4. Multiple Backgrounds

[11] Initially characterized by work such as the open letter by Audre Lorde, the work of women of color feminists shows that the Background must be multiple and interconnected.  To simply work on one’s own terrain is to miss out on the multiplicity that exists and possibly to render invisible within your terrain the existence of Backgrounds that are not yours.

[12] María Lugones analyzes The Wickedary in relation to El Libro de Caló.  Both works identify a language in resistance to dominant culture.  The former is Daly’s linguistic mapping of the Background.  In it, Daly makes transparent the domination exercised by the “Masters of Words” to use a phrase originally from Lewis Carroll. (Lugones 2000, 250) El Libro de Caló, mapping out the street language of Chicanos, demonstrates that one effect of this language of resistance is to challenge the colonizing reach of English through resistant appropriation.

[13] In navigating the spaces mapped out linguistically by each dictionary, Lugones, as one who travels in both Lesbian and Chicano worlds, is left fragmented.  The Wickedary speaks (Wicked) English Only (257) and Wicked Caló as a language does not exist.  Lugones resists fragmentation by naming and challenging the barriers that keep Daly’s Lesbian in her own conceptual (and perhaps physical) territory.

The Wickedary is not at home in-between.  It stakes its “domain” in the “background,” dissociating from domination as if one could wash oneself clean—conceptually, linguistically, carnally clean—of the whole affair.  Thus it cannot meet up with Caló and with marimachas who exercise themselves in an in-between linguistic style that defies spatial rulings. (Lugones 2000, 262)

Daly remains confined to the Background, which is not a sustainable place for those who must inhabit multiple worlds and multiple logics and work to resist being fragmented.

[14] Lugones advises caution in attempting to move to the territory of Caló (259-260).  One must enter with an awareness of one’s own location.  To Daly’s Lesbian as compañera, Lugones advises:  travel con cuidado, but do travel.

[15] Spinning out maps of the backgrounds is subversive work, especially if we are doing it in ways that foster and maintain connections among the folks who inhabit multiple backgrounds.  Daly opened up a great deal of conceptual ground for us.  We can continue the mapping with a more complex understanding that is the benefit of thirty years of hard work by those trying to live out the possibilities this space opens up.

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