Unleashing The Mestiza Consciousness In All Of Us
The ability to be flexible between two cultures, between two boundaries, to be able to fight the struggle of the inner self, the struggle for acceptance of both cultures, while looking past the differences between the paradigms of each culture and intertwining a new culture, is what constitutes the mestiza consciousness.
As Gloria Anzaldua states, the mestiza consciousness is to look further than a simple “counterstance,” meaning to look past dualities, specifically, the oppressor and the oppressed.
To activate the mestiza consciousness, one must first become aware of the self, to be self aware of both cultures, including the differences and similarities. Once self awareness has occurred, one must aim for a revolution, for a change to be able to incorporate all cultures into one. This occurs by acting not reacting. One must essentially look past victimizing and blaming, one must come to a common culture by being cultural mediators. Anzaldua explains how expression is key to looking past differences, one can no longer reject the realities and must be aware of them, accept them, and express our feelings to change the realities.
To be aware of the self, to be self aware.
Daniel Christian Wahl explains how being aware of the self means to divide from the self and view the self through another perspective. To be self aware one must first understand how one views the self and how others view the self. To be open-minded and understand one’s position from multiple perspectives, to understand the self as being from various cultures, because essentially, the mestiza is of different cultures. Further, Wahl explains that our seperation of the self and our perception of the self is allows one to experience a belonging from multiple perspectives, which in itself allows one to understand how differences of expression enable one to unify and participate in the present. Wahl further goes on to say how it is important to recognize the self and understand the self to be able to perceive moments and act out on those perceptions, or to be able to understand different perspectives and at the same time allow the differences to unify one in creating change to continue to be open-minded and accept the differences that unite beings as human. By doing so, this allows one to embrace all cultures to come together as a common culture.
“Acting not reacting”
To act out on issues that separate various cultures, to do away with dualistic thinking and to bring about a revolution to create change is to act. Whereas reacting is simply to look for someone to blame and remain in the realm of blaming and not doing anything to attempt to move past blaming, to simply stay in a position of the oppressor or the oppressor. To look past victimizing and blaming is essentially a step toward change. When the victim looks for someone to blame, the victim is in itself enabling the cycle of oppressor and oppressed to continue because the victim is using the same logic that the oppressor is using and maintains the systems of oppression by choosing only to blame and not attempt to act out for change.
To express and not reject
Expression is key to being able to act out for a change. To express ourselves enables us to acknowledge the issues that are separating us and to voice our needs, our willingness for change. Opinion allow us to understand different perspectives and speak out when something is of importance to us. For example, Annie Kramer explains that through expression, we have a means of calling out what is wrong and inhumane, since generally, morality is a common issue dealt with at political, social, and individual levels. Kramer notes that it is dangerous to normalize violence and we must unify to speak against violence and inhumane actions because violence occurs within all cultures. Kramer argues that activists should fight together to combat violence and in-humaneness. She gives the example of Donald Trump being elected for president. Kramer explains how she was surprised that millions of voters supported Trump’s displays of hatefulness, ignorance, and practices of victimization toward certain groups. Kramer further discusses how she couldn’t believe that many of his supporters normalized his ideology; she had imagined that moral decency was universal. Because of the fact that Trump does promote hatred and victimization, Kramer emphasizes that it is a critical time that people express their opinions and unite to combat his term of presidency.
Although each of these characteristics has occurred and has already been observed amongst individuals who participate in protests, it is important to unleash the mestiza consciousness in us all to be able to combat the institutions that separate cultures. To be aware, to act, and to express will help unleash the mestiza consciousness in each of us.