Note from Editor:
Every year the Narciso Martinez Cultural Events Center hosts “Women’s Night at the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in the month of March, which is officially designated as Women’s History Month.
Writers of the Rio Grande has attended for the last few years and it has always been quite the success. Good attendance and at times very impassioned poetry and literature and opinion have been the rule.
Now on the dogmatic, must be fair to all, and can’t abide hypocrisy side of this reporter, something always felt wrong about having a women exclusive, or any kind of exclusive, be it Chicano exclusive, or African-American exclusive event, or club, organization, whatever it may be. From the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to whichever exclusionary organization you can name. What is it that elevates one “insider group” over the “outsiders” or “the others”. One famous example is the congressional black caucus. You can imagine the uproar we would have if there was a “congressional white caucus”
After all wasn’t the civil rights movement about treating people as individuals; basing opinions upon a person relative to the content of their character, the extent of their abilities, and the right to transcend race, ethnicity and class to be treated as an individual just as worthy of rights as any other individual?
At one time in years past, all these groups were untainted by any tinge of hypocrisy, racism or ethno-centricity. At that time those that were to become their members were not welcome to the white country club, or social, civic or fraternal organizations that were part of the Anglo-Saxon power structure. So, as they were excluded they could also be exclusive as well. In reality there was no choice. They formed their own.
Exclusionary auxiliary and ancillary religious groups are accepted today, for among many reasons “Congress shall make no law respecting a religion” which is in the Constitution. Social and fraternal organizations are another thing, and civic organizations something else.
My suggestion is that the ethno-centric clubs and the sexo-centric clubs change with the world and the ever new evolving consciousness that is always in the process of coming to pass. If not they inevitably evolve, or should I say devolve into a reflection of the oppressive and exclusionary organizations that they had rebelled against in the distant and not so distant past. With time and inertia and tradition comes power, and eventually all power corrupts.
We can become that which we have overcome. Happens all the time.
I’m hopeful that in the future in theme nights, at least in literature, the participants will not be determined by ethnicity, race, or sex, but more so by merit and the qualities of the individual that of whatever background they arise from, it will be the quality of their work and their ability to address the theme, not their racial or ethnic origin that is the over-all determinant.
For instance, I know many a man that knows more about women, than many a woman knows about women. Not so much the other way, but then I might just be instigating.