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Chicano and Latino Coloniality

What is the relation between white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism in the study of Chicano/a- Latino/a politics?

By Jimmy Centeno
Published on LatinoLA: July 11, 2009


Chicano and Latino Coloniality


What is the relation between white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism in the study of Chicano/a- Latino/a politics?

From a postcolonial debate, all three forms of oppression intertwine as methods of domination. According to Herbert Marcuse, "The apparatus invades the inner sphere of the person himself, his instinct, his intelligence as‘«™ the intervention of a completely objectified technological reason." For philosopher Herbert Marcuse, "technological rationality reveals its political character as it becomes the great vehicle of a better domination" (Marcuse, 1964).

Technological reason refers to a mode of thought in were the triangular power relations between capitalism, white superiority, and patriarchy structure stand most to gain from it all. All forms of colonial subjection imposed on the Chicano/a and Latino/a politics results from the one-dimensional society in where any multi-dimensional possibilities that are not latent in the reality of the human personality, must give way to the mono-lithicity of the institutional structures in this case a capitalist structure (Bleich, 1977). White supremacy attempts to justify the superiority of Anglo Saxon over people of color. Such coloniality of power besides using repression utilizes seductive methods of acquiring power (Castro-Gomez, 2008).

As evidence, thus the case of the U.S Hispanic Caucus, non-involvement as a delegation in Cuba- U.S relations in fear of losing political sways at home. We compare such lack of involvement with that of the Black Caucus who did travel to Cuba on April 7, 2009 and met with high-level Cuban officials to discuss improving U.S ‘«Ű Cuba relations (Pierce, 2009). According to Anibal Quijano, acquiring power is the second characteristic of coloniality of power. This translates into shared power by the dominated subject of color, equivalent to the domination of white supremacy (Castro-Gomez, 2008). Educator and Art Historian Shifra M. Goldman, views the key inducement of the capital system as "success" which translates to economic rewards, prestige, and middle class amenities (Shifra, 1994).

This trident relationship between patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism not only attempts to dominate people of color by force but also, eradicates the way Chicano/as and Latino/as define their particular community, "cultural values." The operational consciousness (operational thought) is the means by which capitalism, is able to internalize in society in the case of the Chicano/a- Latino/a communities, the cognitive rational of the dominator as their own, thus the American dream; consumerism, individualism, competiveness vs. collectiveness (Bleich, 1977). Operational thought is the cognitive tool that includes language, science, logic and thought. In other words, operational thought is a way of interpreting the world. Power acquired by Chicano/as and Latino/as must adhere to the powers be.

According to Antonio Gramcsi, power is not just a thing but also a set of relations. For Gramsci, those in powers are never passive, they must defend, modify and neutralize any multi-dimensional possibility, meaning: questioning, examining and the promotion of action-oriented activism such as grassroots leader Cesar Chavez did with the United Farm Workers in the struggle to promote better living conditions for farm workers (be they Filipino, Latino or Asian) would not be tolerated. Hence, power for Latino/a- Chicano/as is an empowerment tool that can help create the objective conditions for change in our communities. The problem lies when that polarity is reversed and the objective (power) ends up controlling the subject Latino/a, Chicano/a leaders (Marcuse, 1964). Herbert Marcuse conceptualizes a neo-Freudian relation between power and domination: the more power Chicano/as ‘«ŰLatino/as acquire the more impersonal the domination patriarchal is‘«™ and increasingly justified, hence school budgets cuts, health care and social program downsizing, which affects Chicano/a, Latino/a, and African American communities.

In philosophy of liberation philosopher Enrique Dussel, describes thought that takes refuge in the center, ends by thinking it to be the only reality (Dussel, 1985). Political Refuge in the center "the apparatus" as described by Herbert Marcuse, narrows the understanding of the Latino/a- Chicano/a reality, immigration reform and the specific needs of the Chicano/Latino community. This one-way monologue from the center of power towards the Chicano/Latino communities has developed a unified interconnected web that inhibits and impedes potentialities of social structures and consciousness that reflect with more precision the nature of our particularities. In other words, with the current California, "budget deficit" community colleges will not be providing a second summer session. CSU will not be accepting graduates students staring this fall of 2009. Such action regardless of the negative implications is justified by Chicano/a- Latino/a leaders in position of power. This justification implies a devastating setback for the Chicano/ Latino communities.

The subject-object relationship asymmetry between Chicano/a-Latino/a and white supremacy denies an exchange of knowledge or form of producing knowledge in different cultures (Castro-Gomez, 2008). Under such conditions, nothing that does not belong to the dominant white supremacy culture belongs to it. Colonial indigenous subjects as has been the case between Britain and India or the ruling Criollos in Latin America for Spain and Chicano/as-Latino/as in the United States are relevant to the power structure. In the case of Chicano/as-Latino/as politics, a one dimensionality is required from them as they seek power. Successful Chicano/as-Latino/as mirror back such success as a testimony of a democratic process in were the dominant power is depicted as benevolent and fair.

For Arendt Hannah, "understanding the process is not all, one must seek out its significance, nor should it be only studied from a sociological point of view, but from a philosophical and ample historical perspective." The dreams of millions of Chicanos/as and Latino/as are in the hands of a few Chicano/a- Latino/a leaders. This reality becomes, dream holes in the hands of a few who can either fill or hasten to fill them in (Bazin, December 2008).


References:
Bazin, A. (December 2008). Every Film is a Social Documentary. Film Comment , 35-37.
Bleich, H. (1977). The Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse. Washington D.C: University Press of
America.
Castro-Gomez, S. (2008). (Post) Coloniality for Dummies: Latin American Perspectives on Modernity, Coloniality, and the Geopolitics of Knowledge. In M. Morana, E. Dussel, & C. A. Jauregui, Coloniality At Large (pp. 259-286). Durham & London: Duke University Press.
Dussel, E. (1985). Philosophy of Liberation. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Marcuse, H. (1964). One Dimensional Man. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press.
Pierce, T. (2009, April 7). Fidel Castro to Congressional Black Caucus Members: How can we help President Obama? Los Angeles Times .
Shifra, G. M. (1994). Dimensions Of The Americas, Art And Social Change In Latin America AndThe United States. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

About Jimmy Centeno:
CSULA Grad
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