me that I have a Mexican father. I knew she had attemp ted to tell me that secret many times. I had overheard her practice it with my grandmot her, her best friend, and my White father. In her practice performances, she never disclose s the secret in the same way twice, yet it was always the same truth she wants to reve al. My momÂ’s confession made visible an invisible line the secret had drawn down my identity, a line that I am still trying to comprehend. Today, when people ask me a bout my Â“background,Â” I hesitate to talk about it because of the residues of secrecy. Rather clumsily, I say, Â“I am half White and half Latino.Â” If they press, I tell them I did not grow up with my Latino father. If they donÂ’t press, I let them make their assumptions. Usually people are intrigued that I am Â“mixed.Â” Their interest marks something larger about U.S. societyÂ—that we are obse ssed with race and et hnicity. Our national history begins with a struggle to understand and qualify racial difference. Attesting to the intricacy of our past and current pluralis tic struggles for meaning and autonomy, over time there have been a range of terms used for self-identificat ion, with each label carrying varying political implications. Fo r example, other name s for Â“WhiteÂ” include European-American, Caucasian, and Anglo; othe r names for Â“Latina/oÂ” include Hispanic, Chicano, and Spanish. In collusion with raci al and ethnic history, current racial and
5 ethnic labeling is difficult to rely upon as definitive identity markersÂ—especially when the individual can claim more than one clas sification. My identi ty has a complexity beyond the extant complexities of just one et hnicity. My movement between ethnicities contradicts how most people think of any iden tity as being staid and reliableÂ—especially ethnic or racial identity. It has been just over thirteen years si nce my mother told me about my Latino father. The night she told me the secret is the night I began to negotiate my self-identity in new ways. When I share my story, I ofte n find other people with backgrounds of one Latina/o parent and one White parent. And I often discover that th ey too play between identities and face exclusion because of th eir hybrid identity. They too deal with confusion about who they are based upon a linea ge of the two contrasting ethnicities of their parents. I have become intrigued by my hybrid identity. To address my own and othersÂ’ identity issues, I have turned to academia. The purpose of this study is to explore Latina/o-White hybrid identity for constructions and negotiations of hybridity as performed in the lives of individuals and as rearticulated in discourse. For this study, these discourses are drawn from interviews with nine individuals, stories of my own life, and three publi shed memoirs. These very different forms allow an examination of a c ontinuum of talkÂ—from the often hesitant and convoluted interview, to my own attempts to combine theory and praxis in performative writing, to the literary art of the memoir, both polished a nd published within canonical conventions of literature. Despite these diffe rent forms, all the self-identified Latina/oWhite hybrid individuals speak to the diffi culty of imagining and enacting a hybrid identity within todayÂ’s discourse on race and ethnicity. This study seeks to articulate
6 these difficulties as lived experience, theory, and performance come together to argue for and against hybridity as a model for contemporary identity. Rationale For The Study My dissertation project is an identity project, and as such, is nested in a long history of identity theoretical work. My project enters the co nversation of identity at the intersection of ethnic identity and multiple-self identities. To understand the need for my project, I will overview three main areas: self other, and racial other; performing an identity; and multiplicity of self and other. First, I consider the Self-Other dichotomy and how race is often figured into that equation. Second, I look at how performance helps us to understand identity. Finally, I investigate the work being done on multiple-self identities. By covering these three areas, I wi ll argue that my project has an important place in identity work not only because it fills gaps left in the work of other identity theorists, but also because my project offers other ways to think of identity, not just for hybrid identity individuals, but for any individu al seeking to articulate the multiplicity of their self identity(s). Identity: Self, Other, and Racial Other In Western philosophy, Benedict Spinoza (Beverley, 1999) is generally credited with asserting that se lf identity is formed through the negation of the other. That is, people think of their own identity in terms of what they are not. Our sense of self emerges by differentiating ourselves from thos e who are not us, and we struggle to draw lines and form boundaries demarcating us fr om them and me from you. Trinh Min-ha (1990) says that people genera lly think of identity as someth ing that is not chosen, but
7 something that emerges from within. Like any good critical theorist, Trinh nests her discussion of identity within the power politics of today when she says: Identity as understood in the context of a certain id eology of dominance has long been a notion that relies on the concept of an essential, authentic core that remains hidden to oneÂ’s consciousness and that re quires the elimination of all that is considered foreign or not true to the self, that is to say, not-I, other. (p. 371) We are born into a culture already in acti on, and within this culture we struggle to understand ourselves by using the cultural res ources of language, signs, and discourses. As we choose (and have chosen for us) certain identity markers, the repeated usage of these choices create a sense of naturalness. This naturalness beco mes a component of our identity formations, and the naturalness is th e element of identity that causes us to often forget the constructedness of our Self and the Other. Trinh points to how we are expected to have identities that are natural, not constituted; and part of the naturalness of our identities is that we have clear diffe rences between us and them, me and you. Â“Identity, thus understood, suppos es that a clear dividing line can be made between I and not-I, he and she; between depth and surface, or vertical and horizontal identity; between us here and them over thereÂ” (Trinh, 1990). If understanding who we are is invested in understanding who we are not, then staking an identity is just as much about the negation of who the Self is not, as it is the affirma tion of whom the Self is. Similarly Kenneth Burke (1966) explicates that oneÂ’s identity is a coupling of what one claims to be with what one claims not to be. For Burke, the negative defines humans, and for every affirmation of Self there is a lurking nega tion of Self. However Trinh, unlike Burke, notes power as a factor in the Self-Other identity formation. In our culture of hierarchy
8 and domination, noting the power one does and do es not have is especially crucial when oneÂ’s identity is nested in the suppressed Â“OtherÂ” in contrast to the dominant groupÂ’s Â“Self.Â” In the United States, the power differe ntial between the White Self and the nonWhite Other begins with the history of colonialism. However, the practice of categorizing according to race or ethnicity is much older than the history of Western colonialism. The usages and amendments of these racial and ethnic concepts have always been linked to the ch anging and morphing of many vola tile identities, e.g., clan membership, political membership, national me mbership, religious membership, cultural membership, etc. Pick up any textbook on Intercultural Communication, and one of their first endeavors is to provide a brief history of how racial and ethnic identities have come into being (Gudykunst, 2003; Guirdham, 1999; Jandt, 2001; Martin, 2000; Neuliep, 2003; Samovar, 2001). A short summary is helpfu l to understand the cu rrent situation of racial/ethnic identity today because the summ ary demonstrates for us the different ways that race and ethnicity have been crea ted and explained throughout history. Most Western Intercultura l Communication scholars choose to begin explaining race and ethnicity with the discovery of the New (to Europeans) World. In the name of religion, European explorers sought to col onize the newly found Western Hemisphere. The 15th and 16th Century explorers not only found f ood and raw materials different from their own, but more importan tly they also found people who appeared and behaved differently. Michael Omi and Howard Winant (2001) explain the conceptual problems the World held for Europeans: Â“When European explorers in the New World Â‘discoveredÂ’ people who looked different than themselves these Â‘nativesÂ’ challenged then existing
9 conceptions of the origins of the human species, and raised disturbing questions as to whether all could be considered in the same Â‘fam ily of manÂ’Â” (p. 32). Religious doctrine began to be translated to defend the enslav ement and the extermination of the New World natives. Religion, also, was us ed to prohibit and/or monito r the intermarriage between natives and the Europeans. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, science tried to create a classification system that categorized humans according to their differe nt racial compositions. Biology was applied to humans, and became a way to define the W ho and What of humans as a species. Fred Jandt (2001) explains, Â“The biol ogical definition [of race] is sa id to derive from Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, physician, and taxonomist, who said in 1735 that humans are classified into four types: Africanus Americanus Asiaticus and Europeaus Â” (p. 7). Thus, science developed a way to inte rpret and assign human differences. Today, following after the paradigms of relig ion and science, the concepts of race and ethnicity have come to be understood as socially constructed. Omi and WinantÂ’s (2001) position reflects the position of social constructionists and most identity scholars today: Â“Race is indeed a pre-eminently socioh istorical concept. Racial categories and the meaning of race are given concrete expressi on by the specific social relations and historical context in which they are embedde dÂ” (p. 32). These relations and historical contexts, of course, shift as do the meanings behind the labels used to term race and ethnicity. Religion, science, and now, social constr uctionism are all-important paradigms to use to see the different ways that history and the present have dealt with race and ethnicity. The terms Â“raceÂ” and Â“ethnicity Â” are often used in conjunction with one
10 another, and sometimes used interchangeab ly. However, ethnicity and race are denotatively distinct form one another. R ace generally refers to oneÂ’s genetic make-up and somatic properties. Ethnicity refers more to oneÂ’s behavior in relation to a larger group of which the individual claims to belong. According to Martin and Nakayama (2000), ethnic identity pertains to the feelings one has a bout belonging to a particular group. [Ethnicity] Â“typically includes severa l dimensions: self-ide ntification, knowledge about the ethnic culture (tradi tions, customs, values, and be haviors), and feelings about belonging to a particular et hnic groupÂ” (p. 122). Jandt ( 2001) also emphasizes that ethnicity, in addition to oneÂ’ s perceived identification w ith a group, is dependent upon oneÂ’s acceptance into a group as well. Thus, traditionally, race is seen as a something you are born into, regardless of your cultura l surroundings. For example, you can be born racially Black. However, ethnicity is so mething that you must learn and be accepted into. Thus, an individual may be racially Black, but his/her ethni city may be Jewish, Latina/o, Southern, etc. Even though denotatively the terms race and ethnicity are distinct, connotatively they are more similar than different. Rey C how (2002) explains that the terms Â“raceÂ” and Â“ethnicityÂ” are often conflated and this c onflation is overly critiqued by scholars: To my mind, however, it may actually be more productive not to insist on an absolute distinction between the two terms at all times, for the simple reason that they are, more often than not, mutually implicated. Their frequent conflation is not the result of mental sloppiness on the part of scholars but rather a symptom of the theoretical fuzziness of the terms themselves, a fuzziness that, moreover, must
11 be accommodated precisely because of th e overdetermined nature of the issues involved. (pp. 23-24) Thus, the very circumstances that bring about talk and understandings of race and ethnicity are so similar that the terms themse lves can be used in very similar ways. As Chow explains: In its modern usage, designating a kind of cultural condition that is descriptive of all human beings, ethnicity has, to all appe arances, shifted from its early, religious significance as a term of ex clusion and a clear boundary marker (between Jew and Gentile, Christian and heathen) to being a term of inclusion, a term aimed at removing boundaries and at encompassing all and sundry without discriminating against anybody. (p. 25) Today, everyone has an ethnicity, not just the Non-White. And because everyone has an ethnic identity, the term is almost a way to include everyone as one being (Â“weÂ’re all ethnicÂ”). Popularly, however, ethnicity is sti ll not seen as something everyone has, but rather as something that is Â“not white.Â” In fact, Chow notes, Â“for the ideal American, ethnicity is seen as something to be overcome and left in the pastÂ” ( p. 30)Â—to be read as White. Although the ideal American is encouraged to forget oneÂ’s ethnicity, there are still cultural processes in effect toda y that bring us back to our ra cial and ethnic identities. On an individual level, there are still people who want the ability to differentiate themselves according to their ethnic composition, for bot h honorable and dishonorable reasons. And on an institutional level, there are still attempts being made by groups like the United
12 States government to denote the differences between race and ethnicity in general, and between the specific categories of di fferent races and ethnicities. Eerily harkening back to Linneaus, we ar e divided into five identifiable racial categories and one racial category that is set-aside for individuals who do not identify with one of the five categories. The 2000 Census counted 281 million people in the United States, categorized us by our racial la bels, and then came to the following figures: Table 1: Breakdown of U.S. Population by Race Racial Category Percenta ge of U.S. Population White 75% Black or African American 12% Native American 1% Asian 4% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.1% Â“OtherÂ” Race 6% Two or More Races 2% Out of 281 million people there are 35 million Hi spanics or Latina/os. This figure means that 13% of the U.S. population is Latina/o. Because being Latina/o means being of a particular ethnicity and not of a particular race, Latina/os can/do exist as pa rt of one of five races. Although the categories do change with the changing views of society, these labels are the predominant ways we express our race and ethnicity. Every ten years, the U.S. Census form is delivered to every house hold, and people must lay claim to their race and ethnicity. Starting in 1980, citizens could mark their own boxes rather than have the boxes marked for them. And even though thes e claims are acts of self-determination, there are still societal rules that must be fo llowed. For example, when one says her race
13 is Â“Latina/o,Â” according to Race/Ethnicity schol ars she is mis-using the word race. First religion taught us that God determined all th ings. Then science ta ught us that nature behaves in predictable patterns. And now Soci al constructionism teaches us that we, as a society, create reality amongst one another. And even as our intellectua l trajectory brings us to a point that gives the most agency to th e individual (rathe r than Divinity or Nature), society still maintains rules that correct and override a personÂ’s understanding and expression about the self. Struggle between self-agency and societal-d eterminants is part of the process of being a social actor. Rona Halualani (2000) e xplains the dialectic of this struggle. Â“[W]e as social actors, can invoke, negotiate, challe nge, and resist the identity encodings that are created for us by structures of power. However, ethnic identity is also double-sided, re-signifiable, and never foreclos edÂ” (p. 587). Halualani, as a scholar interested in ethnic identity practices, expresses the complexi ty in enacting oneÂ’s ethnic identity. We participate in the social struct ures that create ethnic identit y, and in that participation we also have the chance to alter t hose structures. She explains: [T]he everyday communicative practices of identity via community performances, oral histories and narratives, and private (selective) memories contain more than meets the eye. These identity-practices reveal how a nativized, racialized, and (mis)recognized cultural group still re -assembles who they are (to be) in complicated and creative ways (although not always oppositionally). (p. 587) Halualani, therefore, positions the social actor caught in the middle of agency and overdetermination. Western philosophy has encouraged us to think of ourselves as having a Self-
14 Other split. There seems to be little room for people, like the Latina/o/White, to be both Self and Other. To understand more fully a way out of the limiting Self-Other split, Latina/o/Whites should be studied. While th ere is a body of literat ure on the Black/White individual (e.g., Jones 1994, Gates 1996, Rockquemore 1998, Harris 2000, Gillem 2001, Hall 2001, Rockquemore 2002), there is not much literature on the Latina/o/White identity. When I first began to look into th e ways that hybrid identity individuals had been theorized or empiricized, I looked at the writings on the Latina/o-White intermarriage. Naively, I t hought there would be research about the children of such intermarriages. I either found little research, or I found rese arch that talked about the children of these marriages in a flat way. For example, in a 1966 study of intermarriage of Mexican-Americans with Whites, there is di scussion of social variables like sex, class, and age; but there is not disc ussion of the children of such unions (Mittelbach, Moore, & Daniel, 1966). Another example of the flatne ss of such research is with the work of Edward Murgua (1982) who writes a complete book on the intermarriage between Chicanos and Whites, but only mentions Latina/o-White hybrid children in one paragraph. He states the pros and cons of such marriages and their choice to have children: On the one hand, some hold that interbreed ingÂ…is very positive. A biological analogy may be made in which a hybrid plant has qualities superior to those of the two parent stock. On the other hand, so me deplore the Â‘mongrelization,Â’ the loss of racial and cultural purity, that oc curs when there is mixing. (p. 16) Sadly, it must be noted that Murgua is writing as recently as 1982. Importantly, studying the Latina/o/White indi vidual as humans with agency rather
15 than as hearty plants offers a different set of complexities to current theories of ethnicity. The Latina/o identity has only become an ins titutionally recognized identity in the 1970s. Richard Rodrguez (2002) expl ains that President NixonÂ’s administration created the Hispanic as a Census category as recently as 1973. In only three decades, the group has gone from being federally unrecognized to U.S. societyÂ’s largest minority group. Although they have grown in population, th ey are still a relatively new group to academia. Ironically, even White-ness could be considered to be an academically unfamiliar ideaÂ—maybe even more unfamiliar than Latina/o identity. Nakayama and Krizek (1995) unpackage how Whiteness is a pa radoxical identity that while at the center of society, has remained unquestioned and almost ineffable. Nakayama and Krizek point out that the central political position of whiteness contribut es to Whites not finding it necessary to study their positiona lity: Â“Despite the historic al domination of the center and the myriad of ways it exerts its influen ce on the margins, our discipline has not been critical of this dominance over communication st udiesÂ” (p. 292). The privileged status of Whiteness has caused it to be pervasive in al l scholarship and in turn impervious to intellectual investigation. Therefore, even if Whiteness has been pres ent, attention to it has only come as of recent times. Therefor e both identities are relatively new-to-be studied identities that have yet to gain maturation in our discourse of race and ethnicity. Therefore, studying the two (Latina/oness a nd Whiteness) identitie s bound into one body may offer a new perspective on either iden tity, but more importantly offers a new perspective on the Self-Other dichotomy of racial/ethnic identity in general. Performing an Identity Irving Goffman (1959) is probably the mo st well known scholar across disciplines
16 to utilize Â“performanceÂ” as a key explanator y metaphor for how we convey who we are, and for how others understand who we are. Ce ntral to GoffmanÂ’s theory of identity is interaction. Goffman explains that when people interact, they seek information about one another. One can either Â“giveÂ” an expression or one can Â“give offÂ” an expression (p. 7). The Â“givingÂ” is an expression of intended me ssages about yourself. The Â“giving offÂ” is when you provide unintended messages to the people with whom you are interacting. Often using examples of social class, Go ffman makes the assertion that we tend to want to present ourselves in the best light. However, for the minoritized individual, this may not be so easily done. There can be many factors working ag ainst an individual from her accent, the color of her skin, and even the references she makes from memory. Also, Goffman assumes that all people seek to present themselves positively. Goffman explains that we present ourse lves to others, and in thos e presentations sometimes we must choose an identity performance that doe s not sit well with us, but is right for the particular audience at hand. In the case of race, there can be heavy societal costs for Â“givingÂ” and Â“giving offÂ” an identity. As social actors, we perform our identities in order to create meanings with others, and the misreadings or the devaluing of our performances are due to the dominant discursive structures around us. Alan H yde (1997) focuses on the legal discursive structures around us when he seeks to expl ain race as a performa nce of identity. Importantly, Hyde brings focus away fr om legal doctrine and back to the body by explaining how race is performed onto as well as through the flesh: Race is a claim that necessarily involv es the construction of a specularized body by a privileged eyeÂ…. [T]his constructi on inevitably performatively enacts a kind
17 of domination of the body by the eye. Race is thus not a thing or a state but a relationship, and the question is always not just what state has been constructed, but who is doing the construction and for what purpose? (p. 223) Important for my work, Hyde is positing that race (and I argue ethni city as well) is a performance. And that race ex ists in relationship to the other, but is enacted through the selfÂ’s body. Similarly, Jonathan Inda ( 2001), like Hyde, believes that the Latina/o body is not a biological fact, but is performatively consti tuted. Inda, following the work of Judith ButlerÂ’s (1993) work on gender, sees race as not referencing a pre-constituted body, but rather through naming a body raci ally, there is a racial insc ription of meaning upon that body. When the Latina/o body is named so, this naming is not in relation to a prelinguistic material body that is naturally Latina/o. Rather, this naming is a performative act that naturalizes the diffe rence or sameness assigned to the body. Also, both Hyde and Inda emphasize that the performativity of race is constructed for a purpose, and the purpose of the racial assignment often details what is at stake for that identity performance. For Butler, any performative has a referen ce to an ideal that may or may not be realized. According to Butler, in the moment of the act of performativity there exists an Â“impossibility of full recognition, that is, of ever fully inhabiting the name by which oneÂ’s social identity is inaugurated and mobilizedÂ” (1993, p. 226). Interestingly, then, race becomes an important example of the impos sibility of identity formation, especially when that identity Â“richocets between hype rvisibility and oblivionÂ” (Williams, 1997, p. 17). For race, hypervisibility is equal to underdistinguishment and oblivion is
18 overdetermination. Specifically, hybrid id entities of race and ethnicity complicate matters even more for performativity. E llen Gil-Gomez (2000) emphasizes that the hybrid racial identity is a conundrum due to its reference to two different racial/ethnic groups and to neither of its ethnic groups all at once. Of the difficulty in performing the hybrid identity she says, Â“How to play out the paradox of embodying an oneness that should not be able to exist based on the existing Â‘rulesÂ’?Â” (Gil-Gomez, 2000, p. 143). Gil-Gomez successfully expands the notion of performativity by taking it out of the binaries of gender into the multiplicity of race/ethnicity. She says: 1) If gender is an either/or, then race and ethnicity is no such thing. While White seems to be the norm and all other races are the aberration, there is no true opposite of White. Black comes closest to being the opposite, but next to Latina/o, Asian, American Indian, etc., Black is not clearly the opposite of Whiteness. 2) If gender only exists in it s performance, race/ethnicity is already written on the body in visual codes. These become pe rformances that confirm, disrupt, and confuse the visual. On the racial body, somatic properties become hard to hide and harder to reinterpret with in overdetermining structures. 3) Gender parody, as radically disruptive of gender categories, is not a good analogy for race/ethnicity. While passing is a mo re appropriate racial analogy, this, too, falls apart: there are some people who ca nnot choose to pass Â“for white, straight, men.Â” Therefore, Gil-Gomez brings us to perfor mativity in a way that honors the complexity of racial/ethnic discourses w ithout too closely approximating the issues of gender with
19 the issue of race/ethnicity. While the academy may be theorizing th e unstable constitutions of racial and ethnic identity, there are still very material realities of racialized humans that exist within a society that makes demands upon them based upon their racial and ethnic identities. However, by theorizing about ra cial and ethnic identity, we are better able to see how, perhaps, these identities can be re-perform ed or reassigned value. And by theorizing about the Latina/o/White identity performan ce, I can fill holes in extant identityperformance theories. Finally, performativity is a performance studies term very much currently en vogue. Butler (1993) does offer a way out of the overdetermining performative bodyÂ— disidentification. However, when she (and Jose Esteban Munoz, 1999) speak of disidentification, it is often within the realm of individua ls performing something that they are not. For both Butler and Munoz, th e disidentification of ten involves staged productions. However, the Latina/o-White offers a way to look at diside ntification that is more quotidian, and ironically, less overtly visible. By studying the performance of Latina/o-White identity, I will discuss disidentif ication through its subtleties rather than through a more polemic display. Multiplicity of Self and Other I am a child of the post-Civil Rights tim e; a child of a mixed ethnic coupling. I claim to be both a Self and an Other. I claim to be both White and Latina/o, and these identity claims make trouble for me. Ident ity is often considered to be a set of characteristics that occur innately and w ith consistent recurrencesÂ—all creating a knowable and even predictable Self. I move into, out of, and between both of my ethnic
20 identities. Sometimes people react negatively to my claims to be both identities. At other times, one identity eclip ses the other, causing friction. For example, sometimes I am verbally chastised as not being Latina/o enough. Or I am told that I am too White to be Latina/o. Or sometimes I am subtlety ex cluded from all-White gatherings because my Latina/o sensitivities to White bigotry (in the form of Â“just a jokeÂ” conversations) might be triggered. My identity irritates others by its fluidity, and by its unsavory quality of doubling the Self with the Other. Trinh (1990) states that in order to fulfill societyÂ’s conception of identity, individuals must follo w a pattern of predic tability. We must maintain a constant identity or else we will f ace societal punishment. Â“X must be X, Y must be Y and X cannot be Y. Those runni ng around yelling X is not X and X can be Y usually land in a hospital, a re habilitation center, a concentr ation camp or a reservationÂ” (p. 371). She asserts that those who play w ith their identity chan ce being condemned as mentally ill or labeled as me ntally underdeveloped. My abil ity and my choice to choose both ethnic identities create an unpredictable air that unsettles my friends, my community, and even my family. For generations, a cultural apartheid exis ted in socially and legally sanctioned ways that discouraged interracial and intere thnic sexual activity in the United States. After the Civil Rights era, more people began to resist the taboo of seeking out lovers of different racial and ethnic b ackgrounds. Now the offspring of these unions are adults, and many are seeking ways to identify themse lves and to express those identities. In 2000, therefore, the U.S. Census Bureau answered the requests of children of these mixed marriages and created a Mixed Race category for individuals who refused to claim only one race (Goldstein, 2000).
21 In the mid to late nineties, the U.S. gove rnment struggled to re-design a census that captured the complexity of the racial and ethnic identities of the U.S. population. Suzann Evinger (1996) summarized various ar guments over the Census, citing that some groups were looking for inclusion, others were looking for better identity labels, and still others were looking for a Census-dismissal all together. As the Office of Management and Budget (the group responsible for the Ce nsus) set up the Interagency Committee for the Review of Racial and Ethni c Standards, they set out to adjust the Census. They soon found themselves mired in the problem of people choosing to move between multiple selves on a test that is supposed to measure th e one true self. Sensitive to the complaints of multi-racial groups, the Committee tried to find a pattern on when and why multiracial individuals answered the questions the way they did. Evinger explains the different options that multi-racial individuals chose: Respondents who chose the multiracial categor y were asked if they did so because their parents were of different races, because their gra ndparents or earlier ancestors were from differe nt racial groups, because th e specific group to which they belong is mixed, or for some other reason. (p. 2) The Committee found no consistencies in answ ers. Then, to provide specifics on the arbitrariness of the patterns of respondents of multiple racial or ethnic backgrounds, Evinger (1996) uses the Latina/ o-White as her example: [P]eople with one Hispanic parent and one non-Hispanic parent may say yes to a separate Hispanic-origin question, but th ey may not be willing to say that Hispanic is their sole id entification. Eight percent of respondents who saw a
22 combined race/ethnic question identified themselves as Hispanic, compared with 11 percent who claimed Hispanic origin when it was a separate question. Most of those who chose Hispanic as an ethnic origin but not a race say they are Â‘whiteÂ’ or Â‘something else.Â’ (p. 2) And when the Committee changed options, th ey found participants changing the way they chose their options. Although the Census seeks out a definitive identity for individuals, critical theories of identity celebrate multiple selves and seek to massage the tensions around an identity that is not easily pi geonholed. Those theories that se ek to keep the complexity of identity, rather than try to simplify identities, are hybrid id entity and bord er identity. The theoreticians who are probably most closely connected to the term hybridity are Homi Bhabha and Nestor Garcia Canclini. Hybridity is a term that is emerging as part of the active vocabulary for understanding ethnic identity in our time. Nestor Garcia Canclini has been prolific in articulating hybridity as an ident ity concept. His experiences, of course, feed his understandi ngs of hybridity; and th ese understandings have helped many to understand the contempor ary issues with identity. He says, Â“I understand for hybridization the so ciocultural processes in whic h discrete structures and practices, that existed in sepa rate form, combine themselves to generate new structures, objects, and practicesÂ” (Canclini, 1995). Put simply then, hybridity is when two separate practices come together. Acco rding to Canclini, the two spac es where hybridity is most intense are in the metropolis and at borders. In crowded cities and at the coming together of separate nations, hybridity can be readily observed. Rather than just thinking of metropo litan areas and borders areas as physical
23 existences, he reminds us that mass media ha ve created metropolitan and border areas. For Canclini, identities are now met with cont radictory callings of the local and what is outside the local. Mass media make these sepa rate callings possible. Thus, as identities are formed today, they may be harkened with contradictory su mmons. Hybridzation forces us to notice the processes that are constantly changing and in flux. Canclini says, Â“The study of [cultural processes]Â… rather than conducing to the affirmation of selfsufficient identities, is useful in order to know about the ways of situating ourselves in the middle of heterogeneity and to understand how hybridizations are producedÂ” (p. 18). Again, it is the understanding of the processes not the defining of the st aid results that are of interest in understa nding hybrid identities. Homi Bhabha (1994) has been hugely infl uential in understanding and theorizing the hybrid identity. Bhabha plays with the ideas of time, space, and history to come up with a hybridized understanding of reality today that dovetails with HallÂ’s (1997) urging for re-signification. Hall feels that this resi gnification process is pr obably the best way to think through and out of oppre ssive meanings and their power constructs. Hall says, Â“For if signification depends upon the endless repos itioning of its differential terms, meaning in any specific instance depends on the c ontingent and arbitrary stop, the necessary breakÂ” (p. 51). And at that break, if we can re-signify or signify differently, then previously oppressive patterns might be subvert ed or even transformed. Bhabha is similar in his thinking of the world. Upsetting the simple binari es of good/bad, right/wrong, and us/them is a way to get around repressive stru ctures. He sees hybrid ity as offering that chance. For Bhabha (1994a), we are in a postcolonial time when the effects of
24 colonialism are still felt and recreated. All ar ound us is the colonial discourse that has assigned meaning to our lives and kept us within certain understa ndings of the world. According to Bhabha, an important feature of colonial discourse is its dependence on the concept of Â‘fixityÂ’ in the ideological construc tion of otherness. Â“Fixity, as the sign of cultural/historical/racial differe nce in the discourse of colonialism, is a paradoxical mode of representation: it connotes rigidity a nd an unchanging order as well as disorder, degeneracy, and demonic repetitionÂ” (p. 66). Th us out of colonialism has come a range of standards in relation to ethnic a nd racial identity that has crea ted patterns for such things as justice, truth, and merit. And it is the fixity of colonial discourse, the belief in the fixity of identity, that permits these constr ucts of identity to persist. Bhabha (1994b) celebrates hybridity as th e area where change can happen. For him, the hybrid offers insight into what is possible: What is theoretically innovative, and po litically crucial, is the necessity of thinking beyond initial cate gories and initiatory subj ects and focusing on those interstitial moments or pr ocesses that are produced in the articulations of Â“differences.Â” These spaces provide the te rrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood and communal representations that gene rate new signs of cultural difference and innovative sites of collaboration and c ontestation. It is at the level of the interstices that the inte rsubjective and colle ctive experiences of nationness, community interest, or cultural value are negotiated. (p. 269) Therefore, the in-between or the interstitial is a key moment in identity formation and articulation for not only the development of new identity, but to explicate how that identity is performed. Like Canclini, Bh abha holds the process of hybrid identity
25 formation as the key. He posits that in this process is the opportuni ty to learn something new and possibly, in HallÂ’s terms, to re-signify. Separate from, but in relation to hybridit y, is another theoretical paradigm that tries to explain multiple identities: border id entity theory. Two of the most influential theorists on border identity are Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Gloria Anzaldua. GomezPena (1996), like CancliniÂ’s and BhabhaÂ’s hybr idity, celebrates the po ssibilities inherent within a border identity. Fo r Gomez-Pena, border identity can have a definite political impact on society: The presence of the hybrid denounces the faults, prejudices, and fears manufactured by the self-proclaimed cen ter, and threatens the very raison dÂ’etre of any monoculture, official or not. It reminds us that we are not the product of just one culture; that we have multiple a nd transitional identities; that we contain a multiplicity of voices and selves, some of why may even be contradictory. And it tells us there is nothing wrong with contradictionÂ” (p. 12). There is possibility not just for the person with the border identity, but also for others. In order to demonstrate the difficulties, the oppor tunities and the ironies of border identity, Gomez-Pena writes about the iden tity, but he also creates pe rformance art that projects border identity complexities. His notoriety has reached out of the art communities and into the academic communities. Theorists like Canclini and Bhabha have even used Gomez-Pena and his work to explai n their own concepts of hybridity. Gloria AnzalduaÂ’s (1999) work is al so an exemplar for understanding border identity. She speaks of la conciencia mestiza a state of being in which a person, who plays many identity roles, learns to know th e world through its contin gencies rather than
26 its fixities. Perhaps Anzaldua, more than any other scholar, is responsible for making border identity a commonly uti lized concept. AnzalduaÂ’s work tries to express the tornness of an identity that is neither fixed nor accepted. She defines border identity as a conflicted identity: In perceiving information and points of view, she is subjected to a swamping of her psychological borders. She has disc overed that she canÂ’t hold concepts or ideas in rigid boundaries. The borders a nd walls that are supposed to keep the undesirable ideas out are entrenched habits and patterns of beha vior; these habits and patterns are the enemy. (p. 101) Like Gomez-Pena, Anzaldua speaks of border identity as complex, as forever unsettled, and as antithetical to being fully completed. Critiquing both Gomez-Pena and Anzaldua, Pablo Vila (2003) honors the work of both writers, but also sees serious problems w ith their positionings. Mainly Vila wants to honor the material realities of border crossers. These materi al realities are constantly elided by the metaphorical and poetical wri ting used by Gomez-Pena and Anzaldua. For people on the Mexican side, the border is more than just a metaphor of reality. For them the border represents exhaustingly lengthy lines, humiliatingly incessant harassment, and emotionally draining debates. Vila points out the less-than-ideal conditions of border existences, and how these are elided by the work of Gomez-Pena and Anzaldua. The lesson offered is a stern one: do not over-idealize such an identity. Using Vila as a spring board, my study of Latina/o-Whites first contributes to the theories of hybridity and border identity by m oving focus away from theory and into the lived experience of ambiguous identity. Canclini and Bhabha write high theory. I plan to
27 merge their theories with the quotidian practices of Latina/o-Wh ites. The result will be a richer understanding and explanation of their theo ries and of material practices of identity construction. Gomez-Pena is a performan ce artist who writes about (and performs) his performance art. Anzaldua, while she write s about herself, only seems to write about herself and her lived experien ces. Both writers come to celebrated conclusions. Ulf Hannerz (1997), an anthropologist, tries to understand the current academic fascination with borders. He explicates that when scholars write about crossing borders, whether diasporas, exiles, cosmopolitanism, synergy, etc., writing about border crossing is often coupled with creativity. Si milarly, George Sanchez (2000 ) warns against terms like Â‘cosmopolitanÂ’ for their ignoring of how power ma nifests itself in daily racial discourse. I will approach border identity and hybridity as more than just celebrated creativity: the mundane, the not-so-free aspects, and the unpleasantries of this identity are all realities as well. Projecting a utopian view of hybridity and border existence is only part of the story. Thus, this dissertation is an identity pr oject that rises out of three conceptual areas: self, other, and racial other; performance as identity; and multiple self identities. My project enters the conversation of id entity to further develop theoretical understandings as well as provi de explanatory cultural data. Speaking specifically about the Latina/o-White hybrid individual, the project will also provide ways to re-think identity for anyone seeking to articulate th e multiplicity of her/hi s own self-identity. Preview of the Chapters In Chapter Two, I interview nine participants who have one Latina/o parent and one White parent. Against a backdrop of th e U.S. racial discourse on Latina/o-ness and
28 Whiteness, the participants explain the experi ences of their identitie s. I divided their responses into four main themes: construc ting and negotiating ident ities through material practices, through the visual, through discourse, and through performative acts. All the participants express liv ing in the tensions and possibiliti es of their Latina/o-White hybrid identity. While Whiteness was consistently re-c entered in their self-perceptions, this recentering disrupts a naturalness to their racial identity. No longer is race naturally linked to ocular perception for these participants. Rather, race is understood beyond the visual but also into the performative. This disruption of naturaln ess, even if not capitalized upon, allows room for a more im aginative approach to race. In Chapter Three, I utilize the Mexica n pop singer, Paulina Rubio, as a backdrop to my own theoretical and material perfor mative embodiments of hybridity. I deconstruct the perceived hybridity of Paulina Rubio, and I theorize the lived-experience of my own hybrid performativity. Our globalized media syst em is a generator for the possibility of hybridity, but interpretations of this hybridit y exists at a local level. Finally, I demonstrate how hybrid performativity, while th eoretically achievable, loses its material efficacy. In the realm of local practice, the enactment of hybridity is still up against powerful racial ideologies. In Chapter Four, I do a close-reading of three memoirs written about and by Latina/o-White hybrid individuals. First, I theorize how their text s are performances. Then I discuss three performative trappings found across the memoirs: language as a binary/hierarchy tra p, the performance of Whiteness, and how words produce their subjects and effects. Hybridity, following performative injunctions, is both thrust upon by late-capitalist global society and a strate gy for existing within late-capitalist global
29 society. This range of hybridity, being thrust upon and being a strategy, is reproduced as a continuum across different hybridities of the Latina/o-White hybrid individual. The continuum moves across five hybrid strategies for languaging identity: imposter, mongrel, homeless, bridge, and twin. Finall y, I discuss how a necessary component of the creation of the Latina/o-White hybrid indi vidual, both romantic and sexual love, is left out of the continuum, but should not be left out of the imaginative possibilities of this hybrid performativity. Chapter Five is a summary of the disse rtation. This summary begins with a discussion a theatrical production. La Virgen del Tepeyac Next the chapter makes a connection between theater and performance st udies, placing the theo ry of performativity as the common denominator. Utilizing the unde rstanding of the grammar of identity, the chapter makes the argument that the La tina/o-White hybrid individual confuses grammatical correctness, consis tently placing these subjects within the subjunctive mood. In this confusion lies possibilities for deeper understandings of raci al identity that goes beyond just the ocular, but includes other perfor mative aspects of identity as well. After covering implications for furthe r research, the chapter rests with the conclusion that the instability of performativity, as evidenced in La Virgen del Tepeyac and the Latina/oWhite hybrid individual, provides an exemplar of the multitude of possibilities in everyoneÂ’s identity.
30 Chapter Two: Acting in Concert and Acting in Accord: Perfomativity of Latina/o-White Identity There are people who like to talk about the borderÂ….those who dedica te themselves to studying the border, who are very knowledgeable and talk about her like experts. I, on the other hand, am one of those who donÂ’t like to talk about the border. Right now, IÂ’m writing these lines with a certain discomfort. Â–Luis Humberto Crosthwaite, I DonÂ’t Talk about Her and She DoesnÂ’t Talk about Me Minutes before my first interview participant is to arrive, I fidget in my office. I check to make sure all of the necessary materi als are available. I have two copies of my interview scheduleÂ—one for me and one for my participant. I ha ve my digital voice recorder and, just in case, a fresh set of AA A batteries. I have tissue for potential tears and bottled water for potential dry throat. I look at my silenced cell phone to make sure there are no missed calls. The participant, right on time, knocks on my open office door. With a wide smile and a cracked voice, I stand to greet her and invite her to sit dow n. She glances about, not knowing where to sit because I have forgo tten to clear off any of the three available chairs. In a rush, I toss books and papers onto the floor righ t at her feet. She politely accepts my invitation to sit, but only after carefully navigating through the materials now littering the office floor. As both of us la ugh at the awkwardness of the moment, I admit to her, Â“YouÂ’re my first inte rview. IÂ’m a bit nervous.Â” This interviewing project began as a personal odyssey. I was seeking fellow travelers with a background similar to my ow n. That is, I was seek ing individuals with one Latina/o parent and one White parent. I hoped that by conversing with these
31 participants, I could perhaps find a way to e xpress myself that has been lost to me. Guillermo Gomez-Pena (1986) optim istically states: Â“As border citizens, this is our great challenge: to invent new languages capable of articulating our incred ible circumstancesÂ” (p. 11). At the inception of this interview project, I held similar optimism. I hoped that by interviewing these subjects, I could perh aps discover this new language capable of articulating the Latina/o-White hybrid subject. The purpose of this chapter is to two-fo ld: 1) to explore how these individuals articulate their lived experience of Latina/o-Wh ite identity, and 2) to use their words as a possible bridge between theories of identity and these lived experiences. Performativity and hybridity are both theories that make claims about id entity constitutionÂ—but most often without material examples to breath a felt life in to these theoretical claims. Their words, I hoped, would be this breath. I sought to privilege the voices of Latina/o-White hybrid individuals, to honor their everyday e xperiences, and to wonder with them about the possibilities or impossibilities for agency outside of dominant discursive frames of race and ethnicity within the United States. Following ButlerÂ’s (1988) understanding of gender, I analyze these interv iews to understand what ways ethnicity is constructed through specific corporeal and discursive acts, and what possibilities ex ist for the cultural transformation of ethnicity through such acts (p. 521). I conversed with nine indi viduals at two sides of the United StatesÂ—in Tampa, Florida, and in Fresno, California. The cont exts for the intervie ws varied from my university office to their homes. While the conversations were a ll based upon the same interview script, each one was unique to the life experiences and pe rsonality of each individual. What I learned early on in the jo urney through this interv iew process is that
32 these participants, like myself, are not out to invent anything new. Rather, they are seeking to exist within discursive prac tices that are both limiting and creative. The following table details some releva nt demographic information of the participants. Table 2 Interview Participants Name Age Gender Education LevelArea RaisedLatina/o Parent Country Adam 20s Male HS Southwest Father Mexico Anita 30s Female MA Southwest Mother Mexico Chip 20s Male BA Southwest Father Mexico Irene 20s Female BA Southwest Father Mexico Linda 40s Female PhD Southeast Mother Honduras Monica 30s Female PhD Midwest Mother Peru Sara 20s Female MA Southeast Mother Mexico Susie 20s Female BA Southwest Father Mexico Warren 50s Male PhD Northeast Father Puerto Rico The nine participants in this study range in ag e from early twenties to mid-fifties. Three are men; six are women. Their educational le vels range from a high school diploma to a doctorate degree. Only one of them stopped at the high school leve l, while three are pursuing Bachelors degrees, two have comp leted Masters degrees, and three have completed or nearly completed their doctorates. Geographically, the nine part icipants have been raised throughout the expanse of the United States. Six of the participants ar e from the Southwest; while two are from the Southeast, one from the Midwest, and one fr om the Northeast. Four of them have a
33 Latina mother while the six others have a Lati no father. For seven of them, their parents are of Mexican heritage, while only one had a parent of Peruvian heritage, another of Honduran heritage, and a third of Puerto Rican heritage. I located these participan ts through word of mouth within my community. I informed my family, friends and acquaintances of the nature of my research, the general scope of its inquiry, and the reasons for my in terest in this area of study. After allowing the information to circulate, individuals soon contacted me with either an interest to participate in my research or with the c ontact information of others interested in participating. Then I used snowball samp ling to find other participants. For the interview process, I conducted a semi-struc tured interview [see Appendix A] with the participants. Thomas Lindloff (1995) best sums up the qualitative interview process I adopted: The researcher defines a purpose for such conversations to occur, and selects social actors to advance the conversational purpose. The resear cher elicits talk about their experiences. Through this me thod the communication researcher tries to gain a critical vantage point on the sense making in communication performances and practices. (p. 165) Towards the conclusion of each interview, I encouraged each participant to express anything not already covered by the inte rview schedule. I attempted to make the interviews as conversational as possible to a llow the participant to control the direction and pace of the interview. The interviews were digitally recorded and then transcribed. From the transcriptions, I read for themes of frequency and intensity. While the talk was wide ranging and various, our talk, my questions, and their answers seemed to
34 occur against an ever-present backdrop of contemporary understandingsÂ—both academic and commonsenseÂ—about ethnic ity, about whiteness, and ab out Â“betweenness.Â” I begin with this backdrop for the ways it always colored our conversations. The Terms of Latina/o Identity Latina/os and Whites have made demar cations between themselves; however the irony behind these acts of separation is that neither identity marker has its own clarity. Despite the murkiness of the terms, these words are still used by groups to clearly differentiate between one a nother. White is named: Caucasian, EuroAmerican, American, Gringo, etc. Latina/o is name d: Brown, Hispanic, Mexican American, Mexican, etc. One of the first ambiguities of the term Latina/o is the semantic-usage battle between it and the corresponding term Hispanic Scholars such as Delgado (1994) have discussed the complexities of the term Hisp anic within Latina/o communities. Chicano historian Carlos Muoz (1989) argues that the term is problematic because there is nothing about Hispanic that acknowledges any connection to non-White indigenous cultures in the Americas. The political im plications and potentia l problems associated with this term have pushed me towards Latin a/o as a more encompassing term. There are many people, like myself, who have rejected th e word Hispanic because of its colonizing tone, its emphasis on Spain and by implicati on Europe, and its orientation toward a White-skinned people. Delgado (1998) argues that Latina/o iden tity is complex and cannot simply be neatly categorized. He argues that much at tention needs to be placed on the context and the complex articulations of Latina/o ident ities that context permits. Furthermore,
35 Delgado (1994) fights the urges of other scholars who create a continuum of identity between Latina/o identity terms such as Hispanic, Chicana/o, and Latina/o. The impossibilities of creating a unified Latina/o re presentation because of issues of national origin, ethnicity, and race have been documented (Calafell & Delgado, 2004). PanLatina/o representations have been sparse, but they have emerged in recent years (Calafell & Delgado, 2004). However, Zimmerman (2003) reminds us of the potential pitfalls of using the term Latina/o as an all-encompassing term: at times it only erases difference between ethnic groups, but it can also pr ivilege the identity of one ethnic group as representative of all Latina/o ethnic groups. Others scholars such as D vila (2001) have argued about the problematic construction of Latina/o as a marketing term for advertisers who in a sense shape, create, and delimit the terms of La tina/o identity. However, there is no other term that encompasses pan-Latina/o identities The layered debate and complexity of the issues surrounding the use of the term demonstrate the importance of this work in sorting through and layering Latina/o id entities. For me, choosing one term over the other in the interviews was problematic: how might I be including, excluding, privileging, or obscuring markers of identity in these conversations? The Ineffable White White identities are not without de finitional problems as well. The Communication field has seen a surge in stud ies of Whiteness and White identity, but the seminal article on this topic remains Naka yama and KrizekÂ’s (1995) Â“Whiteness: A Strategic Rhetoric.Â” Through rhetorical in terpretation of interview data and popular press, Nakayama and Krizek (1995) found that discourses of Whiteness cast it as both
36 everything and nothing simultaneously. They assert that Whiteness maintains it power through its invisibility and its unchartability. Because Whitene ss is without definition its power circulates (Nakayama and Krize k, 1995). The undefinability of Whiteness coupled with its pervasiveness causes confus ion and uncertainty about White identity. In addition to work by Nakayama a nd Krizek (1995), Robyn Weigman (1999) attempts to sum up the themes and debates found in the emerging field of Whiteness studies and she finds many paradoxes in being Wh ite. For example, it is a particular yet a universal, it is a majority th at can be marginalized, and it is everywhere but nowhere. Notable in her article is the fact that sh e never once defines White. The closest she comes to an explanation is with an explanation of the privil ege of White as found in Noel IgnatievÂ’s and John GarveyÂ’s (1996) Race Traitor : The White race is a club, which enrolls certain people at birth, without their consent, and brings them up according to its rules. For the most part the members go through life accepting the benefits of membership, without thinking of the costs. When individuals question the rule s, the officers are quick to remind them of all they owe the club, and warn of the da ngers they will face if they leave it. (p. 142) While Ignatiev and Garvey argue that th e best way to get rid of the problems caused by Whites is to do away with White identity, they like others have a hard time articulating what White identity is. Howeve r, Moon and Flores ( 2000) explain that the strategies taken by Ignatiev and Garvey do little to disempower Whiteness and instead serve to recenter it. Perhaps Maurice Berger (1999) has the be st articulations of ineffable Whiteness
37 when he remembers attending an academic panel discussing White identity: Whiteness implied not a color of skin, per se, but a usually unexamined state of mind and body. Whiteness was a powerful norm that had been so constant and persistent in society that White people never need to name it. (p. 203-204) Therefore Whiteness is an identity that is most clearly defined by its link to societal privilege and its unexamined condition. While the Latina/o identity is problematic to represent because of the complex ity in terms of difference, the difficulty or complexity of representing Whiteness lies in its pervasiven ess. In the interviews, my quandary was how to ask of the specific enactments of Whitene ss against its backdrop of its pervasiveness murkiness. Between the Many-Named and the Never-Need-to-be-Named While academic intellectuals debate relativism and subjectivism, the rest of the world continues to follow a modernist essent ialist perspective on life. Within the modernist penchant for truth and order lay a pparently clear and rigi d categorizations of race and ethnicity. Excavating the layers of identity burie d within labels, Elaine K. Chang (1994) points out how identity term s are being and should be problematized because Â“many of us, indebted to the less ons of Bernice Johnson Reagon, Audre Lorde, and Adrienne Rich, feel we have absorbed the lesson that not Â‘all women are created equally unequalÂ’Â” (p. 252). The varying di senfranchised experien ces of individuals and/or the multiple affiliations may not be represented in their generalized labels; therefore labels may not always capture who a person is. As more diverse voices are being heard in more complex ways, it is an important
38 time to delve into the gray s of polar black and white opposites of the foundational identity terms. For example, Homi Bh abha (1994a) encourages us to understand identities from many viewpoints. In calling for more complexity in examining identity, he uses the demographic categories of cla ss and gender as his example. Following his argument, when class or gender is connected with other demographic categories, they complexify the understanding of the identity being explained. He says: The move away from the singularities of Â‘classÂ’ and Â‘genderÂ’ as primary conceptual and organizational categories ha s resulted in a useful awareness of the multiple subject positionsÂ—of race, ge nder, generation, institutional location, geopolitical locale, sexual orientationÂ—that inha bit any claim to identity in the (post)modern world. (p. 269) In addition, Patricia Hill Collins (1990) argues for the necessity of understanding the intersecting nature of race, class, and gender in order to understand how they shape experiences of oppression together. To separa te each of these ident ity categories for the purpose of attempting to understand oppre ssion would undermine or disempower marginalized persons. While these intervie ws did not try to amalgamate all the demographic categories of identity, this proj ect does take up BhabhaÂ’s and CollinÂ’s call to complicate identity by examining the expe riences of individuals who are not neatly within one ethnic category. However, the lit erature I have detail ed demonstrates the difficulties of attempting to create identities in relationship to the all pervasive Whiteness and the multifaceted Latina/oness. Following scholars like Judith Butler ( 1988) who assert that identity is performatively constituted, I see my participants as performers of their racial identities. I
39 understand that their racial id entities have a foundation in th e scientific discourses of biology; however, I also understand that through naming someone a specific race or ethnicity, the identity is retr oactively constituted and natura lized. The racial body is not a site of biological trut hs, but a historically contingent socially constructed and negotiated category of knowledge. Through the reiterative power of discourse, the normalization of the racialized body occurs. These reiterations are Â“actsÂ” either from the body or to the body. Fully aware of the discourses of Latina /o and White identity, I interviewed my participants, and I was anxious to hear th eir own understandings of these theoretical complexities and calls. In analyzing the resu lts of the interviews, I divide the results from the interviews into four main categories. Each category relates to the larger theme of the construction and negotiation of the Latina/o-White hybrid identity through 1) material practices, 2) the visual 3) discourse, and 4) acts. In the interviews and in this analysis, I listened carefully for articulat ions of how those acts materialize by paying particular attention to the Latina/o-White hybrid individual as each performatively enacted varying ethnic identities. Constructing and Negotiating Iden tity through Material Practices The first main theme I identified was related to the issue of constructing and negotiating identity through materi al practice. Feminist anal yses of materiality provide an important watchword in this analysis. Fo r Teresa deLauretis ( 1986), asserting identity is not a goal, but is rather a place to begin listening to the multivalent, shifting negotiations of Â“self-contradictory id entityÂ… made up of heterogeneous and heteronymous representations of gender, race, a nd classÂ” (p. 9). Jill Dolan (1993) carries
40 this claim one step further, Â“Identity become s a site of struggle, at which the subject organizes and reorganizes competing discourse s as they fight for supremacyÂ” (p. 88). Material practices, then, become ways to articulate and embody these discourses. In these interviews, participants describe ac tions and experiences of their self-enactments in relationship to the dominant ideologies a bout Latinas/os or Whites. For example, in describing how he negotiates his identity in relationship to dominant images in the media, Chip attempts to cast his identity through his choice of clothes while reflecting upon the ways that clothes are marked or corr elated with certain subjectivities: IÂ’m wearing a pink t-shirt and Hurley surf er shorts so it doesn Â’t get much more White than that. I donÂ’t know, I mean, what makes you Mexican? I mean, should I slick my hair back and drive around in a low rider? I eat a shit load of Mexican food. People have asked me that before and I donÂ’t really have an answer for them. Because I donÂ’t wear saggy jeans, I donÂ’t have teardrops tattooed under my eyes. Whatever it is that you see in the movies, I donÂ’t do that. Interestingly, as Chip seeks to create a sp ace for himself outside of dominant ideologies or stereotypes of Latinas/os, he finds affiliation with symbols of Whiteness not only through his dress, but through th e discursive distance he maintains with Â“Mexicans.Â” He seems to assert an affect of Otherness or foreignness with the Me xican that he does not assert for Whites. Similarly, in discussing his personal style and how it re flects his culture Adam states: Maybe itÂ’s the people I end up kicking it with. Maybe I am drawing the wrong girls. Lots of time I am wearing Dock ers and collared shirts. I donÂ’t wear junky
41 clothesÂ—my clothes are expensive. I got a lot of culture, I wear dress shirts. His comments, while attempting to create ag ency for himself, once again disempower any potential Latina/o affiliation because he conflates a preferred middle class with Whiteness. AdamÂ’s interpretation and discussion of culture is also interesting in that he alludes to culture doubly. For him culture is about economic empowerment and an absence of non-White ethnicities. Given the uncer tainty he feels regard ing his ethnicity or bloodlines to culture, Adam connects to cu lture through economic means and, in turn, equates Whiteness to cultural capital. However, within this theme participants did not simply discuss ways that they negotiated their appearances, but they also di scussed how they chose to perform their identities against stereotypes. For example Irene described the ways her White mother dissuaded her from identifying with her Latina/o heritage: The [Latina/o] image is to stay home and cook and clean and neither of us agreed. [My sister and I] are two females. And we have tried to break away, it has been a long chain of people who tried to break away from that aspect that women are negative, that they are only made for one reason and stuff like that. Aware of the limited spaces for Latina subj ectivity because of the pervasiveness of religion and the hegemonic use of religious symbols such as the Virgin of Guadalupe (Anzalda, 1987), Irene attempts to create a sp ace for herself outside of these delineating gender ideologies. She rejects domesticity a nd the politics that put pressure on women on fulfilling a domestic role. While initially se eming to be libratory, this tactic has the effect of having Irene completely disavow many things Latina/o in fear that this rejection is the only way she can escape id eological gender marginalization.
42 Linda actually is assumed to be so White that she actually ha s to Â‘come outÂ’ to people about her Latina/o side. She says: The difficulty of coming out to people is real. Now I decided that for my classes that, you know, thatÂ’s one of the first things I do in the first few weeks. I let them get to know me, and then after the first c ouple of weeks, I give them something like the essay I wrote on my identity. And th en I say, Â‘Okay, this is me.Â’ Because I remember in the early years that so metimes I wouldnÂ’t ever say anythingÂ… because of fear. How would they label me? Would they ridicule me? Because some people do. Nakayama and Krizek (1995) teach that one of the ways in which Whiteness maintains its power is through the assimilation of differen ce. Therefore, in the case of LindaÂ’s narrative, as a Latina/o-White hybrid identity, any difference she has is quickly subsumed by normative Whiteness since she does not eas ily fit into pre-existing categories of difference. As Nakayama and Krizek have argued (1995), Whiteness is allowed breath and complexity and, if Otherness stands in defiance to Whiteness, then it is rendered simplistic. Linda understands the prejudice that can come from others when they have a label to put on youÂ—especially a non-White la bel. Furthermore, her coming out story communicates how when you give up your White ness, you give up safety and control. Participants also described more private or personal actions or experiences that they performed or were encouraged not to perform. A common theme was that of family-oriented practices. For participants Irene, Susie, and Monica, being highly oriented to family gatherings and kinships was a Latina/o performance. Susie says that the difference between Whiteness and Latina/oness for her is the connection with family:
43 My [Latina] momÂ’s side of the family is more family-oriented, whereas my [White] dadÂ’s side of the family isnÂ’t. I think thatÂ’s one thin g I would base their differences on. She also explains that her Latina/o side of the family is much larger than the White side, and her Latina/o family members visit one anot her more often, while the White side does not usually get together: [One the Latina/o side] we get together al l the time, for all the major holidays. The whole family is in California and th eyÂ’re from different parts of California, like San Francisco and San Jose. We all us ually come together in Merced, either at our house or my momÂ’s sist erÂ’s houseÂ…. And itÂ’s just a given that all of use are going to be there. My mom comes fr om a larger family, sheÂ’s got two other sisters and a brother. And my dadÂ’s the only child. Well he ha s a half-sister in Alabama, but we usually donÂ’t get together. Both the size of the Latina/o family and th eir geographic closeness is a common trait for Latina/os in SusieÂ’s articulati on of difference. Contrastingly, SusieÂ’s White side of the family is relatively small and dispersed in a lengthier distance from one another. Monica has similar views of Latina/onessÂ’ relation to family and furthers the Latina/o distinction to Whiteness by poi nting to the differences in food: We celebrate the same holidays but all th e food is different. You know we have tamales as well as turkeyÂ…. I celebrate Thanksgiving with my White side of the family and Christmas with the other side So we have a traditional Thanksgiving and then at Christmas time my grandm other makes the rice and beans and all those things. Sometimes for birthdays my grandma will make a lot of those
44 ethnic type foods. IÂ’ve learned how to make some of those things. For Monica, the White holidays are adhered to but they have Latina/o adaptations. Within the cultural patterns of Whiteness, La tina/oness is enacted and not the other way around. Irene learned to perform Latina/oness on a personal level by making Latina/o food, but she needs recipes or the presence of her Latina grandmot her to successfully create the meals: I learned how to make tortillas I can make chile relleno but I have to go back to the recipeÂ…. I used to make tamales every year with my grandma. Rice, beans, itÂ’s just a matter of being with her. Usually I am with her and, you know, she measures with her hands and stuff. Like Monica, Irene connects to her Latina-ne ss through cooking, specifically through her grandmotherÂ’s cooking. However, without her grandmother, she has to use recipes. With her grandmother, she has someone th ere to legitimate and authenticate the performance. To perform Latina alone is to perform it with self-c onsciousness and selfdoubt. These themes of family and the role of food and cooking in maintaining or performing Latina/o identities are discusse d by Sandoval-Snchez and Sternbach (2001) as they write about Latina theater. Sandova l-Snchez and Sternbach explicate that as Latinas perform their identities on stage much of the actions, dile mmas, and identities they work through happens in the kitchen during the process of cooking. Thus, they demonstrate how the kitchen is often a site for the performative of Latina/o identity. When thinking of personal relationships and how he will construct his family,
45 Adam toggles between marrying a Latina or a White woman. He feels that his choice in partner will determine his ethnic performance as a family member. He uses his sister and brother as models. His brother married a La tina and his sister married a White man. His brotherÂ’s nuclear family is more Latina/o w ith the child even having the name of a Cuban cinematic character. His sisterÂ’s nuclear family, however, is White, with her Aryanesque daughter. He says: I get stuck between do I want a Mexican girl to keep the bloodline going, or will a White girl be on the court? My brother married a Mexican girl and they have a baby. He was born in central Mexico a nd his son is Antonio Miguel. Antonio comes from Tony Montana of Scarface But my sister married a White guy and now sheÂ’s got a blue-eyed baby girl. Rather than considering cooking, Adam cons iders his own patrilineage as a personal practice. In determining who he will marry, he is determining the ethnicity of his family. He feels his courting, framed as an either/or personal enactment, w ill determine the more public appearance of his immediate offs pring. He makes a connection between bloodlines and culture, marki ng in his mind the importance of genetics in maintaining and creating ethnic identities. Monica brings it all full circ le when she explains the transition she went through in college. She transitioned from perfor ming White to performing as Latina and it was her relationship to her family that marked the transition. She says: The biggest difference [between Latina/o and White] is the importance to family. I think that comes from my Hispanic b ackground. Going away to college at 18, I thought, I want to get away from my pa rents, get away and be my own personÂ…
46 which is very much the American side of being independent. But as I got older, I realized how important family is. My sist er had her first baby and I want to be a tia he knows, not one that he never sees. I went back three times the year he was born. When I looked for jobs, I only looke d out West so I can be near him. According to the participants, Latinas/os ar e characteristically more focused on tight-knit family relationships, while White families of ten honor and expect more independence of their children. Initially, the White Monica, considered moving away to be a good choice, but then the Latina Monica reconsiders her choi ce. This reconsideration sides more with a Latina perspective of family. She even ch aracterizes herself not as an Â“auntÂ” but a Â“ tia .Â” This characterization marks her not necessarily as White but as Latina. Interestingly, much like Irene she initially assigns freedom to White identities, seeing Latina/o identities or identification with them as restrictive to her personal freedom. However, unlike Irene who chose to perf orm Whiteness, Monica chose to perform Latina/oness. For these participants, material practi ces such as choice of apparel, selfidentification, and emphasizing family relati onships mark the difference between their Whiteness and their Latina/onness. Latina/o appearance is of a lower economic and therefore less culturally valuable value than White. Also, when identifying as a Latina/o, this outing must be first couc hed in White normalcy. Additi onally, Latina/os have a more interdependent family relationship while Whites have a more independent family relationship. When enacting these materi al practices, the Latina/o-White hybrid individual constructs and nego tiates his/her identities for th e advantage of the individual.
47 Constructing and Negotiating Identity through the Visual The second theme that I discovered concerns how other people label the Latina/oWhite hybrid individual and how he/she constr ucts and negotiates that identity through the visual projections cast upon them. Fo r example, some of the participants acknowledged that they were identified as White depending upon the lightness of their skin color. People either legitimized or delegitimized their Latina/oness depending upon whether the observer could link the participantÂ’s skin color to a stereotypical Latina/o brownness or a stereotypical White fairness. Observers judge the Latina/o-White hybrid individual people based upon his/her looks and make those judgments based upon preexisting dominant stereotypes of racial and ethnic groups. According to Warren, an orphan, he was gi ven back to an adoption agency by his widowed adopted-mother due to his inability to pass as a White infant: I was un-adopted, and the adopted-father di ed, by chance, just by circumstances and the adopting-mother un adopted me. She gave me back to the State of New York because she was afraid that she woul d never be able to get another man in her life because any man that she hooked up with would think she had previously hooked up with an African American. I wa s so dark, and so she just gave me back. When Warren was older, he moved around to different foster homes, and was consistently told that he was White by the foster families. Warren explains: Having never had contact with either [biological] pare nt throughout any of my childhood, so not knowing or having a raci al identity at that time, itÂ’s like I constantly tried to find out how to be the peg to fit.
48 Of course, youÂ’re force fed that you had to identify as a race. And I didnÂ’t know how to do that. I was never able to do that. I spent most of my time growing up in White families. From 5 to 15 I was w ith a German family, and they lived in a predominately Italian, Polish, Irish, ve ry White neighborhood. You know, these were a mix of cultures, but Euro-cultures mostly. I was always the darkest kid in the class, complexion wise. But I would come home and my fo ster parents would try to say, Â“YouÂ’re White.Â” Warren was at a loss for self-definition. In his youth he sought to find himself in the U.S. ethnic pastiche, and relied upon White parents to assist him in his search. Rather than allowing a non-White self-interpretation, they insisted upon him bei ng White. Patricia Hill Collins (1990) asserts that a key stra tegy through which Black women can empower themselves is through self-definition. Histori cally, one major aspect of the oppression of Black women has been ideological in that other groups have defi ned them, not allowing Black women to create their own definitions of selfhood. The questi on of self-definition arises here as each of the participants is named by others rather having the agency to name themselves. Susie says that she is generally not cons idered Latina/o because of the lightness of her skin: Usually theyÂ’re pretty surp rised that IÂ’m Latina/o or that IÂ’m half Latina/o because they canÂ’t tellÂ…. When I tell th em, they usually canÂ’t tell by looking at me. My brother is different. My brother got all the dark features. And so I got all the German features, I guess. By juxtaposing herself against her darker brot her, she demonstrates that her light colored
49 skin is what delegitimizes her Latina/oness. Chip has had similar experiences of being considered White despite his olive skin color not coordinating with his bl ue eyes or blonde hair. This is a contradiction that he emphasizes. He says: Most people donÂ’t think IÂ’m Mexican. Th ey think I am the White guy with a tanÂ…. A lot of people just figure I am White then they ask me why I am so tan--not, Â“What are you?Â” but Â“Why ar e you so dark? Do you tan?Â” Irene has been grouped with White pe ople by a professor although she does not consider herself just White. It was her light skin color that pro voked the classification: Actually my professor, Roseanne, identified me as White. We were in the classroom and she said, Â“yes and all you White peopleÂ…Â” And I said, Â“Hey wait!Â” And she pointed to me and I said again, Â“Roseanne!Â” And she said, Â“Oh yeah, you are not just White.Â” I didnÂ’t get offended and I donÂ’t usually get offended.Â” Similarly, Anita acknowledges that she assu mes others do not see her as Latina/o because she is not dark: When IÂ’m thinking Â“HispanicsÂ” I am th inking darker people so I donÂ’t think Hispanics could look like me. While Anita is aware of dominant definitions of what constitutes La tinas/os, she has also internalized them as she regulates he r own identity through these frames. Contrastingly from Anita, Adam is often ch aracterized as Latina/o because of his dark features:
50 You know, IÂ’m not a bad person but sometimes the way people look at meÂ…. I donÂ’t dress gangster, but I do have my hair slicked back and itÂ’s in a fade. I have darker features. Also, itÂ’s the way I talk. IÂ’m not stupid, but I didnÂ’t go to grammar college to learn speech or anything like that. People talked to me this way as I was growing up and this is th e way I learned. But people automatically stereotype me [as Latino]. Due to his physical features and speech patter ns, he often has been asked if he is gangaffiliated: ItÂ’s amazing the kind of atte ntion I draw. I got a ticke t the other day, and it was the first day I got my car. All cuz I had my seatbelt off. I draw attention to myself, I guess. And people make assumptions. If I meet a girl in the club and tell he r IÂ’m from San Limon, sheÂ’ll ask me Â“Do you claim something?Â” And I think, Â“Do you ask White boys that? I ainÂ’t in no fucking gang.Â” I mean, every time. Sometimes the physical features of the La tina/o-White hybrid individual can confuse others and they are not sure how to label th e participant. When participants cannot be easily placed within pre-existing categorizatio ns of racial stereotypes this leads to ambiguity that must be resolved for the gazer. Chip experienced such confusion while working at a coffee shop: I kinda have dark olive colored skin but light colored eyes, which is kind of rare, especially in the wintertime. In the wint er I am usually a lot darker than most everybody else. The reason I get asked about my skin is because I donÂ’t have
51 corresponding Hispanic facial features. I have light colo red [blue] eyes but I have dark skin so people always come up and ju st assume things. When I worked at the coffee shop I had like ten people ask me if I was Persian or Armenian just because I have light eyes and dark skin. Or people come up and ask, Â“What are you?Â” Irene experiences similar confus ions; however much of her am biguity is a result of her name in relation to her off-White appearance. She explains that people look for clues to interpreting which non-White group she could belong to. She says: A lot of people assume that I have Japa nese in me because of my last nameÂ— Coto. I donÂ’t know why, but Coto sounds Ja panese to a lot of people, so I get asked if I am Japanese or Chinese. I am like, Â“No, itÂ’s a Hispanic last name.Â” Participant Adam acknowledges th at his ethnic ambiguity actu ally can be a strategy to help him: I got the lighter features with the darker features, so sometimes I can get into places that other people canÂ’t. I say la st name in a White way Azcano, and people say, Â“Are you Greek?Â” IÂ’ve been asked that a thousand times. I think, Â“Where do you guys get Greek from?Â” In each of the participantsÂ’ cases, ambiguity can be both frustrat ing and empowering in that it can enable both spaces of possibility and impossibility. The participants either are trapped or they play with their potential ambi guity. Whether they are overlooked or overdetermined, their destab ilized ethnic stance become s a way to understand the malleability of ethnic identity. Their visual translation (whether a self-translation or translation by others of themselves) becomes a way understand how their own ethnic
52 fluxes are part of widespread interpretations of ethnicity, rather than widespread truths of ethnicity. Constructing and Negotiating Identity through Discourse The third theme I discovered is that of th e ability or inability to code switch from Spanish and English. This theme helps to illustrate the process of constructing and negotiating identity through discourse. Jud ith Martin and Thomas Nakayama (2004) explain that lingual code switching serves three purposes. One purpose is to accommodate the lingual abilities of the other. A second purpose is to exclude someone by disallowing them to understand what is bei ng said. A final purpos e is to demonstrate a cultural affiliation by demons trating knowledge of a partic ular language (p. 230). The lingual switches made by the Latina/o-White do not neatly fall into any of these three categories of purpose. Rather, the lingual co de switches are most closely linked to the category of demonstrating cultural affiliation though discourse. With the Latina/o-White hybrid individual, the ability or lack of ability to code switch cl osely ties to the ability or lack of ability to express one or th e other of her/his ethnic identities. Monica designates the lack of the ability to code switch from English to Spanish as being an act of Whiteness. She te lls of how when she was growing up, the conversations at the dinner table with her Latina mother and her motherÂ’s Latina/o friends were often in Spanish. Her White father could not keep up with the conversations: At the dinner table it was often Spanish, my dad doesnÂ’t speak Spanish. Being an American, he is very gringo he slaughters the language. He got a D minus in college with my mom helping him. But all these Hispanics would get together,
53 sitting at the table eating, and the co nversation would lead to Spanish. And someone would say, Â“Oh but we are excl uding PeteÂ” and theyÂ’d switch back to English. Within this interaction, MonicaÂ’ s Latina parent had cultural cap ital or an advantage in her bicultural abilities a nd code-switching. Adam, again, links the inability to code switch to English from Spanish as being an act of Whiteness. At this point in the conversation we are talking about his Whiteness and whether or not he speaks Spanish: No, I can understand it a little b it. That is from my [Latina] grandma and that side of the family when I was growing up. It canÂ’t be that hard, ya know. Think about it, Mexicans come here and within a year theyÂ’re speaking English or understanding it enough to work a job and communicate with their boss. That is fucking amazing. Why canÂ’t we do that in reverse? We say, Â“Oh itÂ’s easier to learn English.Â” But come on. For Adam, the lack of code switching is a Whiteness designator, and Whites over-justify that English is easier to learn than Spanish as an evasion for not knowing Spanish. He is poking fun at White ignorance and the way some Whites justify their ignorance. The mother of participant Linda notic ed White bias in her own daughtersÂ’ personality and behaviors. LindaÂ’s mother pointed out th e Linda did not know Spanish and, in turn, did not know Latina/o customs and behaviors. This lack of knowledge became a point of contention between Li nda and her mother. She says: As a child, when I would go back to H onduras, I would notice a separation and it bothered me. I can remember a few times when [my Latina Mom] said, Â“Oh you
54 donÂ’t have to come with me to this place.Â” Because she knew the gringa side of me was there. I could sense that when sheÂ’d sayÂ… I mean, you know, sheÂ’d get mad at me like if IÂ… Well, Honduras is the poorest country in Central America, and I was American coming over and so, weÂ’d have lunch or something and IÂ’d say, Â“Why do we always have to eat tortillas and beans?...Â” She would just immediately label me, Â“ThereÂ’s the gringa .Â” And sheÂ’d say, Â“You have to learn more Spanish.Â” Within the described interaction Linda demons trates the national frames from which she and her mother understand both White and Latina/o identities. In this case, the American or the gringa is explicitly linked with the privil eged economic space or behaviors of Whiteness. Participant Sara has close ties to her Mexican mother. In SaraÂ’s childhood, she traveled a lot with her White fatherÂ’s job, and so the family became a unit of familiarity and constancy. When they did return to the U.S., they usually returned to Miami. Her mother seemed resigned to the fact that she had to teach Sara Span ish at home because she would definitely learn E nglish outside the home. Her mother assumed that a U.S. context would overprivilege English. Sara explains: And I actually learned Spanish before I learned English. My Mom reasoned that since I would probably be living in the Un ited States most of my life or going to English speaking schools, I would definitely learn English in schools and not have Spanish as much. And so she decided to speak to me in Spanish and then I learned English when I started kindergarten. The history of the U.S. educational syst em shows that students with weak English
55 skills have been discriminated against, sometimes with the help of the legal system (Santa Ana, 2004). SaraÂ’s non-U.S. born mother may or may not know that history, but either way she understands that outside the home Sara could lear n English but would probably not learn Spanish. Therefore, the home b ecomes a space that work s against the loss of SaraÂ’s Spanish-speaking abilities. Those with both Englishand Spanishspeaking fluencies named code switching as a way to demonstrate Latina/o authenticit y. When asked about his Spanish abilities, Chip admits that he is not adept at Spanish, but has used it to fit in with other Latina/os: One Spring Break we were in this little bar where all the Mexican construction workers would drink in Cancun. And here wa s this total White kid, me. I told the guys I was Mexican and they started laughi ng at me and pointing and telling each other Â“look at his blue eyes, he says he is a Mexican.Â” Then I spoke a little bit more Spanish, I was almost fluent in Sp anish then, so I knew what they were talking about. I knew what they were sa ying. I started to tell them my dad was born in Los Angeles. And they laughed at that. I said, Â“Well my grandpa was born just outside of Mexico City and my grandma was born in El Paso.Â” And they said, Â“Oh really.Â” And I said, Â“Yea h, but my mom is Irish.Â” And they were like, Â“Okay, okay, letÂ’s drink with this guy.Â” And I was telling them this in Spanish. In this instance, Chip uses his Spanish speak ing skills to create c onnections with other Mexicans. His Spanish speaki ng skills override any questions that may come with his appearance because his lingual performance s ecures a sense of Latina/onessÂ—especially because those lingual skills are linked to Latina/oness itself.
56 Monica explains that her Spanish-abilitie s actually separated her from her White friend: There was this time when my mom said something while she was on the phone with someone else. I must have understood what IÂ’d overheard because I laughed. A White friend asked, Â“What di d your mom say?Â” And I heard it so clearly it did not occur to me that he had not understood it. Then I realized she must have said it in Spanish, so I had to translate what she said. While language can serve as a point of perceived authentici ty and community for WhiteLatina/os to other Latinas/os, it can also reinforce difference in relation to Whiteness, thus causing confusion for individuals to self-articulate and self-understand. Anita explains that Spanish is the way th at she connects with he r Latina/o side of the family. She expressed a deep connection to the women in her Latina/o family as her connection to her Latina/o identity: You know it is really weird. I donÂ’t speak Spanish, I ha ve a horrible accent, but my granny speaks Spanish to me and somehow I understand her because she speaks English with it too a li ttle bit. But when someone else speaks it to me, I donÂ’t understand it, maybe itÂ’s just her st yle. Yeah but when I donÂ’t understand something, sheÂ’ll say it in English. But she speaks Spanish normally. Her relationship to Latina/oness is almost stri ctly through a matriarchy. To fit into the matriarchal order, she communes with her mo ther and especially her grandmother. During this communion, Spanish plays an impor tant role in rela tionship production and maintenance. Indeed, her connection to her Grandmother comes through an ineffable
57 Spanish-speaking act. She does not understa nd Spanish except through her Grandmother, and in turn her Latina identity is onl y understood through this person as well. If code switching serves to identify with others, then yet anothe r strategy of code switching is as a protection from Latina/o disc rimination. Irene explicates the reason she does not speak Spanish is because she was be ing shielded from the discrimination her family received due to knowing Spanish: I wish I did speak Spanish. (self-conscious laughter) My dad never spoke to me in Spanish. My grandmother sometimes woul d when I told her I wanted to learn. I donÂ’t think my dad had a positive experi ence being Latina/o, so he didnÂ’t want to carry that with him and pass it on to me So from the beginning he spoke to us in English. In IreneÂ’s family, like many other Latina/o families, sometimes there is the desire for parents to cloak their children from potent ial oppression and discrimination by cutting all ties to symbols and expressions of differences. Similarly, AnitaÂ’s family understood that she should learn English to be better equipped in U.S. society: My (Latina) mom doesnÂ’t speak Spanis h, but because my mom was really young when she had me, my granny is the one w ho babysat me a lot all the time. So I was around it a lot, I just never picked it up, because they would mostly speak to me in English. So they thought it was important at the time for me to know English really well, which I would have learned anyway, but they used English around me. Like Sara, Anita learns English exclusively as a strategy to move within U.S. society.
58 However, English is taught at the expense of Spanish, as if to say that Spanish is not valuable at all. This translates into a dimi nishing of the value of Latina/oness as well. For these participants, lingual code sw itching becomes a strategy for switching and validating their performed a nd preferred identities. In th e interactions with others, these participants create and co -create their identities. This communication interaction is more than just a lingual exchange, but an embodied practice that also incorporates language. And what these participants dem onstrate so clearly is that those embodied meanings are not consistent, but rather ar e constructed and negotiated as and through discourse. Constructing and Negotiating Identity through Performative Acts The final theme I discovered when speaking to the participants was that of the rewards and punishments they received when performing either Latina/o or White identity. These consequences are tied to Â“actsÂ” they embodied and performed. When Butler speaks of constitutive acts of gender, she explains that acts of gender are always nuanced and individualized by people, but th ese acts occur in accordance with certain sanctions and proscriptions. For Butler ( 1988), gender is Â“acting in concert and acting in accordÂ” (p. 526)Â—that is, acting in public wi th others and acting appropriately in historically determined ways. Latina/oWhite hybrid individuals constructed and negotiated their identity through constitutive acts of political and so cial alliances. A constitutive act of ethnicity, for these participants, was the ever-present Â“choiceÂ” of naming themselves on forms. For example, both Irene and Susie explain that they signify as Latina/o when they are presen ted with an application that asks them to check their ethnicity. According to Irene:
59 If it is one of those answer things on a little piece of pape r or whatever, if there is a chance for scholarship I put down that I am Latina. If there is no chance for anything at all, I just put down American. Susie explains the same situation of choice: The only time it really ever comes up is usually when IÂ’m filling out an application for something. This going to sound really bad, but my [White] dad told me to mark that IÂ’m Hispanic be cause there are more benefits to being Hispanic than to being Caucasian on th ese applications. That sounds pretty superficial to say. Adam explains that he avoided being bussed across town by accentuating his Latina/o identity: Always growing up my mom put me down as [Latina/o] for school. You get the better school and the first choice. If you put White and there is no room, then youÂ’re out. So all growing up, I marked Hispanic and that is how I got into school. My little half-brother, heÂ’s all White, and he had to go to school all the way on the East side of San Limon. We lived in the South side of San Limon which is nicer housing and my school was ju st down the street from us and my brother had to go all the way across town. Monica says that she emphasizes her Latina/o identity when she is filling out applications, and further explains her choice: When I fill out a form, when I was applying for colleges, was one of the times where my parents and I talked about it because I had to check the ethnic group box. This is also a time where the whole i ssue of race came up in my life. What
60 if I am right at the end as one of the top students and they are going to accept me or give me a scholarship? But what if they wanted to meet some sort of quota and they want to give it to a minority and th ey bump me off the list to give it to a minority? While framed as a Â“choiceÂ” by the participants, these institutional acts of ethnic affiliation mask the larger construction and maintenance of U.S. culture as White. Society has been writ large as a creation of Eu ropean Whites. Universities, corporations, and the government are all thriving crea tions of the European White, and any contribution by non-White is considered ancill ary and often of little significance. Thus, the relationship between Latina/o identity to U. S. institutions is one of subordination. While affirmative action has tried to change who is granted memberships to institutions, the change has been slow and the resentment has been well-voiced. As Latina/o-Whites become part of the institutions of the U.S., they often use the advantage of their otherness to enter the institution, but their Latina/o othern ess is often silenced for the rest of their stay. The public act Â“in concertÂ” and the historical Â“in accordanceÂ” already marks acts of ethnicity as subordinate within and to the dominant ideologies of U.S. White culture. While marking boxes on bureaucratic forms is an exemplar of constitutive acts, other acts are discursive: the talk about Latina/o-White political affiliation made by the participants instantiates stereotypic depict ions of Latina/ones. The media-saturated imagination about the Latina/o is still divest ed with delimiting images of the Latina/o. Charles Ramirez Berg (2001) designates that some of the more popular Latina/o stereotypes are the criminal, the harlot, the male buffoon, the female clown, the Latin lover, and the dark lady. Berg complicates stereotype by saying th at the mental image
61 people may carry could be separate from th e mediated stereotype that larger media systems have produced. However, the two, in todayÂ’s highly medi a saturated world, do feed off of one another. These participants seemed well-aware of the stereotypes of Latina/oness. Sometimes Latina/oness was chosen but there wa s a sense that the choice of Latina/o also carried a stereotypical shadow with it. Monica explains: Something I thought ofÂ…. I was brought up here and can pass as American. I do not get discriminated against because of my background. But my [Latina] mom tells me different stories. When my mom worked at hotels in Las Vegas as a hotel manager, people would come up to her and start talking, but when she answered with an accent, they would just shut her off and talk to someone else. Recently she called her church, they were looking for people to help Hispanic migrant workers who wanted to learn more English. My mom wanted to help the Father of the Church. When she called the church and asked questions, the person would not even try to answer her questions because my mom has an accent. So I have seen my mom having issues where sh e is discriminated against because of how she looks or how she sounds when she is in the U.S. MonicaÂ’s awareness of the Latina stereotype that is cast on her mother is also an awareness of her own privilege. Through accent and other self-performance choices, Monica has the privilege not to be subjected to the stereotype s her mother experiences. Irene explains how the Latina/o identity is perceived by her in her surrounding community. This perception guides how she believes she might be received for being Latina:
62 In the [Southwest], just in my mind, I associate Latina/os with drugs, gangs, poverty, and lack of success. You know, people who donÂ’t care. The people you donÂ’t want to be around basica llyÂ…. I got that from [this area]. I mean, I just came here for school, but down at home in San Marcos, near the Mexican border, itÂ’s just as bad. That is where you get a lot of people who cross over and there is a lot of anger about people who do not ha ve their green cards and stuff because they are taking our jobs and stuff. All the anger is economically based as to why people do not like other Hispanics. They assume that if one person is that way than all the Hispanics are that way. IreneÂ’s statements reflect how privilege mani fests itself through domi nant ideologies of race and class. Recognizing the ways in which Mexicans are constructed, and perhaps recognizing her complicity with those construc tions, while negotiating her place in those constructions, Irene chooses to dissociate hers elf from the perceived negative by locating herself within larger discourses of White ness. Acknowledging, denying, and distancing oneself from stereotypes are all constitutive, discursive acts of ethnicity; in short, Â“I am Latina, but I am not these others.Â” Even though some participan ts noted the danger of app earing Latina/o, others also noted the benefits of claiming Latina/one sÂ—another nuance of the constitutive act performed by individuals. For example, Anita claims her Latina/oness to be more connected to non-White communities. When Anita self-claims non-White lineage, she feels she is better accepted by non-White groups. She says: A lot of times when someone is Hispanic, or they appear to look that way, I throw in Â“Oh, I am too.Â” This makes me mo re connected because people always say
63 that I look White. And so they st art making judgments about me. So when I say that they say, Â“Oh, you are? Oh you are. Ok.Â” Well, maybe they donÂ’t say Â“okÂ” but th ey get a different spin on who I am. AnitaÂ’s narrative demonstrates that her claims to a Latina/o identity not only serve to create connection or community with other non-Whites, but that c onnection is augmented by an affect created by the understanding of difference. In this case, someone who seems to be a White woman initially can shif t the dynamics of power in the situation through the process of coming out as Latina/o. Similarly, Anita says coming out as Latina/o helps her when she is teaching: Especially when I teach at the community colleges, I will say that IÂ’m Hispanic because there tends to be a lot of diversity in the classroom. A lot of times people tend to judge me because of how I look or maybe what kind of car I driveÂ… So once I start explaining I am ha lf Hispanic, this is my family, I come from this, I am actually closer to that si de of the family than my [White] dadÂ’sÂ…. It really helps people. They are more at ease. A lot of times I do not mention it if I am hanging around Caucasian people. But it just makes them feel more comfortable, or myself feel more comforta ble, in that environment. Linda has found a way to capitalize on he r connection with White groups. The Latina/o organizations that Linda is affilia ted with realize that Whiteness can equal power, so they try to benefit from LindaÂ’s ability to pass for White. Linda explains: The chair of the Latina/o caucusÂ… he utilizes me. He puts me on committees to defend Latina/o issues. He says, Â“I want you on this committee because you know how to talk and I want you to work this crowd.Â” And I do because I know
64 the crowd. I am a part of that crowd too. LindaÂ’s Whiteness is used as a benefit for the Latina/os around her because she can use symbolic face of the dominant culture to argue for the needs of the Latina/o culture. Nakayama and Krizek (1995) and McIntosh (2000) have expressed that one of the rhetorical strategies of Whitene ss is that it allows White peop le to talk about issues of race and ethnicity in ways that appear as if they have no self-interest and instead are ideologically neutral. This privilege is not necessarily open to people of color who are marked as self-interested when they speak about issues of race and ethnicity. Therefore, it would come as no surprise that the chai r of the Latina/o caucus would use LindaÂ’s Whiteness to the advantage of the group. For Adam privilege and power manifest themselves in a different form through his discussion of the growing Latina/o commun ity in the United States. He feels that marking himself as Latina/o connects him with this growing community: It is going to be a Latina/o world ma n. Everybody knows it. The majority of California is non-White now. Blacks are th e true minority, weÂ’re taking over. Think about it, if you go to every city in California, you will find some towns with no black people in them. If you go to every community in the state, youÂ’ll find Spanish surnames. Think about th at, go to New York, there are Puerto Ricans. Go to Miami, there are CubansÂ…. That is an advantage in itself. WeÂ’re everywhere! Hispanics are becoming polit icians now. TheyÂ’re getting the balls and actually want to step up. Things are changing. Maybe I will get a foot in the door easier because of the way I look. While Adam clearly recognizes the potential of a growing Latina/o community and he
65 constitutes himself as part of this Â“Latin a/o world,Â” he does not acknowledge that sheer numbers do not necessarily equa l political power (Phelan 1993). What these participants help to expose is that ethnic identity is also constructed and negotiated through the acts of their realities. Th ere are socially sanctioned categories that become opportunities for se lf-expression, even if that ex pression is never fully selflegitimized or never fully a true option. Th rough applications, rela tion to stereotype, relation to cultural groups, the acts of thes e participants are intentional and strategic actions that help to constitute their ethnic identity. Conclusion When Judith Butler proffered the term Â“performativityÂ” in 1988, she helped to theorize identity in a way that incorporated past, present and future. For Butler, performativity functions when individuals part icipate in actions that reference previous actions. These actions, through their repetition over time, bring with them a momentum of authority due to their repe tition. And as these actions are repeated over and over and then recognized consistently by society, th ey are considered na tural due to their familiarity. In their naturalness, these actions are expected for future iterations. Since her explication of pe rformativity, others have jo ined the conversation to enhance and extend ButlerÂ’s ideas. The disc ussion of performativity often centers on gender, while scholars like Munoz (1999), Inda (2001), and Gil-Gomez (2000) have tried to redirect the conversation to race. Race enhances the discussion of performativity by moving the concept out of the male/femal e dichotomy to attempt to account for multiplicities of identities outsi de of a dichotomous range. While race is often discussed as a White/Other dichotomy, there are still a range of types within Other. Also, these
66 Others can become dichotomous to one another (for example, African American/Caribbean Black). Each of the participants in this study has poignantly described the tensions of the possibilities and impossibilitie s of White-Latina/o hybrid identity. Though it seems there are moments of possibility and agenc y, such as the participantÂ’s ability to manipulate a problematic system of power to be nefit themselves, it seems that each of the individuals is still caught up w ithin the discourses, ideologies or trappings of dominant constructions of race and ethnicity. The pa rticipants cannot create spaces of hybridity, rather each of them is caught making gestures back and forth between identities. What they demonstrate is that language, skin color, and claims of affili ation are important to authenticate oneself to a culture. The ways and the reasons for those affiliations are laden with political problems, however. Gloria Anzaldua (1999) expr esses the difficulty of clai ming a non-White identity. She also expresses how limiting any ethnic iden tity is, often corralled into specific ways of being within any chosen group. To explain this idea she says: Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identityÂ—I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself. Until I can accept as legitimate Chicano Texas Spanish, Tex-Me x and all other languages I speak, I cannot accept the legitimacy of myself. (p. 81). Anzaldua adeptly describes the close proximity between a personÂ’s identity and his/her lingual abilities. Of course, lingual expressi on is much more complicated than simply speaking words. Context, power audience all play a part in the who and the how of that lingual expression. In AnzalduaÂ’s argument, lingual expression is a privilege that
67 legitimizes others. Most importantly, she th eorizes the lived experiences of herself and others who can identify with her. For An zaldua, theory should represent and express lived experience. Through analysis, it is clear that the particip ants pushed at th e limits of White performativity, but often they come to their ethnic limits. Performativity maintains its hold because the reiteration of a citational r acial code must tap into the force of the citation. Sarah Leigh Foster (2002), using Michel de Ce rteau, brings the body into lingual expression. Our actions can be consider ed a type of speaking about ourselves and our worlds. Foster states: Â“The acts of walking or cooki ng, like speaking, all operate within the fields of a langua ge-like system; individual bodie s vitalize that system through their own implementation of itÂ” (p. 129). Taking a Fost erian approach to Anzaldua statement, Â“I am my language,Â” enables a va riety of constitutive act s to be considered communicative performances. And, as Anzaldua reminds us, there are groupsÂ— specifically non-White racial a nd ethnic groupsÂ—that are trained to be ashamed of their own communication practices and to keep sile nt. If a reiteration is not linked to a recognizable or to a respected system of c odes, then the reiteration fails to hold the identity. With the Latina/o-White hybrid indi vidual, those iterable utterances changed depending upon the context or the purpose. However, because the participants are conscious of the enactments they had to make within the performativity of their identity, there seems to be possibility for resistance. Consistently the id entity of the Latina/o-White hybr id identity individual is discursively framed as a choice as participan ts spoke of negotiating and constructing their identities at points of materiality, the vi sual, language and constitutive acts. These
68 Â“choices,Â” however, are still pr actices of inclusion and excl usion with Whiteness as their center. In the language of performativity, inst ead of Â“choice,Â” the optimistic route lies in reiteration with difference to relocate White ness. While Gomez-Pena calls for a Â“new language,Â” the Latina/o-White hybrid is enac ting options of performativity. A Â“new languageÂ” though requires resisti ng reiterations that are requ ired for recognition. To create a new language is not to tap into the pow er of a system or reiterations. To exist within these reiterations wh ile waiting for moments of s ubversion is still to gain recognition that could possibly o ffer others new ways to thin k of these participants or themselves. On my odyssey to find others with a si milar hybrid identity, I have also been seeking models for easily negotiating and constructing my own identity. I found no models for simplicity, but I did find performativit y to be as creative as it is confining. Even if Whiteness is at the center, it is being recognized and held accountable. Alan Hyde (1997) emphasizes that the racialized body is never just a factual object. Rather, he states: The body is never beyond or under discourse but folds its discursive creation in front of it wherever it walks, so that it would never be possible to imagine the body as natural. A statement about r aces, or about Â‘looking different thanÂ’ someone, could only be heard as a perf ormative that creates a particular discursive body, never as a description. (p. 240) As a repertoire of performatively-possibl e identities become enacted by the Latina/oWhite hybrid individual, the power of performa nce is offered not as an antidote to the poisonings of dominant ideologies, but at l east as a vision of multidimensionality for all
69 humans searching for ways out of harmfu l discourses. That metaphorÂ—visionÂ—perhaps captures us again in the tyranny of the visual for racial/ethnic construction. But these Latina/o-White individuals tes tified powerfully that although the body is never beyond or under discourse, it still falls outsides the naturali zed Â“White/OtherÂ” binary. Outside the Â“natural,Â” takes us into the realm of the imaginativeÂ—and therefore into new possibilities.
70 Chapter Three Paulina Rubio y yo: Questioning Hybrid Performativity Â“Al otro, a Borges, es a qui en le ocurren las cosas.Â” Â“The other one, the one called Borges is the one things happen to.Â” --Jorge Luis Borges Â“ Borges y Yo Â” In May 2002, I ventured to Mexico City to study Â“Postcolonial Ethnography.Â” While I had come to one of the worldÂ’ s largest metropolises to improve my epistemological skillsÂ—the processes by wh ich I might know Â“othersÂ”Â—I also came to Mexico City to know myself; or better said, to discover, uncov er, or even recover parts of myself. Since the time my mom disclosed th at my biological fath er was/is Mexican, I have struggled to try to understand what, if anything, I could claim of Latina/o-ness and of Whiteness. In my early twenties, I also began to inform the world that I am gay. Therefore, both my Latina/o and my gay iden tities have been braided together in an inseparable wayÂ—as discovery, as knowledge, and as material effects in the world. Some categories of identity are genera lly bestowed upon a person at birth (e.g., you are labeled female or labeled Black at birth). Butler ( 1993) writes of the announcement Â“ItÂ’s a girlÂ”: In that naming, the girl is Â‘girled,Â’ brought into the domai n of language and kinship through the interpellati on of gender. But that Â‘gir lingÂ’ of the girl does not end there; on the contrary, that foundi ng interpellation is reiterated by various authorities and throughout various intervals of time to reinforce or contest this
71 naturalizing effect. The naming is at on ce the setting of a boundary, and also the repeated inculcation of a norm. (pp. 7-8) While gender is naturalized as binary (either male or female) at this Â“foundingÂ” moment, racial categories are exceedingly problematic for performativity: how to point to a Â“founding interpellationÂ” for a hybrid ident ity? For a growing awareness of sexuality outside of heternomativity? Performativity is realized for marginalized people when we understand our one-down position in the hierarchy of privilege. Acquiring knowledge about the intentional constructions of that one-down position is tough to do, especially since knowledge is honored and controlled by those in power invested explicitly or implicitly in maintaining their one-up position. Patricia Hill Collins (1990) explains how the categories of race, class and gender are utilized by dominant groups to subjugate an d disenfranchise others. In the acquisition of knowledge about oneself, there is danger of self-hatred depending upon the cultural scripts available. As Hill Collins reminds us : Â“knowledge is a vitally important part of the social relations of domi nation and resistanceÂ” (p. 221). Often those in less powerful positions first have to learn how to re-interpret dominant discourse about themselves so that they can then empower themselves. My identity trajectory has been precarious because I came into my identities at a later age. With these newl y discovered and enacted iden tities I had options (albeit unsavory) to avoid and deny. I have sought public visibility, and therefore recognition, for identities that often have offered me less social capital and sometimes more cultural burden than identities aligned with domina nt ideologies and privileges: my gayness versus my possibility for passing as strai ght, my Latina/oness versus my Whiteness.
72 While in Mexico City, a city that dated back to some of the initi al colonizers of the Western HemisphereÂ—I was seeking to find myself amidst a cosmopolitan backdrop. In a city of extreme opposites, I was seeking a way to have my two sides come together to create one identity. Concurrent to my time in Mexico Cit y, Paulina Rubio, a Mexican pop star, was readying to release her album, Â“Border Girl.Â” Already the ga y bars were playing her prereleased song Â“ Si Tu Te Vas .Â” I watched her video on Mexi can television and danced to her music at the clubs. I admired her sultry poses on billboards and counted the days until I could actually purchase her CD. Already, I had small exposure to her in the United States with the song Â“ Yo No Soy Esa Mujer ,Â” but quickly I was becoming a fan. My memories of Mexico City are inseparableÂ—not unlike my gayness and Latina/onessÂ—from Paulina Rubio. Her songs and her images were both backdrops and centerpieces during my time thereÂ—places and moments to remark on my own performative embodiments of hybridity as theory and materiality. This chapter attempts to put performativ ity in conversation with hybridity. Both can be viewed as theories of everyday cultural practices, as resources for selfdeterminacy, and as always local, material embodiments. These views, however, have their limits: in the hegemony of white U.S. cu lture, in the limiting and limited repertoire of performative acts available for people outside normative boundaries, and in global, mediated constructions of Latina/o. My goa ls in this chapter are to complicate the binaries of racial identity through hybrid performativity; to qu estion the performative construction of Latina for its material eff ects; and to fund the high theory of both performativity and hybridity with ex amples of everyday practice.
73 Performativity has quickly become a theore tical way to explain the constitution of the racial body in U.S. discourse, specifi cally the hybrid body. I nda (2001) asserts: Â’RaceÂ’Â…resolutely does not refer to a pre-given body. Rather, it works performatively to constitute the racial body itself, a body that only procures a naturalized effect through repeated refe rence to that body. [Racial performativity] is not a singular act of racial body co nstitution, but a reiterative practice through which discourse brings about the eff ect that it names. (p. 88) Over time, the reiterations bring about a naturalized effect and a racialized body is created in U.S. discourse that actually never materially exists befo re or beyond the act of naming any one body in a racialized way. Â“The racing of a body is a never-ending process, one that must be reiterated by vari ous authorities and in various times and places in order to sustain the naturalized effect of Â‘raceÂ’Â” (Inda, 2000, p. 88). Naturalizing the Â“hybridÂ” body, however, is complicated. How to account for multiplicity of geographies, nationalities, ethni cities, social economic statuses, and border crossings? Using racial perf ormativity as my theoretical compass, I trek through my own identity to explore the complexity of a hybr id identity that moves over the U.S./Mexico border in both physical and ideological ways. Rather than locking cu lture into self/other binaries, this chapter complicates simple opposites. Gloria Anzaldua (1990) explains the ambiguity of identity in mixed-ethnic individuals, which she terms the Â“new mestiza Â”: The new mestiza copes by developing a tolerance for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity. She learns to be Indian in Mexican culture, to be Mexican from an Anglo point of view. She le arns to juggle cultures. Sh e has a plural personality,
74 she operates in pluralistic modeÂ—nothing is thrust out, the good, the bad and the ugly, nothing rejected, nothing abandoned. Not only does she sustain contradictions, she turns the ambivalen ce into something else. (p. 379) Influenced by Anzaldua, my definition of hybr idity is a both/and existence in which we operate within contrasts trying to hold thei r differences together. Holding differences together adds one more job to the Â“to doÂ” list of performativity in my attempt to complicate racial binaries with hybridity. The limitations of performativityÂ—as alwa ys already implicated in the power structures it producesÂ—find Latina/o an incr easingly precarious subject position, too easily and often marked materially as poor, illegal, uneducatedÂ—especially for women. As Paulina Rubio enters U.S. Latina/o disc ourse she is producing and produced through Latina/o performativity. Although she seeks a hybr id identity status, she is read as Latina and then considerations and values are gi ven to her through that reading. As Shane Moreman exists in U.S. race discourse, he is often read as White although he seeks to be read sometimes as Latina/o and sometimes as hybrid. The ways our meanings are constructed and utilized by others and ourselv es provide a glimpse into how the discourse around hybridity exists and is changing. U ltimately, I demonstrate how the everyday performances of Paulina Rubio map and are mapped by limits and excesses of hybrid performativity specifically through my Latin/White body and my borderland contexts. The determinate performances that we make stil l must be made within a discourse that is unforgiving of self-determinacyÂ—except a se lf-determination that recenters White as privileged and Latina/o as ancillary to Whiteness.
75 Taking my cues from BorgesÂ’ essay, Â“Borge s Y Yo,Â” this chapter utilizes selfexpression, not self-indulgence, as a mode of gathering and an alyzing cultural data. To accomplish my goals, I use performative writing as my method of inquiry. Della Pollock (1995) goes to great lengths to defi ne performative writing. She says: For me, performative writing is not a genr e or fixed form (as a textual model might suggest) but a way of descri bing what some good writing doesÂ… Performativity describes a fundamentally ma terial practice. Like performance, however, it is also an analytic way of framing and underscoring aspects of writing/life. Holding Â“performative writingÂ” to set shapes and meanings would be (1) to undermine its analytic flexibility, and (2) to betray the possibilities of performativity with the limitati ons of referentiality (p. 75). In one sense, Pollock has given scholars a carte blanche to write as they would like and not to worry about the limitations of form. However, for me, she is highlighting how the process of writing is important to consider in the results of the writing. I have crafted and culled a story of myself and my world to try to say somethi ng about myself in my world. This is not an objective piece, nor does it ai m at being a fictionalized piece either. Rather, I write myself at the crossing of va rious discourses of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationhood, and class. Performative writing admits that I have placed myself in text, that I have made decisions about my and othersÂ’ representations and that I have tried to hold my analysis and critiques to st andards, not of objectivity, but of a politicallyinfused and politically-inspired subjectivit y. Performativity and hybridity, too often written in high theory without Â“teachingÂ” exem plars, are ripe for writing moments that
76 attempt to capture, not Â“realit y,Â” but how identities are enact ed in real moments and how those identities have material consequences in the real word. Michel de Certeau (1994) expresses that the everyday practic e of life should not be overlooked as Â“the merely obscure b ackground of social ac tivityÂ” but should be looked into deeply to understand social pr actices of social id entities (p. 474). Foregrounding my mediated relationship with Paulina Rubio, I hope to bring the quotidian practice of pop star us age out of obscurity and in to clarity as an act of significance within th e mundane acts of ev eryday life. Paulina Rubio is a hybrid product of ma ss media and globalized times. Yet her (re)production of hybridity is a fi ction. For me, she is object le sson and cautionary tale to discuss how my own identity is influenced by the same forces that influence Paulina RubioÂ’s image (re)production in the United States. In the end, for both of us the hybrid identity, while theoretically important, it is not always performativel y possible due to the matrices of race; however, only through a ttempting these transcendences can change occur. Paulina Rubio: Eres la persona que te dices? A composite of the twenty English-langua ged interviews of or articles about Paulina Rubio spanning from June 2001 to Apri l/May 2004 show that she has been in the Spanish-language media for most of her life Born June 17, 1971, she is the daughter of a famous Mexican actress Susana Dosamantes Her parents divorced when she was a child, and she lived with her mother who traveled throughou t Latin America and Europe as an entertainer. In the 1980s, Paulina Rubi o started a career of he r own, joining a youth
77 singing act named Timbiriche In the 1990s, she began a su ccessful solo singing career, becoming a hit Mexican solo singer. Then, in 2002, she began a new le g of her career with her album Border Girl seeking to come into the English-language market: By the time she crossed over to the E nglish-speaking market in 2002Â… Paulina had recorded five top selling albums, and earned gold and platinum sales status in Mexico, Italy, Spain and many other Latin American nations. Multiple Grammy nominations and the prestigious Onda a nd Amigo awards certified her mega star success. (Holsten, 2004, p. 44) Record producers were hoping that her album would be a crossover success and they were far from disappointed: Â“Released June 18  in the U.S., Latin America, Spain and Italy, Border Girl entered the Billboard 200 at No. 11 and SpainÂ’s charts at No. 14Â” (Llewellyn, 2002, p. 44). And her album made her a media presence in previously unknown markets. Â“[ Border Girl ] introduced her to new countries and extended her popularity from the Americas to Euro pe and AsiaÂ” (Valazquez, 2004, p. 30). The album, Border Girl is a compilation of songs that help to serve RubioÂ’s hybrid identity goals by being a cross-lingual production. Four of the songs have both an English-language and a Spanish-language vers ion. Also, three of the English-language songs were previous Spanish-language hits for Paulina Rubio. A nother of the Englishlanguage songs is a famous Spanish mariachi ba llad. Additionally she covers a KISS hit in English. And the remaining three of the English-language songs are original to the Border Girl album.
78 Within her global marketing, Paulina Rubio marks herself as trying to do something different. With her album and with in her interviews, Paulina Rubio lays claim to purposefully controlling her identity. On e headline reads, Â“No Rules: Paulina Rubio Does Whatever She WantsÂ—With Her Musi cÂ” (Holsten, 2004, pg 42). Another headline reads, Â“Paulina Rubio is cool, collected, a nd armed with a new album that crosses every borderÂ” (Morales, 2004, pg. 80). Following upon consistent them es of self-determination (Â“does whatever she wantsÂ”) and transcendent identity formation (Â“new album crosses every borderÂ”), I analyze the content of the tw enty articles for ways that she enacts a hybrid identity as understood through Anzaldua (1990). Although she is often touted in the U.S. as a Latina artist, in practice she claims to try to do much more with her projected image and music. Her image and music become ways for her to express a hybridity of inspired content and projected self-identity. Paulina RubioÂ’s music is celebrated by he r as being a blend of many influences. In her CD booklet, she comments on her musical range of influences and the resulting range of her musical product. Her words are sometimes misspelled and her lines are sometimes grammatically incorrect. Therefor e, not everything is clear in meaningÂ— adding to the composite-feel of her sentiment: Here is my special Â“Miss CoctailÂ” of dance, chill out, ambience, mex hip, hip hop, drum & bass jungle, batacuda ay hay mi mariachi why so pop?, itÂ’s be-bop glam, in the house, progressive, afrobeat, eurobeat, breakbeat! To my fans!!!!, this is f---inÂ’ great album is fo r you all! (Rubio, CD booklet, 2004) The misspellings and misnomers leave me ques tioning her intent; and this question adds to her mystique and floating si gnification. Additionally, my attribution of intent here
79 leaves me insecure. Maybe this passage in her CD insert is just a result of poor proofreading, and she has never seen these lines written in this manner. Maybe it is an awkward translation from Spanish to Eng lish. In her popular press photos, she is consistently visually flawless, and in her in terviews she admits to perfectionism. Thus, the lines stand out with intensity as in tentionally skewed toward a meaning of multiplicity. Again, it is her celebration of the many that is important here. She draws from a wide variety of s ources to create a hybrid sound. In interviews she is more centered in her comments, but they still follow the same philosophy of polyglot. She refers to various ingredients in the re cipes for her songs: rancheras, mariachis, dance, hip-hop, rock a nd pop. She labels her new style. Â“Â”ItÂ’s called folklore futurista,Â’ Rubio explains, Â‘and itÂ’s the power of culture with instruments: Brazil, trumpets, Mexico, flamenco guitars Spain, accordion, ColombiaÂ’Â” (Martinez, 2004, p. 27). In another interview she is quoted on her musical style, Â“futuristic folkÂ” (Holsten, 2004, p. 42). The singer also expresse s her source of inspir ation as being based upon many different cultural e xperiences. Â“Â’ItÂ’s important that you donÂ’t forget your roots,Â’ she says, Â‘but you can also draw from other culturesÂ’Â” (Morales, 2004, p. 80). Her source of self-identity, indeed, beco mes just as variegated as her musical influences. Through her many fi rsthand experiences travelin g abroad, Paulina Rubio has discovered the beauty in the various cultura l offerings from around the globe. She has imbibed those offerings and become what she has experienced. The daughter of a famous actress, young Paulina Rubio is raised in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Madrid and is therefore privy to many cultural orienta tions as she is growing up. From her youth to her adulthood, she is subjected to many different cultures. Â“I was born in Mexico and
80 raised in Spain,Â’ Rubio says, explaining her mix of styles in perfect English. Â‘ItÂ’s not something prefabricatedÂ’Â” (Cobo, 2004, p. 58). Although raised in Spain, she travels extensively. Â“[S]he spent he r early years traveling around wi th her mother to sets in Mexico, the United States, and EuropeÂ” (Moral es, 2004, p. 82). In her travels, she learns other languages. Â“Paulina spent a great deal of time in Europe, learning Italian and French and becoming attuned to the cultural mo res of European soci etiesÂ” (Holsten, p. 43). She assumes an identity that is nested in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Â“IÂ’ve always been he re and there, so you could say that I grew up comfortably in three different culturesÂ” (R ubio as cited in Valazquez, 2004, p. 30). Her various locational upbringings and visits work th eir way into the identity of her music: During a Madrid promotional visit, Rubio said of the album title [ Border Girl ]: Â‘I want to reflect what I amÂ—a girl w ho has lived in Mexico, Spain, Italy, New York, and now Los Angeles and whose music carries a fusion of all those styles. My adolescence was a contrast of cultures. (Llewellyn, 2002, p. 44) Hence she becomes the bordergirl and creates an album that utili zes the polyvocality of her bordergirl identity. Angharad Valdivida (2004) warns against the tendency to over-romanticize hybridity, for me, this warning applies to the bordering of identities as well. She says: To some hybridity might suggest a playfu l space, where one can try on different identities. Indeed, studies of contempor ary ethnicityÂ…suggest that hybrid traces are very useful for commodification purposes and the marketing of ethnicity. In fact, ethnic ambiguity is a most useful st rategy as it has the potential of speaking to different segments of the audience with one economical image or set of images.
81 As such, hybridity and its accompanying strategy, representational ambiguity, certainly have their uses within late capitalism. (p. 5) For Paulina, her border existence seems to obscure border existences for those seeking entree into the United States from Mexico. For people on the Mexican side, the border is more than just a playful meta phor of reality. For them the border represents exhaustingly lengthy lines, humiliatingly incessant harassment, and emotionally draining debates. Cynthia Wright (1998), for example, documents the complexity of the Mexican women working along the U.S./Mexico border as they try to avoid exploitation from many facets (gender, nationality, corporations, etc). Pa blo Vila (2003) points out the less-than-ideal conditions of border existences, and how these are elided by the work of such scholars as Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Gloria Anzaldua Â—and I add Paulina Rubio. The lesson offered is a stern one: do not over-idealize such an identity. He says, Â“For scholars doing border studies from the Mexican side of the line, it is difficult to see the border as mere metaphor, as the epitomized possibility of cr ossings, hybrids, and the likeÂ” (p. 314). However, for Paulina and her marketers, th e border is just th at, a hybridity and a possibility for crossing. At the inception of the Border Girl release, in a Mexico City gay disco in La Zona Rosa my friend Bernadette and I are having dr inks and sharing personal stories. Men (and a few women) move onto and off of the dance floor as Bernadette recounts a story of troubled love followed by true love. On e particular song packs the floor, Paulina RubioÂ’s Â“ Si Tu Te Vas. Â” The Spanish-languaged lyrics dart in and out of BernadetteÂ’s English-languaged love stories providing a me lodic punctuation for he r romantic tales. Â“ Y nadie te dio tanto amor como yoÂ… Si tu te vas, que voy hacer? Â” Unlike most
82 American discos, Mexico City club goers know routines for particular songs and, particularly, for this Paulina Rubio song. The dance form is hard to describe. With the right arm, dancers make the letter S from thei r crotch to their chest, and then they do it again from behind their heads and into the air above them. On a big screen TV, Paulina RubioÂ’s video seduces the club dancers in their movements. During BernadetteÂ’s conversations, I watch men mimic their diva Paulina Rubio, moving as she moves and mouthing her words. On the dance floor, it is hard to find a patter n of identity. There is a range of ages, masculinities, genders, and styles. As with any pubic spot, heterogeneity is common. However, in this gay bar, arguably most pe ople are there to cele brate their aberrant sexuality or to at least thumb their noses at societal pressures of the heterocompulsive. As the group of (mostly) men dance, it is un clear whether the bar patrons are enjoying Paulina Rubio for her leanings toward hybridity. It is also unclear the motivations Rubio has to portray and enact her hybridity. Although th is is BernadetteÂ’s first and last time to visit the bar, I have frequent ed the place often. Sometimes I find someone to teach me the dances on the dance floor. I have manage d to master PaulinaÂ’s moves to her latest video and perform them on the dance floor in unison with the others when she sings. In this space, my gayness, along with the other pa trons is not a hindrance to be hidden but a quality to be highlighted. Although RubioÂ’s motivations cannot be definitely deciphered, her move to utilize hybridity speaks to the current market ability of a multiplicity of identity. Indeed, the gay bar may be the perfect place for watching this curre ncy enacted. Both Frederick Corey (1996) and E. Patrick Johnson (2000) speak to the gay club as a space where
83 contradictory identities find a home together For them, the gay club is a space where multiplicity of identity is played out agains t other patrons and even against the multiple identities within oneÂ’s body. In speaking of an Irish gay pub at the beginning of deillegalization of homosexual identity in Irela nd, Corey points to the varying and conflicting identities of the gay patrons who pe rform and subscribe oppo sing identities. What is notable about The George, though, and what makes it a significant cultural space, is that the identities co exist under one roof. The identities are played out not as separate, self-generating refrains, but as refrains that exist in relation to the other refrai ns in the collective assemb lage. In this way, being queer is performed in relation to its diffe rence from being homosexual, lesbian, or gay; being gay or lesbian is played out as neither queer nor homosexual; and homosexuality is a historic refrain. (p. 157) Similarly, of the Black gay bar, Johnson show s how the secular and the spiritual merge. He writes: Drawing upon a longstanding tradition of blu rring the sacred and the secular in African American culture, African Amer ican gay men embed their own secular traditionsÂ—house/club music, vogueing, dragging, snappingÂ—within black sacred traditions to provide a more liberating way to express all of who they are. (p. 108) Like those gay spaces, this particular gay bar is a site for the hybridityÂ—but there are still real limitations to that hybridity. Bernadette and I decide d to descend to the basement of the bar. In the basement, there is less room for socializing and only room for dancing. The music is much louder and pe rsonal space is minimized. To get to the
84 basement, you can enter a separate door on th e street, or you can descend down a spiral staircase at the back of the bar. I warn Bernadette, Â“Only men are allowed in the basement, soÂ… So you have to act like youÂ’re a man.Â” She has had a couple of beers. Her glassy eyes squint at me, and sh e agrees with an insecure smile. We walk to the back of the bar and into the menÂ’s restroom. At the back of a hallway-like bathroom stands a bouncer. Pa st two stalls and a long urinal trough, he officiously postures himself in front of the descending metal stairs that lead down to the men-only basement. Bernadette and I saunter through the restroom, careful not to step in puddles of unknown liquids. Two drunk men sway at the urinal. One man has his hand one hand on his hip holds his penis with the othe r. The second man steadies himself with both palms on the wall. A mirror stretches th e length of the communal mirror, allowing them to watch Bernadette and me pass by. Undaunted, Bernadette follows me past the bouncer and then starts down the spiral staircase. Three steps dow n, the bouncer says to Bernadette, Â“ No! No puedes pasarte .Â” I hop up the steps to intercede. I plead, Â“ Por favor. Ella es una hermafrodita .Â” I am not sure that this is the correct wor d. I am hoping this term, like gay, lesbian, and homosexual, is a cognate that is shared by both Spanish and English. I am hoping, too, that BernadetteÂ’s body is a c ognate that could be understood as either gender or both genders at the same time. Bernadette stands silent and motionless, not offering anything up that might tilt the bouncer towards disbelief. The bouncer glances up and down her body. He tells me that I can go down, but she cannot. Finally, wit hout much pleading, I concede to the bouncer. As we walk back through the piss-scented menÂ’s room slumpshouldered and a bit embarrassed, I am more conscious of BernadetteÂ’s gender and her
85 limitations for passing as a man or even a hybrid hermaphrodite. Valdivia (2004) asserts: Â“Against, or in relation to, overl y celebratory approaches to the jouissance of the hybrid, we have to consider the tensions and pains of hybridityÂ—the fact that it is not all fun and profitsÂ” (p. 5). It is also impor tant to remember that part of the pain of hybridity is that it cannot always be conjured up on command. Moving as She Moves and Mouthing He r Words: Hybrid Performativity My South Texas upbringing brought a musi cal mixture of Spanish and English. This lingual distinction of Sp anish and English is often blur red in South Texas public and private contexts. For example, for New YearÂ’s Eve I went with my white grandparents to the Beeville, Texas, Veterans of Foreign Wa rs Hall to drink vodka and bring in 2004 A chrome and glass jukebox against wood-panele d walls is the barÂ’s main attraction. The New YearÂ’s crowd is transitory with elde rly couples and groups coming and going, but never dropping the barÂ’s attend ance below twenty people. As the different groups form and disperse, the juke box is approached by ma ny patrons. The music, not always current, ranges in singers and songs: Willie Nelson, Pe dro Infante, Freddy Fender, Patsy Cline, Juan Gabriel. The disco, pop, teeny-bopper music of Paulina Rubio would never be found here amongst these aging military men and women. After the halfway mark is reached on th e vodka bottle, my white grandfather, an old WWII navy sailor with a ta ttooed-right bicep leans over and asks me, Â“In Fresno, do they mix the music like this?Â” I nod as I answer, Â“YesÂ… well, it depends on where you go, I guess.Â” He sits up straight again and pours himself some more Skohl vodka while nodding his head. He begins a story about how the VFW is experiencing a divide
86 amongst its members like heÂ’s never seen before Â“The Mexicans sit at that end of the bar. The Whites sit at the ot her end of the bar.Â” He shak es his had and stirs his vodka-7 with his right ring finger. Â“I hate to see that.Â” I glance around, looking for exceptions to the segregation, but I see few. After Willie Nelson sings Â“Â…blue eyes cryinÂ’ in the rainÂ…,Â” a Mexican patron gets up to drop her quarters into the jukebox. Then Pedro Infante croons Â“Â… por un amor, he llorado de gotitas de sangre del corazon Â…Â” The VFW is a context that demonstrates how the practice of ethnicity can be an act that separates groups. Stuart Hall ( 1997), however, offers us a hopeful view of ethnicity when he says that a new theore tical set of discourse s is converging around identity. Where these discourses intersect, ne w cultural practices emerge (p. 42). Maybe this new set of cultural practices can bring out social change. As Hall believes, identity is dynamic and never a completed entity. It is consistently a negotiation of meaning through and across context, time and space. The VFW Hall in Beeville, Texas argues with Hall: there are times and places when people prefer to maintain rather than transcend their ethnic differences. The juke box musical selection becomes a way for patrons to express their allegiance to one side of the ethnic divide. As Earl Shorris (1992) explains, most bilingual artists do not mix the languages. As culture is so closely tied to language, when the languages are not mixed, the cultures are not mixed either Shorris says, Â“Not even in Vikki Car or Joan Baez or Linda RonstadtÂ—all of whom are Latinas or have a Latina/o parentÂ—do the musical cultures marry. They sing in Spanish or E nglish, they are Mexican or American, never Mexican-AmericanÂ” (p. 58). Shorris uses broad strokes to paint culture, blending
87 language with cultural identity, but this me lding is a common belief among many. As the varying bilingual abilities of U.S. Latina/os show, language does not necessarily equal to a cultural identity. Bilingual artists, be they U.S. born or international, usually do not mix the two languages, and in places like the VFW, these lin gual delineations help the patrons keep their lines of et hnic differences well-marked. On the U.S./Mexico border, my South Texas world was (and when I go home still is) a mixture of Spanish and English. This Spanglish linguistic environment is the one in which I am most comfortable. Moving in a Spanglish lingual mode puts me in a mood of clever poetics. Anzaldua (2000) comments on a similar experience in her own life: The way I grew up with my family was code-switching. When IÂ’m my most emotive self, my home self, stuff will co me out in Spanish. When IÂ’m in my head, stuff comes out in EnglishÂ… So th e body and the feeling parts of me come out in Spanish and the intellectual, reas oning side comes out in English. (p. 266) Similarly, for me, Spanish is a language of comfort and familiarity, while English is about correctness and formality. Differently from Anzaldua though, it is the performative moment of codeswitching that is most exhila rating for me, not the moment of arrival to a different language, but the transitioning between the languag es that gives me thrill. For example, my Mexican-American uncle is Frank to most people. To me, he is mi Tio Panchito At family gatherings we will joke with one another in broken Spanish and English, sometimes making fun of English-only family members without thei r knowledge. To start a sentence in Spanish and then finish it in Eng lish, or visa versa, has an elating effect on me. To demonstrate that I feel a deep affinity for a friend, I will speak in both Spanish
88 and English. Enacting the movement between the two, enacting the lingual switches is my way of demonstrating kinship for someone. In those lingual moments, I am enacting a hybrid performativity, not calling reference to one racial body but trying to reference both and neither at the same time. When I move between languages, I confuse the Â“whoÂ” of who I am and rest in a hybrid state. Or better said, my language becomes my performative moment that contains possibili ties for self and its construction in the historical moment. With my White grandparents, I speak th e only language they know, English. The President of the VFW, a Latino man in his late-50s, walks by and my grandfather stops him to announce my arrival to Beeville. He sa ys, Â“Joe, this is my grandson Shane. HeÂ’s finishing up his PhD in Tampa, Florida, and is working in Fresno, California. HeÂ’s a professor.Â” Joe kindly and blandly shakes my hand. My grandfather continues: Â“The VFW he lped Shane get his start. He won the VFWÂ’s Â‘Voice of DemocracyÂ’ scholarship cont est and gave a speech about the United States Constitution right out front of here. He was just a fr eshman in High School and he gave that speech right under the flag pole out there.Â” Both of my grandparents are chestswollen with pride. I sit up straight attempting to mirror their pride. Joe raises his eyebrows, makes a face like he learned something new, and pats me on the back. He says, Â“Good job, son. Ni ce to see you tonight. Happy New Year.Â” Then he moves onto another table. Within earshot of Joe, my grandfathe r gruffs: Â“See, I donÂ’t care if youÂ’re Mexican or White. You need to treat pe ople better. This guy is just rude.Â”
89 My grandmother, with her years of experience at calming down this drunken sailor, tries to smooth things over: Â“Oh, Jame s. Now come on, itÂ’s New Years. DonÂ’t be that way.Â” I can feel the unintended but still eviden t racial tension in my grandfatherÂ’s comment. Although my grandfather claims that JoeÂ’s identity is irrelevant to my grandfatherÂ’s criticism, he st ill calls JoeÂ’s racial identity to the forefront. The public context makes this announcement precarious. My own Latina/o identity feels held accountable for JoeÂ’s behavior, ev en if my grandfather says th at race is not a factor. In this context of racial tensi on, race is always a factor. Judith Butler (1988) argues that the perf ormative act of gender is a public action. She elaborated that gender is not a radical choi ce, or a project for and of the individual, or imposed or inscribed by language. At the sa me time, she argues that bodies do not preexist the cultural conventions that signify them. For Bu tler, gender is Â“a performative accomplishment compelled by social sanction and taboo. In its very character as performative resides the possibility of contesting its reifie d statusÂ” (p. 520). The performativity of race can be outlined in much the same way: performing the racialized body is not a radical, individual choice, nor does language impose or inscribe ethnicity as a Â“blank slate. Â” Utilizing Merleau-Ponty, Butler argues for a phenomenology of the body, particularly damning to th e biological, geographical, or physical essentialisms of race and ethnicity. For Merleau-Ponty, the bodyÂ’s appearance is not predetermined by an interior essence, but the bodyÂ’s expression is the Â“taking up and rendering specific a set of historical possibi lities.Â” Butler weaves phenomenology of the body with AustinÂ’s performative utterance to arrive at her conclu sion: Â“the body is a
90 historical situationÂ…and is a manner of doi ng, dramatizing, and reproducing a historical situationÂ” (p. 521). And the theatre provide s ButlerÂ’s metaphor for how gendered bodies perform/how racialized bodies pe rform: Â“Actors are always already on stage, within the terms of the performance. Just as a script ma y be enacted in various ways, and just at the play requires both text and interpretations within the confines of already existing directivesÂ” (p. 526). Both Paulina Rubio and I perform Latina/ oÂ—as gendered bodies, with scripts that require interpretations, within cultural restri cted corporeal spaces, and enacting Latina/o within Â“already existing directives.Â” Hybridity enters this picture in an examination of the mundane performances of Latina/o that can be part of a Â“cr itical genealogyÂ” of hybridity. A critical genealogy requires an expanded notion of Â“actsÂ” of Latina/o constitutionÂ—as socially shared, historic, and performative. While the performative holds out possibilities of tran sformation, hybridity may foreclose those same possibilities. Hybrid performativity is a way to disr upt the reality of dichotomous racial relations and a way to envision how to overcom e the limits of the discourse on race. The act of self-subscribing to hybr idity might not be a revolutio n, but it is the seed, the beginning to a new envisioning of the self both in doing and in th inking. In the VFW Hall, along the borderlands in general, within U.S. discourse, Latina/o is defined against Whiteness. Noticeably, Paulina Rubio is an absent option on the VFW juke box. She sings a style of music not honored here. Her hybridity is not necessarily geared toward this older, rural audience. As Paulina Rubio enters U.S. discourse she is trying to market herself as someone who transcends those dichotomies. Through marketing, she creates a fiction of
91 herself to counter an existing fiction of race. As Inda (2001) explains: If Â‘raceÂ’ is a social fiction, then the meaning of Â‘race,Â’ and hence the constitution of racial bodies, is fundamentally unstable and open to all sorts of resignifications. Simply put, no project of racial dominati on can be predestined to hold racialized bodies in positions of subordination. (p. 75) In marketing herself and in producing a multilingual album that draws from many sources, Paulina Rubio tries to transcend simple racial categor ies. However, when I look for her in my reality, I still find her locked in to Latina/o performativity, into the Â“existing directivesÂ” that are historically, socially, and culturally operant. For example, I still, to this day, have not found one White pers on who knows who she isÂ—only Latina/os. Globalized Media as an Opportunity for Hybridity Paulina RubioÂ’s marketing efforts have placed her around the globe, and people are using her music in the everyday cultural production of their own lives. In my own life, Paulina Rubio follows me. In Janua ry 2004, in the San Antonio International Airport, I am leaving Texas after spending New Years with my grandparents. I am waiting in a terminal to board a plane for Fr esno, California. Walk ing the horseshoe of gates in the terminal, I wander around, reading th e different signs and symbols available. Since this is San Antonio, Texas, the color palette of any place that tries to market itself as authentically Tex-Mex is an array of pastels: pinks, blues, greens, and yellows. On the walls are mural-like paintings of chubby Mexican-looking peopl e dancing. In the center of the horseshoe is a Â“last chanceÂ” Te x-Mex airport restaurant, offering itself as the final opportunity to partake of South Texas. Remember the Alamo? Where Whites
92 may be outnumbered in this city, but they wi ll not be defeated? The nested airport restaurant, at a real borderland of material privilege, promises an authenticity. While I wait for my boarding call, I s can the crowd waiting with me. I am cruising. It is 6:30 am, and although I am not serious about finding a gay lover in a dead end airport terminal, I am still intrigued to see if anyone is about. A range of young military types, dressed in their Air Force Blue s, lounge about the term inal. There are two men, one white and one black, in dressy casua l clothing talking on ce ll phones. A fiftyish heterosexual couple glowers at one another. I glance over to the Mexican restaurant. There are certain places where you can always find gay men workingÂ—bank s as tellers, retail departme nt stores as sales clerks, and restaurants as waiters. Th e waiter at this particular rest aurant has spiked up hair with dyed bangs. He is about 5Â’ 5Â” He is Latino. The music th at he is working to, piped through the tiny, tinny speakers, is Paulina Rubio. I can hear her singingÂ—maybe with a bit too much vigor for this early in the morningÂ—Â“ La luna te dira que yo te quiero ver, El sol te seguira alla a donde tu estes.Â” I smile because I recognize the CD, Paulina RubioÂ’s Â“Border Girl.Â” I smile because I have found another gay manÂ… and another Latino. At this moment, I am relying on racial codes that society us es to designate the Â“Latina/o.Â” As Alan Hyde (1997) posits: Â“Race is a claim that necessarily involves the construction of a specularized body by the pr ivileged eyeÂ” (p. 223). As I watch him sweep, I am saddened a bit. As a 30-somethi ng light skinned professor, I am seldomly assumed to be Â“Mexican.Â” Although there ar e many that veer in other directions, he represents a group with a racial coding that also helps to structure his life path.
93 This moment of finding the gay Latino within the artificial staging of Mexicanness is a moment in which the ethni c individual is used to authenticate an artificial Mexican staging. The context is enhanced not only by th e gay Latino but also Paulina Rubio. For the staging, it is her Span ish voice, and if anyone recognizes her, her Mexican heritage that serves to decorate the scene, creating a backdrop for airport passengers to enjoy Mexican culture one la st time. Rona Halualani (2000) says: [W]e can gain additional insight into et hnicity by re-engaging ethnic and cultural identity as the complicated interrelations hip between structural forms of identity (e.g., governmental categories, official hist ories, legal constructions) and cultural forms of identity (e.g., the enacted expre ssions and speaking practices within a group, the everyday living, verbal performa nces, and social interactions of a group). (p. 587) At this space in the restaurant, I see the merging of a structur al form of capitalist commodification of ethnicity w ith the cultural identity form of a Latino man working to get paid. The two are intert wined and interdependent upon one another. And like the Latino waiter, Paulina RubioÂ’s music is intertwined with the commodification of ethnicity. She becomes both text and context at this moment. She is part of the structure as well as the cultural form. The waiter catches me eyeing him. I look him up and down. He smiles. The flight attendant calls me to board the plane, and as I leave, PaulinaÂ’s song plays as the waiter sweeps and mouths her words. In the current age, globalized media sy stems offer opportunities for audiences of all types to interact with symbols and mean ings from other cultures while remaining within their own culture. Paulina Rubio sta nds to profit from th is globalized media
94 system as she seeks to enact herself as an in terstitial being, a bordergirl. As James Carey (1988) explains the media become part of the understanding of and the creation of reality. For Carey: Reality is not a given, not humanly existent, independent of language and toward which language stands as a pale refrac tion. Rather, realit y is brought into existence, is produced, by communica tionÂ—by, in short, the construction, apprehension and utilization of symbolic forms. (p. 25) Media systems provide partic ularly potent symbolic forms for us to construct our realities. It follows then that Paulina RubioÂ’s entre into this system is an act to redefine reality via a globalized media system. Raka Shome and Radha Hegde (2002) attend to the ways that globalization shape the disse mination and the unde rstanding of media messages and, for this chapter, shed light on how RubioÂ’s sounds and images have material effects. Globalization and hybridizat ion inform each other as processes that are generative. Nestor Garcia Ca nclini (1995) helps to explain the process of hybridity: Â“I understand for hybridization that sociocultural processes in wh ich discrete structures and practices, that existed in sepa rate form, combine themselves to generate new structure, objects, and practicesÂ” (Canc lini 1995, p. 14). According to Canclini, the two spaces where hybridity are most intense are at the me tropolis and at the bor ders. Rather than just thinking of metropolitan areas and borders areas as physical existences, he reminds us that globalized mass media have created metropolitan and border areas in which we exist. Thus, as identities are formed today, they are met with contradictory callings found within globalized media. Ca nclini says, Â“The study of [cu ltural processes]Â… rather than conducing to the affirmation of self-sufficient identities, is useful in order to know about
95 the ways of situating ourselves in the mi ddle of heterogeneity and to understand how hybridizations are producedÂ” (p. 18 ). Again, it is the processe s not the staid results that are of interest in understa nding hybrid identities. For us to understand the mediated hybrid presence of Paulina Rubio, we should see it in its material terms. Shome and Hegde (2002) argue, Â“Globalization as a phenomenon produces a state of culture in tr ansnational motionÂ—flows of people, trade, communication, ideas, technologies, finance, so cial movements, cross border movements, and moreÂ” (p. 174). Materially then, Rubio, her ideas and her products move through and around national structures on this planet. Globalization happens within and th rough permeable and unstable national boundariesÂ—relying on local n eeds and interests. Shome and Hegde explain: In fact, our assumptionÂ…is that the shif ting fault lines of economic and cultural power in our current times, and the sc ale and speed at which these lines are re/shifting, are producing new forms of ar ticulations and disa rticulations, new configurations of power, and new planes of dis/empowerment that cannot be equated with any other period. (p. 174) Indeed, the local interpreta tions of Paulina Rubio opport unities for newly constructed meanings and newly provided subversions to established systems of domination. One local interpretation could easily feature the vi sualÂ—how Paulina Rubio is portrayed to be seen: with the attendant cleavage, curves, costuming, and direct gaze of high fashion and the come-hither look of Playboy centerfoldÂ—wit h more clothes. This easy Mulvey-read of Â“to be looked-at-nessÂ” is laminated w ith money: nothing about Paulina Rubio is Â“cheapÂ”Â—the carefully coifed ha ir, the beautiful clothes, th e diva make-up. ClassÂ—in the
96 Â“old senseÂ” of the wordÂ—is written all ove r her as produced by intense labor and many professional hands. The symbolic systems that are provide d through globalization and that produce Paulina Rubio are not necessarily from groups whose identity politic s are liberated: the music industry has a clear investment in affi rming feminine beauty and offering Paulina Rubio as a new pentacle of perf ection. As a reiteration of feminine performativity, Paula Rubio images reaffirm gender norms. As a re iteration of Latina identity, however, the Â“readÂ” is not so simple. For example, Valdivia (2004) warns that the Latina image stands to both deconstruct as well as reconstruct racist imagery. Latina actress can play a broad range of characters, including black, white, and everything in between, through providing ca sting directors with an easy way to foreground the few famous Latinas out there who by virtue of ambiguity slip into these roles. This presents both an employment oppor tunity as well as the possibility for seeing more people of color on the screen and in print. However, the second effect is that hybrid Latinas and ethnic ambiguity also provide main stream culture with a chance to displace and replace blackness. Blackness, once more gets pushed to the [left] margin. (Valdivia, 2004, p. 15). As Carey reminds us, the symbols themselves are not necessarily what creates our reality, but our interpretation of those symb ols. Valdivia stands firm to point out that images, in this case Paulina Rubi oÂ’s image, still is invested within a system that privileges her light skin color over the skin color of someone darker. Thus, within these dominant media systems, there are dominan t translations of the symbols within that stand to serve some communities over others.
97 Stuart Hall provides a way to understand how local interpretati ons of globalized symbol systems might provide a way out of the current discourse of ethnicity and its dominating symbols. Hall (1997) gets us to understand if we buy into the notion of signification, then we can also buy into the notion of resignifying a signifier. Indeed, Hall feels that this re signification process is probably the best way to think through and out of oppressive meanings and their power co nstructs. He says, Â“For if signification depends upon the endless reposi tioning of its differential terms, meaning in any specific instance depends on the contingent and arbitr ary stop, the necessary breakÂ” (p. 51). And at that break, if we can re-signify or si gnify differently, then previously oppressive patterns might be subverted or even transformed. Homi Bhabha (1994a) similarly believes in the liberating possibilities of resignification. Upsetting the simple bina ries of good/bad, right/wrong, and us/them (and their corresponding identity term s) is a way to get around repr essive structures. Bhabha sees the process of hybridity as offering th at chance of resignif ication. For Bhabha (1994a), we are in a post-colonial time when the effects of col onialism are still be felt and recreated. All around us is the colonial discourse that has assigned meaning to our lives and kept up within certain understand ings of the world. He argues: An important feature of colonial discour se is its dependence on the concept of Â‘fixityÂ’ in the ideological construction of otherness. Fixity, as the sign of cultural/historical/racial difference in the discourse of colonialism, is a paradoxical mode of representation: it connotes rigidity a nd an unchanging order as well as disorder, degeneracy, and demonic repetition. (p. 66)
98 Thus out of colonialism has come a range of standards in relation to ethnic and racial identity that has set up patterns of such things as justice, truth and, merit. It is the fixity of colonial discourse, the belief in the fixity of identity that permits these constructs of identity to persist. Bhabha (1994b) celebrates hybridity as the area where change can happen when he says: What is theoretically innovative, and po litically crucial, is the necessity of thinking beyond initial cate gories and initiatory s ubjects and focusing on the interstitial moments or pr ocesses that are produced in the articulations of Â‘differences.Â’ These spaces provide the te rrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood and communal representations that gene rate new signs of cultural difference and innovative sites of collaboration and cont estation. It is at the level of the interstices that the inte rsubjective and colle ctive experiences of nationness, community interest, and cultural value are negotia ted. (p. 269) Therefore, the in-between of the interstitial are key moments in identity formation and articulation for not only the development of ne w identity, but also th e explication of how that identity came about. Riding a globalized media wave, Paulina R ubio is a hybridized id entity being that is resisting fixity in a post -colonial culture. Her album wa nts to reach more than the audiences that have previously known her a nd seeks to span into the realms of nonSpanish speaking, non-Latina/o identified audien ces. To do so, her Â“handlersÂ” are clearly articulating standards of b eauty that affirm and Â“nat uralizeÂ” femininityÂ—as young, as curvaceous, as sexy. To market Paulina R ubio, as Â“border girl,Â” hybridized and
99 globalized, radical and reaffirming, resistant and revolutionary, requi res that gender be articulated in very traditional ways. In short, global hybridization trumps gender performativity. She may be Â“border,Â” rearticulat ed as wealthy, multil ingual, and talented, but sheÂ’s still very much a girl Indeed, the waiter in the airport restaurant might be situated in much the same way: a commodity mobilized to articulat e an authenticity; a young man working for a paycheck. Paulina RubioÂ’s Â“over the top beau ty,Â” her song lyrics, her diva status are appropriated by him and by me to say somethi ng different about sexuality, desire, the Â“to be looked-at-nessÂ” of gay cruising. Or are we back in the same old articulations? Remember the Alamo? I seek to be a hybridi zed individual who can be more than White and more than Latina/o. I am seeking out spaces and media that allow and encourage such a hybridized identity. During this tim e of globalized media and possibilities of hybridity, both Paulina and I must have a udiences and communities ready to recognize and accept. A Hybrid Identity Foreclosed Paulina Rubio postures herself as someone of hybrid identity, an identity that recognizes many ethnic and national sides, claims all of those sides, and is free to move from one side to another. Her hybridity resi sts, in U.S. dominant discourse on race and ethnicity, the labeling of Latina/o. She does not shun a Latina identity; however, she adopts a more cosmopolitan and globalized persona. Yet her attempts to position herself as more than Latina fail. The reasons for th is failure lie in the popular utilization of Latina/o media by U.S. Latina/os and the permeability of the boundaries of the nationstate.
100 Her identity metamorphoses are not eas ily mastered or even accomplished. Latina/os do not have a common biological descent; nor do they all claim a common national descent. This lack of common claim throws a generalized Latina/o identity into a state of ineffable identity status. However, there are still areas where Latina/o identity gets shapedÂ—like the mass media. According to George Fox (1996), it is the media that help tie Latina/os together despite their mu ltiple geographical pasts and presents. He explains: The relationship between group identity and group territory is tied to the traditional relationship between place a nd information accessÂ…. By severing the traditional link between physical location and social situationÂ…electronic media may begin to blur previously distinct group identities by allowing people to Â‘escapeÂ’ informationally from place-defined groupsÂ…. By the same token, the media also permit people to Â‘enterÂ’ group informationall y, facilitating the formation of new group identities. (p. 7) Latina/os no longer need the geographical lo cale to find identity because mass media provide the locale for them. Paulina Rubio has grown up in the spotlight of Latina/o media. A U.S. comparison to her might be Janet Jackson or Drew Barrymore. As she comes to the U.S., she is not a new star because she has been a Latina media star for years. Thus, as she tries to create hersel f anew, some of her audience still remembers who she was before Â“Border Girl.Â” Additionally, even though sh e is entering the United St ates, the border she crosses shifts and moves. Geographic locales ar e not necessarily defined by the national structures that claim them. That is, because a person lives in the United States does not
101 necessarily mean that the pers onÂ’s citizenship or national iden tity rests with the countryÂ’s larger identity. Angharad Va ldivia (1999) helps to explai n how the nation-state is a concept that no longer necessar ily captures the identities of all individuals. Valdivia (1999) admits to the problems that the natio n-state concept makes for Latina/o identity individuals, but rather than bemoan the problems, she celebrates them. She lays out the complicated pockets of people who cloud the is sues of us-versus-them that the nationstate identity claims need for self-sustaining authenticity claims. She says: I have been careful not to use the term U.S. Latina/os because it is such a problematic demarcation. Latina/os w ho live in the United States could have been here for centuriesÂ… Other Latina/os may come from Puerto Rico which is, but also is not, part of the United St atesÂ…. Then you have the whole Central American and South American migrator y patternsÂ…. How can you maintain an us-versus-them terminology? How do th e media, popular culture, music, and dance fit into this schema? (p. 483) Therefore, Paulina Rubio, while in the United States proper, is asso ciated with a group, Â“brought into the domain of language and kins hip through the interpel lation ofÂ” ethnicity (Butler, 1993, p. 7), that is not only well-acquainted with her, but their movement is just as varied as hersÂ—and now they are in the U.S. as Latina/os. Paulina Rubio is trying to be a star during a time when the Latina/o identity is still forming and reforming. Within U.S. discourse Latina/o is one ethnic label separate from other ethnic labels. The irony to this is that the U.S. Latin a/o identity is still being formed and explained. Richard Rodriguez takes a bleak tone when expressing the
102 contradictions and confusions within the Latina/o commun ity as we try to formulate exactly who we are. Richard Rodriguez (2002) writes, The other day I read a survey that report ed a majority of Americans believe most Hispanics are in the United States illega lly. Maybe. Maybe there is something inherently illegal about all of us who are Hispanics in the United States, gathered under an assumed name, posing as one fa mily. NixonÂ’s categorical confusion brings confusion to all cat egories. (pp. 122-123) Rodriguez captures the sentiment of the Amer ican public on the image of the Latina/os, and he also captures the confusion of Latina/ os who are struggling to understand our own autonomy. Unlike Rodriguez, Fernando Delgado finds possibility in the ambiguity of the Latina/o identity. Delgado (1998) marks this la ck of definition as valuable rather than crisis-causing. He says: Â“I reject the need to categori ze, control or construct what Latina/o identity terms might be. Instead, I demonstrate that Latina/os can be many different things when, as subjects, they put identity terms into their everyday communication practicesÂ” (p. 424). Delgado, a ttempting to textualize ethnic identity, acknowledges and honors the multioptional discourse labels of Â“Latina/oÂ” identity. At the same time, he asserts that Latina/os do not become lost identities in a vernacular jungle, but they still find ways to identify with one another and w ith cultural icons at large. With a globalized Latina/o identity, and decaying nation-state boundaries, Paulina Rubio becomes one of those Latina/o icons that attracts and maintains the Latina/o audience.
103 In referring to the United States, Ro man de la Campa (2001) makes a strong opening claims when he says: AmericaÂ’s hold on the universal imaginary has withstood the test of time. As a distant moment of discovery, a hemisphe ric maker, or the naming of a powerful modern nation. AmericaÂ’s claim to unique transcendental dimensions continue to seem naturalÂ—if not necessary to peoples, nations, and academic traditions. (p. 1) De la Campa argues that America (which fo r him is synonymous to the United States) is influential and that influence is powerful. Looking at America now, Paulina Rubio and I are asking for the U.S. to see itself spilli ng out of the boundaries of its current selfunderstandings. De la Campa says, Â“It becomes crucial to remember th at the invention of America has always been an arbitrary exercise in location, a site not far from the lines of utopia and nostalgiaÂ” (p. 1). We both ask th e United States to revamp the utopia and nostalgia to include more than the melt ing pot and the Spir it of Â’76 but also la raza cosmica and Cinco de Mayo Â… and possibilities yet unforeseen. Race, ethnicity, gender, se xual preferenceÂ—these are a ll socially performed and materially constructed meanings that exist in human discourse. Moreover, and most importantly for this chapter, they are perfor med. They are arbitrar y and contestable and their significance is dependent upon the context. At the same time, Butler argues, we are Â“compelledÂ” to live in a world where these th eoretical claims are adamantly contradicted in the Â“real world,Â” where commonsense holds that gender, ethnic ity, race, and sexual preference are stable, polar, discrete, a nd intractable. The success of theorizing globalized media systems and calls for hybridity remains to be seenÂ—especially in my life.
104 In the winter 2003, I leave a closing gay ba r with my friend Carlos. The crowd is mostly Latina/o with a smattering of White, Bl ack or Asian clientele. All night I have been speaking English, Spanish, and Spanglis h. All night I have been listening and dancing to Spanish music, English music, and music mixing both Spanish and English. Riding shot-gun in CarlosÂ’ gold Â’97 Thunderbird, I play DJ on the car stereo. Flipping through the stations, I find Â“ Sexi DanceÂ” by Paulina Rubio. The English version goes, Â“DonÂ’t stop me now. Surrender to the beat. Just you and me. Just like it used to be. Set your heart free, when weÂ’re together.Â” The Spanish version goes, Â“No pares noÂ….Â” As Carlos pulls away from the bar to h ead back to his apartment, we begin singing her song. Both of us are mocking he r Â“SÂ” dance. As the song is concluding, I turn down the music to ask Carlos a question. Suddenly we realize that we are singing different versions of the s ong. He is singing the Spanis h version; I am singing the English version. Both of us laughing, I ask, Â“Is she singing in Spanish or English?Â” In my drunken stupor, I try to turn the song up agai n but accidentally change the station. I cannot locate and re-cap ture the station with her song on it. I insist, Â“Carlos she was singing in English.Â” He responds, Â“No mijo YOU were singing in English, she and I were singing in Spanish. Your bolillo side got the best of you.Â” ( Bolillo is Mexican slang for Â“White person.Â”) Just then a beer bottle explodes agains t the side panel of the Thunderbird, flung from a car in a parallel lane. CarlosÂ’ licen se plate frame reads Â“WhoÂ’s your Papi now?Â” and above that frame is a gay rainbow flag stic ker. He decided to decorate his car this way four years ago when he could no longe r hide his gay identity. I have always
105 chastised him for using his car as a way to advertise his gayness. At this moment, I wonder if thatÂ’s why we got pegged. Someone from the other car screams Â“ jotos Â” (Mexican slang for Â“faggotÂ”) and speeds away. I quickly survey our surroundings Most of the gay bars in Fresno are located on the Â“MexicanÂ” side of town. WeÂ’ve just left the gay bar, an area that lacks street lights. Visibly angry, Carlos floors the gas petal a nd races to follow the car. Â“Carlos,Â” I plead, Â“What are you going to do if you catch them? Come on. Let them go.Â” He refuses with a shake of his head and continues to run lights and round curves. I think to myself, Â“If we stop, and he ge ts out, IÂ’m taking the chance of being a White gay guy on the Mexican side of town. This could be bad.Â” Then I begin to rehearse my plan, Â“Well, IÂ’ll just talk Spanish and butch myself up and play up my Mexican side. I wonÂ’t let my gay bolillo side get the best of me.Â” Finally, we stop at a red li ght. They keep going. Carl os is breathing hard. We watch as their tail lights grow smaller in th e distance. He turns to me and says, Â“If you hadnÂ’t been with me, I would have fought them.Â” Â“Well,Â” I maintained, Â“If the cops would have come, I would have done all the talking.Â” We both laugh at the differences we are demarcating. Our laughter also marks our successful escape from potential violence an d rage: the ever present material danger of our sexualities in White and Latina /o, heteronormative U.S. discourse. Paulina RubioÂ’s music enters the United States at a volatile time for Latina/o identity. Young Latina/os find her as a medi ated pop star that they can perform in various venues. We can sing like her in our ca rs, we can dance like her in our clubs, we
106 can dress like her in daily life. The moment that her perf ormance becomes part of the performative of Latina/os is the moment wh en she is no longer the cosmopolitan, selfdetermining, polyglot. Here in the United States, Paulina Rubio becomes part of the performativity that hides its own genesis, reinstat es racial and ethnic essentiali sms, and punishes individuals for performing race, gender, or sexuality in correctly. The material realities of a celebration of Latina/o identity are dangerous ly at odds with White culture. As she crosses the border to be the next Latina supe rstar, she has the free dom to cross back and forth playing a game of sema ntics that benefits her most. However, the Latina/o populationÂ… wherever you draw the lineÂ… gets st uck in long lines waiting to cross to the United States or on the side of town that is less desirable. Maybe one day the Latina/o image will become as Paulina Rubio is portrayedÂ—polyvocal, self-determiningÂ—but until then both sides of the border are not quite ideal. Stuart Hall (1997) encourages us to th ink about the global and the local when considering our ethnic identity and the ethnic identity of others. In the opening of Â“Old and New Identities, Old and New Ethnicities,Â” he responds to another of his articles. He writes: My argument was that we need to think of the processes which are now revealing themselves in terms of the local and the global in those two spaces, but we also need to think of these as more contradictory formulations than we usually do. Unless we do, I [am] concerned that we are li kely to be disabled in trying to think through those ideas poli tically. (p. 41)
107 Hall argues that global and local identities may both be lived identities, but they are constructed in very different ways and ha ve very different circumstances around their enactment. To speak of a global identity (e.g., a third-world born woman) is very different than to speak of your local identity (e.g., a middle-class Me xican grocery clerk). Their differences in construction and enactment must be noticed and honored if we are to understand and/or improve the cond itions of eith er identity. For Paulina Rubio and myself, Paulina Rubio y Yo a hybrid identity really rests at a global and theoretical level. The identity is cast from a mixture of identities and a vision for how those identities can be played ag ainst each other, as a denial of each other, or even in combination with one another. However, the local, not the global, is where the hybrid identity loses its efficacy and is not as easily enacted. My car, my speech, my friends, my grandparentsÂ—these are contexts and enactments of my identities that are privileged by dominant ideology and are performed on a thin lin e between danger and pleasure. For Paulina Rubio and myself, the enactment of multiple identities is not always a choice.
108 Chapter Four Memoir as Equipment for Living: Hybrid Performative Identities Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. (I am large. I contain multitudes.) --Walt Whitman, Song of Myself In 1999, my professor slips a book catalog into my department mailbox. Circled in green ink is How Did You Get to be Mexican?: A White/Brown ManÂ’s Search for Identity She has scribbled in the margin, Â“I think youÂ’ll like this !!!Â” I read the description of Kevin JohnsonÂ’s book and cal l the 800 number to order it. The day it arrives, I peruse the bookÂ’s back cover to ge t a feel for the text. I learn the book is Â“A readable account of life spent in the borderlands between racial identities.Â” The other pull quotes describe the memoir as a Â“portrayal of the struggle for identity;Â” and about Â“a sensitive young man who did not fit neatly ;Â”--Â“JohnsonÂ’s struggles reverberate beyond him.Â” These descriptions do not characterize th e author as being in control of or at peace with his identity. Indeed, they do not offer the reader a vision that the memoir will resolve any of JohnsonÂ’s struggles or misfittings. I read it from cover to cover, hoping to clarify the confusion in my own White/Brown journey. Like the author, I, too, have a Latina/o parent and a White parent. Like the author, I have a White first and last name. Like the author, if I had a me moir, the title would most likel y be a question rather than a statement.
109 Two years later, a colleague places a New York Times Book Review in my department mailbox. With a blue highlighter he has underlined the title and authorÂ— American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood by Marie Arana. While skimming the book review of a memoir about a woman with a hybrid identity born of a Latino father and a White mother, I walk directly to a department office computer and log onto amazon.com. A week later, I again study anot her cover, searching for parallels to my own experiences, trying to find soluti ons to my own identity qualms. AranaÂ’s book cover descriptions convey co mfort with her identity, rather than it being an identity that subsumes all aspects of her life. AranaÂ’s cover reads: But only when she immigrated with her family to the United States did she come to understand that she was a hybrid Ameri can whose cultural identity was split in half. Coming to terms with this split is at the heart of this graceful, beautifully realized portrait of a child who was a north-south collision, a New World fusion. An American chica. While there is definitely turmoil in the descri ption of Arana, this turmoil is cooled to a fusion of wholeness. She has come to terms with her identity. The memoir is not about the divide; it is about the completeness of who she is. Again, I read the book cover to cover. Sometime the following year, I am in a Barnes and Noble bookstore. My right index finger strums a shelf of books in the So cial Science section. At the end of the Hispanic collection and at the start of the Native American section, my finger stops at a svelte orange and yellow spine, Luis Alberto UrreaÂ’s memoir NobodyÂ’s Son: Notes from an American Life I sit cross-legged on the floor. Urr easÂ’s cover reads: Â“In prose that
110 seethes with energy and crackles with dark hum or, he tells a story of what it means to belong to a nation that is sometimes painfully multicultural.Â” The thrust of this minireview is in how Urrea belongs to society. He is not tosse d side-to-side, alienated, or estranged; rather he is an active and in-contr ol member of this society. Urrea deals with the difficulties of his membership, but it is his maintenance of not rejection of that membership that is key. I read halfwa y through the book before an intercom voice announces that all sales should be made now be cause the store closes in fifteen minutes. My careful reading of both the book covers and their contents is related to Kenneth BurkeÂ’s (1973) notion that literature is Â“equipm ent for living.Â” Using the proverb as his example, Burke argues that all literature is borne out of a recurrence of salient situations. That is, in our reality we are noticeabl y confronted with recurrences that need naming in order for us to make sense of these situations and understand the meanings they bear upon our lives Burke (1973) further explains: I submit that such naming is done, not for the sheer glory of the thing, but because of its bearing upon human welfareÂ… The names for typical, recurrent situations are not developed out of Â“disinterested curiosity,Â” but because the names imply a command (what to expect, what to look out for). (p. 83) For Burke, a literary work of art becomes a wa y to word reality. In this wording, then, we textualize what it is that affects us but also reshape that effect through our naming. For Burke then that literary work is: the strategic naming of a situ ation. It singles out a patte rn of experience that is sufficiently representative of our social structure, that recurs sufficiently often
111 mutandis mutates for people to Â‘need a word for itÂ’ and to adopt an attitude towards it. Each work of art is the additi on of a word to an informal dictionary. (p. 83) For my interview participants and myself, our patterns of experien ce as a Latina/o-White hybrid individual have been difficult to word. In the interviews, I heard participants s eeking to use their agency to resist the bifurcating discourse of Whiteness versus La tina/oness, but they often found themselves caught in an either/or understa nding of their own identity. In my own story, I found that enacting hybridity, while theoreti cally desirable, was materially difficult at best. In the close reading of these memoirs, I hope to find how the realm of the artistic offers possibilities outside of material ly divisive racial discourse, to explore how these authors have worded their patterns of experienci ng Latina/o-White hybrid identity, and to discover what attitudes this wo rding helps them and their read ers to adopt. Following my study of interviewees and my own study of myself, I am l ooking towards these literary works as equipment for living with in my own hybridized identity. With BurkeÂ’s advice, I have come to each of these memoirs hoping my journey from their first to their final lines will help me write my own bookÂ—a dissertationÂ—on questions of ethnicity, hybrid ity, and performativity. When read individually, the final lines of each memoir have not brought me to the epiphanies for which I had hoped. Â“Only time will tell whether this nation will live up to its reputation as the bellwether of freedom, equality, and justice for allÂ” (Johnson, p. 182). Â“I donÂ’t know where I am goingÂ” (Urrea, p. 184). Â“A bridgeÂ” (Arana p. 309). When read in combination, however, they combine to offer a hopeful para llax view of cultural identity, skewing
112 currently understood and practiced views on what it means to be Latina/o, to be White, to be both, to be neither. These memoirs, when read together, offer a way to understand how hybrid identities are performatively enacted. Textual Production of Hybrid Performativity These memoirs appear at a time in U.S. culture when issues of Whiteness and Latina/o-ness are particularly thorny and of ten in conflict with one another. This divisiveness can be linked to a history of conflict. Marco Portales (2000) says the negative responses to Latina/os can be found in literature that da tes as far back as: Francis ParkmanÂ’s 1847 text, The Oregon Trail Before that, attitudinal differences and downright di slike between Anglos and Hi spanics gave rise to the American war with Mexico in 1846, to the Alamo (1836), and perhaps can even be traced back to the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada. (p. 49) Hundreds of years later, book reviews of thes e three memoirs are centered on the racial tensions that mark the need fo r these texts. For example, early in each text, the Kirkus reviewer of JohnsonÂ’s memoir marks the conflicting identity background in JohnsonÂ’s work: Â“The son of a Mexican-American mother and an Anglo father, Johnson ponders life as a Â‘mixed-raceÂ’ man in th e racially charged atmosphere of America.Â” Yxta Maya Murray (2001), while not reducing AranaÂ’s work to only racial conflict, still focuses on the racial conflict as the nece ssary crux of her work: Â“Her heritage gives her a Janus-like perspective, but sometimes the effort of j uggling her two souls can leave her exhaustedÂ” (p. 1). Bing, Simson, and Zaleski (1998) also comment on the cultural bifurcation theme of UrreaÂ’s work: Â“The son of an Anglo-American mother and a Mexican father, Urrea muses on the frustrations and logical fall acies of anti-Mexican racism as he traces
113 the often-forgotten multicultu ral origins of Anglos-American culture and languageÂ” (p. 381). Each reviewer begins with the primary thematic c onflict of the memoirsÂ—racial contradiction within the same body. The reviews end with summative observations of the writersÂ’ styles. For Johnson: Â“A thoughtfu l story, told somewhat indifferently.Â” For Arana: Â“A rich and compelling personal narrat iveÂ” (p. 1). For Urrea: Â“[A]t its best, UrreaÂ’s staccato phrases build up to a vivid, often brutal imageÂ” (p. 381). Gloria Anzaldua (1999) e xplains how these writings can be considered performances in their own right. Of her own work, she says: My Â“storiesÂ” are acts encapsulated in tim e, Â“enactedÂ” every time they are spoken aloud or read silently. I like to think of them as performances and not as inert and Â“deadÂ” objects (as the aesthe tics of Western culture thi nk of art works). Instead, the work has an identity, it is a Â“whoÂ” or a Â“whatÂ” and contains the presences of persons, that is, incarnations of gods and ancestors or natural and cosmic powers. The work manifests the same needs as a person, it needs to be Â“fed,Â” la tengo que banar y vestir. (p. 89) Ellen Gil-Gomez (2000) further interprets An zalduaÂ’s perspective of text to say: [Anzaldua] feels that the writing itself is a mode of performing identityÂ—both directly and indirectly. Th e work lives without her by it s side to give it context and so it is interpreted again and againÂ… (p. 142) Thus the product, as well as the process, of writing is a performance. The process of creating the self through text a llows a persona to exist that is interpreted over and over by other readers. These interpretations are important as possible empowerments of the reading audiences. Anzaldua, like many, resist s finding the truth of id entities, but rather,
114 as Gil-Gomez emphasizes, Anzaldua allows othe rs to interpret and find meaning in her multiple selves, even risking interpretations Anzaldua might not approve or appreciate. Gil-Gomez says: Â“She, though, chooses to allow this negative judgment in order to allow space for the ambiguity of the racial/ethni c identity that she embodiesÂ” (p. 143). Through a close reading of these texts, th en, I am looking for how these works are a performance of the authorsÂ’ Latina/o-White hybrid identityÂ—and in turn become my performances. My own close readings of these texts ar e ways to witness and to produce these authorsÂ’ performances. As Anzaldua empha sizes, if given the opportunity, our words take on lives of their own. She explains that artistic productions have a power in their performance. She notes that: Â“Invoked art is communal and speaks of everyday life. It is dedicated to the validation of humans; that is, makes people hopeful, happy, secure, and it can have negative effects as well, whic h propel us towards a search for validationÂ” (p. 89). Anzaldua further critiques Wester n cultures because they Â“behave differently toward works of art than do tribal culturesÂ” ( p. 90). In Western culture we hoard art or witness it with a care ful antiseptic gaze. Donna Haraway (1991) agrees that literary writing helps people find and express meaning in their livesÂ—especially for peopl e of color. She explains that: Writing has a special significance for a ll colonized groupsÂ… Contests for the meanings of writing are a major form of contemporary political struggle. Releasing the play of wri ting is deadly serious. The poetry and stories of U.S. women of color are repeatedly about wr iting, about access to th e power to signify. (pp. 174-175)
115 Mary Strine (1998) also help s to bring notice to the poli tical backdrop of aesthetic productions when she writes: More recently, important scholarly efforts have been made to rethink the study of literature and the aesthetic in a measured way, recognizing that l iterature, in being imaginatively responsive to its social and historical location, is at once an always politically inflected cultural form and a uniquely engaging an d empowering social practice. (Strine, p. 315) While these memoirs benefit from a power to represent and to signify, my critical reading of these memoirs is to understand how the writers pe rform their hybridity. When Anzaldua says that written work Â“needs to be Â‘fed,Â’ la tengo que banar y vestir Â” (p. 89), I am reminded that I have a relational power with these works. I attend to them but I also collude with them to help me understand my performance of my own life. Elizabeth Bell (1998) positions this powerÂ—to interpret, to give meaning, to make meaningÂ—within the reader, and therefore within myself. Bell ar gues that sponsoring readerÂ’s choices: [S]hifts the burden of locating Â‘meaningÂ’ from the postmodern text to the performer and teaches that performance is always a pleasurable and dangerous accountabilityÂ—not to Â‘certainti esÂ’ in the text, or to au thorial intention, or to canonical tradition, butÂ—to the Â‘spinÂ’ put on it. (p. 59) Therefore, my reading is not toward univers als. Instead, my reading of these memoirs risks searches for spins on meanings. In an Anzalduan way, I feed the works, bathe them, and dress them. I am nurturing them so that they may say somethi ng more about hybrid ethnic identity than has already been said by my interviewees and myself. Strine ( 1998) affirms that literature is
116 a production of the culture in which it exis ts and an important site for understanding cultural complexity. Additionally, she acknow ledges that: Â“Postcol onial minorities and marginalized groups worldwide have been esp ecially sensitive to the ways that literary representation functions perf ormatively as a site of gl obal struggle for cultural recognition, self-determination, and community rebuildingÂ” (p. 316). These three writers have used the memoir as stra tegies to explicate their iden tities, arguably for recognition, self-determination, and co mmunity rebuilding. An analysis of these three memoirs provi des a glimpse into the understanding of how, through embracing hybrid identity, they an d therefore all indi viduals might find a way out of the limitations in di scourses of cultural Â“authentici ty.Â” However, as Bell and Strine emphasize, it is a careful and self-aware approach to the literature that allows for more possibilities in interpretation than limitations. Remembering AnzalduaÂ’s ideas on the performance of literature provides ways we can self-consciously approach literature. She acknowledges that: 1) text as stor ies moves through the body as a performance Â“everytime they are spoken or read silently;Â” 2) there exists a referential quality to context and to discourse since the text Â“cont ains the presences of personsÂ…incarnation of gods and ancestors or natural and cosmic pow ers;Â” and 3) the text ual interpretation is ultimately with the reader as she/he feeds, bathes and dresses the stories. AnzalduaÂ’s approach to text, then, echoes performativ ityÂ’s emphasis on materiality, history, and agency. In Elin DiamondÂ’s (1996) words, pe rformance is the Â“thing doingÂ” and also the Â“thing done.Â” Anzaldua insists on this recognition when she writes: Â“I write the myths in me, the myths I am, the myths I want to becomeÂ” (p. 93). And in reading hers and othersÂ’ words (the done), we do those myths.
117 All three authors claim more than one cu ltural identity. Johnson is born in the United States to a Mexican-American mother and to a White father. Arana is born in Peru to a Peruvian father and a White-Ameri can mother. Urrea is born in Mexico to a Mexican father and a White-American mother. All three of them experience phases of rejecting and accepting various part s of their identities. All th ree spend the final parts of their books as adults in the Unite d States attempting to come to terms with who they are. As each author struggles with performativ e issues of identity, they share common impediments to fully comprehending and expressing themselves. These impediments become trappings of identity. The word Â“trappingsÂ” is meant as a double entendre that expresses the doubleness of their travails to self-discovery. In one sense, trappings are the material resources used to express the self. In another sense, trappings is used to mean the traps or the limitations set upon the expression of the self. Like the trappings of performativity, John Tullock (1996) summarizes this doubleness of Â“performativity as not only being constitutive of power but at the same time being implicated in that which it opposes Â” (p. 66). For example, Butler (1993) asks, Â“When and how does a term like Â‘queerÂ’ become subject to an affirmative resignification for some when a term like Â‘nigger,Â’ despite some recent efforts at reclamation, appears capable of only reinscribing its pain?Â” (p. 222). All the authors detail ev ents in their lives in which their performative Â“doingÂ” of identity found them implicated in the very power structures they attempted to reclaim: la nguage, Whiteness, and harmful effects. Not unlike the participants in my interviews, thes e writers testify to the multiple ways these structures too often foreclose agency in powerful iterations of norms for language, ethnicity, and violence. As tr appings of performativity, Latina/o-White identity finds
118 itself caught in matrices of history, politics, and relationships that shut down possibilities for iterations of hybridity. At the same time, the concept of hybridity offers the performance of identity a series of strategi es for hopeful and libratory ways of being. This close reading of three memoirs is then divided into two parts: first, I discuss the three performative trappings of Latina/o-White identity common to all three memoirs; second, I propose a continuum of strategies these authors utilize for realizing hybrid selves. The strategies find and use hybrid ity as resources for the multiplicities of meanings and opportunities inherent in language and in a languaged identity. Performative Trappings: Language as Binary/Hierarchy Trap First, all the authors related incidents or events in which they experienced language as a binary/hierarchy tr ap. All three authors utilized language as a way to claim or reject either their Latina/o or their White identiti es at some point in their maturation. The significance of language as binary is th ey are pushed into a pol arity of Latina/o or White identity through a polarity of Spanish or English. The significance of language as hierarchy is that Spanis h always lies below English in th is hierarchy, in both preference and in privilege. Johnson, for example, te lls of a moment when he is running in a marathon and is warned by a man on the street to beware of an approaching bus behind Johnson. A guy looked at me and yelled in a friendly tone, Â“Hey, Ese Ese there is a bus behind you. Watch outÂ”Â…. I looked back at the guy, who looked to be Mexican American. It then struck me that he had called me ese Spanish slang for dude or man. Did he see me as a Mexican Amer ican? Why? How? Did I look so obviously Mexican American? Or had he called me ese out of habit? Perhaps it
119 had nothing to do with me or how I looke d or ran. I pondered the question for the last three dreadful miles of the race and for a long time thereafter. (pp. 3-4) For Johnson, this moment either happened because he has been identified as Latino or because the man using the slang term is La tino. Spanish is inextricably tied to Latina/oness. Indeed, Johnson explains that he learns Spanish as a way to retain a Latina/o connection. He explai ns, Â“In spite of all the pressures I felt, I never did completely forsake my Mexican American herita geÂ” (p. 85). To prove this statement, he explicates that he took four years of Spanish in high school, even choosing Spanish over calculus his senior year. He spoke to his mother and his gr andmother in Spanish, talked to co-workers in Spanish and even read Hemi ngway in Spanish. All of these actions are support for his claim that he never complete ly forsook his Mexican American heritage. For him, Spanish is equated or at least encased in that heritage. Arana and Urrea are less prescriptive in how language design ates their Latina/oness or Whiteness, but they do have explanations that speak to the bi nary/hierarchy trap. UrreaÂ’s father attempts to force the adolescen t Urrea into speaking Spanish so he does not lose his Latina/o connection. His father refused to allow Urrea to succumb to the monolingual status of a White Ameri can: Â“He used to tell me I was no God-damned gringo I was, however, white. Speak Spanish, pendejo! was a common cry when I spoke some unacceptable English phraseÂ” ( p. 8). Language is the link to either Whiteness or Latina/oness. As Urrea matures, his father continues to pressure him to speak Spanish by summoning Mexican Spanish speaking cousins to hang out with Urrea so he could improve his Spanish:
120 I was speaking in too pocho a manner: not enough rough edges in the words, not enough disdain and wit inherent in my pronunciation. My r Â’s were not hard enough, the g and j sounds lacked the heft of phleg m at the back of the palate to really sizzle. I had learned, to my utter shock, that the wrong emphasis on the wrong consonants could lead to humiliation, insults, even violence. I remember one of these men giving me tequila in the fi fth grade, then cigarettes, in order to roughen the far borders of my words. I apparently had a garden on my tongue, and the men were demanding a desert. (p. 112) UrreaÂ’s father tries to co nnect Urrea to Latina/oness by connecting Urrea with his Spanish tongue. For UrreaÂ’s fa ther, Urrea was speaking like a pocho Pocho is an insult used by Mexican nationals against U.S. born Latina/os, intimating that they have lost their connections to Mexican culture. When th is loss of culture occurs, usually there is a corresponding loss of the finesse of the Span ish language. In UrreaÂ’s case, his father tried to get Urrea to shake his pocho -ness by improving the way Urrea spoke Spanish, by helping Urrea to speak more like a Mexi can, not necessarily a Mexican-American. UrreaÂ’s understanding of the difference between pocho Spanish and Mexican Spanish is that pocho Spanish is softer, even less macho. Hi s fatherÂ’s henchmen assisted Urrea in giving his language a sharper edge and there by sharpening his Latino identity. There is no longer just an English-Spanis h binary here, but Urrea exposes a binary within Spanish itself. His father makes clear the Mexican Spanish is preferable to US Spanish. However, UrreaÂ’s reflexivity demonstrates that his fatherÂ’s preference is not necessarily his own. Arana also experienced a trapping based upon language at an early age. When
121 she was only four years old, he r parents and two siblings le ft her in Peru while they visited family in the United States. She wa s required to stay with her grandparents and her aunts. A power play ensues between four year-old Arana and her Peruvian relatives. She differentiates herself from them through language, claiming solely one part of her identity. She proves her difference from the fam ily to a male suitor of one of her aunts: Â“Â’I am not Peruvian,Â’ I said finally, in as large a voice as I could musterÂ… Â‘IÂ’m an American. Un yanqui. My name is CampbellÂ” (p. 122). Her rebellion against the Peruvian family culminates with her dashi ng out of the house, chas ing after a car that appears to have a White woman at the wheel The Whiteness of the female driver is significant as Arana chases after a symbol of Whiteness, a symbol akin to her White mother. The suitor catches four year-old Arana, brings her back to the house, and then presents her: Â“Â’Here is Miss Campbell,Â’ he said ceremoniously in English, wheezing and swabbing himself with a handkerchiefÂ” (p. 123) When he returns her, he mockingly honors her difference in identity by presenti ng her in her newly preferred language, the language that sets her apart from her Per uvian family and therefore divests her of Latina/o-ness. As Arana matures and the family moves to the United States, she tries to speak English rather than Spanish. In Wyoming, her foreignness is tested by the locals as they make fun of her speakin g abilities. In response to the lo cals, she asks her teenage cousin if he thinks she talks funny: I was remembering the large woman on the Pullman train, the old man who had
122 growled at us in Rawlins, every gringo that raised his eyebrows when [my brother] and I walked into shops, chattering. (p. 198) Her cousin rejects her lingual insecurities a nd follows his rejection with an activity of authenticity that does not involve speaki ngÂ—chewing tobacco. Arana is searching for ways to authenticate herself as White and to connect with her White family. Participating in the antics of her cousin is a way that she can do this. Of the experience, she says: It took more than onceÂ—a great deal of hollering along the wayÂ—but I got so that months later, by the time I left Wyomi ng, I could hold my tobacco and squirt it from the side of my mouth just like him. (p. 199) The act of spitting itself is not inherently White, but the lesson is learned from a White person, Arana sees White authentication in the mimesis of an act that does not rest upon her pronunciation and articulation of the English language. Then later in her life, as a teenager she finds U.S. friends who can teach pronunciation in a more mainstream manner so that she might fit in and feel more like someone from the United States: Suzi and Sara became [my brotherÂ’s and my] tutorsÂ… You said okay, not o-keh. You went to a movie, not a cinema. Y ou caught colds, not constipations. You wrote on a clean, spanking new sheet of pa per. Not a fresh shit. (p. 266) These lessons offered her and her brother a ch ance to blend and to even become invisible amongst a background of U.S. English speaker s who would see imperfect English as a reason to isolate and alienate. At this point in her life, she is the sole Latina in any of her respective U.S. contexts. When she tries to sp eak English more correc tly, she is trying to blend into Whiteness.
123 For these authors, language is a double-bi nd trap of performativity. That is, the authors are anchored in worlds that demand an either/or of language. For the authors to be either Latina/o or White, they must assu me either Spanish or English tongues. And it seems that English wins out over Spanish, even when the context would prefer Spanish. Elin Diamond (1996) asserts that the realities of our identitie s are in the material doing of our identities. We repeat a category of identity and therefore provide a socially recognizable performance of that identity. If there is no recogn ition, then we risk invalidation and alienation by our surrounding community. Thes e power differentials of the lingual demands experienced or assumed by the authors are important to note. Boundaries are set and language marks those boundaries for privilege, for access, for participation on a map skewed with English as its heartland and Spanish at its borders for marginal Â“citizens.Â” Their pass portsÂ—all authors write in En glishÂ—are very much about the politics, not of hybridity and the bilingualÂ—but of the rigid restraints of performativity as both expression of historical norms and impositions of those norms. Performative Trappings: Performing Whiteness Besides language, the styliza tions of performative acts in relation to their Â“dualÂ” ethnic identity become a trapping for the author s. All the writers, at some point, perform Â“whitenessÂ”Â—with often painful self-consci ousness and guilt. In his teenage years, Johnson has the ability to pass for White. To help secure his passing, he practices habits of Whiteness. These habits are defined as White through his own implications, not necessarily through societyÂ’s prescriptions. For example, living in Southern California he surfs with his friends. His surfing friends were White and he Â“emulated them and
124 wanted to be acceptedÂ” (p. 84). Although he passed for White, he still had moments when he was reminded of his Latina/oness: I got a surfboard and hung out at the beac h, though I was never much of a surfer. Walking to the beach with friends from Torrance through Redondo Beach, we passed a series of streets w ith Spanish womenÂ’s names, like Juanita, Irena, Maria, Elena, and Lucia, and the reminder of my roots made me feel uneasy about betraying my heritage, though of course I kept this to myself. (p. 84) This is an interesting remark because at this point he is not saying heritages (plural) nor is he saying one of his heritages. Rather he s ees his enactment of Whiteness as a betrayal of his Latina/o heritage. Often Whiteness is se en as having no connection to the past while non-White, read here as Latina/o, is connected to a historical lin eage. While Johnson tiptoes by these names, caref ul not to pronounce them, he tiptoes beyond a Latina/o past, too. Similarly, Arana finds practices that can help her transform from one ethnic identity to another, in her case from Latina/ o to White. In elementary school, she finds a White friend to emulate and uses the emulati on of this gangly red-headed White girl as a chance to emulate Whiteness: I spent a winter trying to do things th e OÂ’Neill way, although I never would have admitted it. IÂ… gorged on Wonder Bread, wailed with Chubby Checker, wheedled a pair of loafers, scored a pe rfect attendance at Calvary EpiscopalÂ’s Sunday school, made sure I could Peppermint Twist. (pp. 272-273) She admits that when no one was looking, she would still revert to games and performances that made her feel more Latin a, like imitating the w itchdoctors of Peru.
125 Pretending to partake in magic became a way fo r her to remember an identity that is losing its efficacy for agency, which in her case is Latina. As she becomes more acquainted with he r estranged U.S. White extended family, she begins to delineate between their actions and her Peruvian familyÂ’s actions. Then she vows to learn the ways of the U.S. White family. As a child of five or six, she is a student of culture and labels actions according to whether they are Latina/o or White. Of the White Americans she says: They didnÂ’t need to fill the air with chatter, these gringos unburden their hearts, peck each other noisily on the cheek. They could sit stonily by, staring down at their hands, and communicate. They coul d tend a dying mother without touching her. Â…I vowed to learn how to do all of that someday. But first, IÂ’d learn how to spit. (p. 182) In her youth, she began to emphasize differen ces between her Peruvian family and her American family. For her, Whiteness finds its home not necessarily expressed in words, but in silences, stillne ss, stoicism, and spitting. For both authors, Whiteness becomes more than just a set of somatic materializations, but it is also a set of stylized actions to be performed. Interestingly though, both Johnson and Arana dem onstrate a type of privileg e in that they felt they could assume White. For these particular Latina/o-White hybrid id entity individuals, skin can pale to White. However, there are still difficulties in performing Whiteness. A performance needs an audience who is willi ng to believe. In the case of Johnson and Arana, those audiences must first recognize Wh iteness in their skin tones before they are willing to find Whiteness in their actions. It is the somatic rendered through the visual
126 that allows passage way to the stylized act s of a White performativity. Importantly though, these textual renderings of themselves do not necessitate a paling skin. As GilGomez (2000) says of selves creat ed in literary texts, Â“This textual existence is important to consider when theorizing identity and pe rformance because it is a unique performance that escapes the visualÂ” (p. 142) The tyranny of the visual is ameliorated as readers focus instead on these stylized actions for understa ndings of how their Whiteness is enacted and lived. Performative Trappings: Words that Produce Their Subjects and Effects A third trapping that the three author s encounter is how words produce their subjects and effects. All three face the stifli ng labels applied to either ethnicity. These labels work to limit the imaginations of the authors, imaginations that could free them from the limitations of being either one or th e other ethnicity. Als o, the labeling usually forces the authors to choose either one si de or the other. Often the choice is unmistakably to choose Whiteness over La tina/onness. Within the US context, Whiteness is a dominant discourse while Latina/oness is the alter-discourse. Therefore, the choice encouraged through context a nd institution is of ten Whiteness. Urrea references a poem by Wendell Berry, Â“Do Not Be Ashamed.Â” The poem explains how those in control force the subjug ated to be embarrassed about themselves. Rather than pointing to just one contro lling group, Urrea high lights how many groups attempt to disempower others and, in re turn, empower themselves. As the poem explains, this empowerment comes through th e scripting of the other by the dominant group. The disenfranchised are told what to say about themselves and how to be ashamed of those labels cast upon them. Urr ea likes to read Berry Â’s poem at graduation
127 commencements and envisions how the students react to the ominous Â“theyÂ” that disenfranchises the Â“usÂ”: You can almost see thought bubbles above the studentsÂ’ heads as they listen. Honkies some are thinking. Liberals and minorities and commies And certainly 666 and the Antichrist bubble about up in the air: Hispanics Yankees blacks queers Democrats Women Men My mother thought: Mexicans My father, a Mexican, thought: gringos I, for one, think They are the ones with the words. You know, the Words. The ones they called my dad and meÂ—like wetback Spic Beaner Greaser Pepperbelly Yellow-belly, taco-bender Enchilada breath (p. 7-8) UrreaÂ’s examples are potent illustrations of how words can carry pain in their reiterationsÂ—spoken not to r eclaim an Â“affirmative resignificationÂ” in ButlerÂ’s termsÂ— but to continue to produce their harmful and vi olent effects. UrreasÂ’s examples are words that are performative, producing subjects th ey name and therefore reproducing the politics of those subjects as well. And as he demonstrates, seizing control of those meanings is not so easy considering that th e reiterations carry with them painful reinflictions. Similar to Urrea, Arana has an experience of labeling used against her. A senile curmudgeon approaches her and her brother on the streets of Wyoming and scares them into thinking that maybe they do not be long in the United States with the White population. In the scene, she a nd her brother are approached:
128 Â“What you younguns doinÂ’ sitting there?Â’ he said finally drawing himself up by his bony shoulders. Â“You spick-a-da Spanish? You Mexican or what?Â” We stared back at him, speechless. Â“On the wrong side-a town, ainÂ’tcha?Â” he continued. Â“Suppose-ta be across those tracks over there on the nigga side, ainÂ’tcha, now?Â” Spittle was gathering in the corners of his mouth, and his stubbled chin was trembling. Â“Cat got yer tongue?Â” he said. He t ook his hands from his pockets and wiped them against his little protuberance of a gut. Then he stamped on the grass and clapped his hands at us, but the sound wa s little more than a pathetic thwap. A bird scooted across and flitted into a tree. Â“Well, go on, git!Â” he screamed. Â“Git! Â” His tiny eyes were burning and red. Â“You deafÂ’r sumpin? You liÂ’l chiggers donÂ’t belong here and yew know it! Whole damn Mexico gonna come up here and take over uf we donÂ’t watch out!Â” (p. 272) Arana contemplated the old manÂ’s words fo r a long time thereafter. She stood in the mirror and looked at herself anew, wondering what he had meant exactly and whether such clear delineation between Â“themÂ” and Â“usÂ” were really possible. As evidenced in these sections, languag e is a tough system to circumvent. Invested in meanings are eithe r-or delineations. Thus, if you are this then you are not that Also, meanings are hierarchized. Therefore, either this or that is more important and more powerful than the other. Additionally, when considering the binaries of Latina/o-ness and Whiteness, Whiteness becomes a trump to Latina/o-ness. This trumping of Whiteness creates predicaments for the Latina/o-White hybrid individual.
129 Bryant Alexander (2004), in examining accusations made upon him about Â“acting White,Â” attempts to deconstruct the power Whiteness in his own Black identity. He writes: When [the phrase] is directed at me, it is a signifier that lands on a resistant signified. So I resist the accusation of Â“acting WhiteÂ” on the grounds of its vindictive and derogatory inte ntion and that it is cultura lly/racially alienating. Yet within that accusation ther e is a kernel of unorgani zed or maybe indigenous theorizing that suggests the performativ e accomplishment of Whiteness, which can be separated and projected on anybody.Â” (662). While AlexanderÂ’s black/white dichotomy raises complications not necessarily parallel to the Latina/o-White hybrid indivi dual, at the same time, he expresses how whiteness is a Â“performative accomplishmentÂ” and explains Â“acting whiteÂ” as a phrase that Â“signals a collision betw een history, race, and expectatio ns of cultural performanceÂ” (p. 622). Material production of bodies is a special kind of Â“collisi onÂ” for these authors that is reliant upon a history of race and culture. As they struggle with Whiteness, they struggle with the monolithic requirements of r acial categorization in which all non-White identities are required to forg et their connections to anythi ng that is not White. And if that memory of being non-White is upheld, then the performance of being non-White is nonetheless very difficult. Unlike Alexander, whiteness is not alwa ys hurled at them with Â“vindictive and derogatory intention;Â” nor is their relationship to Whiteness always Â“culturally/racially alienating.Â” The trappings of performativityÂ—on, in, and through the bodyÂ—are always about consequences. Meanings are accrued, beco me sedimented on the human body and that
130 human becomes invested in those meanings. Violent effects, the tyranny of Whiteness, and the binary/hierarchy of Spanish and Eng lish are all trappings the authors experience as they realize their identities in performative moments. If my analysis were to end here, then performativity would be locked into ha rmful iterations, produci ng bodies subject to incorporated histories of r acism, racial Â“purity,Â” and ethnic Â“authenticity.Â” These trappings constantly foreclos e the possibility of two cultu res existing within one bodyÂ— not unlike HarawayÂ’s (1991) desc ription of Sojourner Truth: Â“she was a black female, a black woman, not a coherent substance with two or more attribut es, but an oxymoronic singularity who stood for an en tire excluded and dangerously promising humanityÂ” (p. 92). Sojourner TruthÂ’s question, Â“AinÂ’t I a Wo man?Â” is echoed in UrreaÂ’s movement through various us/them combinations, demons trating that relationships can change depending upon the subjectivity of the person. AranaÂ’s experience with the old man demonstrates various us/thems that are possi ble assumptions by others of her (e.g., being from Mexico; being aligned with blacks). These incorrect assumptions leave open possibilities for other assumptions: the perf ormative thing done is not necessarily a constant in the equation of thei r identities. There are, appa rently, many variables for this equation. If Urrea can show that there are many us/thems, then surely the options are limitless. If the old man in Wyoming gets so many assumptive details wrong, then there are many more details that can be assumed by the Latina/o-White hybrid individual for the purposes of agency and strategy and, most importantly, for survival. Hybridity, with its multiple, dynamic, and fluid ways of being, of fers strategies to resist and to transform the trappings of performativity.
131 When Performativity Meets Hy bridity: Beyond the Trappings Lisa Flores (1996) explicates that Chicana feminists used literary-style writing as a way to craft a homeland for the purposes of redefining who they were in a space that would honor them. Â“The creation of discursive space means that the margins are transformed into the center of a new societ y, and the disempowered are empoweredÂ” (p. 152). Likewise, these memoir authors have used their memoirs as a space to create themselves anew. Of the Chicana feminists, Flores says: Chicana feminists use their wr iting style as a means to connect to others. In their anthologies and their books Chicana feminists combine a mixture of poetry, prose and stream of consciousness. They jump from English to Spanish to Indian to Spanglish, with no warning and no apology. (p. 152) When I read FloresÂ’ article, I panic because I begin to wonder, what, if anything is different from the authors I have chosen to examine and the Chicana feminists? Chicana feminists as well as these writers feel the pres ence of multiple borders in their lives. And while all of the Chicana feminists seek to ut ilize their mixed heritages, some of them even fit the Latina/o-White hybrid identity labe l that I have chosen to scrutinize. For example, Cherrie Moraga (2000) says, Â“I am the daughter of a Chicana and Anglo. I think most days I am an embarrassment to both groupsÂ” (p. xiii). And then it dawns on me. It is the memoirsÂ’ attention to Whiteness that makes them different: unlike the Chicana feminists, these authors grapple with Whiteness as a necessary component of their lives that they neither wa nt to dismiss or destroy. In reading Anzaldua and Moraga, Whiteness is a perspective that is to be cast off. Anzaldua, for example, makes many references to Whiteness in negative fashion. For
132 these Chicana feminists, Whiteness is to be grap pled with but also to be defeated. For the Latina/o-White hybrid individual, however, Whiteness is part of the picture and to do away with a part of herself. And this dismissal is impossible. For this analysis of Latin-White hybrid memoirs, Valdivia (2004) provides a helpful explication of current uses of the term hybrid. She notes that Marwan Kraidy (2002) sees the term as a developed identity out of our late capitalist global society. Valdivia states: Â“[Kraidy] proposes that we foreground this concept as it Â‘needs to be understood as a communicative practice consti tutive of, and constituted by, sociopolitical and economic arrangementsÂ’ that are Â‘compl ex, processual, and dynamicÂ’Â” (p. 4). She goes on to explain that hybridity is a way to reject essentialis t notions of gender, race, and ethnicity and to reaffirm that there is no purity at any level of culture. She asserts that Canclini and Bhabha come at hybridity from different positionings. Canclini is more interested in the socio-cultu ral hybridity and Bhabha in th e literary and psychoanalytic approach. While never outright defining am biguity, she tries to account for all the elements of the hybridity: the scientific (her edity), social construc ted (discourse), and even the strategic (choice of representation) Hybridity, it seems, is both thrust upon individuals within this late-capitalist global so ciety and is also a strategy to exist within such. In my reading of the memoirs, hybrid iden tity is doubly articulated as both thrust upon and strategic, not unlike DiamondÂ’s Â“t hing doneÂ” and Â“doing.Â” Hybridity as a concept of identity, however, adds three impor tant adjectives to DiamondÂ’s explication of performativity: complex, processual, and dynami c. The complexity arises out of each authorÂ’s relationship to White ness; the processual implies a developmental movement
133 through identity as strategies are tested, rejected, and em ployed; and dynamic speaks to the fluid, constant Â“doingÂ” th at is interactional, histor ical, political, and material. Reading the memoirs together, I have found five strategies of hybridity that rest on a continuum between hybridity as performativ ely thrust on the person and hybridity as performative agency. The five strategies, in the language of the authors, are imposter, mongrel, homeless, bridge, and twin. While several of thes e terms might be Â“fighting words,Â” they are also important terms fo r BurkeÂ’s notion of Â“strategic naming of situations.Â” Importantly, Â“imposterÂ” and Â“mongr elÂ” occur at the Â“thrust uponÂ” end of the continuumÂ—reflecting oppressi ve discourses of racial and ethnic Â“auth enticityÂ” in contemporary US discourse. Â“BridgeÂ” and Â“twin, Â” less racially loaded terms, occur at the agency end of the continuum, selected by the writer to describe her own performances of hybrid identity. These strategies are not nece ssarily discreet typologies from one another. Rather, they overlap one another, are fluid entitie s, and are malleable for the moments of difficulty and opportunity. As hybrid perf ormative moments, they are complex, processual, and dynamic. As strategic names for situations, they are permutations and discretions of identity enacted and employed by these writers as their hybrid identity is both thrust upon them and is a resource for agency in existing in the current racial discourse. A Continuum of Strategies of Hy brid Performativity: The Imposter At one end of the hybridity continuum, th e imposter identity reflects current US racial discourses of Â“purity,Â” Â“authenticity,Â” and a concomita nt history of oppression. For the authors, this Â“strategyÂ” may seem be a trapping of performativity, the Â“thing doneÂ”
134 outside the writerÂ’s control. Instead, due to their possibili ties of shifting ethnic markersÂ— language, color, and performing Whiteness, the imposter is a hybrid space: it is a moment in which the personÂ’s identity is still defi ned by their hybridity, but they are able to chooseÂ—at dynamic moments of interactionÂ—to engage the world strategically. All three of the authors expressed feelings of being an imposter: not fulfilling the requirements of the moment and at a loss amid racial disc ourse that demands wholeness, completeness, and authenticity. This strategic engagement, however, bring a variety of associations. For Johnson, the imposter is thoroughly negative; for Urrea, the imposter is a temporary bother; for Arana, the imposter is empower ing. All three writers, however, find the imposter status thrust upon them by others. Johnson is probably the most conflicted of the three authors. Arguably, his entire book is centered on the imposter-hyb ridity strategy. He, out of all the authors, fails to really ever get beyond the conf lictual issues of the Latin a/o-White hybrid identity. JohnsonÂ’s explications of his identity fa ll within a Goffmanesque understanding of performance. He writes of himself as if he is putting on various masks, often with a real, albeit questioning, identity underneath these masks. Butler (1988) writes of Goffman: As opposed to a view such as Erving GoffmanÂ’s which posits a self which assumes and exchanges various Â‘rolesÂ’ with in the complex social expectations of the Â‘gameÂ’ of modern life, I am suggesting that this self is not only irretrievably Â‘outside,Â’ constituted in social discourse, but that the ascription of interiority is itself a publicly regulated and sanctioned form of essence fabrication. (p. 528) JohnsonÂ’s constant worryÂ—as he writes abou t himself and about who he is to the readerÂ—is very much about Â“interiority.Â” Th at he turns this inte rior monologue into
135 literary discourse is an im portant shift. This become s a Â“publicly regulated and sanctionedÂ” proof that a self existsÂ—pri or to any performance of that self. JohnsonÂ’s Â“names for the situationÂ” are negative ones as he constantly interrogates his own imposter st rategy throughout his life story. In college, he felt as if he did not belong, that his admission was a mi stake: Â“I was sure I was a fraud, convinced that I was not as Â‘qualifiedÂ’ as my Harvard classmates. An affirmative action admit. A person destined for mediocrity, perhaps even failu reÂ” (p. 39). At an advanced stage in his law school education, he was never convinced it was his hard work that earned him the invitation to attend prestigious events and be on important committees. When he was appointed to the committee that would implemen t the first affirmative action plan for the Harvard Law Review membership, he said: I have no idea whether I was invited becau se of my racial background, which was known to those who knew me well, or because I was dating an Asian American woman and was thought (perha ps erroneously) to have some good will with the minority community. (p. 45) When applying for law professor jobs, he ag ain feels the backlash of strategizing his hybridity. He writes: Along with assorted biographical and empl oyment history, the form asks about racial background. For as far back as I can remember I have classified myself as Chicano, but before I checked that box, I wondered aloud to my wife Virginia what I should do. Â“Are you ashamed of being Mexican?Â” she asked. I checked the Chicano box but worried that law school s in search of a bona fide Latino might view me as an imposter. (p. 121)
136 Finally, once he has a job, he worries that maybe he is not a legitimate pick for the occupation. He writes: Despite the relative peacefulness of acad emic life, I do experience moments of awkwardness and racial uncerta inty. [My wife and I r ead] a front page article about the hiring of three new Â‘professors of color,Â’ myself, Arturo Grandara, a Chicano from southern New Mexico, and Evelyn Lewis, an African American. There had been no minorities on the facu lty the year before. My worry about teaching began in earnest. The students a nd faculty, I feared, might not really be getting the minority professor they want ed. I was glad there were two Â“realÂ” minorities joining the faculty with me. He places himself as an illegitimate person of color, despite Latino memories and Latino heritage. JohnsonÂ’s strategic choices and cons tant naming of his hybr idity as Â“fraud,Â” are evidence of the imposter as Â“thrust uponÂ“ in this continuum. Just as GoffmanÂ’s approach to role-playing aptly describes JohnsonÂ’s stra tegy, his concomitant discomfort is also explained by Goffman in Stigma (1974). Passing and covering are very much about fear of discovery and questions of legitimacy in oneÂ’s cl aim to a social role. Urrea, too, finds an imposter-hybridity thru st upon him when he is interviewed for a Mexican newspaper. Although he was born in Tijuana, Mexico, Urrea is told by the Mexican reporter that Urrea is not a true Me xican. His identity is splintered into many types: I was any number of things: I was an American, I was Â“justÂ” a Chicano, I was a norteno (which in Mexico City, is like sayi ng youÂ’re one of the Mongol horde). I was lauded for speaking Spanish Â“just likeÂ” a Mexican, or chided for having what
137 amounted to a cowboy accent. That I was born in Tijuana didnÂ’t matter a bitÂ… That I was an American citizen was appa rently a faux pas. That I wrote in English was an insult. That I was blue -eyed, however, allowed me to pass for Mexican high society. (p. 10-11) Unlike Johnson, Urrea carries no self-conscious guilt or name-calling for the splintering of his identity. Instead, he car ries a bit of anger, a bit of awe, and class consciousness. He receives this feedback in Mexico City, one of the largest cities in the world. In this huge metropolis, the contradictions are pl entifulÂ—giving Urrea ev idence not of his fraudulent claims to ethnicity, but of th e multiplicity of ways to mark ethnic identification. He also takes solace in anothe r kind of trump card: he was able to Â“passÂ” for Mexican high society. While Johnson enjoys the economic privilege of the professional class in the United States, so Urrea enjoys the Â“ imposterÂ” status of the elite in Mexico. Urrea also finds balance in the contradict ion when he looks to the Aztec culture upon which Mexico City was founded. He sa ys, Â“In the great museum, you can see a famous Aztec mask. One half of it is a smiling f ace. The other half is the skullÂ” (p. 11). Like the smile of the Aztec, U rrea can control some ways of being in the world; like the skull side of the Aztec, he has little contro l over substructures, or over meanings that people impose on him. Arana embraces the imposter: when she re alizes that can play many parts, she begins to enjoy all of he r possibilities. She writes: I found myself looking around, assessing what kind of power was available to me. There did appear to be some: With Per uvian children at R oosevelt, I begged I
138 was really a gringa With gringos I crossed my eyes and retreated into Spanish. With sissies like Margarita, I played the queen. I did what I could. (p. 219) The imposter-hybrid strategy, Arana admits, play s with Â“lies,Â” as if there is a truth somewhere of her identity that she manipulat es. She even gains a bad reputation for being a liar, but she knows she has earned this reputationÂ—for th e right reasons. She says: Lies. I was so good at them. More to the point, I loved them s o. Why not? If I could slip from English to Spanish, from boys to ballet, from pledging American allegiance to swearing on life I was a Peruvian, from church to church, from Campbell to ClappÂ—why not from role to ro le, truth to truth? Lies. Thank you, God. You gave me skill. (p. 252) Interestingly, she says that she moves from role to role and from truth to truth, recalling GoffmanÂ’s notion that social roles are dramati cally realized in their performances. For Arana, the imposter is not about deception in multiple role playing, but each role has its point of reference borne out of her familial ties. She has no need to feel shame for the different roles she plays. They are all ba sed upon a cultura l identity to which she is connected. Unlike Johnson and more similarl y to Urrea, she recognizes the different roles she can play and honors them ra ther than worries over their validity. Arana does acknowledge that her multiple-rol e playing is not so easily performed by other social actors. In her adult y ears she has an African-American friend who explained her own imposter identity to Aran a. Carol says that in black neighborhoods, she acts black. She has two dialects, personaliti es, senses of humor, ways to shake hands and saying helloÂ—Â“one for the world youÂ’re tryi ng to make your way in, another when
139 youÂ’re home with your kinÂ” (p. 271). Perhap s AranaÂ’s link to Whiteness allows her to move within different worlds more easily a nd less suspiciously. For her black friend, being seen as an imposter has negative conse quences. As a matter of fact, her friend has internalized those consequences and now Carol is not just afraid that people will perceive her as two-faced, but she also fears she is two-faced. Arana, on the other hand, has not internalized the negative notions of imposter-hybridity. Arana says: But even by the age of ten, I had gone one giant step past Carol: I was flitting from one identity to another so deftly that it was just as easy to affect a third. I could lie, I could fake, I could act. It was a way for a newcomer to cope in America. You canÂ’t quit e sound like your schoolmates? Never mind! Make it up, fashion a whole new person. Act the part says the quote under my school photo, and you can become whatever you wish to become Invention. It was a new kind of independence. (p. 272) Arana embraces the imposter that is thrust upon her, yet it is not an embrace that all can make. She takes the opportunities as they co me, capitalizing on aspects of her identity even if others cannot or refuse. A Continuum of Strategies of Hy brid Performativity: The Mongrel While the imposter-hybrid concerns guilt or freedom borne out of the thrustuponness of the hybrid identity, it is still has validity as on e strategic answer to the questions that Latina/o-White hybrid identity individuals face in daily interactions with others. Still, Â“imposterÂ” implies a trut h of identityÂ—materially, politically, and historicallyÂ—that the performa nce somehow masks. Arana and Urrea find other strategic
140 ways to language their own identities, to Â“name their situationsÂ” productively, and to move from a Goffmanesque Â“role playingÂ” mask to a different ontology of self. In this continuum of hybrid performativ ity, the next strategy is that of the mongrel. The mongrel-hybrid is similar to the imposter-hybridity with one primary differenceÂ—in the mongrel-hybridity the indi viduals own their conflicting differences. While Â“mongrelÂ” is one of t hose fighting words, not unlik e Â“queer,Â” both Arana and Urrea reappropriate the term fr om both science and dog breedi ng to explain their interior differences and to find models in their exterior world. They begin to relearn their world in its multiplicity and rather than cower from that multiplicity, they start to embrace it. Both Arana and Urrea lay claims to intern ational places of birt h, Peru and Mexico respectively; while Johnson is born in the United States. For Arana and Urea, their birthplace marks them as mongrels. They are tied to a land that is linked to a cultural identity. As both Arana and Urrea move betw een the two national contexts of their birth countries and the United States this Â“shuttling back and fo rthÂ” is one cause of the mongrelization of their identities. Arana and her siblings identify themselves as Â“halfgringo .Â” For example, when AranaÂ’s family is threatened by the local Peruvian Police who tr y to abduct AranaÂ’s brother, she says of her olde r brother, Â“They were here be cause the son of Don Jorge, a little halfgringo would make a good buffer, a portable human shieldÂ” (p. 104). Like Jorge, Arana considers herself to be halfgringa too. While in Peru, she locates her identity in a half-ness and, in her case this halfness is status quo plus the gringa half. As she tries to understand what it means to be half, she tries to locate the gringa half of her within a stratus of Peruvian raci al identities. She wants to locate herself
141 within the layers of cultu ral identities, hoping to find the layer that is half gringa and half Peruvian and thus removing the contradict ion or confliction with in her identity. Recounting the Â“racial powder kegÂ” hist ory of Peru, she knows the Moche were conquered by the Incas, who were subseque ntly conquered by the Spaniards. The intermixing of these groups cr eated a wash of varying colors and types. Today, a history of racial segregation has result ed in a stratus of color: Peru today is a salmagundi of races, infu sed over the centuries by slave shipments of Asians, Africans, and Caribbeans, but th e specter of racism haunts it. Who are the forty families who continue to make up the moneyed oligarchy? Spanishblooded whites. Who are the seventy pe rcent of the nationa l population who live in extreme poverty? Th e indigenous. (p. 115) For Arana, however, her identity is outsid e this hierarchy because mixed in with her Peruvian blood is US blood. She cannot find herself in the layers and therefore is a mongrel composed of different parts. Arana soon realizes that her identity comb inations in Peru are what define her identity better than the racial stratus that Peru or even the Un ited States offers. While the meaning of mongrelization carries with it a nega tive charge, as if one is impure or even a biological accident, she embraces that mongreliz ation through not resisting it. She feels fortunate to be a product of chance. She leve ls out her experiences that are linked to her identities and places them next to each other rather than above and below one another. She calls herself someone who was meant to be: I was meant to go between the apus and Elk Mountains, meant to sit on a crate with Antonio [Peruvian indigenous man] meant to play conquistadors with
142 Georgie [full-blooded brother], meant to watch sunsets with Grandpa Doc [U.S. white grandfather], meant to weave dreams about my mother, meant to plumb the Arana past. (p. 304) She lays all the experiences next to each other, each one as precious as the next, each one representing an element of her identity, each one at peace with the other. UrreaÂ’s mongrelization is similar to AranaÂ’ s because he is coming out of a culture that has a set of identities not commonly understood or recogn ized in the U.S. Urrea explores the idea that Mexican is a multi layered typology, at one point commenting: Â“Even on my Mexican side IÂ’m IrishÂ” (p. 27) Urrea toys with his ancestry on the Mexican side, providing a list of mongrel typol ogies (p. 30). His cousin is Apache. Another cousin is Mayo. His second cousin is Black. His neice is German. One branch of Urreas are Chinese. Another branch of Urreas are Basque. His Great Grandmother is Tarascan. His paternal Grandmother is Irish. And some of his cousins are even Hubbards.. These typologies confuse the two pure dichotomous labels that compose his identity. Note, the two dichotomous labels change. They could be Mexican/U.S., Brown/White, Latina/o/White, etc. However, just within the Mexican, Brown, Latina/o label of Urrea lie such disp arate ethnicities as Basque, Chinese, and Apache. These disparate identities serve to comp licate an easy labeling of Urrea. Indeed, the Aryan-esque qualities that ti e him to Whiteness, his blonde hair and blue eyes, are actually inherite d not from his motherÂ’s side of the family, but from his fatherÂ’s Mexican side of the family: If you trace the Urrea bloodline back far enough, you find that our Aryan looks are attributed to the Visigoths, when they entered Spain and generously dispersed
143 gallons of genetic material in every bur ning village. And one of the Visigoth warriors who blitzed our part of Spain, siring many blond ancestors of mine, was Urias. UriasÂ—UriahÂ—UriaÂ— UrriaÂ—Urrea. (p. 30) Transformation happens in the spelling of the name with a movement from the Urias to Urrea, similar to a genealogical anagram. In deed, his family can be considered an anagram game of sorts. Rearrange the Urr eas, and any combination of identities, from Chinese to Black to Mexican indigenous, emerges. Like Arana, Urrea does not let the recombinations intimidate him, rather he celeb rates them as, not a matter of fact, but a matter of perspective. He understands more fully that the reality of his ethnic presence is based not so much on an ethnic past but rather the current ethnic discourse. Both Arana and Urrea reconcile the conflicting qualities of their Latina/o-White hybrid identity by excavating a past and compar ing that past to the present. Geographic tiesÂ—to countries, to cultures, to histor iesÂ—are resources for rearticulating Â“mongrelÂ” outside its scientific term inology. Johnson, locked in his imposter strategy, has no such geography to draw from as resource for unders tanding his sense of self. However, this mongrelization is both symptomatic of the curre nt time as well as symptomatic of past heritage. For Arana, she comes from a historic al place that has multiple layers of identity due to many ethnic groups cros sing. She realizes she is ju st one more combination of ethnic variables, but also realizes that she does not need to hierarchize her combination against the others. Rather she lays her own combination side by side of the others. Urrea, too, realizes that the contradictions of his identity are a product of the current discourse on race and ethnicity. He views his ethnic past like a game of chance in which the competing variables just happened to create who he is today. There are many
144 combinations that could have resulted, and he is just one. Arana and Urrea both make peace with their mongrelization. A Continuum of Strategies of Hy brid Performativity: The Homeless The homeless-hybridity contrasts with the mongrel-hybridity in that the homelesshybrid strategy focuses not on geographic lin eage, but rather on a lack of place. Homeless-hybridity is about not claiming a lineage or a heritage as a definer of the present identity. Rather, there is a denial of a clear link between the present identity and the history of the family and culture. Ther efore, the homeless-hybridity is likened to a math problem in which the denominator is ze ro. The numerator st ill has a value, but when divided by the denominator, there is no numerical outcome. Urrea best exemplifies this homeless-hybrid status when he talks about how our experiences of reality are mediated through language. He says: I was going to write, Â“Meanwhile, back hom eÂ…Â” But where is home? Home isnÂ’t just a place, I have learned. It is also a language. My words not only shape and define my home. WordsÂ—not only for write rsÂ—are home. Still where exactly is that? (p. 82) He begins to question the source of words. If words are home, then he begins to ponder where home could be and from where home originates. Then he describes how Â“HispanicsÂ” are re ally immigrants in their own land, a group of people who can claim hi storical linkage further back than many Whites, but are still considered less native to the United States than Whites. He links the expatriate status to the ubiquity of the English language in U.S., and the ignorance that the English language is really rooted in many other langu ages. To prove how hybrid the U.S. English
145 language is, he provides a list of English wo rds that are actually Spanish (Savvy, Patio, Florida, Nevada, Machete, Bonanza, etc). He provides a list of English words that come from various other cultures: English! ItÂ’s made up of all thos e untidy words, man. Have you noticed? Native American ( skunk ), German ( waltz ), Danish ( twerp ), Latin ( adolescent ), Scottish ( feckless ), Dutch ( waft ), Caribbean ( zombie ), Nahuatl ( ocelot ), Norse ( walrus ), Eskimo ( kayak ), Tatar ( horde ) words! ItÂ’s a glorious wreck ( a good old Viking word, that). (p. 15) Since language is home and the U.S. home language has been white-washed as being White American English, then for Urrea, there seems to be no place for the Mexican. To resolve the lack of space, however Urrea embraces the hybridity of the language, even if this hybridity is not eviden t to English-speakers. He rests on the fact that this hybridity cannot be wrung out of the wet rag of language. He says, Â“I love words so much. Thank God so many people lent us theirs or weÂ’d be forced to point and gruntÂ” (p. 16). UrreaÂ’s words seem to say th at there is a home there for many types of identities, even if the predomin ant identity does not understand that. It is the hybridity of word sources that provides promise for anyone looking for a home in the United States. A Continuum of Strategies of Hy brid Performativity: The Bridge The next hybrid identity strategy is that of bridge The bridge is a popular metaphor used to describe the in-between st atus of disenfranchise d individuals and is perhaps most popular because of Cherrie Moraga and Gloria AnzalduaÂ’s (1984) book, This Bridge Called My Back: Writ ings by Radical Women of Color The bridge-hybridity
146 is characterized by the write rÂ’s strategic attempts to language a connection between Whiteness and Latina/o-ness, as if they are a mediator or even a medium. Arana begins her memoir by harkening to th e image of a bridge. She says of her identity that she is standing in the middle of a bridge, between the identities of her father and mother, between two worlds, between a South American man and a North American woman. She says, Â“They were so different fr om each other, so obverse in every way. I did not know that however resolutely they built their bridge, I would only wander its middle, never quite reaching either sideÂ” (p. 3). She compares hers elf to her friendÂ’s child. Her friend is a woman from the Amazon rainforest who is married to a White American man, and together they have a ch ild. Arana watches th e child look back and forth between the childÂ’s mother and father. She says of the ch ild: Â“How delicate a bridge she was between the northern man a nd southern womanÂ” (p. 4). Then Arana follows with, Â“What I thought of was me.Â” In describing her adolescence in New Jerse y, she writes that she is the translator for her father and she is the good American daughter for her mother. As she moves between her father and her mother, she is enacting a bridge-hybrid ity strategy. This movement is a connecting between the two. Her father watches Arana and her siblingÂ’s acclimation to the U.S. and comments on it. Arana says: In Peru I had always thought he and I were similar, that Mother was the different one. But here in Summit, I felt more ki nship with my mother, my father the odd one out. Â“You kids are turning into gringos ,Â” heÂ’d say, staring at us in amazement. But I knew our mother was the only gringo among us; she was it a full hundred percent. They were wholes. They were complete. They were who
147 they were. The would never become anything like the other. We children, on the other hand, were becoming others all the tim e, shuttling back and forth. We were the fifty-fifties. We were the cobbled ones. (p. 264-265) Arana also ends her memoir with the br idge metaphor. At the conclusion of her memoir, she questions whether she is a third space between two cultures. She wonders if she is Â“the pivot, the midway crossing?Â” (p. 305). Her final words to her memoir are: Â“I, a north-south collision, a New World fusion. An American chica A bridgeÂ” (p. 305). The poignancy of the bridge-hybrid strategy lies in how it holds the two differences separate from one another, and then privileg es the Latina/o-White hybrid as being able to understand both. One value of the hybrid-bridge strategy is in how the Latina/o-White hybrid is a conduit for others. We can assist the Latina/o and the White in understanding one another. One detriment of the bridgehybridity is that the La tina/o-White hybrid is never completely a member of either cultu re, but is relegated to being a perpetual outsider. A Continuum of Strategies of Hybrid Performativity: The Twin The final hybrid strategy is that of the twin-hybridity. Th is status seeks to address the disadvantages of the trappings of the Lati na/o-White hybridity as well as it seeks to enhance the advantages of the other hybrid-status identities. In the twinhybrid strategy, the Latina/o-White hybrid individual acknowle dges the two-ness of his/her identity and lives in that two-ness. Rather than doubleedged imposition of performativity, the twin is a doubled identity of excess. To return to the mathematical metaphor, one-half plus onehalf is more than one. Also, it is called the twin status because it is linked so closely to the various metaphorical shadings of twins. The hybrid individual feels they can be
148 either twin identity without being guilty in their double play. Their twinness, rather than thrust on, is strategetically employed as agency. Arana admits that she juggles Â“two brainsÂ” in her head (p. 74). There is a duality to her identity that she discovers and then utilizes. At a young age, she began to make parallels between seemingly disparate symbols. She sees Jesus and Peruvian Sun Gods, between witches and Buddha, between the New Testament, the Torah, the Koran, the Upanishads, guiding local legends, and historias (p. 74). She first begins to feel a division in herself at a young age when sh e observes the class and ethnic difference between herself and a Peruvian indigenous child. Then, later in life, she lives in whole fashion within both of those divisions. As a young child, she learns feminine behavi or as a performance. She begins to understand the difference between the exp ectations placed on Latina girls and gringa girls: close your legs, sit prettily, walk da intily (p. 144-5). These moments helped her to see a difference in expectations placed upon the Latina and the White woman. She says: [B]y the time that I was grown, I knew there were two women I could beÂ—the Latina or the gringa Â—and that at every juncture I would need to choose one. I picked my way through life, deciding to try one identity and then the other. I transformed myself into an all-American in high school; became Peruvian again in college. I was a good Latina in my fi rst marriage, going to the altar with the first man who ever touched me, hanging my future on his, never reaching for him in bed. And then I was the good gringa in my second, throwing out all the rule books and following my heart. (p. 145)
149 In learning the different parts, she learns to play the differe nt people. Her identities are like twins to one another. They have the same body, but they are the own separate person. They share a similar background but have an autonomy all their own. The twin identities, separate from one another, exhaust the same body that they share. Arana has to learn when and where to perform her different identities. The twinhybrid is always on guard for cues that maybe the other twin should be filling in at this moment in this context. Even if they are separate, sometimes they are not exclusive from another. Arana explains: It is exhausting, the transit between worlds, that two-wa y vertigo. I was half and halfÂ…. But I hardly thought I was better off for it. I had two heads, two hearts. I was as unwieldy as Siamese twins on a hi gh wire: too awkward for equipoise, too curious about the other side. (p. 194) There is still a self-consciousness in the twin -hybrid identity, but that self-consciousness is not the guilt associated with imposter-hybr id status, the Â“liesÂ” of the multiple-role performer, or the Â“halfÂ” gringo that serv es other purposes. Instead, the twin strategy concerns agencyÂ—a constant fl uid, dynamic, and complex conception of identity that not only survives within US discourses of race a nd ethnicity, but thrives in the performances it creates. Johnson, Urrea, and Arana all speak to th e ways that their hybrid identities are both thrust upon them as a series of expecta tions and as resources for agency to language their identities. As a continuum of strategi es, each writer names the Â“recurrent situationsÂ” they inhabit. As hybrid individuals, their identities are fluid, dynamic, and complex because they are always already interpolated in a history of racial discourse that demands
150 authenticity, purity, and identification with or against White discourse, practices, and institutions. Johnson, Urrea, and Arana cannot answer those demands. Their strategic answers run on a continuum of performances of hybridity. The mongrel-hybridity offers opportunities to call upon different heritages of the individual. The homeless-hybridity offers opportunities to resist obligations to a heritage past but rather create meani ng and home where one is. Th e bridge-hybridity offers opportunities to link both sides of identities to each otherÂ—without becoming or Â“beingÂ” either one. And finally the twin-hybridity is a way to separately be both identities and realize that neither necessarily has to pay tribute to the othe r. These different hybridities are some strategic answers to the problems of the trappings of the Latina/o-White hybrid identity. Hybridizing Art with Love In nurturing these memoirs, I have found th ese works tend to the particular lives articulated, but also express more generally the challeng e of being alive in, on and through an identity that is mystifying at wors t and freeing at best. Th ese authors spoke of their critical engagement with the world, and in turn, provided equipment for living within the Latina/o-White hybrid identity and with in the contradictions in anyoneÂ’s life. Gloria Anzaldua (1999) opens her essay Â“ La conciencia de la mestiza Â” with a recognition of Jos Vascn celosÂ’ vision of la raza csmica In the late 50Â’s and early 60Â’s, Jose Vasconelos wrote Obras Completas and within these four volumes he developed the idea of la raza cosmica In the prologue to La Raza csmica he writes: Â“The central thesis of the present book is the distinct races of the world tend to mix more and more until they form a new human type composed of a selection from each of
151 existent landsÂ” (1958, p. 903, as cited in Ha ddox, 1967). He believes that this mixture stands to create a better human. Victoria Bru de Caturla (195 9) emphasizes that he is not proposing a new eugenics of the human race, but rather he believes that this mixture of groups will be inspired out of sexua l attraction and love. She writes: Inspired by the same artistic genius which marks his philosophical works, he assigns as the law of this process of ethni c fusion an aesthetic eugenics which will be directed by a mysterious sense of pl easure in the presence of the better and more perfect (which has been obscured by th e utilitarian and rationalistic forces in present-day society). (p 58, as cited in Haddox, 1967) Out of love and attraction comes a human r ace of mixtures. Because these people are conceived in love and attraction, they offer the possibility of a world that is more accepting. AnzalduaÂ’s essay, which begins w ith VanconcelosÂ’ vision, follows with the difficult psychic restlessness that children of la raza cosmica face. With these new possibilities, come new difficulties of identities. In trying to finish this chapter, I pe rused books within my own small library. Sometimes the books were tangentially related to my topic, but out of desperation and distraction I flipped through th eir pages nonetheless. In Ph illip LopateÂ’s (1994) edited collection, The Art of the Personal Essay two of my own typed pages fell out and landed at my feet. I picked them up to read an essay I had written in 1996 about the day my mother told me that I am half-White and half -Latina/o. Later in my life, I published this essay, but only after culling out and wate ring down many, many details. There is a passage that I did not publish because, at th e time, I thought the contradiction was too
152 strong and would need too much explanation. When my mom told me about my Mexican father, she also tried to explain the relationship: She said, Â“We dated for a long time. He really loved me. I just couldnÂ’t marry him.Â” She doesnÂ’t explain. Â“He wanted to move to California. We planned to meet up and leave for California, but I never showed. I chickened out. I never met him where we planned to meet.Â” Until re-finding this essay, I had forgotten th ese details of love. Richard Rodriguez (2002) speaks to the sexual side of race and ar gues that race is about sexual attraction and taboo: Â“The word race encourages me to reme mber the influence of eroticism on history. For that is what race memorializes. With any discussion of race, there lurks the possibility of romanceÂ” (p. xv). Anzaldua emphasizes that her written work s become performances for others as they read them. As I have read thes e memoirs, I have found strategies for a performativity of hybridity. When I tell peop le, Â“I am half-White and half-Latino,Â” I have told them little about me. The subject and predicate can be reversed to Â“Half-Latino and half-White am I.Â” In th e performative statement, there is no performance. When I think Â“I am half-Latino and half-White,Â” I also am sometimes at a loss for the performance of who I am. However, when I say that I have possibilities with my hybrid identity and that I participate in those possi bilities, then the Â“IÂ” of who I am belies the range and depth of myself. The range and th e depth of who I am is now more nuanced through my performances of these memoirs. Performing these memoirsÂ’ words, I have learned performance strategies for myself. E lizabeth Bell (1995) expl ains the self-lessons of performances. She emphasizes that a pl easure-centered economy is an important part
153 of learning to live within and resist dominant discourses on our bodies and our identities. When we stand within the self during a perf ormance and feel the pleasures of the words and our new imaginations about our bodies a nd our identities, we learn to re-think the possibilities of our existences. She permits that: Â“Â’Standing within the selfÂ’ is the operational ethics of this pe rformance aesthetics for its em phasis on pleasure, materiality, and agency is a priori to the relational valorization of te xt, other, and Â‘dialogicÂ’ ecstasyÂ” (p. 112). Therefore, the lessons learned about th e self can be just as, if not more, valuable than the lessons learned by and through textual analysis. Still, the lessons taught in these memoirsÂ—about language that creates selves as imposters, mongrels, homeless, bridges, and twinsÂ—say nothing about love. A hybrid performativity should speak of familial love: parents, siblings, children, grandparents, abuelos, primos, y hermanas These, after all, are the people who create us. A hybrid performativity should speak of sexual desire, too. Vasconcelos was onto something when he emphasized that the mixtur e of the races was valuable for the world. Out of pleasure, differences would come toge ther to create even more difference and even more pleasure. I am quick to be re minded of the lesson of Valdivia and Anzaldua that hybridity is not all jouissance However, as Rodriguez (2002) says, Â“[W]e live in a nation whose every other impulse is theatrical, but whose every other im pulse is to insist upon Â‘authenticityÂ’Â” (p. 67). ValdiviaÂ’s and AnzalduaÂ’s warning is a strong lesson that with an embrace of hybridity comes a responsibi lity to critique who/what this embrace of hybridity serves. The Latina/o-White hybrid in dividual feels the beat of these impulses and is loyal to both. And to critically live wi thin in those contradictions is, truly, the most pleasurable way to live.
154 Chapter Five A Grammar of Hybridity in the Subjunctive Mood Becoming allies means helping each other heal. --Gloria Anzaldua, Allies In December 2004, a friend calls with a last minute invitation to see the production of Â“La Virgen del TepeyacÂ” stag ed by El Teatro Campesino. SheÂ’s my adventuresome friend, an East Texas high sc hool teacher turned Doctoral Education Professor who is always up for a road trip. Ear to the phone, I stand in my apartment shaking my head, readying to say Â“no.Â” I am reluctant to give up an evening of writing to see the production of a story I have known since childhood. The story of La Virgen de Guadalupe can be considered a Christma s season tradition for Catholic MexicanAmericans, much like Â“The NutcrackerÂ” fo r White people. Scanning my disheveled makeshift home office, she says that she w ill do all the driving, it only takes three hours to get there, and we will definitely return th at night. Stressed from writing and re-writing my dissertation, I decide to es cape into the holiday season and my Â“noÂ” becomes Â“yes.Â” Upon hanging up the phone, I look up news about the production on-line, finding the following article: Celebrating more than a quarter of a cen tury of tradition at the beautiful Old Mission at San Juan Bautista, El Te atro Campesino returns with the 2004 production of LA VIRGEN D EL TEPEYAC, its biennial spectacle of vibrant music, sacral theater and Aztec dance.
155 This special Christmas offering, dramatizi ng the four apparitions of Our Lady Of Guadalupe to the Indian messenger Juan Diego in 1531, is a reenactment of the miraculous events that inspired the relig ious rebirth of the Indigenous Mexico, a mere ten years after the Spanish Conquest. Appearing in the powerful vision of li ght and faith one early morning in December, the Mother of Christ spoke to newly baptized Juan Diego in his native Aztec language. She asked him to relay a re quest to the Bishop of Mexico that a temple be built in her honor on Tepeyac Hill, where the Indians had worshiped Tonantzin (Our Mother) for centuries befo re the arrival of the Conquistadores. Adapted by Luis Valdez from 17th century text, El Teatro Campesino's La Virgen Del Tepeyac is performed and sung entirel y in Spanish and Nahuatl (Aztec), with accompanying librettos for English speaking audiences. Attended by tens of thousands of faithful followers, farm work er families or urban theater aficionados over the last three decades, the spirit a nd music of the play provide a highly moving and joyous experience for all, tr anscending any language barriers and touching the spiritual essen ce of the holiday season. Arriving late, my friend and I skulk into a side door of the church-turned-theatre. We scoot into a pew behind a young Latina/o couple holding a toddler in a Dodgersthemed outfit. Except for the i nquisitive toddler, no one seems to notice our late arrival. Everyone is focused on the cast, dressed in Aztec plumage, singi ng Â“Paloma Blanca.Â” Hearing the song takes me back to my own childhood. As they sing, I too sing in a low tone, remembering a childhood of South Texa s Christmases, seasonal visits to the Catholic Churches, and a lifetime of cont emplation of Virgin Mary apparitions.
156 The play progresses up and down the nave, and I am lost in the story as if this is my first exposure, my first interpretation. All perfor mances offer multiple sites for concentration and interpretation. From playwright to dire ctor, actor to audience, script to bodyÂ—there are many possibilities for unders tanding a production. Elin Diamond (1996) explains that while there are multiple sources for interpre tation, they are still based upon shared cultural understandings: Â“Every performance, if it is intelligible as such, embeds features of previous performances: gender conventi ons, racial histories, aesthetic traditionsÂ— political and cultural pressures that are c onsciously and unconsciously acknowledgedÂ” (p. 1). Diamond asserts: Â“[I]ndeed performance in all its hybridity would seem to make the best case for interdisciplinary thinkingÂ” (p. 7). These multivalences of meaning allow for various interpretive experiences. During my own interpretive experience of th is play, my mind spins as I try to land my concentration. Here I am watching Luis Valdez play the character El Obispo. Valdez is often credited as one of the men responsib le for helping to shape what Chicano means on a national level: Â“A major force in [Lati no] theater, [he founded and runs El Teatro Campesino]. Through it, he has done more th an anybody else to make the theater, at a grassroots level, a tool for social and po litical change for ChicanosÂ” (Meyer, 20011, p. 277). Here I am watching the story of La Vi rgen de GuadalupeÂ—an apparition tale that helped to bring the indigenous people into the folds of the Catholic Church. I have been to her apparition sites on three different contin ents and in four different countries (i.e., United States, Mexico, Venezuela, France); I ha ve even studied one of her apparitions in Florida during my MasterÂ’s program. Here I am in the Mission San Juan BautistaÂ—a structure that helped to Â“conque rÂ” the New World, and to Â“settl eÂ” what is now California.
157 I grew up visiting the missions of San Antonio, wh ere they helped to Â“settleÂ” what is now Texas. I did my graduate work making weeke nd drives to St. Augustine, the first Spanish settlement in the New World. The Spanish co ntribution to U.S. hist ory has always been more tangibly real to me than a ny New England tale of colonies. My performance-studies sensitive mind spin s with possibilities for the meanings of my surroundings. As I watch the performan ce, the baby boy in front of me drops his Dodgers baseball cap. I smile, pick it up, and ha nd it back to him. This night is a night that his young mind will not be able to reme mber, but this night is a time for me of history, materiality and agency that I will ne ver forget. Spinning together the Chicano movement, the Catholic Church, and the re sidues of Spanish colonizationÂ—I am written with the traces of this perf ormance. For me this perfor mance represents the thing done (the historical with its material effects) and the doing (reinscribing and reinventing Latina/o-ness). This performance becomes a moment of awareness of performativity. Â“As soon as performativity comes to rest on a performance, questions of embodiment, of social relations, or ideological interpellati ons, of emotional and political effects, all become discussableÂ” (Diamond, 1996, p. 5). I am hyper-aware of my own questions of attachment to and critique of this producti on. I monitor the perfor mance as a Â“contested space, where meanings and desires are ge nerated, occluded, and of course multiply interpretedÂ” (p. 4). An audience member speaks French and English, but little Spanish, and she leans over to me to interpret Â“obispoÂ” for her. Â“Bishop,Â” I whisper back. The baby spins around to look at us, as if he were ready to answer he r question if I could not. La Virgen del Tepeyac reminded me that the theatrical is never outside of performativity. Indeed, the th eater requires the audience to read the production through
158 its various texts (costume, body movement, stag e, etc.) and understa nd the iterations of these meanings either within or without the guidance of dom inant discourse. Performance studies scholars, like myself, pay keen attention to these various texts for understandings of how microprocesses of performance re create and resist the macroprocess of culture. Widening performan ce to exist beyond the stage, performance theorists see performative aspects in th e everyday life and focus on those everyday instances. My dissertation project moves beyond the theater to understand the Latina/oWhite hybrid individual from a performance perspective. Overview of Significant Fi ndings within the Chapters The purpose of this study is to explor e the performativity of the Latina/o-White hybrid individuals and his/he r relationship to the constr uctions and negotiations of hybridity within the current discourse of r ace and ethnicity. For this study, I focus on interviews with nine indivi duals, use stories from my own life, and analyze three memoirs. These very different forms allow me an examination of a continuum of discussionÂ—from the often hesi tant and convoluted interview, to my own attempts to combine theory and praxis in performative wr iting, to the literary art of the memoir, both polished and published within canonical conventi ons of literature. Despite these different forms, all the self-identified Latina/o-White individuals speak to the difficulty of imagining and enacting a hybrid identity. This study seeks to articulate these difficulties and imaginings as lived experience, theory, and performance come together to argue for and against hybridity as a model for contemporary identity. Janelle Reinelt (1999) expresses the re lationship between the quotidian and the theatrical for performance theorists. While respecting the history of theater and the
159 manifestations of its cultural contributions, performance theorists are pushing past the doors of the theatre to explore performativity in a range of cultural performances and in everyday, mundane performances. These theorists are Â“committed to articulating an acute awareness of cultural differences and historical specificitie s, producing work on race, gender, and sexuality as they are asserted and inscribed in performance: as they become performativeÂ” (p. 202). In work on performativity, race has more recently been addressed. Previous to performativityÂ’s app lication, race was consistently considered within the realm of the visible. Using the invisibility of sexual orientation as juxtaposition to race, Reinelt writes: Â“In the United States, race and sexual preference have been constituted as binary opposites in a visual economy of readable identity. Race, understood as the manifest trut h of melanin, forms the polar opposite of the Â‘hidden truthÂ’ of sexual preferenceÂ” (Reinelt, p. 226). Howe ver, the theory of performativity expands possibilities for understanding race rather than just limiting understandings of race to the ocular. This dissertation has sought to provide examples of the performativity of race using the Latina/o-White hybrid individual as exemplar. In Chapter Two, I interview nine participants who have one Latina/o parent and one White parent. Against a backdrop of th e U.S. racial discourse on Latina/o-ness and Whiteness, the participants explain the experi ences of their identitie s. I divided their responses into four main themes: construc ting and negotiating ident ities through material practices, through the visual, through discourse, and through performative acts. All the participants express liv ing in the tensions and possibiliti es of their Latina/o-White hybrid identity. While Whiteness was consistently re-c entered in their self-perceptions, this recentering disrupts a naturalness to their racial identity. No longer is race naturally linked
160 to ocular perception for these participants. Rather, race is understood beyond the visual but also into the performative. This disruption of naturaln ess, even if not capitalized upon, allows room for a more im aginative approach to race. In Chapter Three, I utilize the Mexica n pop singer, Paulina Rubio, as a backdrop to my own theoretical and material perfor mative embodiments of hybridity. I deconstruct the perceived hybridity of Paulina Rubio, and I theorize the lived-experience of my own hybrid performativity. Our globalized media syst em is a generator for the possibility of hybridity, but interpretations of this hybridit y exists at a local level. Finally, I demonstrate how hybrid performativity, while th eoretically achievable, loses its material efficacy. In the realm of local practice, the enactment of hybridity is still up against powerful racial ideologies. In Chapter Four, I do a close-reading of three memoirs written about and by Latina/o-White hybrid individuals. First, I theorize how their text s are performances. Then I discuss three performative trappings found across the memoirs: language as a binary/hierarchy tra p, the performance of Whiteness, and how words produce their subjects and effects. Hybridity, following performative injunctions, is both thrust upon by late-capitalist global society and a strate gy for existing within late-capitalist global society. This range of hybridity, being thrust upon and being a strategy, is reproduced as a continuum across different hybridities of the Latina/o-White hybrid individual. The continuum moves across five hybrid strategies for languaging identity: imposter, mongrel, homeless, bridge, and twin. Finall y, I discuss how a necessary component of the creation of the Latina/o-White hybrid indi vidual, both romantic and sexual love, is left out of the continuum, but should not be left out of the imaginative possibilities of this
161 hybrid performativity. Performativity & the Latina/o-White Hybrid Identity: Perfor ming the Textual Self In writing the introduction to th e tenth anniversar y publication of Gender Trouble and in consideration of the critiques of the work, Judith Butler (1999) reflects upon the relationship between race and the theo ry of performativity. She writes: [T]he question is not whether the theory of performativity is transposable onto race, but what happens to the theory when it tries to come to grips with race. Many of these debates have centered on the status of Â‘constr uction,Â’ whether race is constructed in the same way as gender. My view is that no si ngle account of construc tion will do, and that these categories always work as background for one another, and they often find their most powerful articulation thr ough one another. Thus, the se xualization of racial gender norms calls to be read through multiple lenses at once, and the analysis surely illuminates the limits of gender as an exclus ive category of analysis. (p. xvi) ButlerÂ’s reflection on race and performativity calls for a reading of Â“multiple lensesÂ” when examining the enactments of iden tity. Her call is what this study seeks to answer. With the interviews, with my own story and with the memoirs, multiple lenses were utilized throughout. Sin ce the ocular is not reliable for the hybrid individual, my lenses were outside of the vi sual. Stretching the metaphor of lens, I tried to attend to details beyond the visual and into the aura l (e.g., language) and affect (e.g., emotion). Not only in our self-enactments but in our readings of the world, a multiplicity of meaning and interpretation is inherent in th e understandings of the Latina/o-White hybrid individual. In the split between Latina/o-ne ss and Whiteness as they are attached to issues of class, gender, and sexualityÂ—I sought to demonstrate the layers of the identity
162 of the Latina/o-White hybrid individuals. In examining the Latina/o-White hybrid individual, I have sought to push at the limits of the theory of performativity. Th rough my participants, my Â”selfÂ” and the memoir authors, my underlying question has consistently been one of agency. In each chapter, I am most curious about whether or not the Latina/o-White hybrid individual can find and can enact agency due to their identit y. Butler argues that se lf-expression is still dressed in language and the linguistic polit ics therein. Thus she is warning that expression is not without its po litics. She writes, Â“I am not outside the language that structures me, but neither am I determined by the language that makes this Â‘IÂ’ possibleÂ” (p. xxiv). Therefore, we are delivered to othe rs within the Â“grammar that establishes my availability to youÂ” (p. xxiv). The Latina/o-White hybrid individual is not grammatically co rrect. We confuse subject/verb agreementÂ—sometimes we are one sometimes we are two. We pollute a sentence with more than one language Â—sometimes Spanish, sometimes English, sometimes Spanglish. We switch up vocabular y as we go alongÂ—mongrel, twin. In English, Â“My name is Shane.Â” In Spanish, Â“ Me llamo Chango .Â” I move from subject to predicate while still in the same body. Our wordsÂ’ etiology branches and borrows as do our complex family trees. From the unsettled pa rticipants, to my own frustrations, to the visionary memoir authorsÂ—we move between the linguistic and the theatrical, between the languaged and the enacted, between thrust upon and the strategy. In these moments of grammatical adjustment, we meet the de mands of dominant discourse and sometimes we only approximate those demands. Importantl y, in these moments, is the answer to my question of agency. In these moments, ther e is agentic enterpriseÂ—for the interview
163 participants, for myself and for the memoir authors. Our situation is not unique, however. Heterosexuality, femininity, middleclassnessÂ—these identities are just as unsettl ed and offer just as many possibilities for ranges of performativity as th e Latin-White hybrid individu al. The difference between these status quo identities and us is that the grammar of these status quotidian identities has been well-established and promulgated. The Latina/o-White hybrid identity is still within various facets of novelty. Â“HispanicÂ” has been relatively recently coined and understood. Whiteness is very recently under intellectual scrutiny. Hybridity as an identity is most recently bei ng considered and weighed. Therefore, the imaginative possibilities of the Latina/o-White hybridity lie in its grammatical awkwardness. This identity draws upon two identitie s that have two different relationships to privilege. For the Latina/o, cultural capital has been lost or has never been accessible. For the White, cultu ral capital has been unfairly gained as entitlement or is threatened to be redistri buted. For the Latina/o-White hybrid individual though, cultural capital is in abundanceÂ—and this is the default. In the experience of racial difference between both Latina/o and White, the Latina/o-White hybrid individual understands the zero-sum pa radigm of racial discourseÂ—and we understand the constructedness behind that paradigm. Reallocation, apportioned quantitites, limitationsÂ—all of these assumptions of cultura l capital create subjects that insecurely demand greed, punishment and retribution. Unde r these assumptions of scarcity emerge individuals who dictate a gr ammar of pessimism. For the Latina/o-White hybrid individual though, our grammar is more optimis tic. Our grammar is consistently in the subjunctive mood: as if the toddler in front of me in th e church were ready to answer the
164 question. Our excess of cultural capita l allows us to understand the fictions of reality as desirable foundations for our Â”selvesÂ”. Our excess of cultural capit al allows us to understand theoretical performativity as compos ed of materiality, history, and agencyÂ— and all three of these elements are in excess, not in short supply or finite qualities. While performativity is productive, Â“t he possibility of a different sort of repeating, in the breaking or subversive repetiti on of styleÂ” is inherent in the Latina/o-White hybrid identity (Butler, 1988, p. 520). And while our identity is not outsi de the grammar of performativity, it is outside the correct grammar of racial identity and therefore within the racial identityÂ’s clumsy yet creative grammatical structures. Implications for Future Research in Hybridity Performance Studies research should theorize Latinas/o identity as a Communication process. Perfor mativity provides such a vehicle for the study as it is Â“embedded in Â‘liturgyÂ’ but also as Â‘ludic ex cess, as limited by Â‘canoni cal theatreÂ’ but also as Â‘political intervention,Â’ as Â‘citationÂ’ but also as transformative practiceÂ” (Tulloch, 1999, p. 10). Between Â“rulesÂ” and Â“playÂ” betw een art and politics, between saying and doing, performativity is productive for comm unication research. Within the extant literature on Latina/os in Communication, there are probl ems of specificity. For example, much of the current work that does address Latina/o populations remains ethnically specific, focused predominantly on groups such as Chicanas/os (Delgado, 1998a, 1998b; Flores, 1996) or Puerto Ricans (Cordova, 2004; Milburn, 2001). Furthermore, the types of Communication studi es are narrowly relegated to rhetorical studies (Calafell and Delgado, 2004; Cor dova, 2004, Delgado, 1999, Flores, 1996; Flores
165 and Hasian, 1997; Jensen & Hammerback, 1985) and media studies (Delgado, 2000; Flores, 2000; Valdivia, 1998, 2000). In additi on to the rhetorical and media studies approaches, only a small amount of studies have employed qualitative or performative methods (Calafell, 2004; De la Garza, 2004; Delgado a nd Calafell, 2004; Martinez, 2000). Against this backdrop, this dissertat ion has added to Communication scholarship by bringing to light issues that seek to crea te more complex and layered understandings of Latina/o identity by specifically examin ing White-Latina/o hybr id identities. This body of research also points to three implications for future research. While my study looked at Latina/o-ness and Whiteness in combination with one another, studies theorizing Latina/o identity that deny a recentering of Whiteness can break the binary/hierarchy trap. My own study was crit ical of Whiteness, and I realize that Whiteness is a component of racial politics that cannot be denied. How to theorize Latina/o identity without necessarily paying hom age to the power of Whiteness? This most obvious way to accomplish this could be to look at other hybrid racial/ethnic identities that are not in co mbination with Whiteness. A second implication is to continue doing performance studies work that addresses hybridity, and to always keep that work centered on the political implications within hybridity. Guillermo Gomez-Pena (1996) says Â“Once the hybrid model is depoliticized, we will have to look for anot her paradigm and a new set of metaphors to explain the complexities and dangers or our timesÂ” (p. 13) Many metaphors have been used: border, subaltern, bridge. However, our ideological, social, even geographical realities shiftÂ—and so should our metaphor s for explaining our complicated subject positions. Janelle Reinelt (2002) drawing from Robert Weimann reminds us that we are
166 in a new information age that raises questions of audience competencies in deconstructing our performativity. She says: [C]hanging conditions of authorship and reception need constant examination in order to avoid the premature acceptance of the foreclosure of invention and creativity,Â… the challenge of our postmodern moment is to examine the resilience of authority in representa tion, and the conflict that inevitably marks it. (p. 213) Performance studies work on our more and mo re complicated relationship to text and performance should be maintainedÂ—pushing th rough the limits of current languaging of current reality. To name that metaphor here would be pre-emptive. My own research has gone in the direction of, maybe, Â“grammar, Â” or Â“love,Â” or Â“the subjunctive.Â” Within the realm of race, there should be more attention to children of mixed-coupling and how they do or do not resist current raci al discourse. Additionally, there should be attention to other identities as well, e.g., bisexuality, he rmaphrodites, partial physical impairments. Within the identity of these Â“not quitesÂ” and Â“sortasÂ” are identities of wholeness that may allow us to heal ourselves from the painful discourses of either-or. From within the fluxing expe riences of these identities will come the metaphors Â“to explain the complexities and dangers in our times.Â” My final implication was inspired by a relatively recent TPQ journal. In the April 2004 issue of Text and Performance Quarterly is a Performance in Review titled, Â“Paul Bonin-RodriguezÂ’s MemoryÂ’s Caretaker : A TPQ Forum.Â” Following the review are an artistÂ’s statement and five responses. When I received this journal in the mail, my eyes widened and then narrowed upon reading the na me Bonin-Rodriguez. I thumbed to page 182 and began to read the performance, eag er to hear another Latina/o-White hybrid
167 individualÂ’s story. In Boni n-RodriguezÂ’s artist statement he explains his identity: Â“I wrote MemoryÂ’s Caretaker in stagesÂ…. Because I had b een invited as a Latino, I felt a need to speak to how I experienced my hyphenated participation in Latinidad, as a constant and complex arbitra tion of belonging and not from within and withoutÂ” (p. 182). And there it wasÂ—the hybrid performative mome nt where he explains his last name and in turn his identity. Bonin-Rodriguez goes on to explain his experience with the history, materiality, and agency of his hybrid performativity. The disappointing responses to Bonin-R odriguezÂ’s work speak to the final implication for my own research. The res ponses failed to adequately or seriously consider the possibilities inhere nt in his Latina/o-White hybrid identity. Each respondent of course, finds his/herself in his work: the gay White catholic, the queer performance theorist, the storytelling expert, and the Me xican American feminist. By having five different respondents, we get five different approaches to his work; but somehow that does not seem to be enough. Through these five responses we get a different sliver of perspective about Bonin-RodriguezÂ’s work. I would prefer to see one respondent respond five different ways, or even all the re spondents respond five different ways. If there is one lesson from my dissertati on and from being a Latina/o-White hybrid individual it is that there is never Â“oneÂ” anything. Multiplicity of meanings can be found in anything that is languaged. Since language is semantically unstable, then the self is just as unstable. Since grammar is malleable and alterable and is co mposed of rules that were made to be broken, then the grammar of a personÂ’s identity is much the same. Rather than each finding only his/herself in the performance, each should find their various selves in the performanceÂ— and express those various selves.
168 At the end of Bonin-RodriguezÂ’s performance piece, his grandmother passes away saying the Rosary. De la Garza (2004) explains: Â“As Catholic s, we are taught to pray the rosary as a way to reach Mary, th e mother of GodÂ… The rosary is about the mysteries in the life of Mar y. Joyful mysteries, sorrowf ul mysteries, and glorious mysteriesÂ” (p. 56). His ending brings me b ack to the beginning of this chapterÂ—with attention to the Virgin Mary. If you Google my image, you will find only one photo of me on the Internet. I am wearing a pressed, white button down shirt, and behind me is Â“Ida.Â” She is my comadre Â—for lack of a better explan ation (godmother in Spanish, but also often used as a term of endearment for an adult with whom you are close). As an undergraduate, I rented a room from her at 1216 W. Russell Place. Her husband had passed the year before, and quickly, she became my friend and my parental influence. The day that picture was taken was the day of my college graduation. In Bonin-RodriguezÂ’s piece, I discovered that he and his grandmother lived only blocks from Ida and me in San Antonio. I know well the places he mentions. Ida and IÂ—like BoninRodriguez and his grandmotherÂ—frequented the LubyÂ’s Cafeteria on McCullough, the park at Woodlawn Lake, the WalgreenÂ’s on San Pedro. In Fresno, on the night that my friend picks me up to go to see La Virgen del Tepeyac, I am on the phone with Ida. It has been months since we have spoken, and after receiving her Christmas card in the mail, I miss her too much not to call her, despite being pressed for time. On the card envelope her hand writing has become scrawl. On the phone, her voice is thinner than I have ev er noticed. I begin the phone call by singing Â“Paloma BlancaÂ” and she warbles right along with me. When my friend knocks on the
169 door, I apologize for the short phone call explai ning I am going to a play. She excuses with me a laugh and says, Â“I love you. I love you. I love you. God Bless you miÂ’jo Hurry home.Â” That night at the play, I no tice the Â“incorrectionsÂ” of th e play, and wonder if they are subversive spins. Aztec dancers are pl ayed by blonde haired, blued eyed actors. Spanish church clergy are all played by black haired, brown skinned actors. And most noticeably, the Virgin de Guadalupe, the paragon of chastity, is a bit sexy. These creative reiterations of the cultural, se xual and historical meanings ar e instabilities that I cannot label as definite subversions. However, I am hopeful. Just as the Latina/o-White hybrid individual, exists and resists wi thin the performativity of raceÂ—it is the instability of that performativity that leaves the performance of ourselves and all others open for a multitude of possibilities.
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180 Appendix A: Informed Consent Informed Consent Social and Behavioral Sciences University of South Florida Information for People Who Take Part in Research Studies The following information is being presented to help you decide wh ether or not you want to take part in a minimal risk research st udy. Please read this carefully. If you do not understand anything, ask the pers on in charge of the study. Title of Study: Latino-White Hybrid Identity: Performing the Textual Self Principal Investigator: Shane Moreman Study Location(s): CSU Fresno, Speech Arts Building, Room 35 You are being asked to participate because you have one Latino parent and one White parent. General Information about the Research Study The purpose of this research study is to understand the communication processes individuals use as they try to make se nse of, understand, and perform their multiple ethnic identity, as a result of having on e Latino parent and one White parent. Plan of Study I will present an informed consent form to you to read. Then I will go over the informed consent form and answer any questions you may have. Then you and I will both sign the informed consent form. Next, I will turn the tape r ecorder on and you will answer questions about your identity. The interview will follow a flow that is unstructured and has open-ended answers. Once the interview has concluded, I wi ll turn the tape recorder o ff. The total time for the interview will be one hour or less. Also you will only meet one time. The days and times we meet will remain flexible so as to accommodate your schedule. Payment for Participation You will not be paid for pa rticipation in this study. Benefits of Being a Part of this Research Study By taking part in this research study, you may increase our overal l knowledge of LatinoWhite hybrid identity individuals. Also you potentially help us understand how multiethnic individuals of any backgr ound can and do explain their identity.
181 Appendix A (Continued) Risks of Being a Part of this Research Study The only risk from being part of this proj ect is the discomfort you might feel when talking about yourself. Confidentiality of Your Records Your privacy and research records will be kept confidential to the extent of the law. Authorized research personnel, employees of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the USF Institutional Review Board and its staff and others acting on behalf of USF may inspect the records fr om this research project. The results of this study may be published. However, the data obtained from you will be combined with data from others in the pub lication. The published re sults will not include your name or any other information that would personally identify you in any way. You are free to adopt a Â“pseudonymÂ” for yourself I will only identify you by that name. I will be the only person with access to the data. All data will be kept locked in a filing cabinet in my office. Research investigator s are required to keep all research related materials, including all IRB corre spondence for no less than thr ee (3) years. If, at the end of 3 years of study completion, I find the data is no longer needed then I will destroy it. If the data is still needed after three years, it will continue to be lo cked in a filing cabinet in my office and then be destroyed. Volunteering to Be Part of this Research Study Your decision to participate in this research study is comple tely voluntary. You are free to participate in this research study or to withdraw at any time. There will be no penalty or loss of benefits you are en titled to receive, if you stop taking part in the study. Questions and Contacts 1 If you have any questions about this research study, contact a. Shane Moreman 559.278.2994 b. Dr. Elizabeth Bell 813.974.6833 2 If you have questions about your rights as a person who is taking part in a research study, you may contact the Divi sion of Research Compliance of the University of South Florida at (813) 974-5638.
182 Appendix A (Continued) Consent to Take Part in This Research Study By signing this form I agree that: 1 I have fully read or have had read and e xplained to me this informed consent form describing this research project. 2 I have had the opportunity to question one of the persons in charge of this research and have received satisfactory answers. 3 I understand that I am being asked to pa rticipate in research. I understand the risks and benefits, and I freely give my consent to participate in the research project outlined in this form, unde r the conditions indicated in it. 4 I have been given a signed copy of this informed consent form, which is mine to keep. _________________________ _________________________ _________ Signature of Participant Printed Name of Participant Date Investigator Statement I have carefully explained to the subject the nature of the above re search study. I hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge th e subject signing this consent form understands the nature, demands, risks, and benefits involved in participating in this study. _________________________ _________________________ _________ Signature of Person obtaining Printed Name of Person Date Informed Consent Obtaining Informed Consent
183 Appendix B: Interview Schedule Interview Schedule The day is [day of the week]. The time is [time of the day]. I am Shane Moreman and I am here with [ParticipantÂ’s Name]. 1. How do you explain your ethnic background? 2. How was your ethnic bac kground explained to you? 3. When is your ethnicity ever a topic for you? 4. When is your ethnicity ever an issue? 5. Was there a particular age when you became aware of your ethnic background? 6. Are there advantages to having both a Latino and a White parent? 7. Are there disadvantages to having both a Latino and a White parent? 8. What do people assume about your ethnicity? 9. Tell me a story about when someone completely understood your background. 10. Tell me a story about when someone completely misunderstood your background. 11. Is there anything I did not mention or ask that you would like to bring up?
184 Appendix C: Letter of Support Dr. Kathy Adams, Chairperson California State University, Fresno Department of Communication 5201 North Maple Avenue M/S SA46 Fresno, California 93740-8027 PH: 559.278.4546 FX: 559.278.4113 EM: firstname.lastname@example.org April 6, 2004 University of South Florid a Institutional Review Board Division of Research Compliance 12901 Bruce B. Downs BLVD, MDC35 Tampa, FL 33612-4799 PH: 813.974.5638 FX: 813.974.5618 Dear USF Institutional Review Board: Mr. Shane Moreman is a newly hired f aculty member in the Department of Communication at California St ate University, Fresno. He is currently completing his dissertation and will be conducting interviews in his faculty office located in the Speech Arts Building, Room 35. The reason for this letter is to confirm the appropriateness of this office for his proposed interview procedure. The office is perfectly conducive for such interviewing. Also, the office meets all regulatory standards (e.g., ADA) and is easily accessible for the research population he is interested in interviewi ng. Additionally, Mr. Moreman has projected only a minimal risk for participants, and if participants decide to withdraw during the interview procedure or thereafter, his office would not provide any adverse or unanticipated problems with such a withdrawal. I have read his IRB proposal and I find his o ffice to be appropriate for Mr. Moreman to conduct his dissertation research in the I RB approved manner. Also if there are unanticipated or adverse effect s of the interview, his office is located on campus at CSU Fresno and therefore has adequate provisions to handle such events. If you have any questions regarding this off-site research, please feel fr ee to contact me at the above address, phone number or email. Sincerely, Dr. Kathy Adams
About the Author Shane MoremanÂ’s intellectual work doesn 't "focus" doesn't "address," doesn't "represent," and doesn't "center." Rather, Moreman's work blurs, avoids, perverts and uproots notions of race and ethnicity at local, national and global levels. An underlying theme in much of his work is not to help create voice for the disempowered, but to help open the ears of the privileged. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1996. He received his Ma ster of Arts Degree in Communication from the University of South Florida in 1998. He received his Doctorate Degree in Communication from the Universi ty of South Florida in 2005. While finishing his doctorate degree he took a job as Assistan t Professor in the Communication Department at Calif ornia State University, Fresno.