The concept of being mita’ y mita’ or half and half is foundational in Anzaldúa (2012) description of the new mestiza (A person of mixed racial ancestry, especially of mixed European and Native American ancestry). She describes this as “neither one nor the other but a strange doubling” (p. 41). While I can’t relate to this concept on a racial or ethnological level, I can relate to it in other aspects of my life. We all have so many different parts and sections of our lives. The way that we relate with our colleagues might different than our friends or family. The presentation that we give might be different in each group. One example of this in my life is my fascination and connection with technology. I find myself consistently interested in technology and listen to several podcasts about technology every week, along with reading about it. While, I’ve long been interested in the intersection between practice and technology (Campbell, 2014), usually my two worlds don’t meet. If I talk about topics related to technology to people I am close to or who I am usually around, I end up getting a deer in the headlights kind of look.
When we have these multiple consciousnesses that we take on in our life it creates divides. This is especially true as Anzaldúa (2012) describes her different worldviews related to feminism, being a lesbian, living in the United States, being Chicana. I found her description of the defense mechanisms that create based on this to be especially insightful. She described the Nopal de Castilla (“Prickly Pear Cactus”). She stated that “Soy nopal de castilla like the spineless and therefore defenseless cactus that Mamagrade Romana grew in back of her shed. I have no protection. So I cultivated needles, nettles, razor-sharp spikes to protect myself from others” (p. 67). This idea of how we develop and cultivate spines as a defense mechanism is so true for people. These defense strategies are to help us escape what she calls the “agony of inadequacy.”
I would call these agonies as traumas that we experience and that we build defense mechanisms to address them. I was so interested in the picture of this, I created and shared a small graphic about this idea of Nopal de Castillas.
I've been enjoying reading Anzaldúa book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. She talks about this idea of defense mechanisms And relates to to "Nopal de Castilla" (Prickly Pear Cactus). I really like the image of how we develop spines sometimes. I created this graphic. pic.twitter.com/iKiDtisIkt— Jacob Campbell (@campjacob) October 4, 2019
From the description that Black (2007) gives of Fanon and DuBoisian, they went through many tribulations in their moving forward the work of scientific inquiry. He describes this double conscious as having two antagonistic identities. He goes on to state that “means that a lot of time and energy is spent negotiating and enduring the conflicts between who one is as a person and how one struggles to live with the misrepresentations of the outside world” (p. 394). Black goes on to describe how these assimilations and adaptions can lead to “harmful unilateral double consciousness” (p. 400).
In looking into the concept of resilience, this is truly a place of opportunity, which includes challenges. The concepts of resilience can be defined by many different fields of practice. Zolli and Healy (2012) describe definitions from engineering, emergency response, ecology, psychology, sociology, and others. It is also a newer field. While there are many resources around the concept of resilience, there are relatively only new scholarly publications focused on the many different facets of resilience. Being able to take a step back do the important work of both seeing ourselves through our self-defined perspective, but also through the perspective of others is a vital step (Black, 2007, p. 403).
Anzaldúa, G. (2012). Borderlands/la frontera: The new mestiza (4th ed.). San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.
Black, M. (2007). Fanon and DuBoisian double consciousness. Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, 5(3), 393-404. Available at https://scholarworks.umb.edu/humanarchitecture/vol5/iss3/36
Campbell, J. (2014, Nov 14) Tracking trainings using drafts and launch center pro. Retrieved from https://jacobrcampbell.com/blog/2014/8/mileage-tracking-form-and-launch-center-pro
Zolli, A., & Healy, A. M. (2012) Resilience: Why things bounce back [Apple Books]. New York: Free Press. Available at https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=490730012
This essay was originally posted as a forum post for TSD 8210 - Self, Society & Transformation at the California Institute of Integral Studies.