© 2014 victoriadelgadillo

Introspection

After having attempted every avenue available in the United States to find success, the racism that prevails appeared at the end of each path for my family, leaving them idealizing that a university education would be the key to gaining access to that promised life of equality and democracy.  Never having experienced the landscape of the institutions, they encouraged it as a goal for me.

Political awareness heightened for me at the university.  I sought to identify with who I was—instead of trying to hide my origins, as many educated Mexican-Americans had done through marriages with European descendants. I embraced the new culture identified from a Mexican experience in the United States, called Chicana.

Being Chicana begins for each woman from various life epiphanies, however the common bind is social alienation, either due to language, origin, color, sex, opportunities and finally through an awareness of a system of exclusivity that is unobtainable.  Having attended only public schools in an urban setting, I did not experience racism until I attended the university.  It was in the English Literature Department when my professor, treated and graded me as if my presence in his class was an affront to the English language.  The youth of my era and background had to possess a great inner strength to climb over obstacles in life.

I had been approached to participate in the white feminist movement of the late 1960s and 1970s–including the new women art movements in California, but I have always found the counter-masculine agenda ineffective to my ideal of one-humanity.  Ultimately feminism is about the freedom to act and think in various personal expressions: denying the male role in humankind or clinging to it, with the conclusive goal of being able to enjoy all the freedoms that others in society enjoy.  This is not to say that there is no value in knowing oneself deeply through like-minded groups, but it is only one aspect of defining oneself in the world.  How I arrived to my place in this society and how I would externalize my manifestation, is my own personal journey of discovery.

Once I graduated from the University of California, San Diego, I went on a quest for experience.  My cautiousness to proclaim that I was an artist was a result of wanting to find a higher purpose for creating, not just a means of livelihood, fame or elitism.  While the white Women’s Art movement stimulated civil right actions by challenging the art institutions in California and internationally, I sought others who knew my legacy of Mexican art, music, literature and their cultural institutions.

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