LOSE THE ACCENT CHIQUITA!:

                AUTOETHNOGRAPHY THROUGH VIDEO PERFORMANCE



       Introduction



          ...
to situate one’s own experience and to express its importance in relation to a particular

culture, political, or social g...
Lose the Accent Chiquita! was intended to recount experiences that reflect on

instances of identity and assimilation, by ...
Barthes wrote in his Camera Lucida (1980), “A photograph's punctum is that accident

which pricks me (but also bruises me,...
The Nuyorican Identity


                To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture. The Antilles Negro

       ...
and led to the knowledge which is needed to name and describe the themes that

encompass colonialism and its consequences....
mother was of Spanish descent and my father was a black Puerto Rican. It may be that by

dressing me up like a doll she ho...
children, he never recognized a single one as his. Since I was exposed to this supremacist

colonial attitude, I was const...
Dirty nigger!' Or simply, 'Look, a Negro!' I came into the world imbued

       with the will to find a meaning in things,...
and take a long hard look at myself. Of course I was anxious of what I might discover

and also a bit scared, but this tim...
was transparent. Resistance took many forms. For my mother, it was not learning the

English language. For others, it was ...
There’s a lot of baggage associated with the Nuyorican ideology, especially being

defiant in a militant way. Puerto Rican...
religion of Santeria, which my father and grandmother followed, and the Catholic

religion, which my mother embraced.

   ...
hopeful for the opportunities that the United States promised to offer us. Moving to the

United States was a necessity fo...
So far as I am concerned, I really think it is a misfortune for the United

       States to take that class of people int...
on the screen. No wonder that some Puerto Ricans, including me, wanted to assimilate

and shed their identity, however, no...
All her life, my mother daydreamed of the day when she would return to Puerto

Rico, she never got to visit Puerto Rico ag...
Spaniards would avoid doing so in order to steer clear of racial discrimination. Vega

states,

                 The other...
Context & Influences

       The work of Coco Fusco with Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Pepon Osario has been

an inspiration an...
that proclaims the superiority of one race; to the identical degree to which that

       society creates difficulties for...
projection, and voiceovers intrigued me, so I began to look at work created for the

purpose of promoting awareness of soc...
dollars. Whenever Fusco or Gomez-Pena needed to go to the bathroom, they were led on

a leash by those they referred to as...
was showing the displacement and its effects on my mother. Displacement and its

ramifications are prevalent in works of m...
one of the first artists to inject himself in the film, as well as to perform with an ensemble

of African American males,...
Thesis Design and Description

       The performance takes place in the Southern Illinois University Museum in the

South...
to make the viewer accountable for treating the Latina unfairly as a hot blooded sex

maniac, or, in other words, as an ob...
and beliefs can be temporarily liberating from the rigid and constrained social order of

the village or city (Wikipedia, ...
indigenous people were displayed in Europe or early America for the sake of

entertainment.

       During the course of t...
she is singing a Spanish love song, Historia de un Amor (The Story of a Love). The song

is the theme song of the narrator...
“spitfire” to denote the Latina stereotype. It is then we are transported to The Arrival

vignette of the performance. In ...
song played at the beginning of the scene, En Mi Viejo San Juan. In this version, Pedro

talks about how the American Drea...
soundtrack which is playing in the background, which is a combination of Christian

chants juxtaposed with African drums a...
as the narrator. The scene was shot in the performance room of the speech

communications department because of the lighti...
Conclusion/Observations



       Lose the Accent Chiquita! was a healing process for me. I had to confront the

demons th...
coming out of their mouths, and I was the frightened woman who could not speak the

language. At times, there would be som...
Bibliography
Algarin, M. (Ed.). (1975). Nuyorican poetry: An anthology of Puerto Rican words and
feelings. New York: Willi...
Urciuoli, B (1996). Exposing Prejudice: Puerto Rican Experiences of Language, Race,
and Class. Boulder, CO: Westview Press...
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LOSE THE ACCENT CHIQUITA! AUTOETHNOGRAPHY THROUGH VIDEO PERFORMANCE

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LOSE THE ACCENT CHIQUITA! AUTOETHNOGRAPHY THROUGH VIDEO PERFORMANCE

  1. 1. LOSE THE ACCENT CHIQUITA!: AUTOETHNOGRAPHY THROUGH VIDEO PERFORMANCE Introduction “Autoethnographic performance makes us acutely conscious of how we quot;I- witnessquot; our own reality constructions. Interpreting culture through the self-reflections and cultural refractions of identity is a defining feature of autoethnographic performance” (Spry, 2001, p. 706)). Lose the Accent Chiquita! uses the lens of lived experience to explore themes that illustrate the myriad of colonial influences on the persons that are colonized. The decision to explore the themes of internal racism, identity formation, exoticism, assimilation, and resistance to the dominant culture was ignited by my fascination with autoethnography and performance. As a result, the main goal of my thesis show was to illustrate through performance and video installation the autoethnographic vignettes of these themes, which are associated with the effects of colonialism. After all, without our experiences we would not be able to compare and explain our day-to-day existence. We would not be able to question a phenomenon, because we would not have the prior knowledge through participation necessary to draw upon these instances, that would then become experience. In other words, nothing comes from nothing. Storytellers would not exist if it were not for the stories that were weaved out of oral histories passed on from generation to generation. Thus, autoethnography allows one 1
  2. 2. to situate one’s own experience and to express its importance in relation to a particular culture, political, or social group; in this case, the Puerto Rican cultural experience in relation to the American culture. In my autoethnographical video performance, I attempted to embody an experience in order to rouse the understanding of a social, cultural, or political message to the audience. In using the personal as political through the medium of art, I wanted to convey first-hand experiences which can subsequently be used to incorporate sentiment and knowledge through a shared experience by the use of video art, narratives of personal experiences, voiceovers, and evocative images to construct a new experience about different realities, which are not those of the audience. It was an attempt to convey that the experiences shared with the audience are important, in order to explain why disregard and disrespect do not offer any worthwhile contribution in today’s society. Referring to a statement by Sara Wall in her article, An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography (2006), This is the philosophical open door into which autoethnography creeps. The questioning of the dominant scientific paradigm, the making of room for other ways of knowing, and the growing emphasis on the power of research to change the world create a space for the sharing of unique, subjective, and evocative stories of experience that contribute to our understanding of the social world and allow us to reflect on what could be different because of what we have learned. (p.3) 2
  3. 3. Lose the Accent Chiquita! was intended to recount experiences that reflect on instances of identity and assimilation, by juxtaposing personal narratives and showing their larger social and cultural correlation. Thus, autoethnography allows questioning and synthesizing of the elements that define identity and assimilation and continues the dialogue in order to ascertain a certain “truth” of how identity formation is shaped. I wanted to engage the audience, using my personal stories, in order to open the door to a dialogue of the important issues related to colonial influences and what those influences meant to my identity formation as a young woman growing up in the South Bronx in New York. For instance, in The Visit, I wanted to show the internal racism, expressed through my utterances as I confront the ghost of my mother. And in The Arrival, my goal was to convey the alienation my mother experienced when she was transposed to an unfamiliar and claustrophobic metropolis—New York City—where she had to learn a new and foreign language. Finally, in Chiquita, the daughter (played by myself) turns into a stereotypical spitfire, and gazes back defiantly at the audience to show her power and resistance to the colonial gaze. The performance intends to either evoke the empathy of the audience or to make it feel uncomfortable through the stories presented to them. Moreover, it intends to provoke an emotional response from the audience, such as when I read the letter to my daughter, in which I confessed to not being a perfect mother and feeling so insecure about becoming a mother again. I wanted to prove that it is more effective to connect to the pathos of my audience using performances rather than through personal narratives. I am a strong believer in appealing to the pathos of the spectator, and I try to provoke a reaction by creating emotional work: punctum versus studium. As Roland 3
  4. 4. Barthes wrote in his Camera Lucida (1980), “A photograph's punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).”(p.27) He experienced this when he found an old photograph of his mother as a child: There I was, alone in the apartment where she had died, looking at these pictures of my mother, one by one, under the lamp, gradually moving back in time with her, looking for the truth of the fact I had loved. And found it. (p. 67) In Roland Barthes’ case, it was a photograph that stirred an emotion. In my case, it was my painfully reconstructed memories that helped me to work through the effects of colonialism and reconcile those effects through performance and video art. At the same time, I hope that my own healing through art, will foster understanding and tolerance, and allow us to experience a new collective memory with a continuing dialogue, that will address the difficult issues which arise as a consequence of colonialization. Performance and video art offers an alternative means to get a message out and at the same time, to investigate why things happen. The use of the self-reflexive mode of inquiry enables us to explore and analyze the meaning of the experiences in an attempt to figure out the intricacies of identity and assimilation. 4
  5. 5. The Nuyorican Identity To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture. The Antilles Negro who wants to be white will be the whiter as he gains greater mastery of the cultural tool that language is. Rather more than a year ago in Lyon, I remember, in a lecture I had drawn a parallel between the Negro and European poetry, and a French acquaintance told me enthusiastically, 'At the bottom you are a white man.' The fact that I had been able to investigate so interesting a problem through the white man's language gave me honorary citizenship. (Fanon, p. 38) An attempt to reconcile with the past was the impetus for choosing to make Lose the Accent Chiquita! I didn’t think I had a problem in describing who I was or where I came from. After all, English was my first language now, and I had gradually shed my Puerto Rican roots. It was when I realized that I would have to answer questions related to race, ethnicity, belonging, and cultural differences to my grandchildren that I understood that I had to confront these issues for the first time in forty years. Without question, it was a subject I had avoided for most of my life. In questioning my “Puertoricanness,” the search to find the real history of Puerto Rico, the world’s last colony, became my goal. It was this exploration of the whys and hows of the colonization of Puerto Rico by the United States and its (oppressing) effects that guided me. Meanwhile, I began unpacking the enigma of who I was and started off in the inescapable pursuit for the real truth. The way to go in this search for truth I chose was through an autoethnographic exploration, using memory work, performance, and video installation. The blending of video, sound, and performance served to restructure and assemble events from the past, 5
  6. 6. and led to the knowledge which is needed to name and describe the themes that encompass colonialism and its consequences. I cannot think of a better way to get a message across than by splashing certain flashes of memories and feelings by means of a performance. By reliving the essence of past experiences as a colonized subject, and sharing it with members of the audience, performance provides a means to transmit the feelings of these moments. To continue my discussion of my thesis, I would first like to put into context how I became interested in this journey of self-discovery, the uncovering of the influences of colonialism, and renaming myself as a Nuyorican (a person that was either born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York, or born in New York of Puerto Rican parents). Why Nuyorican now? This renaming is not an issue of the past, I decided to call myself Nuyorican when I realized that my struggles to figure out who I was and where I came from was paramount to the discovery of myself and the need to share this with my children and their children. Renilda Roman Pacheco, my mother, was a strong-willed Puerto Rican of Spanish descent and she insisted that I continue to speak Spanish at home; while my father, a black Puerto Rican who served in the United States Army during WWII, wanted me assimilate into the American culture. He encouraged me to speak English and to rid myself of my Spanish accent. Looking through the boxes filled with family photographs, I could not help but notice that my appearance always seemed flawless. My mother dressed me in expensive (handmade) dresses and made me wear children’s jewelry. Obviously, my mother went to great lengths to make sure that I looked better than other children and behaved accordingly. Perhaps this had something to do with the fact that my 6
  7. 7. mother was of Spanish descent and my father was a black Puerto Rican. It may be that by dressing me up like a doll she hoped that I would be accepted more easily, not only by the whites in Puerto Rico, but also by the whites in the States. Even though Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, it really is just another colony subject to the (hidden) laws of domination and discrimination with origins begun long ago when Spain dominated Puerto Rico. For instance, my father could be drafted into the United States Army, only to be subsequently housed in segregated barracks, and was not allowed to vote for president of the United States. In fact, Puerto Ricans have been treated like second-class citizens and were (amongst others) subjected to a sterilization program, one of the plans to limit their proliferation. In Exposing Prejudice: Puerto Rican Experiences of Language, Race, and Class, Bonnie Urciuoli states: “Biological control was also encouraged. Citing Vásquez-Calzada's ( 1978) discovery that 35.5 percent of the women between the ages of 15 and 45 in Puerto Rico had been sterilized by 1968, López ( 1987) argues that such practices are part of a U.S. ideology of population control. Doctors treating women in Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican women in New York found sterilization an efficient way to deal with patients they considered too ignorant to practice effective birth control.” (p.45) The authority that the U.S. exerts over Puerto Rico goes way beyond the political. Racism never stopped after all these years since the abolition of slavery. My grandmother was an indirect victim of slavery through her relationship with her partner: she was black, thus my grandfather, who was white, would not marry her. Although she bore him nine 7
  8. 8. children, he never recognized a single one as his. Since I was exposed to this supremacist colonial attitude, I was constantly pushing my own identity and ethnicity within the “American” cultural realm. The formation of my identity went through stages. In the 50s, I wanted to be a Shirley Temple. In the 60s, I fluctuated between black and white. In the 70s, I was a single parent, in doubt on how to raise her multiracial child. During this period I spoke English only and deliberately tried to hide my accent. My mother was still alive and she was distraught and upset by my decision to forget my roots. It was not until I had my own grandchildren, all multiracial, that I began to question and investigate my lineage and ethnicity in order to be able to help my own children and their children to accept their value as individuals and build their self-esteem. The relationship between my parents and me was shaky at best. My memories of them were intricate and accentuated by a continuous push and pull as a result of their characters and diverging ideologies, that is, to assimilate with versus resist the hegemony of the predominantly white culture of the United States. As a result of the confusion of the situation, I developed a substantial inferiority complex similar to the internal depreciative view that the colonized and the like experienced. I should not forget to mention that it was not until I arrived in New York (at the age of two), that I noticed that I was suddenly different from the rest of the world. Later on, especially during my school years, I had this distinctive feeling that my predominantly white classmates and white teachers imposed this difference on me. The experience one undergoes as an outsider is eloquently expressed by Frantz Fanon (1952) when he describes his encounter with racism upon his arrival in Lyon: 8
  9. 9. Dirty nigger!' Or simply, 'Look, a Negro!' I came into the world imbued with the will to find a meaning in things, my spirit filled with the desire to attain to the source of the world, and then I found that I was an object in the midst of other objects. (p. 109) Throughout many societies, past and present, this feeling of being different resonates in the lives of immigrants. I have spent a lifetime dealing with this issue of identity and cultural differences, and I have struggled to find the answers and in fact, still do. It was not until I began my graduate work in interdisciplinary studies that I began to create work that mirrored my angst concerning this topic. In the past I tried in vain to create work that was not about Latinos. I did not want to be pigeonholed as to what I needed to create. What I had in mind was to create experimental work that excited and challenged me. So why could a Puerto Rican woman not create and write about the French New Wave, the surrealist movement, or just present narratives that talked about anything else but the Latino issue? How many times was I asked to look at Coco Fusco’s work or Lorna Simpson’s? And each and every time I would state that that was not what I had in mind at all. I grew up during the 60s, and in those days my preferences went basically and passionately to film noir, films in black and white, and foreign cinema. For the last 15 years, whenever I would do a photography assignment or a video project I preferred to express myself in black and white with a lot of detail for contrast and shadows. So what made me take this detour to my “Latino-ness?” I cannot pinpoint time and place, all I know is that when I took custody of my grandchildren and looked at their little brown faces, I realized that the moment had arrived to take the veil off the mirror 9
  10. 10. and take a long hard look at myself. Of course I was anxious of what I might discover and also a bit scared, but this time there would be no excuses. I could not cop out now, because if I refused to look in the mirror, I would continue to be the object of the white man’s gaze. It was time to turn the gaze back at them for a change. And so the journey began. At first I felt that the pieces of the puzzle formed a muddled mess and I was afraid that I would not be able to piece everything together. I kept running head-on into walls and became frustrated with my ideas and concepts. It was not working for me. One day, as I was showing my granddaughter the family album, she looked at this one photograph of my mother standing against the wall. My mother, who was white, looked sad in that photograph. My granddaughter looked at me and then looked back at the photograph. She then told me that she wanted to be white like my mother. I didn’t know what to say. How do I tell my granddaughter that she is beautiful, while the media bombard us with images of white, slim, and tall people as criteria for beauty? There was a silence and then I gave her a big hug. I told her she was beautiful. Was my hug strong enough to dispel the notion that being white was beautiful and superior? It took a long time to come to terms with my identity and in fact, I feel I still have many steps to go before I will accept who I am completely, if ever. Anyway, the sole reasons for my journey are my children, their children, and of course, myself. It was not until I realized that I had to take back the power from the white supremacist culture that I decided to redefine myself as a Nuyorican. White supremacy has been dominant in this country for ages and resistance has always been part of the marginalized people of the colonized part of the world even if it 10
  11. 11. was transparent. Resistance took many forms. For my mother, it was not learning the English language. For others, it was trying to speak English better than the average white person. One had to acquire knowledge in order to gain power and beat the dominant culture at its own game. It was this resistance that compelled me to get rid of the layer of passing for white that prevented the acceptance of my ethnic distinctiveness, the very same reason why so many Puerto Ricans joined the Young Lords, a Nuyorican movement during the turbulent sixties, where rebellion seemed to be the only answer to issues like civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and other social and political concerns. And although a Nuyorican is basically a citizen born in New York from Puerto Rican parents, I preferred to slap this name on myself. Why? Because I spent most of my young life in New York City, even though I was born in Puerto Rico, and I felt closer to the people from Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx. And, during the 60s, I responded to the call of the Nuyorican Poets and the Young Lords. It was then that I took back the power. I began to wear my hair in an Afro, wear army jackets, and wear “Che” T-shirts. I began to read Karl Marx and participated in “sit-ins” to protest against the discrimination that motivated not serving minorities at Woolworths in Binghamton, New York. As I grew older, I started to appreciate my bilingualism. I only wish I was more fluent. It’s interesting that even today, when I am in the company of a Spanish-speaking person, I do try to speak Spanish, but I find myself code switching, a term used when people would intermix their first language with their second language. When I am at a loss for words, I may make up a word or two that almost sounds like an English or Spanish word. 11
  12. 12. There’s a lot of baggage associated with the Nuyorican ideology, especially being defiant in a militant way. Puerto Ricans of my generation, particularly icons like Pedro Pietri, Miguel Pinero, Giannina Braschi, Miguel Alagrin, Piri Thomas, and Sandra Maria Esteves, expressed their distress with the way things were for the marginalized people of color. The plight of the Puerto Ricans living in New York during the 60s and 70s (and in fact, still goes on today) was expressed in poetry, plays, and songs. As briefly mentioned, the use of Spanglish was also used as a resistance to the imposed English of the dominant culture. The power to speak in English, sprinkled with words of Spanish origins did not sit well with the whites in New York or in other major cities in the United States. Even today, we are reminded that we are in the United States of America and should only speak English. What was interesting was that the Nuyorican movement was also an intellectual movement, which encouraged the people to become well read and articulate, in order to dispel the myth that Puerto Ricans were not educated and therefore elevated the feeling of self-worth. The Nuyorican movement also recognized the hybridity that existed within the cultural and racial makeup of the Nuyoricans. It celebrated the cultural make up of the Nuyorican, which consisted of Taino, Spanish, and African roots. Of course not every Puerto Rican living in the states agreed with this philosophy, including my father. My father still maintained that we should only recognize our Spanish roots, because embracing the Indian or African roots would not allow us to fully participate in the American Dream, as the Indians and Blacks were still seen as savages by many whites in this country. In Lose the Accent Chiquita!, I show this tension between the African 12
  13. 13. religion of Santeria, which my father and grandmother followed, and the Catholic religion, which my mother embraced. We have been conditioned by the media that white is good and black is evil, that white signifies beauty and black signifies ugly, and that there are the civilized and uncivilized. This all points to the categories of Manichean colonial discourse which Fanon (1952) further recounts in another one of his experiences in Black Skin, White Masks: A feeling of inferiority? No, a feeling of nonexistence. Sin is Negro as virtue is white. All those white men in a group, guns in hands, cannot be wrong. I am guilty. I do not know of what, but I know that I am no good. (p. 139. ) Psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark (1939-1940) conducted a study over fifty years ago, which asked black children which doll would they rather play with: a black or white doll. Their response was the white doll. This test has been done numerous times since then, and it still elicits the same response from black children. In fact, when I had brought a black doll to my granddaughter, I saw an uneasiness displayed. She played with the doll, but afterwards would put the black doll aside and continue to play with the white dolls. Social displacement is an overall theme that resonates throughout my thesis. Puerto Ricans who relocated to the United States during the 1950s in search of a better life experienced this feeling of not being able to fit into this new culture. In the monologue following The Visit, I reflect about the experiences uttered by both my mother and father. My mother felt a sense of alienation and lack of roots, while my father was 13
  14. 14. hopeful for the opportunities that the United States promised to offer us. Moving to the United States was a necessity for most Puerto Ricans because of the lack of employment opportunities back on the island. But the welcome mat was not visible for the newly arrived Puerto Ricans and what often resulted was a disillusionment of the “American Dream,” and a weakening of the self-esteem of a group of people. For Puerto Ricans, as well as other Latinos, race is not a clear-cut issue as evident when you fill out forms which ask to what race you belong. In most cases, the form has a choice for “Hispanic,” which does not signify a race, but rather a government label, because Puerto Ricans/Latinos are comprised of a mix of races. Many Puerto Ricans who fall into the Black category experience a higher incidence of racial discrimination than a white Puerto Rican. When my father, who served in World War II, arrived at his base, he was directed to the “Black” barracks because he had a dark complexion. The army, which went by visual markings, would order recruits to take off their shirt to see if they were white. If you had a dark complexion, you were considered black and you were enlisted in a Black regiment, whereas you were enlisted in a White regiment when you were considered Caucasian. There were several photographs of my father in uniform in our home and you could not help but notice that he was very proud to serve in the American Army, even if he was not allowed to break bread with the white soldiers. Puerto Ricans have been denoted as inferior ever since the United States acquired Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898 and saw it as their duty to colonize the natives. Senator Vardaman, from Mississippi, expressed the negative representation of Puerto Ricans as early as 1916 when he states, 14
  15. 15. So far as I am concerned, I really think it is a misfortune for the United States to take that class of people into the body politic. They will never, no not in a thousand years, understand the genius of our Government or share our ideals of government…I really had rather they would not become citizens of the United States. I think we have enough of that element in the body politic already to menace the nation with mongrelization. (cited in Rodriguez, 1997, p. 147-148) Throughout history and up to the present, the media have put the Puerto Ricans in a negative light, be it in newspapers, books, films, or television programs. In her own way, my mother tried to make sure that I became a representative of the positive side of the Puerto Ricans. She was overprotective of me in her own way and would not allow me to play outside with the other children and therefore, being an only child, I spent most of the time indoors, mainly in my own room, watching my favorite shows and films on TV and daydreaming my own make-believe existence in “white surroundings.” The flickering box became my muse and my imagination would take me away, far from the reality of the South Bronx. Nevertheless, I often witnessed from my bedroom window the drug deals, the fights, and the shootings. It was unavoidable, but unfortunately, the influence of the media had a profound and sometimes confusing effect on the formation of my identity. I began to wonder if Latinos ever were portrayed positively on the screen. Sally Fields, Patty Duke, and Annette Funicello became my role models. In fact, I remember seeing a photograph of Annette and saying to myself that she looked more Puerto Rican than Italian. I guess it was just wishful thinking, because I wanted so much to see someone who looked like me 15
  16. 16. on the screen. No wonder that some Puerto Ricans, including me, wanted to assimilate and shed their identity, however, notwithstanding that my father wanted me to assimilate into mainstream America, it proved to be too difficult because of my mulatto features. When I was younger, I tried everything I could to look and become a “whitey,” but as I grew older and experienced the resistance to get accepted by “White America,” I began to identify more and more with the “Other” and began to relate to the non-white ideology and to be who I was and accept it. I got interested in the poetry of the “Nuyorican Poets Café,” which explored the social and political experiences of the Puerto Ricans in New York since their migration. Miguel Algarin (1975) wrote in his introduction of the Nuyorican Poetry: The experience of Puerto Ricans on the streets of New York has caused a new language to grow: Nuyorican…The Nuyorican is a slave class that trades hours for dollars at the lowest rung of the earning scale. The poems in this anthology document the conditions of survival. (p 15. ) In order to survive in such settings, one had either to change masks and assimilate, or to continue the battle to hold on to one’s identity. The Puerto Rican Esmeralda Santiago, who wrote When I Was A Puerto Rican and When I was A Woman, (Santiago, 1993) touched on these themes in her books when she says, quot;I don't belong here. I don't belong there. I don't belong anywhere.quot; (Masterpiece Theatre, n.d.). Santiago echoes the pleas of a people who tried so hard to find their place in their new surroundings: the United States of America. 16
  17. 17. All her life, my mother daydreamed of the day when she would return to Puerto Rico, she never got to visit Puerto Rico again. She passed away in Brooklyn, New York in 1987. In The Arrival, I tried to show through performance and video projection the longing of my mother for the tranquility and peacefulness of Puerto Rico and her uneasiness with noisy, boisterous, and violent New York City. In reading Down These Mean Streets, by Piri Thomas (1967), I realized that this nostalgia for home prevailed with many Puerto Rican families who had moved to New York in order to find a better life and found nothing but sorrow and hatred instead. It would always sadden me when I overheard people say “go back to where you came from if you don’t like it here” and realized that these people did not understand that the United States had in fact acquired Puerto Rico as a colony. And even though we became citizens in 1917, we were never fully allowed to participate in the governing process. In time of war, we were always there to fight for the United States and hoped that we would be accepted and respected once the war would be over. We drank hot cocoa and talked about summertime. Momma talked about Puerto Rico and how great it was, and how she’d like to go back one day, and how it was warm all the time there and no matter how poor you were over there, you could always live on green bananas, bacalao, and rice and beans. ‘Dios mio,’ she said, ‘I don’t think I’ll ever see my island again.’ (Thomas, 1952, p. 9) In his Memoirs of Bernardo Vega, Vega tells of all those moments when the discrimination towards Puerto Ricans prevailed in the new urban cities, especially in New York. Because of this, many Puerto Ricans who could lawfully label themselves as 17
  18. 18. Spaniards would avoid doing so in order to steer clear of racial discrimination. Vega states, The other papers continued to stir up ill-feelings toward everything foreign, and were especially virulent in their treatment of Puerto Ricans. Which is why some Puerto Ricans, the better-off ones in particular, would try to pass for “Spaniards” so as to minimize the prejudice against the. There were even those who went so far as to remain silent in public… They made sure never to read Spanish newspapers in the subway or to teach Spanish to their children…That’s right, that’s what they did, I know it for a fact. (Vega, 1977, P. 97) Some said that my father, a black Puerto Rican, married my mother, a white Puerto Rican, in order to “whiten” future generations. This became clear to me when I was dating an African American and my parents showed their opposition to this relationship and wanted me to marry someone lighter. I was rebellious and so I married an African American and bore children that were of color. 18
  19. 19. Context & Influences The work of Coco Fusco with Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Pepon Osario has been an inspiration and an influence to my work. Fusco and Gomez-Pena’s performance piece, Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit…(1991-1992), (Fusco, 1995) is significant to my work, because it reinforced the notion that the colonial mentality has not been erased. In my work, I also touch upon how colonialism is still brewing beneath the surface, especially as it pertains to the people that migrated from Puerto Rico to the United States. For me, it is not enough anymore to make art for the sake of art, but the work has to transcend the aesthetic value into a realm of proactivity, especially when it comes to making change, meaningful change. Throughout Frantz Fanon’s book, Black Skin,White Masks (1952), he talks about the psychological effects of colonialism and has influenced me in regards to the troubling effects of colonialism within my work. This feeling of a lack of self worth, low self-esteem, and low self-image is a symptom of people’s inability to assimilate and integrate into the dominant White culture in which racism is still prevalent. For many years, I was made to feel inferior in school, at home, and sometimes with friends. As a result, when I became involved in an abusive relationship, I felt that I deserved this situation. I continued to live in a situation where there was constant put downs of my intelligence and even on how I looked. Like most addictive illnesses, I had to hit bottom in order to see the light. Thankfully, I did hit bottom and turned my back on the abuse and moved forward with my life. If he is overwhelmed to such a degree by the wish to be white, it is because he lives in a society that makes his inferiority complex possible, in a society that derives its stability from the perpetuation of this complex, in a society 19
  20. 20. that proclaims the superiority of one race; to the identical degree to which that society creates difficulties for him, he will find himself thrust into a neurotic situation. (Fanon, 1952, p.100) Colonialism equates with power and resistance. The power to dominate people was the case when the United States acquired Puerto Rico from the Spaniards. The United States felt it was their duty to come into Puerto Rico and “civilize” the people and make them feel dependent on the United States. They did this by making the natives feel less intelligent, less able to take care of themselves, and of course, encouraged an internalized racism in which they felt the need to self-deprecate themselves because they did not live up to the “American” ideals. All those who have been colonized share the same psychological effects to colonial domination as stated time and time again in Fanon’s book “Black Skin, White Masks” (Fanon, 1952). I decided that I needed to create a body of work that would address the themes associated with the effects of colonialism. After all, if I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, how could I convince my granddaughter that her color didn’t matter? The title, Lose the Accent Chiquita! actually began about three years ago for an assignment I was doing for one of my classes. At the time it was called, “Lose the Accent,” and it consisted of images from my family album and voiceover to explain how through the years I perfected my “white accent” in order to assimilate and pass. The project was put on hold as I wanted to work with non-Latino issues. During this time away from the project, I began to look closely at performance artists, since I wanted to do more than just project images with voiceovers. The idea of mixing the elements of performance, video 20
  21. 21. projection, and voiceovers intrigued me, so I began to look at work created for the purpose of promoting awareness of social and political issues. Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Pena’s in their 1992-1993 performance, Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit (Fusco, 1995), was an experiment showing how throughout history, non-whites were exhibited by the colonial powers. They called it “reverse anthropology,” where they used themselves as the object of study. They would record the responses from the audience and analyze their findings. What they were hoping for was just a representation of historical events of a fictional colonized subject. What they did not expect was the reactions they received from the audience, which showed how the psychological and emotional response of colonialism still persists today. Like Fusco, I believe that it is through the media, as well as in institutions like schools, churches, and even the government, that the ugly hand of colonialism continues to survive. Fusco (1995) states, …the stereotypes about nonwhite people that were continuously reinforced by the ethnographic displays are still alive in high culture and the mass media..embedded in the unconscious, these images from the basis of the fears, desires and fantasies about the cultural other. (p. 48) Upon seeing the photograph of Fusco and Gomez-Pena in a cage, I could only imagine the humiliation they felt. While in the cage, they were curiously examined by the audience, who even went so far as touching Gomez-Pena’s genitals for a price of five 21
  22. 22. dollars. Whenever Fusco or Gomez-Pena needed to go to the bathroom, they were led on a leash by those they referred to as their “zoo guards.” Interestingly enough, the audience did not question this treatment. They actually believed that these people in the case were savages from the wild: Gomez-Pena found the experience of being continually objectified more difficult to tolerate than I did. By the end of our first three days in Madrid, we began to realize not only that people’s assumptions about us were based upon gender stereotypes, but that my experiences as a woman had prepared me to shield myself psychologically from the violence of public objectification. (Fusco, 1995, p. 57) Coco Fusco believed that the display of colonized subjects was the beginning of intercultural performance during the 18th and 19th centuries, whereby the subjects were asked to play out their lives and display their bodies in a controlled environment for all the colonials to observe. It was this observance of differences in language, rituals, socialization, and so forth, which perpetuated their belief that they were superior to their colonized subjects. In Lose the Accent Chiquita!, I wanted to create a body of work in which I could continue the debate of the effects of colonialism, in particular, the colonial gaze, displacement, and assimilation. Even though my work did not portray my character as a direct representation of a Taino, Spanish, or African person, as in the case with Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit (Fusco, 1995), I did show the embodiment of an individual whose life was impacted by colonization. In Fusco and Gomez-Pena’s enactment, the characters were displaced from their fictional homeland and, in my case, I 22
  23. 23. was showing the displacement and its effects on my mother. Displacement and its ramifications are prevalent in works of many artists of color. In the works of Pepon Osorio, he creates pieces that reflect and celebrate the Latino working-class. In Art 21, Osorio states, “And so I think of ways of connecting, and how my work can connect to those experiences, but also to the idea of displacement, and the idea of how you move from one place to another.”, which is how many immigrants came to feel when they came to the border cities of the United States or, as in my case, from Puerto Rico to New York City. I was inspired by Pepon’s installation piece, Badge of Honor, where he constructed a jail and a bedroom and projected a father and son talking to each other from opposite sides of the gallery space. By recognizing the importance of these art pieces that deal with the “other’s” experiences, the audience can learn to understand the “others,” as well as their important contributions to the art world and society. I was particularly intrigued by this piece of work, because it comes close to what I am trying to do with my work. It portrayed the healing of the father and son through a difficult time in their own lives. The only difference is that both of them were able to communicate with each other because they were still present in the world, as opposed to my mother and I, who had to relate to each other through a reconstruction of our troubled past through video and performance, because she was now dead. Re-creating events and putting them together in a cohesive work was what excited me about Marlon Riggs’ work, in particular Tongues Untied. He was trained in doing documentary work, but he wanted to include the lived experiences of an African American man dealing with AIDS, in the form of performances, monologues, poetry, and even musical presentations, which resulted in an amazing creative expression. He was 23
  24. 24. one of the first artists to inject himself in the film, as well as to perform with an ensemble of African American males, touching upon the themes of alienation, sexuality, support for one another, and of course, identity issues. In other words, he created an autoethnographic video, in which he does situate himself in connection with what was going on in the social and cultural world at the time. The artists inhabit their videos as subjects who articulate their cultural location through their own subcultural performances as others: poetic teen angst monologues in the case of Benning, and from Riggs, vibrant snap diva virtuosity that includes, but is not limited to, dance, music and monologues. (Munoz, p. 89) 24
  25. 25. Thesis Design and Description The performance takes place in the Southern Illinois University Museum in the South corner. Four shows are given in a period of two days. The only props in the performance space are a large table, three chairs, vanity mirror, cup and saucer, and a thermos. There is a box under the table, which houses other props such as a wig, makeup, shawl, a book with the Nuyorican Anthem inside. There are two speakers on opposite walls. The speakers are covered with lace tablecloths and statues of saints and candles are placed on top of the speakers. The statues and candles represent the ones that occupied my grandmother’s altar in her bedroom. The projector sits on a stand in the middle of the room. A technical person, Pablo Tobon, maintained the projector during the duration of the show. The reason for having the projector in the middle of the room was to project the video on the entire wall. This was especially important to project the character of Chiquita, which was going to take up the whole wall in order to be overwhelming and uncomfortable to the audience. The larger than life Chiquita exaggerates the spitfire persona, directing her gaze to the audience, taunting and arrogant with her words and actions. In other words, the colonized is exuding power over the audience in the form of the “gaze.” She is taking the power away from those who are gazing at her, as well as toying with the psychological push and pull of power, as Schroeder (2002) remarks: “To gaze implies more than to look at - it signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze” (p. 58). However, Chiquita is doing more than exuding power, she is setting up a relationship between both parties, in order 25
  26. 26. to make the viewer accountable for treating the Latina unfairly as a hot blooded sex maniac, or, in other words, as an object. Chiquita is also made up as a clownish figure, which lends itself to a duality of identities. Clowns have always been depicted as happy-go-lucky characters, but with a bit of tragedy embedded in them. In my photography work and now in my video work, I utilize the clown, because in many ways I am using it as a mask to hide my own identity. Since there is a history of self-hatred, I thought it would be a good idea to hide behind the mask in order to make it easier for the shy Bennie (me) to come out. Cindy Sherman’s series about clowns echoes some of my thoughts on the use of clowns: I still wanted the work to be the same kind of mixture - intense, with a nasty side or an ugly side, but also with a real pathos about the characters - and [clowns] have an underlying sense of sadness while they're trying to cheer people up. Clowns are sad, but they're also psychotically, hysterically happy. (Tate Magazine, 2008) The characters in the script were meant to interact with the screen as if the action of the story was taking place in real time, with a “live” actor talking to the images that are projected on the screen. Using this technique made the performances uncanny and surreal. In future performances, I would utilize the projector from the back of the room, so as not to interfere with the actions of the actor. The decision to have the performances in the museum was intended to create a carnivalesque atmosphere, as was the practice of the colonials when they would exhibit non-white indigenous people in order to display their conquests. Carnivalesque, according to philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin, is a term used to describe the notion that rules 26
  27. 27. and beliefs can be temporarily liberating from the rigid and constrained social order of the village or city (Wikipedia, Bakhtin) . In other words, anything goes in the carnivals, just as in the carnivals of Rio. It was my hope that my thesis show would result in a carnivalesque experience within the confines of an institutional setting, such as the museum. In future performances, the carnivalesque experience would become more pronounced. The performance begins with a persona dressed in top hat, cane, and white gloves. Her face is painted white. My decision to make the narrator/ringmaster a payaso— Spanish for clown—was based on what clowns stood for throughout history, in literature and film. In an essay by Meredith Anne Skura, Shakespeare’s Clowns and Fool, she quotes Susanne Langer: “Tumbling and stumbling through one disaster and another, the clown shows a brainy opportunism in the face of an essentially dreadful universe.” (Skura, 1993) As the show opens, the payaso invites the people to gather and witness the performance. She converses with the audience as they enter, as well as makes comments that relate to the show itself: “Step right in, step right in…come see the exotic ladies of the Latin persuasion.” The statement is a prelude to the first vignette regarding spitfires and the notions of desire and fear. It is the character of Chiquita who lures the audience with desire—a desire that makes a person open one eye when something is seductive and lurid at the same time, in much the same way as when Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Pena performed their cage show. People were curious, but at the same time, they felt uneasy because of the mirror that was figuratively placed in front of them to see the make-believe indigenous people being exhibited in much the same way as when 27
  28. 28. indigenous people were displayed in Europe or early America for the sake of entertainment. During the course of the Spitfire segment, the narrator, still in white face, speaks to the viewer and gives commentary to the Latinas being paraded on screen. It is a dialogue of the stereotyping that has plagued Latina women, as well as other people of color, in the Western culture: In particular his role was to mediate between the play and the audience, whether to gather the crowds and collect money as clowns had done for road shows, or to provide between-act diversions which appealed more directly than the play did to the crowd already gathered. Often he commented on or parodied the action, just the way a spectator might; or he made reference to himself as actor.” (Skura, 1993) At the close of the commentary, the narrator introduces Chiquita, then the narrator sits at the table, with her back facing the audience. As Chiquita gives her comments on what it feels like to be marginalized as a spitfire, the narrator is removing her white face makeup. Chiquita taunts the audience with seductive facial expressions as well as language, in order to incite the audience’s desires and fears. As Chiquita asks the audience, “Do you want to see what the real Chiquita looks like?,” the narrator stands and faces the audience. It is a stance of defiance and power. (In the video, I utilize a split screen to show the faces in this scene up close and personal.) Chiquita fades, and the narrator walks to the other side of the table, sits and as she is putting on regular makeup, 28
  29. 29. she is singing a Spanish love song, Historia de un Amor (The Story of a Love). The song is the theme song of the narrator as well as the character’s mother. The vignette The Visit now takes place. As the character is singing and humming the song, the screen behind the character is transforming into a kitchen, and in the background you could also hear a woman’s voice singing the same song. Slowly a woman appears as she continues to sing the song and is flipping through a magazine and occasionally sips from a cup. The character soon recognizes the voice and begins to turn around slowly. She is startled to see that it is the ghost of her mother. After the singing ceases, a conversation begins between daughter (narrator) and mother. The conversation touches upon the cultural differences, alienation, assimilation, and racism, all of which are a result of the effects of colonialism. At the conclusion of the conversation, the mother begins to disappear and the daughter stands up, faces the screen, and then touches the screen as if saying a final goodbye. The background remains as the kitchen while the daughter turns and walks towards the audience, at which time she begins a monologue reflecting on what just happened, as well as injecting commentary on the issues regarding colonial effects that were touched upon. In concluding the monologue she asks the question, “What was she thinking when she realized that she was leaving her family and friends and heading to Nueva Yol?” It is at this point the narrator/daughter walks back to the table and puts on a wig and puts a red shawl around her shoulders. The significance of the two items is important because the wig is straight which reflects the mother’s whiteness and also signifies that the daughter is acting as her mother now. The red shawl first of all signifies a wrap that is also used as a head covering in church, and it is red because of the implication of 29
  30. 30. “spitfire” to denote the Latina stereotype. It is then we are transported to The Arrival vignette of the performance. In this scene, the mother is reminiscing about the paradise she is leaving in Puerto Rico. The song, En Mi Viejo San Juan (In My Old San Juan), is sung in the background. The song is important here because the words of the song signify leaving a homeland and going to a new place—New York. As she continues to sing along and dance in front of the video screen with scenes of Puerto Rico—palm trees, ocean, and tranquility—we see in her face this longing and sadness at the same time. The future is uncertain and the mother is fearful of what lies in store. The scene on the screen fades into what seems like a plane moving away from the island and then quickly, the video changes into a busy and bustling city scene. The soundtrack is a cacophony of droning music, loudness, and city sounds. The mother is seen as frantic, unnerved, and helpless. She walks around in the space as if the walls are closing in on her. At times, you hear voices, “go back where you came from….you dirty spic!,” all of which makes the woman more nervous and uneasy. At one point she begs the audience to help her. She asks for reassurance by asking if someone speaks Spanish. She speaks only in Spanish. The reason for this is to prompt the audience to feel what it would be like to not be able to understand another language besides English, the dominant language of the United States, and also to experience the alienation that the mother is feeling. As the scene begins to die down, the woman’s posture slumps as if to say she gives up. She then slowly returns to the table, and as she returns to the table she slowly pulls off her wig to signify that the mother is reverting back to the daughter. At this time, the video continues to show city life and the woman grabs a book and reads the poem of Pedro Pietre, Nuyorican Poet, The Spanish National Anthem, a parody of the 30
  31. 31. song played at the beginning of the scene, En Mi Viejo San Juan. In this version, Pedro talks about how the American Dream eluded the Puerto Rican immigrants who wanted to experience opportunities away from the Puerto Rican poverty that prevailed on the island. The Arrival was the name of this scene, and it is significant here in that when you think of arriving, most often you think of adventure, optimism, and hope for a better life. When the daughter ends her recitation of the poem, the video fades to black and she walks to the edge of the table, takes out a letter and begins to read a letter to her daughter. The letter addresses the themes of colonialism as in the earlier vignettes, but it also addresses the next generation of immigrants and how one copes with the trials of being a Latina woman, of being mulatta, of being black, and of how to address the future to make it a better place for the coming generations. At the conclusion of this scene, the daughter talks about how religion played a big part in their lives, especially since her father and grandmother—both black Puerto Ricans—had to adjust to the dominant Christian religion. Her mother, who was white, embraced the Catholic Church as the acceptable form of worship. She did not accept the fact that both her husband and her mother-in-law believed in the Yoruba religion of the African slave. After all, embracing Santeria would cast them as uncivilized, according to the colonial rule. The daughter then returns to the table, places the red shawl on her head, and walks towards the chair, which was placed in front of the screen and in front of the audience. The scene, Pray, is a confessional scene, in which the daughter confesses her sins for absolution and healing. But there is another end result of this ritual, and that is the overwhelming struggle and tension between the Christian religion of the colonizer and the African religion of the colonized. This is manifested in the video and by the 31
  32. 32. soundtrack which is playing in the background, which is a combination of Christian chants juxtaposed with African drums and chants. As the scene progresses and the daughter is reciting her penance, the image of the back of a woman is seen while she is flagellates herself with a whip. This is a visual metaphor for “beating herself up” for the sins she has committed. The sins do not only relate to moral and religious offenses, but also to the sins of negotiating between the colonizer versus the colonized idea of sins. As the drums begin to get louder, the daughter goes into a trance state. There are moments where she vacillates between the two religions, by interjecting the prayers of each faith. The scene rises to a crescendo and the daughter sits back down on the chair in exhaustion. There is no indication of which faith the daughter chooses, because there is no answer. The answer would be up to interpretation by the audience. When this scene concludes, the daughter goes back to the table, grabs her top hat, and walks towards the audience. At this time she addresses the audience and briefly talks about the effects of colonialism, as it relates to immigration. This particular scene was a bit shaky for me. How do I sum up all that has happened in the previous scenes? How do I sum up my life? Because I had a difficult time with it, it was short. Perhaps it is because I still had problems in making sense of it all and coming to grips with my identity. I used some suggestions from Antonio Martinez, Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Cinema and Photography Department, but due to time constraints, I did not manage to carry it through. I did want to do justice to the piece with his suggestions, but my memory was failing me as I have a difficult time in memorization. In the final video, I decided to use two people to stand in for the White and the Latino, and I would remain 32
  33. 33. as the narrator. The scene was shot in the performance room of the speech communications department because of the lighting already there. I think the lighting added to the atmosphere. 33
  34. 34. Conclusion/Observations Lose the Accent Chiquita! was a healing process for me. I had to confront the demons that had been close by my side for most of my life. When I finally decided to do this project, I was not sure that I could open my Pandora’s Box. I refused to talk about the baggage that I was carrying. In fact I did not even recognize the symptoms of colonialism. But I knew the time had come to chase the demons away and open the box so that I could handle the issues that could arise as a result of my adopting my multiracial grandchildren. The project came together slowly. I hesitated at times to face the truth, but I could not wait any longer. Time was running out. Having done my show I can’t say I am completely healed…no one ever does, do they? I still feel the insecurities, self- hatred and yes, sometimes paranoia because in my past, things happened that made me apprehensive about my abilities, both physically and intellectually. In looking back, the project has made a lasting impression, so much so that I do want to continue this research when I continue my studies in Amsterdam. The project will continue to evolve as I evolve and as I get older and confront whatever happens to my grandchildren. Soon I will be making a journey, much like the journey my mother made 55 years ago. I will be living in a country where the language is foreign to me. Where the culture is still illusive and still out of reach to what I am accustomed to. I did experience that a few years ago, when I went to the wedding of my husband’s niece and they sat my husband and me with all Dutch people. Although my husband was happy to be talking in Dutch, all I could hear was garbled sounds. It was like being in a movie where the camera is on the protagonist and the people are revolving around her with lips moving, sounds 34
  35. 35. coming out of their mouths, and I was the frightened woman who could not speak the language. At times, there would be someone at the table who would talk to me in English, but then revert to Dutch. At one point, I was in tears because I felt like I was totally lost in a crowd of chatter that I could not understand. It must have been the same feeling my mother felt when she arrived in the United States. That August day, I finally felt what my mother had felt for so many years. So, I will journey to the Netherlands, but I will be mentally prepared to handle what I need to handle. It won’t be easy and who knows if I, too, will resist learning the language. My grandkids are young and I guess they may feel what I felt as a young girl growing up in the Bronx. They will probably learn the language quickly, but what is still unknown to me, is whether or not they will feel differently because of the color of their skin. Chiquita was important to me and will continue to be important as I move through this life of “difference” and “tolerance.” It would be nice if, during my remaining years, I could feel secure with myself and where I came from. Two Identities, one self Choices? Make them! Surviving…through another day. Does anybody really care? Of course…. I’ll always be a Nuyorican? Now and always. Punto! (Beretta, 2007) 35
  36. 36. Bibliography Algarin, M. (Ed.). (1975). Nuyorican poetry: An anthology of Puerto Rican words and feelings. New York: William Morrow & Co. Barthes, R. (1980). Camera lucida: Reflections on photography. New York: Hill and Wang. Berne, B. (2008, June 30). Studio: Cindy Sherman. Tate Magazine, 5. Retrieved June, 2008 http://www.tate.org.uk/magazine/issue5/sherman.htm Fanon, F. (1952). Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove Press. Fusco, C. (1995). English is broken here. New York: The New Press. Iglesias, C. A. (Ed.). (1977). Memoirs of Bernardo Vega. New York: Monthly Review Press. Masterpiece Theatre (PBS). (n.d.). Almost a woman: Esmeralda Santiago. Retrieved November 01, 2006, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/americancollection/woman/ntof_acting.html#scrip t Muñoz, J. (1995). The autoethnographic performance: Reading Richard Fung's queer hybridity. Screen, 36,. (p. 83) Osorio, Pepon. Home Visits. Art 21. (online) 03 March 2006 http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/osorio/clip2.html Pietre, Pedro. The Spanish National Anthem. (online) 01 April 2007 http://www.elpuertoricanembassy.org/anthem.html Rodriguez, C. E. (1997). Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. media. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Schroeder, J. E. (2005). Visual consumption. New York: Routledge. Skura, M. (2005). Shakespeare's Clowns and Fools: Critical Essay. Retrieved September 7, 2008, from http://www.bookrags.com/criticism/shakespeares-clowns-and-fools_5/. Spry, T. (2001). Performing autoethnograpy: An embodied methodological praxis. Qualitative Inquiry, 7(p. 706-732), Thomas, P. (1952). Down these mean streets. New York: Vintage Press. 36
  37. 37. Urciuoli, B (1996). Exposing Prejudice: Puerto Rican Experiences of Language, Race, and Class. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Wall, S. (2006). An autoethnography on learning about autoethnography. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5. Retrieved October 30, 2006, from http://www.ualberta.ca/~ijqm/english/engframeset Wikipedia. (n.d.). Kenneth Clark. Retrieved July, 2008 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Clark Wikipedia. (n.d.) Mikhail Bakhtin. Retrieved June, 2008 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Bakhtin 37

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