Ideas of pure White womanhood that were created to defend women of the homeland required a corresponding set of ideas about hot-blooded Latinas, exotic Suzy Wongs, wanton jezebels, and stoic native squaws. Civilized nation-states required uncivilized and backward colonies for their national identity to have meaning, and the status of women in both places was central to this entire endeavor.
The fun part about working with museums is that the institutional racism is so thick you can cut it with a knife. These two pictures are of database index trees that are created to help people search for art or artifacts. Notice the categories under “African Art” in the first picture… Yup, all it says is African Art… again. What you can’t see is that there are 7 categories under Asian Art. It took me 2 weeks to get them to change it to regions in the second picture. So now, if you search for West African, you won’t get stuff from Kenya and Egypt too.
African cultural items are often poorly managed, poorly catalogued, poorly maintained, and when on display, poorly mounted. They aren’t the priority of most museum spaces and there isn’t as much available literature on the items as there is for Greco-Roman crap: that’s some old colonial bullshit.
However, I still stand by the idea that they shouldn’t even have these cultural items in their possession, but until that day comes, they’re going to learn how to respect them.
I probably need to start a museum displays tag….because while we’re seeing great strides in some directions, it’s because of people who are actively trying to fight the existing problems in the way information is presented to us….
Fuck Yeah Queer Latin@s in Books!
- Trauma Queen by Lovemme Corazón
- Chulito by Charles Rice-Gonzalez
- Down to the Bone by Maya Lazara Dole
- City of Night by John Rechy
- The Rain God by Arturo Islas
- The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
- The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poetica by Maya Chinchilla
- Their Dogs Came with Them by Helena Maria Viramontes
- Make Love to Rage by Morgan Robyn Colladooc