Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations. If you've been on the blog, you know how this Tumblr works, too. Including the moderation policy.
Recent Tweets @racialicious

I’m an English major. It is a language of conquest.

What does it say that I’m mastering the same language that was used to make my mother feel inferior? Growing up, I had a white friend who used to laugh whenever my mother spoke English, amused by the way she rolled her r’s. My sister and I tease Mami about her accent too, but it’s different when we do it, or is it? The echoes of colonization linger in my voice. The weapons of the death squads that pushed my mother out of El Salvador were U.S.-funded. When Nixon promised, “We’re going to smash him!” it was said in his native tongue, and when the Chilean president he smashed used his last words to promise, “Long live Chile!” it was said in his. And when my family told me the story of my grandfather’s arrest by the dictatorship that followed, my grandfather stayed silent, and meeting his eyes, I cried, understanding that there were no words big enough for loss.

English is a language of conquest. I benefit from its richness, but I’m not exempt from its limitations. I am ‘that girl’ in your English classes, the one who is tired of talking about dead white dudes. But I’m still complicit with the system, reading nineteenth-century British literature to graduate.

Diversity in my high school and college English literature courses is too often reduced to a month, week, or day where the author of the book is seen as the narrator of the novel. The multiplicity of U.S. minority voices is palatably packaged into a singular representation for our consumption. I read Junot Díaz and now I understand not only the Dominican-American experience, but what it means to be Latina/o in America. Jhumpa Lahiri inspired me to study abroad in India. Sherman Alexie calls himself an Indian, so now it’s ok for me to call all Indians that, too. We will read Toni Morrison’s Beloved to understand the horrors of slavery, but we won’t watch her takedowns on white supremacy.

Even the English courses that analyze race and diasporas in meaningful ways are still limited by the time constraints of the semester. Reading Shakespeare is required, but reading Paolo Javier and Mónica de la Torre is extra credit. My Experimental Minority Writing class is cross-listed at the most difficult level, as a 400-level course in the Africana Studies, Latina/o Studies, and American Studies departments, but in my English department, it is listed as a 300-level. I am reminded of Orwellian democracy: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Monica Torres, “Majoring In English,” The Feminist Wire 3/29/13
  1. aespergon reblogged this from racialicious
  2. themoonstonemermaid reblogged this from racialicious
  3. landb4times reblogged this from racialicious
  4. glazedbutthole reblogged this from mandreww
  5. mandreww reblogged this from onecupofpeachtea
  6. onecupofpeachtea reblogged this from 31-lyncis
  7. 31-lyncis reblogged this from walelua
  8. silkfromjannah reblogged this from racialicious
  9. walelua reblogged this from racialicious
  10. mistyped reblogged this from drecche
  11. lemonskyline reblogged this from racialicious
  12. no-rice-panda reblogged this from yetanotherknitter
  13. yetanotherknitter reblogged this from billykaplan666
  14. billykaplan666 reblogged this from graculus
  15. frickmyhotbuns reblogged this from imasupermuteant
  16. krillmadilo reblogged this from sapamanders
  17. sapamanders reblogged this from dont-blink-just-swim
  18. imasupermuteant reblogged this from thegreatkatzby
  19. graculus reblogged this from genderlost
  20. genderlost reblogged this from thegreatkatzby
  21. thegreatkatzby reblogged this from sparebear
  22. sporadictempo reblogged this from bananapeelfootball
  23. redlipstickcase reblogged this from racialicious