By Daisy Hernandez
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Additional resources for Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism
They choose to deny their culture and heritage. They make such claims, that their brown skin originated from their French background. And sometimes they become the worst type of colonized people, those who try and hide their feelings of inferiority by persecuting those like them. It took me till the age of eighteen to connect the dots of why I exist, of why my family was and no longer is. I saw something amiss, something foul in my father’s actions and words. I knew there was a lie. I knew the truth was deep and painful.
They are the reflection of sacrifice, survival and sabiduría. They are Cecilia Ballí’s mother who each evening wiped off the dining room table after dinner to “double as a desk” for her two daughters; they are she who had no more than seven years of school buying encyclopedias from the grocery store on the installment plan. They are Ena from British Guiana, who used her sexiness to “get things like kerosene to light lamps and food for her children” (Paula Austin). They are Tanmeet Sethi’s mother who advised, “you have to make home wherever you are.
In an attempt to protect each other, we compiled lists of who was good and safe and who was fucked-up. A glance, a word dropped, a phrase that was just wrong. Survivors are trained from birth to be exquisitely sensitive, for our own survival’s sake. M. behind a smiling face, we’re gone. We do not forget these lessons—we still need them every day. We still go, go, gone. Those girls and me, they left town, they left city, we left, let each other disappear. We were raised colonized and confused, to trust the enemy, not our own hair.