Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Queridos Gringos/ Dear White People: Stop Colonizing The Day Of The Dead

You Want Our Culture But You Don’t Want Us 

You, like all human beings, have lineage, ancestors, departed family members. You have skulls under the skin of your own faces, bones beneath your flesh. Like all mortals, you seek ways to understand death, to befriend it, and celebrate it in the context of celebrating life and love.
I understand.
And in the tradition of indigenous peoples, Chican@ and Mexican-American communities have not told you not to come, not to join, not to celebrate your dead alongside them. In the tradition of indigenous peoples and of ceremony, you, in your own grief and missing your loved ones have not been turned away. You arrived at the Dia De Los Muertos ceremony shipwrecked, a refugee from a culture that suppresses grief, hides death, banishes it, celebrates it only in the most morbid ways—horror movies, violent television—death is dehumanized, without loving connection, without ceremony. You arrived at El Dia De Los Muertos like a Pilgrim, starving, unequal to survival in the land of grief, and the indigenous ceremonies fed you and took you in and revived you and made a place for you at the table.
And what have you done?
Like the Pilgrims, you have begun to take over, to gentrify and colonize this holiday for yourselves. I was shocked this year....

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(But the article writer and artist thinks this is a good thing...as usual)

In the two years she’s been selling her paintings at festivals, Easley said she’s only had one person object to her work, given that she’s a Caucasian artist delving into a traditional Mexican art form.
“I had one person, a Hispanic lady, who had a problem with it, but after we talked and she saw that I understand that it’s a cultural thing — that it’s a celebration of life and family — she was fine,” Easley said. “She even took my information to share. I educate people as I do this. I think when people see that I’m versed in the culture, they’re OK with it. I love the culture, and my father-in-law is Hispanic.* And I’m doing quality work. It needs to be done well, and that’s what I’m doing.”