This week on the show, native hearts and pleasure. We go in-depth with two feminist authors and a feminist bookstore. First to Barnard College for a talk with Chicana activist and author Cherríe Moraga about her first book release in eight years. Then, a unique kind of activism from adrienne maree brown, whose latest bestselling book is an examination of activist pleasure. All that and a landmark feminist bookstore turns 20 years old.
“The amazing efficacy of patriarchy is that it is a covert operation… It is so seamlessly woven into the fiber of our lives, that to pull at that dangling thread of inequity is to rip open an entire life.” – Cherríe Moraga in Native Country of the Heart
“We had been raised to fear the yes within ourselves. Our deepest cravings. But once recognized those which do not enhance our future, lose their power and can be altered.” – adrienne maree brown in Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good
- Cherríe Moraga, Memoirist, Native Country of the Heart
- adrienne maree brown, Author, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good
- Madeleine Durante, Fundraising Director, Bluestockings Bookstore
- Joan Dark, Events Coordinator, Bluestockings Bookstore
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Laura Flanders: You have a great line in the book where you say, you wonder whether your mother was demented or just Mexican in the world.
Cherrie Moraga: I think that’s a large question about just the response to the monoculturalism with the United States. I mean, if you’re raised in a culture that is not the mainstream culture, you’re raised with a set of values, you’re raised to ways of looking at what’s important in the world, why you wake up every morning. You think about the values of the general notion of what we’re supposed to want as Americans, which is competition, which is always looking to the future, never look back. Build, build, build, construct, make more, do that.
So when you’re raised in a culture that counters that, sort of on a daily basis, which is that you also belong to a people. And not that there isn’t something to critique and all of those things, which is certainly as a young lesbian, I had to do that. It’s almost like it is that double consciousness that we’ve talked about for so long. And you realize, particularly when I saw that my mother returned since… Short term memory goes first, longterm memory lasts. She began to speak completely in Spanish in her last years because that’s her original language. And also those ways of being, history, old resentments, old clarities. And that’s why in the book when she said in that one line, “Yes, I’m Indian too.” It’s like, this is forbidden almost among many Mexicans in terms of denial of their indigenous heritage.
So that’s what I mean by, “Is that dementia or is that illumination?” And I always hope that people, because so many families are dealing with this in their own lives, is to really listen to what some people think is crazy.