Vandalism at Galería de la Raza

Phillip Standin... - Posted on 15 December 2015

Jose H. Villarreal, Plantation Prison Correspondent

Editors Note: Mr. Jose Villarreal is one of several power-FUL PNNPlantation prison correspondents. As currently and formerly incarcerated poor and indigenous peoples in struggle and resistance with all plantation systems in Amerikkka, POOR Magazine stands in solidarity with all folks on the other side of the razor wire plantation.

I was watching the Bay Area news, because we get it up here in Pelican Bay SHU, and I saw a short mention of the mural depicting Queer people that was on the Galeria de la Raza vandalized. Shortly thereafter a friend sent me some newspaper clippings which included two on this vandalism. After reading them and deciding to write something on this incident the one thing that kept coming to my mind was the words that I heard Galeria de la Raza’s executive director Ani Rivera say on the news, that we should “call it what it is…Homophobia”.

This mural that was done by a Chicano artist was vandalized four times, with the fourth time being burned. The person or persons who destroyed the mural also damaged the Galeria itself, not to mention what damage was done in the process to the barrio itself. The KKK hystorically used fire to inflict fear in the oppressed communities, so this really took a page from the oppressor’s playbook.

I was surprised that the Galeria was targeted in this way. I have been reading about the Galeria for decades. It has served the Chican@ nation since 1970 in the San Francisco barrio know as the Mission as a cultural center for all Raza in the area. The Galeria has always promoted social issues via their art and work hard about oppression of all sorts. When the state of Arizona created the law SB1070 the Galeria addressed it through art and racistas vandalized that mural as well. They continue their tradition at the Galeria of using Art in la lucha against oppression.

Homophobia is not just about someone who is uncertain about their own sexuality; it is also a component of gender oppression. Gender oppression along with class and nation are the three forms of oppression which keep the people thoroughly cut off from attaining liberation within U.S. borders today.

Of course it’s important to struggle over gender oppression, but we should understand that gender oppression will not be totally uprooted in a capitalist society. This is because the three forms of oppression noted above work to uphold capitalist society. The colonized mind plays a role in gender oppression as well. White supremacy and gender oppression will not end until capitalism is toppled. National liberation is what will bring socialism to the Chican@ nation and as a result people will no longer be oppressed or terrorized because of their gender.

Patriarchy exists within the Chican@ nation and it expresses itself in many ways. But much of this learned behavior of the dominant male or machismo is a colonized behavior. The settler has left an imprint on the minds of many Raza and it will take time to heal the nation of these affects. But a revolution will take more than simply hetero-sexual bio-males. National liberation will need to include more people than just those over five-foot nine, or just those with a brocha and clack hair. The liberation of Aztlan will need to include more than those over 30 named Pancho. Freedom will have to include the whole nation.

Male supremacy works twofold on the gender oppressed because they face white supremacy within their national oppression and this is mainly deriving from white males, but then they face hetero-male supremacy within their own oppressed nation.

The future of the Chican@ nation will depend on how we decide the gender issue. It will depend on how we understand the inequality in sexual relations in this society and study its impact on our nation. If our perceptual knowledge cannot develop into something more conceptual it will adversely affect our mobilization as a nation. Perhaps we need a cultural revolution to address gender oppression in the ideological realm within Aztlan. To those who vandalize the Galeria, I would say stop doing the oppressor’s jalé.


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