Summary of Story
Cristina Tzintzun writes about the intersection between gender and racism in "Colonize This!" The author's identity has been shaped largely by antagonism toward her father, who claimed to be a liberal hippie but who was really a racist, sexist bastard. He cheated on her mother throughout their relationship, and when she was just three years old, Tzintzun witnessed him having sex with another woman. Tzintzun also claims that her father beat and emotionally abused her Mexican mother.
As a result, Cristina struggles with her identity, both in terms of gender and race. Colonization highlights the intersectionality of gender and race. It is impossible for Tzintzun to call herself just a person of color, because she is a woman of color -- someone who experiences discrimination both because she is female and because she is brown. Moreover, Tzintzun was given a series of mixed messages when she was a child. She was taught that women should not submit to men, but her mother only submitted to her domineering father. Sexism and racism seemed built into her family and culture, making it harder for Tzintzun to forge her own identity. "I was told never to submit to any man, but I was only demonstrated submission from my mother and domination by my father," (p 19).
Tzintzun has come to despise the process...
All the women her father dated were not white: they were African-American, Asian, and Latina. Dating women of color was an act of conquest and colonization. This made her father feel "superior, more powerful, more intelligent," (p. 21). Instead, doing so exposed her father's actual weakness. Tzintzun therefore became committed to breaking through the traps of patriarchy and forging her own identity in spite of, or actually because of, her father. She states, "I know I cannot be colonized," (p. 24).
In fact, this statement, "I know I cannot be colonized" is the primary and most emblematic sentence in "Colonize This!" In this one sentence, Tzintzun summarizes her life, her identity, and her argument. She cannot be colonized because she recognizes what it means to be colonized. Colonization is not just about European countries invading foreign lands, killing natives, and raping the land. As a metaphor for ongoing white hegemony, colonization refers to the patterns of thought and behavior that underwrite Tzintzun's father's actions, and the actions of those like him. It is not as if Tzintzun believes that mixed-race relationships are always doomed. Rather, those relationships will be inherently imbalanced if the white man presumes that he is in a position of power, and treats the woman as if she is an inferior being in need of his rescue, his courtesy, or his money. Money is one of the major ways that colonizers entrap their victims, which is why being liberated from colonization means for all women of color to become…
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