The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Adelante! responds


In light of last week’s op-ed by Maria Patrocollo, ­Adelante! would like to address two levels on which Latinos and the Latino organization are presented in Patrocollo’s article. On one level, we wish to explain what it means to be Latin@ at Macalester. On another, it is important to clarify the purpose and role of an organization such as ­Adelante! on this campus in its role of challenging racism. Being Latino in the United States is complex. Macalester is no exception. ­Adelante! recognizes the plurality of the Latin@ identities; we reject monolithic constructs. This means that a Latin@ at Macalester can be a Woman of Color, Boricua, Chican@, Queer, Bi-Racial, white, Indigenous, Latin American, Bisexual, American, Hispanic, Central American, Spanish-speaking or otherwise, Nahuatl, Cakchiquel, transgender, and the list goes on indefinitely.

By embracing plurality, ­Adelante! fosters a safe space for dialogue and community-building. ­Adelante! is not exclusive to Latin@s but given the lack of safe spaces elsewhere on campus, Latin@s are the focus of this cultural organization. Our mission statement asserts that “­Adelante! is dedicated to increasing the awareness and appreciation of U.S. Latin@, Chican@, and Latin American culture, politics, and society at Macalester. We address local and global issues concerning Latin@s, and encourage the participation of all individuals both at the Macalester campus and the surrounding Twin Cities communities” (emphasis added). ALL are welcome to ­Adelante! as long as they support our mission of creating a safe space for dialogue about Latin@ issues.

­Adelante! has never rejected a white or any other student from participating in this organization. We are appalled by Patrocollo’s statement that her “white American friend was turned down from joining ­Adelante! ,” implying that, by extension, whites are not welcome. The author was irresponsible for publishing such a strong accusation without raising the issue with ­Adelante! first. If someone felt rejected, it was a misunderstanding.

More alarming, Patrocollo’s accusation that ­Adelante! is racist is simply wrong. We understand racism as prejudice plus power. In the U.S., racism is white supremacy, and it is present HERE at Macalester. By this definition, Latino students cannot be racist, especially at a historically and predominantly white institution like Macalester College.

This is not to say that racism is a one-sided phenomenon. Everyone is a victim of racism–people of color and white people. Institutional racism allows whiteness and white privilege to go unquestioned. People of color are racialized and then discriminated against because of cultural, physical, linguistic, and ethnic markers, as well as other perceived differences.

Macalester’s emphasis on diversity prompts us to challenge the way that institutional racism manifests itself in our daily lives. If you are white, do you think about the way your whiteness impacts your relationships, your practices, and your surroundings? If you are a person of color, do you think about how your identity is shaped by your relationships, your practices, and your surroundings? It is possible to break beyond the barriers created by institutional racism–you can be white and anti-racist and you can be a person of color and combat internalized racist oppression. In this way, we can stop being victims of racism and become agents of change in dismantling it.

­Adelante! does not seek to have a perfect understanding of racism but we do feel that it is important to have the courage to participate in the conversation. Even though we do not agree with Patrocollo’s article, we applaud her voicing of views that others may share, but hesitate to express. ­Adelante! hopes that Macalester, both as an institution and a community, will continue the dialogue about racism, as well as the dynamics of privilege and oppression in all forms. In this way, we all take on the role as effectors of positive change and progress. If our administration is open to institutionalizing these dialogues, including the re-implementation of anti-racism workshops, ­Adelante! would be delighted to participate.

­Adelante! Contributing writers include Maribel Fr¡as ’08 ([email protected]); Aaron Johnson-Ortiz ’06 ([email protected]); Victor Llanque Zonta ’08 ([email protected]); Carolina Lopez ’06 ([email protected]); Ana Nájera Mendoza ’06 ([email protected]); Alex Rivero ’07 ([email protected]); Shantee Rosado ’09 ([email protected]; Pierangelo Rossi ’08 ([email protected]).

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