Who am I? Where do my “affiliations” lie? Who are my “selves”?
I am an immigrant: I was born in Venezuela to a Venezuelan mother and Dominican father. My grandparents were French Creole.
I am cisgender: I am in harmony with my biological self.
I am pansexual: I love.
I am a mother: I have carried and given life. I leave a mark.
I am a New Yorker: The city is me.
I am introverted: -energy.
Jenny Pinkus takes an interesting stance on subject positions and positioning in her article, which interestingly enough, is called “Subject Position and positioning.” Within the article positioning is defined as the act of placing oneself in a story reflexively or interactively where one is placed in a story. Alternatively, the identities we assume, or the roles we are placed in, become our participation of sorts in stories. Subject position, however, takes positioning a step further by adding both location and a concept to the identity or role adopted, and therefore also facilitating the fact that
“Once having taken up a particular position as one’s own, a person inevitably sees the world from the vantage point of that position and in terms of the particular images, metaphors, storylines and concepts which are made relevant within the particular discursive practice in which they are positioned” (Pinkus).
So not only does positioning and subject position provide an identity and or a role, but it also gives that identity and role meaning. Now, the that Pinkus introduces about us all having “multiple affiliations” each with “different selves.” is where it all becomes interesting.
Adichie’s TED talk “The Dangers of the Single Story” was, in a word, fantastic. I loved hearing her speak. She, with the experiences she spoke about, reminded me of similar one’s I’ve experienced myself. My brown skin and Spanish features lends for comments and questions regarding my legality in this country, or my experiences with jumping the border. I’m fascinated with the expressions I receive when I gently explain that I’m not Mexican, so I didn’t have to jump any border. I’m South American, I flew here in a plane. I am legal. It’s a beautiful thing when you’re able to replace those preconceived thoughts many are raised believing. I found myself speaking and responding to Adichie as she spoke; “I grew up listening to Mariah Carey too.” Native dress? “I wear jeans…”
The part that really resonated with me was when she quoted Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” I was especially angry when I remembered that this book was a required text that I read while in high school. While I understood the story, I don’t believe I understood what I was reading in the context Adichie put it in. I didn’t realize that there may have been some students in my very classroom that may have been uncomfortable with Conrad’s depictions. I don’t think I fully understand the lesson I am currently learning as I write this, but I know I will come out of my current research enlightened. It’s an eye opening experience, listening to Adichie explain the importance and the impact stories have on young minds, or in some cases, older ones. Stories leave a mark, an impression, whether we want them to or not.
After watching Adichie’s TED talk I was better able to see where I’ve gone wrong in defining post-colonialism in the past. An error I’ve since corrected; In order to fully understand post-colonialism I had to go back and research colonialism. Now, colonialism refers to the act of taking control, both politically and economically, over a country and settling there. Post-colonialism is the same country after it has been colonized. I knew that Poco literature refereed to the stories and accounts that arose or were written based on the settlers experience with colonizing. What I hadn’t realized, or better yet, what has changed in what I believe poco literature is are the silenced and often forgotten stories and accounts of those/that being colonized. Reading Christopher Columbus’s account of colonizing America would be an entirely different account from that of the Native Americans. So Poco literature has become the stories told after a colony has been colonized, but while remaining mindful of the stories as told from the “other” side.
The idea of “otherness” is what really defines poco for me. As so, I intend to be mindful of this when I read.