As terms like womanism, intersectionality, and women of color enter the mainstream, it is important to remember that they do not exist in a vacuum. They were created by Black women to address the ways in which we feel excluded from mainstream feminism. Kimberle Crenshaw, Patricia Hill Collins, Loretta Ross, Audre Lorde, and bell hooks are more than names to pluck convenient quotes from when it suits you. They are Black feminists, and they are part of a long tradition that can be traced back to Ida B. Wells-Barnett and beyond. So when your idea of feminism in 2013 harkens back to the racist, sexist rhetoric thrown at Wells-Barnett by Susan B. Anthony and Frances Willard, then what kind of movement are you trying to build? If your definition of feminism is rooted in Mammy myths, what can be built with you? Are you fighting for equality for all, or your right to be equal in oppressing Black women?
Nobody told us that girls, much less Mexican girls, weren’t supposed to like science fiction. Undeniably, few if any of the characters in the mainstream science fiction films and television programs of the 1970s and early 1980s looked like us. As the African American science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler pointed out, Star Wars featured “every kind of alien … but only one kind of human—white ones” (Beal 1986, 17). Sadly, only Ricardo Montalbán’s Khan and Blade Runner’s Gaff, played by our homie Edward James Olmos, resembled us. Moreover, there was no mistaking me for any of the good guys—in the strictest sense of “guy.” Yet, despite the genre’s androcentrism and overwhelming whiteness, I found pleasure and meaning in science fiction. It beckoned me to imagine a world—indeed a universe—beyond the freeways, strip malls, and smog-alert days of my Southern California childhood.
But I guess ultimately what scares me about marriage is where do you find this person? You know a lot of times, most successful relationships, people meet through work, school, mutual friends.
But what’s most interesting to me is when people just meet in life, just randomly.
You know, I have a friend, he got married, I asked him like “Hey, uh, where’d you meet your wife?” He was like “I was leaving Bed, Bath & Beyond. I was looking for my car - I drive a gray Prius. I saw a different gray Prius, I thought it was mine, I walked up to it, I realized I had the wrong car, but I bumped into Carol, we started talking, that was that”. That’s unbelievable.
Think about all the random factors that had to come together to make this one moment possible - this one moment that changed these two people’s entire lives:
First off, this guy has to live in this particular town. Then he has to get a gray Prius. Then he has to need to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Then he has to go to that particular Bed, Bath & Beyond. Then there has to be another guy who also lives in town, also drives a gray Prius, also needs to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond, also goes to that particular Bed, Bath & Beyond at around the same time. Then they have to both park somewhat near each other, my friend has to leave before the other guy leaves, see the wrong Prius, think it’s his, walk up to it. Then the woman, Carol, needs to be near the wrong gray Prius for a million other random reasons. They bump into each other, they start talking, their entire lives are changed.
That’s the most amazing and terrifying thing about life.
It is, cause the amazing thing is that at any moment, any one of us can have that moment that totally changes our lives. You could be leaving the show tonight, bump into someone… it could change your life. You don’t know, that could happen.
The terrifying thing is… what if we’re all supposed to be at Bed Bath & Beyond right now?