A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin by Italia Alexandria Bella’-Victoria Rodriguez Quintana and Kate Nixon

Italia Alexandria Bella’-Victoria Rodriguez Quintana

This week’s readings contextualized the fall of the Berlin Wall and the violence during integration of West and East Germany. As a Mexican-American, it felt impossible for me not to see the methods of violence globally maintained in the 21st century. I thought often about Transnational Feminism as a framework to explore borders and how they position us in a false binary of confined or protected. Additionally, we’ve learned Critical Race Theory functions as a framework to understand the racialization of immigration legislature, as well as the creation of national identities that essentialize exclusionary ideologies. The paradigm of “who belongs” versus “who is excluded” has been necessary to utilizing people as tools of oppressive institutions, exemplified in the violent treatment of migrant groups within West Germany. Our class discussion then changed to forms of resistance in Germany and how the fight for liberation includes anticipation of our oppressors fighting back to maintain power. This was discussed in relationship to ideals of work and production, as those who face the worst of capitalism in the U.S. (Black and Brown communities) are also faced with the question: Will I choose to rest or resist? Similarly, Black and Brown women are asked to position themselves as silent victims of violence for the betterment of their communities. This can be analyzed in the discouragement of reinforcing racial stereotypes and brutalization towards Black and Brown communities, while silencing conversations of intracommunity issues. I see this in relation to frameworks of Black Feminist Theory, as Black women are asked to give up their racial or gender identity to focus on a singular experience of oppression, which flattens the complexity of existing within the intersections of multiply marginalized categories. This week’s readings also examined the relationship between colonialism and the construction of race, which has served as historical context for how marginalized groups are treated in contemporary Germany. On the streets, we saw street art of a cop saying “aquí no necesitamos a gente como tu.” This contributed to my understanding of Germany by emphasizing the dichotomy between differing systems of racialization that globally share foundations of anti-immigrant sentiments. The street art piece, which translates to “we don’t need people like you here,” reminded me of our class in which we discussed how borders designate whether we belong and how racialized national identities designate BIPoC as forever foreign.

Italia Alexandria Bella’-Victoria Rodriguez Quintana is a Xicana from South Denver, Colorado. Her name seems long, but it represents her and her mom’s shared interest in paying homage to the people who made her. Italia is a Romance Languages major with minors in Political Science and Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies. Her study of linguistics allows her to explore history and culture through personal narratives, serving as a method of decolonization of the self. She enjoys reading feminist theory, Instagram reels, thinking|pondering, weightlifting, and reviewing food w| her bestie on @latinayumtinas.

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Kate Nixon

Hello, and welcome to my day in the life on a lovely Wednesday in Berlin! I started my morning with yogurt and coffee (made by one of my wonderful roommates—thank you Elliot!!) and headed to class. We started class with a discussion of love—questioning how is love defined and how is it pushing us towards resistance? The day before, we went on a tour exploring the escape tunnels built under the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. One of the largest factors motivating these escapes was love, so much so that one man made sure the tunnel he built was tall enough for his fiancé to use without having to crouch down. These tunnels showed us how love gave those tunnel builders purpose and motivation to keep going even despite the low (25%) success rate of the tunnels. Our conversation then shifted to how we keep resisting, knowing that regardless of our best efforts, nothing will be successful 100% of the time. While we didn’t come up with any concrete solutions, we came back to love and how necessary it is to have in hard times. Keeping with the discussion of staying motivated when everything seems exhausting, we talked about the importance of rest. As self-defined “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” Audre Lorde has written, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” We discussed how napping is a form of self-care and active resistance, and in honor of that, after class and amazing visits to a gluten-free café and a queer bookstore, I decided to take a nap. After I arose from my restorative siesta, Elliot and I decided to head to the Berlin State Library to finish off the night with some schoolwork.

Kate Nixon is a rising senior pursuing a double major in Feminist & Gender Studies and Psychology, with an interest in finding where the two intersect and how they can inform each other. Raised in Maryland and Kansas City, Kate enjoys being in nature and exploring new places. When not working on classwork or the Colorado College newspaper, you can find Kate with friends making art or reading queer and feminist books in various coffee shops.

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