By Julie Avril Minich
A quantity within the American Literatures Initiative
Read or Download Accessible Citizenships. Disability, Nation, and the Cultural Politics of Greater Mexico PDF
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Additional resources for Accessible Citizenships. Disability, Nation, and the Cultural Politics of Greater Mexico
As I noted in my discussion of Hitting the Wall, although the image of the woman in the wheelchair competing in a marathon is empowering, she remains in the background of the mural. Nonetheless, I do suggest that even in cases where the texts I examine contain problematic or marginalizing representations of disability, these texts still offer important insights about the value of disability within our ableist, racist, sexist, and homophobic social world. In this sense, Accessible Citizenships aligns with Nicole Marcotić and Robert McRuer’s insistence on the need to exceed “the project of simply classifying particular cultural representations of disability as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’—or relatedly, of assessing them in terms of whether they advance or impede a unitary disability movement” (“Leading With Your Head” 168).
Racism within a 500–year history of colonization, and envisions a more just social order. At the same time, as Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano notes in a different context, Chicano nationalist texts like El Plan tend to “critique the ideal white body of ‘American’ identity by positing a quintessential Chicano body that is conceived as male, working-class, 36 / the body politic of aztlán heterosexual and racially marked as Indian/mestizo” (“Laying it Bare” 277). To Yarbro-Bejarano’s description I add able-bodied, for El Plan also privileges those with the capacity for physical labor: “Aztlán belongs to those who plant the seeds, water the fields, and gather the crops” (1).
In contrast to the opening, in which Miguel Chico struggles to embrace his disability, Mama Chona cannot overcome her horror of the body. As her distended uterus falls out, she believes that she is birthing a monster. She also refuses to believe that her son Felix is dead, insisting that he prefers instead to visit her sister Cuca, who has “lighter skin” (174). These gendered and racialized hallucinations, which overtake her mind as her life draws to a close, demonstrate the hatred she feels for her own body.