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On being a token

As any good WOC feminist, I am quite familiar with being a token.

In grade school I was the token:
  • On sports teams because I pushed & shoved my way there;
  • In the gifted program for my grade because I guess I was the only gifted girl & person of color;
In high school I was the token:
  • Poor chick in class - while some of my fellow C'villers made it into the honors and AP classes, I don't recall many of my other C'ville chicks making it there despite I knew quite a few of them were pretty smart. There was also a dilution factor that kept many of us apart;
  • Poor chick in my group of friends - this came about due to the above factor. You start to socialize with the peeps in your class;
  • Latina in my class - Again, not too many Latinas in the honors classes & it didn't hit me until in my later years. Honestly I didn't mind so much. There is a bit of glory in being the token...or so I thought.
But not every instance of being a token is laden with guilt or tokenness...Monday I'll be speaking that the Feminism 2.0 conference in DC. I got a very late call to be on the plenary Monday morning - This after I've already organized a panel on feminists & the media and was asked to sit on the "Breaking the Waves" panel. The organizer was quite honest with me in that she had a few last minute cancellations and that by including me she got not just ethnic diversity, but also age. I also trust her enough thru our past communications that she's not tokenizing me. My only response to her was "People are going to get tired of seeing me!" and "I'm so going to get a reputation about this," of course meaing people are going to think me a bit of a spotlight hog.

Of course there is still some issues us feministas need to deal with when it comes to conferences. How many other Latinas will be present? Will our numbers be decreased due to lack of travel funds, child care or even knowledge of the conference? I guess we'll see.

But participation hopefully will be increased by the plans to stream the plenaries and maybe the panels. I'll be bringing my laptop & webcam to help out with that. There should also be people liveblogging, so be on the look out for links popping up on the Feminism 2.0 website Monday. If you have a chance, I hope that you'll join us live. If not, I'm sure there will be videos, pics & blogs posted later on to continue the conversation.

And now off to pack!

Comments

Anonymous said…
I just found out about the DC conference-- and I will be there hopefully in the afternoon (if i can get off work).

Hope to see you there!

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