Wetback American

I'm educated but brown so no matter where I go I'm a Wetback American.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Writing pain into our DNA

So as a degreed researcher, I do try to find actual research to backup my random rants.  The evidence as to trauma changing our DNA is still a little hazy at this point so take this rant for what it is, a rant.

Ever since I heard about the concept of trauma changing our actual genetic makeup, my mind has been obsessed with it.  Hearing John Leguizamo list atrocity after atrocity that the "White" people rained down on the peoples of the Americans, the original Latinos/Indians/American, I felt like I understood "Ghetto Rage" better and that in fact I am entitled to feel Ghetto Rage.

Okay so I just threw out a lot of stuff in that last paragraph so I'll break it down just a bit and hopefully stay somewhat on topic.  According to John Leguizamo, ghetto rage is the internal rage we Latinx people feel after surviving countless microaggressions while being invisible and unable to express ourselves.  The message we have gotten our entire Latinx-American lives is clear: YOU DON'T BELONG HERE!

The list of atrocities: the list is long and sad and overwhelming and horrible.  While before John's special I didn't know the specifics, as he laid them out I could feel them in my bones.  It was an odd sensation.  If you haven't seen the special, go do it.  Seriously, it is well worth your time.  Latinx people come from a people of survival against the odds.  Our land was stolen, our people were decimated, and even today we are unwanted but yet we resist, persist, and every once in a while, succeed.

It seems that 100s of years of trauma in our DNA made us fighters.  Who do we fight?  Well I think that is up for debate.  Sometimes ourselves, each other, "the man,"the White man, the other colored people, hell sometimes we just fight shadows.  When all you know is a punch, before you do anything you punch.  Your bones know what to do to survive.

Is it in our DNA, in our bones?  Did my grandmother's move from middle Mexico to the Mexican border change my DNA?  Did her trauma of burying 8 children, rewrite my own approach to motherhood at a genetic level?  What about the trauma of the rape of our ancient people?  Did watching and living the destruction of our civilization at the hands of a Spaniard fundamentally write something in our genetic code?

Each year, Nacogdoches hosts a Day of Dead festival.  For the last 3 years, we have watched the Aztec dancers.  The first year, Gymgirl saw them, she told us she felt their dance in her soul.  In that moment I believe she connected to an ancient self.  A little Aztec girl watching her family dance for the gods.

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