Chicana/os still lack a viable social and political self. And though Chicana/o identity is, in many ways, a question—even “up for grabs”—the culture and society in which the Chicana/o lives, works, and breathes, too easily solidifies and essentializes that identity by denying the Chicana/o a voice. Expression matters in the current social and political climate for the Chicano. To say—to express—matters. For the ethnic-racialized subject whose very subjectivity is invested in terminologies of identity (“Latino,” “Chicano,” “Hispanic,”), language is vital. Thus, to dictate a teleological aim for language, to posit that our poetries progressively move forward in a narrative that requires newness, is to offer a colonial dictation for the ethnic-racialized subject’s ontological and national status.”

- J. Michael Martínez

Thinking about last night's Poetry & Politics discussion at the University of Houston. Thinking about how actual dissent is so uncomfortable for white liberal authority figures. Thinking about how shameful it is that the UH Creative Writing Program has never had a Latino or Latina teaching poetry or fiction. Only Rubén Martínez teaching non-fiction. How in a city that is 44% Latino/a, there are no creative writing faculty members from any of the many Latina/o communities. And how this reflects wider issues, like the ones mentioned by Rey Guerra in the Houston Chronicle. :

Latinos are 44% of the population of the City of Houston, yet currently 0 of 4 County Commissioners (0%), 0 of 5 surrounding US Congresspersons (0%), 2 of 9 HISD School Board Members (22%), and only 2 of 16 Houston City Council Members (12.5%) are Latino.

Issues indeed.