chicano rights


Did you know  it was mostly students and young adults people between the ages of 14- 25  from California and Texas made up 72 % of the people fighting for the cause. There was also a big number of people in Arizona considering the population at the time was hardly what it is today. 

So basically young people with not many resources ‘’unlike how we do have unlimited today’’ made this happen. So just imagine what people can do today if kept peaceful. Because at the same time statistics also show people killed during these events were ‘’students and young adults’’ as well.

I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don’t respect.
—  Sandra Cisneros

Happy Birthday to miss Sandra Cisneros! 
On This Day: April 26

Lesbian Visibility Day

  • 1905: French anarchist filmmaker Jean Vigo was born.
  • 1907: Belfast Dock Strike beings 1907 lead by Jim Larkin.
  • 1937: Fascist bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, 1650 killed.
  • 1943: Easter Riots in Uppsala, Sweden as anti-fascist protesters are dispersed by the police as they protest nationalist meeting.
  • 1946: Jewish anarchist Philip Josephs dies in Sydney, Australia.
  • 1958: Founding of All India United Trade Union Centre, labour body of Socialist Unity Centre of India.
  • 1960: President of South Korea Syngman Rhee is forced out of office by “April Revolution” after twelve years of dictatorial rule.
  • 1966: Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales founds Crusade for Justice, the start of a campaign for gaining Chicano civil rights.
  • 1968: National student strike by 1million US high school and college students against the Vietnam War.
  • 1989: The Chinese newspaper People’s Daily publishes an editorial criticising protests in Tiananmen Square, further inflaming movement.
  • 1994: Black people vote in South Africa’s first multi-racial election following defeat of Apartheid.
  • 1998: Human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera killed after blames US-backed govt for atrocities in Guatemala’s civil war.
  • 1999: WAAKE-UP! held a rally encouraging the University of Colorado to dissolve the University’s neutrality policy on investments and sign a basic commitment to human rights.

“Lowriders express the refusal of a young Chicano American to be Anglicized (white washed). There has never been a clearer case of the automobile being used as an ethnic statement. The lowrider idea grew in the ‘60s and early '70s and linked itself to the emerging Chicano civil rights movement.” So happy my dad has and always will be apart of something so important to Chicano street culture.

Brown Berets Hail 'La Raza' and Scorn the Establishment by Ruben Salazar for the Los Angeles Times (June 16, 1969)

David Sánchez, prime minister of the Brown Berets, was at the East Los Angeles Free Clinic when he learned two of his top aides, along with eight other people, had been indicted for involvement in disturbances and fires set in the Biltmore April 24.

The fires in several floors of the hotel were started just before Gov. Reagan was to address a Mexican-American educator’s conference. The disturbances occurred during the governor’s speech.

Authorities say a rookie policeman who had infiltrated the militant Chicano organization tipped off police and firemen in advance, which probably prevented a catastrophe.

“It looks bad all right,” Sanchez said about the indictments, “but La Raza (the race) will understand. La Raza knows it’s just another maneuver by The Man to destroy us.”

Sánchez, voicing the unanimous sentiment of Brown Beret leadership, says he doesn’t care what “the white establishment or press” thinks of the organization. But, he adds, if it is true that his ministers of information and discipline were involved in arson “they did it as individuals and not as Brown Berets.”

The East Los Angeles Free Clinic at 5106 E. Whittier Blvd. was opened by the Brown Berets May 31 with financial help from the Ford Foundation.

Sánchez says the sparsely furnished facility was modeled after the Fairfax Free Clinic in Hollywood and is offering free medical, social and psychological services to Mexican-Americans with volunteer help of professionals. Indicted himself for his part in the East Los Angeles High School walkouts last year, Sánchez, 20, looks like a clean-cut Mexican-American boy.

But he’s much more complicated than that. He heads a tightly knit, quasi-military organization of about 60 disciplined youths which the police consider dangerous.

Besides Los Angeles, the Brown Berets claim to have chapters in 27 other cities including Fresno, San Francisco, Sacramento, Berkeley, Oxnard, Denver, Albuquerque and San Antonio. The members range in age from 14 to 35.

At a recent Chicano youth liberation conference in Denver, at which many Brown Berets participated mostly as security guards, about 1500 Chicano youths from the five Southwestern states adopted a statement of beliefs which condemned the “brutal gringo invasion of our territories.”

Brown Berets look up to the leadership of Reies López Tijerina, the New Mexico land grants crusader, and Rodolfo (Corky) Gonzáles, leader of the Denver-based civil rights organization, the Crusade for Justice. Both men preach ethnic nationalism and separatism.

Admirers of César Chávez

“We especially admire César Chávez (the farm labor leader) for his advocacy of nonviolence,” Sanchez says.

The Brown Beret manual, however, indicates the organization does not entirely condemn violence as does Chávez.

The manual says: “If those Anglos in power are willing to (give Chicanos their rights) in a peaceful and orderly process, then we will be only too happy to accept this way. Othenwise, we will be forced to other alternatives.”

The manual also points out that there are three ways to apply pressure: by direct communication with persons or agencies “you wish to change,” by “demonstrations or pickets” or “by any and all means necessary.”

As if remembering the rule in the Brown Beret manual which says, “The problem is not a problem, it is a situation that must be dealt with,” Sánchez perked up. 

Legal Defense Needed

“Our job now is to get adequate legal defense,” Sánchez said. The phone rang often and Sánchez would usually answer. “Raise the money for bail,” Sánchez said into the phone several times.

In the clinic’s outer office were Rona Fields, an instructor of educational psychology and sociology at San Fernando Valley State College, and her husband, Charles Fox, a political science teacher at Cal State Los Angeles.

Without commenting on the indicments, Miss Fields, who goes by her maiden name for professional reasons, agreed with Sanchez that the authorities are out to destroy the Brown Berets.

“In the context of East Los Angeles, the Brown Berets can be compared to the Israeli youth underground,” Miss Fields said.

Miss Fields Tells Views

A wiry Jewish woman with intense light eyes, Miss Fields, who hopes to write her Ph.D. dissertation on the Brown Berets, has written:

As an organization the Brown Berets are continually confronted with the established institutions in a social matrix which rigidifies structures and becomes irrelevant through antiquation before new institutions can be enacted.

“The consequent frustration would apparently provide only two alternatives for the Chicano youth - acquiescence to the established order, which would include acceptance of assimilation, or violence, either revolutionary style or delinquency.

"The Brown Berets are trying to develop a third alternative. This third alternative is embodied in the East Los Angeles Free Clinic. This alternative is to create new institutions which are devised to be flexible, to be continually responsive to the community and which grow out of and for the needs of the community as the community sees them.”

There is no doubt that the Brown Berets have rejected the first alternative Miss Fields talks about – assimilation. “There are very few Gabachos (Anglos) who don’t turn me off,” says Sánchez. “To the Anglo, justice means just us.”

In the Brown Beret manual, written by Sánchez, when he was in jail for disturbing the peace, appears a statement which must be memorized by every Brown Beret.

“For over 120 years the Mexican-American has suffered at the hands of the Angle establishment. He is discriminated against in schooling, housing, employment and in everyr other phase of life. Because of this situation, the Mexican-American has become the lowest achiever of any minority group in the entire Southwest.”

It’s when you discuss the second alternative that the Brown Berets are vague.

“We’re not a violent or a nonviolent organization,” says Sánchez, we are an emergency organization.“

What does that mean?

"Well, if we see a cop beating up a Chicano we move in and stop the cop,” Sánchez says. “We try to be ready for every emergency.”

But the testimony to the county grand jury by the undercover policeman Fernando Sumaya would indicate the Chicano militant organization is definitely violence-oriented.

Sumaya’s Account

Sumaya, 23, told the grand jury that the day of the Biltmore fires, he attended a meeting at East Los Angeles College with the Brown Berets and friends where guerrilla warfare tactics and civil disobedience were discussed.

According to Sumaya, Carlos Montez, 21, the Brown Berets’ minister of information, interrupted the meeting, saying the group shouldn’t just sit around talking about guerrilla warfare tactics but should put them into practice.

Sumaya said Montez urged the group to begin that night at the Biltmore, when Gov. Reagan was to speak.

Indicted with Montez and eight non-Brown Berets was Ralph Ramírez, I9, the Berets’ minister of discipline.

Original Leaders

Sánchez, Montez and Ramírez are the original leadership of an organization which began in 1967 as Young Citizens for Community Action. As it became militant, the organization’s name evolved into the Young Chicanos for Community Action and then the Brown Berets.

Sánchez, who was president of Mayor Sam Yorty’s Advisory Commission on Youth in 1967, still lives with his parents in a neat, well-furnished home (including a color TV set) in East Los Angeles.

On the wall of the living room is one of those silk souvenir banners service men buy for their mothers or sweethearts. This one was sent to Sánchez’ mother by her other son, Michael, 23, who recently returned from fighting in Vietnam.

Well-Kept Home

The well-kept lower middle-class home is in sharp contrast to the Brown Beret headquarters at 47I5 E. Olympic Blvd. where Sánchez spends much of his time after attending classes at Cal State Los Angeles.

The headquarters windows are boarded up and revolutionary posters pasted on them. Inside, the walls are covered with murals depicting Mexican-Indian civilizations.

On one wall is the startling legend in large black letters “Por mi raza mato.” (For my race, I kill.) The organization was recently given an eviction notice by the landlord. The previous Brown Beret headquarters on Soto St. was bombed last Christmas Eve.

Montez Background

Montez, who tends to be the organization’s visionary used to work as an assistant Teen Post director, lives near Sanchez’ home and is a native of Mexico. A lean, intense young man who often sports a Zapata moustache, Montez is noted for his articulateness on the Chicano movement and his wit. 

Ramírez, a beefy and laconic young tough, often travels to New Mexico from where his family came and likes to identify with the Indian as well as the Chicano.

“We try to bring about changes to help our people by working through conventional channels, including war on poverty programs,” says Sánchez. “But we soon found out the insensitivity and corruption of establishment bureaucracy and left in disgust.”

Open Coffee Shop

Changing their organization’s name to Young Chicano Youths for Community Action, Sánchez, Montez and Ramírez opened up a coffee house, La Piranya, in late 1967 with the help of an interfaith church organization.

By now the Young Chicano Youths for Community Action had taken on an ethnic nationalism image and were openly feuding with the Sheriffs Department and the police.

The coffee house served as an office and meeting hall. Reies Tijerina, César Chávez and black militants H. Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael and Ron Karenga met there with the group which by now had adopted its present name, the Brown Berets.

Plagued by inadequate licensing, curfew violations, insuffcient funds and “police harassment,” La Piranya closed on March 3, 1968, three days before the East Los Angeles High School walkouts.

At the time of the walkouts, Sánchez denied that the Brown Berets were, as the police charged, among the “outside agitators” who helped cause the student disturbances.

“The Chicano students were the main action group,” Sánchez says. “The Brown Berets were at the walkouts to protect our younger people. When they (law officers) started hitting with sticks, we went in, did our business, and got out.”

The “business” Sánchez explains, means that “we put ourselves between the police and the kids, and took the beating." 

Shock Troops

Sánchez says the Brown Berets, which could be called the shock troops of the Chicano movement, think and feel so alike that "we need few words to communicate with each other.”

Most of the members were once “batos locos,” literally barrio gang toughs, successors to the zootsuiters of the I940s.

“The Brown Berets recruit from the rebels without a cause and make them rebels with a cause,” says Sánchez.

The Brown Beret Manual stresses personal cleanliness, strict discipline, prohibition of drugs and excessive drinking and strict attendance at “all meetings, all demonstrations and drills.”

“I wear the Brown Beret,” says the organization’s pledge, “because it signifies my dignity and pride in the color of my skin and race.”

Because of the presumed close-knit makeup of the Brown Berets, it came as quite a shock to them that they had been infiltrated by the police.

On May 10, before the Biltmore fires, Sumaya, the police infiltrator, and three others who Sánchez says were trying to become Brown Berets but were not, were arrested following a fire at an East Los Angeles Safeway store.

Sumaya said he tipped off the police but allowed himself to be arrested for security reasons. The other three have been indicted by the grand jury.

As for Sumaya, Sánchez says “his mind has been messed with - the poor guy is trying to be a white Anglo.”

“I was in jail when he joined the Brown Berets last December,” Sánchez said. “It is a clear case of entrapment. It is obvious that he designed and manufactured the events that led to the indictments.”

“The day after the fires he told me how it was he who removed the battery from the Biltmore elevator to stop it. He said he was afraid the hotel manager might have seen him but he really bragged about his part.”
Sánchez said he started suspecting Sumaya early “because he would never be with me by himself. He always had someone with him.”

The Brown Beret leader said he then had someone call Sumaya’s old school in Calexico. Posing as a potential employer, the Brown Beret asked where Sumaya’s school transcripts had been sent.

The school said thev had been mailed to an Alhambra adult school. Using the same ruse, the Brown Berets learned Sumaya’s transcripts were then sent to the Los Angeles Police Deparment.

One day a Brown Beret called Sumaya’s home and asked whether S-257, Sumaya’s code name, was there, according to Sánchez. Told that he was, the Beret instructed the officer to report to Hollenbeck Police Station. When Sumaya reported there, the Brown Berets were sure they had been infiltrated.

Other Infiltration

At a recent news conference at the Greater Los Angeles Press Club, Sánchez claimed two other law-enforcement officers infiltrated the Brown Berets. The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, financed by the Ford Foundation, says it is interested in looking into the Brown Berets’ charge of entrapment.

Asked whether the Brown Berets would retaliate against Sumaya if they could, Sánchez said: “No, he’s got a wife and a family and he was doing what he thought was his job. Besides, we don’t do things which will be used by the press merely for the entertainment of the white middle class.”

On the issue of anti-Anglo sentiment, the Brown Beret leadership is unequivocal. They say they don’t care what the “white establishment or press” thinks of the organization. “Our only concern is Chicanos,” said Sánchez. 

Dangerous Aspect

This extreme ethnic nationalism, say some concerned observers, is what could be the most dangerous aspect of the Brown Berets. Admired by activists and high school students, the Brown Berets are working hard to polarize “Chicano youth.”

In a study by social scientists Fields and Fox it is pointed out that “the militancy of the Brown Berets is not much different from that of the Students for Democratic Society (SDS), Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the earlier Israeli Youth in Palmach.”

“As for the group (Brown Berets) as it is currently constituted, its main concern is to achieve an interfactional unity which would, through presenting a unified front, give Chicanos a modicum of political power at least comparable to the current Negro condition…,” the study said.

– by Ruben Salazar

reaching-for-love  asked:

Is it possible to request a fic on son mccree and papa reyes making up after a huge fight where turns out mccree did nothing wrong and Reyes might have realized it a bit to late after having been rescued by mccree and seeing the poor kid in medbay(1)

(2) hurting real bad and he feels guilty and tries to make thing better after? Also I finally found your account!! I really liked your stuff but forgot to follow so it’s been a while looking for you!!!:):):) Glad I finally did keep up the good stuff!

“Mercy, you have to let me in there, I need to see Jesse,” Gabriel implored, leaning against the door. As harsh as his tone was, it was plain to see: his face practically shined with guilt. He squeezed a wrapped present tightly in his arms, his hand clearly wracked with tension.

“I understand why, Gabriel, but now is really not the time. He’s in a lot of pain, and there’s no way I can let him have any visitors in this state. It’s nothing personal,” Angela murmured softly, looking down at her hands to avoid any possible eye contact with her superior. Only being eighteen and being in charge of the entire medbay was nerve-wracking as it was, not to mention the new patient from Japan being covered in wounds on over 90% of his body. All of that, she could deal with. But looking directly at Blackwatch Captain Reyes and speaking choked her up, it felt like her mouth was being stuffed with cotton,

“You may be the doctor here, Angela, but I’m above you. So, you’re going to get your skinny little ass out of the way and let me in, or so help me…” threatened Gabriel. The growl in his voice sent a shiver up the doctor’s spine, and she immediately stepped out of the doorway. As young as Angela was, she knew better than to argue with him. That steely, cold glare was the kind of thing that could kill an anxious little thing like her if he gazed too long into it, losing herself to the abyss.

The 6’1 bulky Chicano man stepped right past her with a set goal in mind. He needed to see Jesse and make sure he turned out alright. All his blonde bimbo of a husband had mentioned was that Jesse was in the medbay and looked like absolute shit. After years of marriage, Gabriel could read that man like a book. That stupid twink was hiding something from him, and he was going to sniff it out.

Striding through the hall, every room he passed had some other horribly injured individual. He even got a peek at that rich Japanese boy who had been attacked by his older brother. For a second, he craned his neck as he was walking to gawk at the kid. Patches of obnoxious green hair were missing on his head, likely ripped out in the heat of the fight. The poor boy’s face was beyond fucked-up; long, crooked scars ran up and down his entire body, showing signs that he had been brutally cut up with some sort of sword. There were even rumors that when he arrived, his innards were visible, and he had to immediately get patched up. Whatever happened to this fifteen year old boy, it wasn’t humane. Gabriel shuddered at the thought of the pain he must be in.

Once he realized the boy saw him staring, he quickly kept walking along, the embarrassment glowing on his face. The other rooms in the medbay were filled with men and women of varying injuries- everywhere from faces burned so badly that they didn’t even resemble humans to minor broken bones and little cuts. Right at the end of the metal hallway was one last door with a cowboy hat hanging off of it. Without a doubt in Gabriel’s mind, he knew that had to be the kid’s room. He hoped whatever happened, the hours he spent on the present would be worth it.

Inhale. Hold for seven seconds. Exhale.

He was ready.

The metal door swung open much louder than he intended, disrupting the cartoon Jesse was watching. With a quick look of irritation, Jesse’s hands flew to the remote on the bedside table and hit the pause button. He leaned back in the clinical bed and sighed. His once wild, outlaw look had been stripped away by Angela. She’d mentioned briefly that after treating his arm she’d cut his hair shorter, but Gabriel had never assumed she really did that much to it. But looking at it now, she really did tame his unruly, angry-looking brunette mane. Every last hair on his seventeen year old chin had been shaved clean, and he was developing his first ever five-o'clock shadow. Two uninterested eyes looked up at Gabe.

“Hey, Old Man. Come here to apologize or what?” He stretched back, and the Blackwatch leader’s mouth dropped, along with the box that was in his hands.

Where his left-arm once was now held nothing but a little stump. It was neatly bandaged, and had obviously stopped bleeding a while ago, but it was enough to put Gabriel into a shock, of sorts. This was what had his idiot husband so nervous?

“Jesse, where’s your arm? Where did it go?” stammered Gabriel.

“I dunno. One of those shitty tin cans cut it off after we got separated.” Gabriel thought back, and that brief moment where Jesse was there one moment and gone the next flashed through his mind.

It was his call to keep moving through the shredded city block. Jack agreed with him, believing they’d dealt with the last of the omnics a little ways back. However, Jesse had a bad feeling about the whole thing, and insisted they just turn around and get somewhere safe. What did he know? He was just a kid; a little boy hanging out with the grown-ups. Gabriel told him to shut his mouth and keep walking. Seconds later, the familiar sound of metal feet stomping became audible, and the two men and the kid realized they were surrounded.

It was just three of them, surrounded by a horde of omnics. Jack was pounced on by one, and Jesse was way closer to him than Gabriel. Using his bare hands, he ripped the piece of junk off of Gabriel’s husband and wrestled with it. The harder he struggled with it, the greater the distance grew between him and Gabriel. More of the metal bastards flooded in, and soon it was just him and Jack defending each other. A black hole opened up in Gabriel’s stomach the longer the battle went on without any sign of Jesse. Once most of the piles of gears were pushing up daisies, Gabriel searched desperately for Jesse.

There wasn’t a single sign of him anywhere, and he wasn’t seen again for hours, until Ana and Reinhardt went back to scout through the rubble and found him hiding in a tree. How he got there with his arm in that condition was a mystery to Gabriel.

There was only one word Gabriel could bring himself to force out. “Why,” he stammered. It wasn’t really a question.

“Why, what? Old man, you gotta be specific,” Jesse chuckled, and nonchalantly reached over for the remote to start his cartoons back up. Gabriel swiftly grabbed his hand, eyes seething with anger.

“Why did you grab that omnic?” he hissed, releasing his rough hold on the boy’s hand.

Jesse rolled his eyes and sighed. “Because you love him and if he died out there, then I’d have to listen to you cry about it for months. No one wants to hear you crying, Gabo.” He leaned back and sighed, just wanting to go back to the television and get sucked into his show again.

“I could have saved him, you know.” Gabriel softened his voice. There was no need to snap at this boy. His real anger was with himself, not the kid.

“Yeah, no. You’re slow and old, and you two were like a billion miles apart. Let’s be real here, Gabo. If I hadn’t yanked that rust bucket off of him, it wouldn’t be my hand missing: it would probably be his head. I haven’t seen you since we got separated, my arm is missing, and all you wanna do is stand there and lecture me? Come on man. Either quit being a tool or leave and let me watch TV.” Jesse huffed, slouching in an exaggerated way.

Gabriel stood there speechless and looked down and the cold medbay floor.

“This is all my fault, Jesse. You were right.” His eyes were widened like saucers, the words he spoke slightly muffled by his right hand covering his mouth.

A smug look crept across the boy’s face. “What was that? Couldn’t hear you. I think fighting all these omnics has fucked with my hearing. Can you say it one more time?”

Slowly, Gabriel moved his hand. “I said, you were right. This is all my fault.”

Jesse looked insanely satisfied. “Didn’t catch it that time either. One more time?”

Gabriel’s brows furrowed, and he shot a dirty look to the kid. “Your arm is missing, do you think this is some kind of game? I’m the reason you’re in this hospital bed right now, don’t you get that? Your life will never be the same again, and you’re sitting here trying to get me to apologize again and again,” he snarled, making faces like an angry dog.

Jesse rolled his eyes. “Chill out, Gabo. It’s a fuckin’ joke, it’s funny.”

“This is funny to you? Dammit, what part of this seems funny!? None of this is a joke. Dios mio, I’m the reason a seventeen year old boy lost his arm…” He buried his face into his hands.  “I have to live with this…” His knees buckled underneath him, and he sank to the floor like crumpled paper.

Realizing what a mess Gabriel was, Jesse sat up and crawled out of the bed and stepped over to him. Seeing the kid in a hospital gown was a little funny, but Gabriel couldn’t bring himself to laugh, or even crack a smile. He was too guilt-stricken to hardly utter a word.

“Hey, Gabo. I don’t blame you. So uh, please, don’t blame yourself.” He placed his hand gently on Gabriel’s shoulders. “Come on now, stand up. I see that you got me a present. Let’s open that, alright?”

Gabe could barely look up, but reluctantly rose to his feet and picked the package he’d dropped after seeing Jesse’s lack of an arm. The least he could do is let the kid open his present up. Without another word, he handed the nicely wrapped- though now slightly dented- box. Jesse’s eyes greedily lit up, and he began trying to open it. There was definitely a struggle, but Gabriel knew he would never accept any help in tearing the package open. He resorted to tearing off the wrapping paper and ribbon with his teeth, and got the box’s lid off with his good hand easily.

He dove right in, and pulled out an expertly sewn article of clothing. His face lit up at the realization of what it was. “Gabo? Did you make me a serape?” His eyes darted up to look at the man struggling with the worst guilt of his life.

Gabriel nodded, and hoarsely added. “You always talk about wanting one. I figured I’d, you know, finally get to sewing one together for you.” It was red, with a golden hexagon pattern along the borders.

“So cool.” He looked up with a big childish grin on his face, as he tried to figure out how to put it on with only the one arm. A small smile crept up on Gabriel; it made him happy to see him acting like it was the best thing  in the world. Quietly, he leaned over, and helped the boy in the hospital gown put on the serape. Jesse’s smile extended from ear-to-ear, and a small giggle he was trying to suppress escaped.

To try and make Gabriel feel better, Jesse began to talk about every thought that ran through his head. He hoped that this would take his mind off of it, and maybe relieve the tension. He was, to an extent, successful. Gabriel smiled and even cracked up at some of his crappy jokes. As much as he loved to give the old guy shit, he didn’t ever wanna see him sad like this: it was just depressing. In his mind, the arm thing really wasn’t a big deal. Angela fussed way too much, talking about how he ‘couldn’t handle visitors’ or whatever. They stayed like that, just the two of them, for a couple hours. Gradually, the sadness left Gabriel’s face and tone, though he did remain a tad somber for the rest of the night, and for very long afterwards.

Before he left, Gabriel stood still in the doorway for a moment. “You know, Jesse, I really do care about you. And I’m so sorry I didn’t listen to you back there.”

“Yeah, yeah. It’s whatever. Love you too, dad.” Aw, shit. He never meant to call him Dad. His eyes quickly averted to the window in embarrassment.

Gabriel turned around to look at him. “What did you just call me?”

“Gab. I said Gab. Get out of here, old man. Go drink your prune juice or put tennis balls on your walker, whatever you old fucks do.” He spat all of his words out like somehow getting them out quicker would change the fact that he just called Gabriel dad.

Gabriel laughed, “Love you, too…” He began shutting the door, but left it open just a crack, and whispered. “… Mijo.”

the funny thing is that I don’t personally think trigger warnings per se would be that helpful to me! as most of these theorists have taken from the writings of actual survivors and people with ptsd and then recontextualized to harm those people pointed out, triggers can’t be mapped in any clean way. I always tell the story about how in the Ruth Wilson Jane Eyre I watched in a feminist theory class Mr. Rochester says something that was exactly what I had heard, you know, in a terrible situation, and I freaked out and spilled my coffee in the middle of the room. that is how it works! you can’t trigger warn for those things! how could you know? that’s the argument they want to pretend that they are making: how could I know that you’re triggered into panic and flashback when you hear a certain song or see an image of hipbones or whatever thing it is? triggers are, according to them, completely random. how could they know?

except they know because people are telling them and they are still refusing. and anyway, obviously, “triggered by Mr. Rochester” and “triggered by sexual violence that statistically a huge portion of your students experienced” are discernibly different categories which is what they are obscuring. they should know that a lot of people are triggered by rape scenes because they are grownups and they are getting paid so they should probably try harder. most universities, especially large public ones, will have at least a vaguely adequate sexual assault resource contact that can go over the basics with them, 1 in 4 or whatever. the least they could do.

but I mean, keep unpacking it: are these really all just scenarios where something “controversial” would be offhandedly mentioned in an assigned reading in a class already established to have controversial content? (a course about sexual violence. a course about the holocaust. a class in a women’s studies course identified on the syllabus as being about rape culture.) because I think that’s misdirection, don’t you?

what are we really looking at? probably fucking being asked to watch last house on the left in a semiotics class or some stupid shit. there is theorizing of trauma, there is teaching the practice of responding to trauma, there is literature (fictional or otherwise) that describes rape, there are testimonies of violence, there are documentaries of various orientations, and there are art films, and commercial films, and texts produced for market profit literally in all kinds of situations of actual violence, rape, and exploitation. my point: it’s pretty undisciplined for professors, producers in and of the academy, to act like they are not operating within those systems and have no obligation–not just ethically but, like, in terms of being a good scholar–to debrief, frame the source, and be real about parameters. (but if they did that, they would be exposed as Consumers, god forbid.)

I have had professors use something like trigger warnings! I took a class on childhood in film and we watched clips from a lot of difficult stuff, of course. Hard Candy, Hound Dog. and she would say, “this is what goes on in this scene” which, like, you should be framing your lessons anyway, right?

my chicano history professor worked on research about lynchings of mexican-americans in the nineteenth century and we read some pieces about this and when he introduced them he said something like, “there are some graphic descriptions in here” and then also said a few things about how important it was for him to talk about violence as violence in a class like that.

they were basically just…reasonably good instructors and scholars and not interested in being exploitative if they didn’t have to be. I mean, I also had a (white, unsurprisingly) professor of modern Mexican history show us color photos of Mexican victims of rape or decapitation in border towns, just, like, photos of their bodies, without warning or any sort of reasonable context, as powerpoint graphics. I hope that illustration brings out what I’m trying to say here about good teaching and exploitation and how it’s not just a matter of a good non-exploitative teacher just not using exclusive “politically correct” lingo as much as it is about some professors pretty obviously not caring that they make their money reproducing harm. (no, I don’t mean “harm” in the affect theorist way when I am talking about a white professor researching the drug wars without caring if he upsets his Mexican students. I mean, you know, “exploitation” and “oppression” and in this case “white supremacy.”)

I will restate the most obvious: people don’t request trigger warnings because they want to silence discussion of rape, they request trigger warnings so that they can discuss rape. “hey, we’re gonna talk about rape,” ok cool, let me prepare or whatever. people who are survivors of rape very very often want to talk about rape. people who might be triggered by discussions of child sexual assault very often take social work and women’s studies classes, or whatever, because they want to, because they want to participate, they want to help and they want to talk about it and, yes, believe it or not, think about it, theorize it, deconstruct their assumptions about it.

what we’re looking at is students who identify as survivors of trauma (etc.) organizing to make it easy for professors to accommodate the learning–yes, learning!–needs of a big portion of the student body. (and, I should say, they are often the same students organizing for more effective response to and prevention of on-campus rape, which is kind of a big deal nationwide and I think some of these professors should maybe be paying more attention to their campus politics or whatever.)

these theorists are literally only mad because they’re being asked to do something they didn’t think of doing first, because they really really don’t want to give up authorial curricular authority, because they’re mad that their position in (to steal Pritch’s phrasing) the neoliberal university is being exposed for what it is, and maybe most of all because if they can use Social Media to Take A Stand against the Reactionary Institution they can maybe try to obscure this structure of domination a little more and also feed their ‘68 complex.

and the funny thing is I’m not even mad about this because I require trigger warnings, necessarily. (I put myself into triggering situations all the time, a bit of a glutton for panic.) I’m mad about it because I’m not a stupid asshat and also, let me say this as many ways as I can think to say it, I am concerned more than anything about “accessibility” as a thing that operates on all kind of axes and should be prioritized if the institution wants to “reform” or “become better” or just even begin to pretend that it’s not a shithole industrial complex that should probably be looted.


Students speak out about their classes and books being banned in Tucson.