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Sunday, September 2, 2012

It Don't Pay To Be A Xicano With Cock N' Balls Now-A-Days

At this year's NACCs conference I recall an incident that shed some light on how precarious the situation is between Xicanos and Xicanas. It made me feel that you can't really be a Xicano with good intentions any longer, because, well to be blunt because you have a penis and testicles. On the final night of the conference a few friends and myself ended up at a local bar with a few Xicanas, just enjoying some drinks and socializing. One of the women, I guess was there on her own, and was very inebriated. At one point we all decided to head back to one of the hotel rooms to keep drinking there since the bar was closing. Since the one Latina wasn't friends with the other women, we were unsure what she wanted to do. She was incoherent, and we were trying to figure out which hotel she was staying at or if she lived in the city in order to get her a cab and send her home. We brought her along to our hotel, because she was mumbling and couldn't tell us any information to assist her. Me and another friend left the group to go get some beer, and to use the restroom.

Upon returning to meet up with the rest of the group I noticed the drunken woman on her own, stumbling in the lobby. I approached her, and asked if she stayed in our hotel? She mumbled something about the 13th floor, so I walked her to the elevator and took her to her floor. She managed to call her mother. I asked if I could speak to her mother. She handed it to me, and I tried to talk to the person on the other end but they had hung up. I tried to figure out what her room number was, so I could try walking her there, and I remember her muttering, "Why are you helping me?" And my response was "Because I know what it's like to be that drunk, and not have anyone to help you." I tried to dial her mother's number again from the "recent calls" list on her phone, and while I was doing that an older woman approached us, her mother.

She asked, "What's going on here? That's my daughter."
I said, "Okay good, she just had a little too much to drink. I was trying to help her back to her room."
Mother: "It's okay I got her."
Me: "You sure? You don't need any help?"
Mother half smiled, but sternly says: "No it's fine, thank you."
Me: "Okay good, have a good night."

During that conversation, her mother had the "'Help her out,' si, como no cabron," look on her face.

The mother and daughter walked off to their room, and I went to meet my friends. Upon arriving I told them that I'd ran into the other lady, and tried to help her to her room. I asked what had occurred, at which point the other women that were with us said that they tried to help her out, even reaching into her purse to try to get an ID or her cell phone to try to get her where she needed to go, but that the drunken woman was too strong, and snatched her purse away and walked off, at which point the group just went to the room. The women said they were worried about her, but I jokingly said, "no you weren't, you just wanted to get up here to party." I could tell the women didn't like that comment, and the situation got a bit uncomfortable. A friend of mine, who tends to enjoy playing devil's advocate and jumps from one side to another, basically took their side, and said he wasn't about to help the drunken woman, because the last thing he wanted was to give the Chicana Feminist Caucus reason to come after him and ban him from the conference in the future. It just looked bad being a "big" Xicano trying to help a smaller drunken woman to her room. I couldn't disagree with him, there was truth in what he had said. None of us got into a debate about it, other than those comments.

After the conference though, as I'm doing here now, I couldn't help but reflect on the incident, and on Xicano and Xicana relations. I could tell through my interaction with the mother, that she was suspicious of me, and rightfully so, I was with her drunken daughter, and I am also a man, who knows what my intentions "truly" were. And as a mother, you will be protective of your children regardless of their age. However, I also know that the mother's reaction would have been the reaction of just about any woman, Xicana or otherwise. I also think about what some feminists would maybe analyze as a typical situation, where a man feels he needs to be the knight in shining armor and rescue the drunken damsel in distress. As a man should I selfishly allow a drunken woman to stumble around incoherently in a hotel or street, just so that the Chicana Feminist Caucus or any other women aren't suspicious of me and my intentions? Apparently that might be for the best, in order to keep myself safe from any future attacks on my character.

Similarly I remember an incident a year prior, where I went to my alma mater for graduation weekend, and while a friend and myself walked down the street among the crowds, there was an extremely drunken Anglo woman, sitting on the street while leaning against a lamp post. I wanted to help her out, by looking for a cop nearby or call 911, but my friend advised against it since we were Mexican and she was white. The fear was the white crowd's reaction, to 2 "big" Xicanos helping a drunken white girl, and what the crowd would think might be our "true" intentions. I looked at my friend, and as we walked away, a young white man went over to the girl and looked over at us an said "why aren't you guys helping her?"

We moved on, but it is possible that this incident subconsciously made me go out of my way to help the drunken Latina woman at the conference, because I didn't just want to walk away, again. But I can also relate to being so drunk that I've blacked out, no friends, not knowing how I got somewhere. The worst is stopping to think, that during your black out you could have been assaulted (incidents such as this have occurred at my alma mater while I took classes there), run over, possibly even killed, if you're lucky you end up in the drunk tank, where it's safe. I understand, I wasn't suspect so much because I was a "big" Xicano, but more so because I was a man, but after attending the conference for Chicano and Chicana Scholars, I can't help but feel, that as a Xicano I am going to always be suspect, understandably in no small part due to the history and culture of gender politics in academia, but also in the Chicano Movement itself.

I'm sure that there might be women who read this post and feel, this is just one side of the story, and it's bias. And they are right, it's my side of the story, who is to say that my intentions were truly virtuous? And I have to applaud that type of critical thinking, because I know, if I were in a similar situation, I would have my doubts as well, and I'd still think about this deeply. To this day, the mother probably doesn't believe that I only was trying to help her daughter to her room. Maybe I should be admonished as a man, for placing myself in that situation. But isn't it just as sad, and isn't it worth also taking into consideration, that there were other Chicanas present who could have stayed with that woman until they got her back to her room safely, but instead chose to let her roam around, while they went off with us "big" Xicanos? 

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