Cherríe Moraga

Feminist activist Cherrie Moraga (Submitted Photo) MAR13

Feminist activist Cherrie Moraga (Submitted Photo) MAR13

 

Cherríe Moraga is best known for her role as a Chicana activist who fought for the rights of all women of color, especially those living in the United States. The definition of women “of color” includes all minorities group such as Latino, African-American, Asian and Middle Eastern. Cherrie grew up in California and is currently a professor at Stanford University in the Drama Department and also the Department of Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity. Moraga’s works intend to explore the way race, gender and sexuality affects different women of color. Her book Esta puente, mi espalda (This Bridge, My Back) is an anthology written by women of all races who share her particular stories of oppression based on their cultural background or sexual orientation.

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In her book Moraga speaks of her identity as a member of a mixed family, where her mom was Mexican American and her father was an Anglo, therefore making her appear more Caucasian than most of her family members. Moraga discovers that passing as a White woman had its significant advantages in the American society, especially when comparing her own life to her mother’s. Moraga’s mother was defined by today’s standards as illiterate, and she began working in a factory at the age of 14 to be able to provide for her family. Her mother was Moraga’s main inspirations as she classifies her as a major story-teller. Cherrie’s mom referred to other Mexicans as “wetbacks” and “people who belong to another social class” as a mechanism to attempt to forget her past, but their family used to also be poor (and some of them still are). Moraga strongly believes that her ethnic roots were not a cause of oppression and discrimination, but what truly drove her to help other women was her sexual orientation. As a lesbian, Moraga lived a life of harassment and oppression and found herself forced to remain silent about her sexuality to avoid judgement. She states that “my lesbianism was the highway that helped me understand better what silence and oppression are, and it is also my daily reminder that we are not free living human beings” (Moraga, 21).

Moraga brought women together to create an anthology where each “colored” woman would be able to express their own struggles. The common factor between all of the women who participated in the creation of the book is the opportunity to break the silence through writing. The author believes that although all women may not share the same stories, the best fighting method against oppression is to come together as one. Like this, women will be able to first overcome the obstacle of simply being a woman, so later on it will be easier to work on each individual fight.

 

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