chapter  25
6 Pages

Yo soy Boricua Feminista, Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!

Notes from a Diasporican on performing outsider identity
WithJessica N. Pabón-Colón

Is a Boricua who was born and raised in Boston in a predominantly Irish immigrant community really a Boricua? Is a light-skinned Latina who primarily speaks English really a Latina? How do skin color, language, geography, and sexuality push one to the outside of Latinidad? And under what circumstances might a Latina/o/x embrace the pedagogical potential of that outsider status? Mixing prose with poetry and memory with analysis, feminist Performance Studies scholar Pabón-Colón offers a testimonia of her experiences negotiating the limitations imposed by the signs of Latina/o/x authenticity and the realities of her everyday performances of self. Locating her identity as a bisexual, light skinned, primarily Anglophone, working class, disaporic Puerto Rican, Pabón-Colón reads her embodied experiences of outsider status to trace how the limitations on her sense of self brought her to her activist work on behalf of the decolonization of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Pabón-Colón understands these limitations as binaries enacted upon Latina subjects, as either/or colonial formations (e.g., Black/White, homosexual/heterosexual, Spanish/English) that police belonging both from the outside (in terms of community) and from within (as they are internalized), ultimately seizing power from individuals based on difference.