marcela polanco, Ph.D.
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182
I was borned in unceded and exploited territories of the Muisca indigenous communities in 1973. These territories became part of the Nation-State system of what we now call Colombia,
which means, The land of Colombus, La Tierra de Colón. From the colonial system of social
categorization of being and invention of identities in modernity, in the United States order of things, where I live now, my body is racially marked and ranked as a brown cis woman, middle class, heterosexual, able bodied, with no religious affiliations yet educated in the Colombian discriminatory, private, and Catholic schooling system. My ancestry is Southern European by
colonization; as well as Muisca, Pijao, and Black (although, I know very little or nothing at all of
my non European ancestry due to genocide since colonial times). I speak two imperial
languages, Español Colombiano and 20 year-old U.S. immigrant English. During my immigration
experience, in the U.S. I have come to learn, and continue learning to speak borderland Spanglish/Ingleñol.
Although a Colombian immigrant in the U.S., I live an advantageous urban life implicated in the
exploitation and consumption of the earth. I live in the unceded territories of the Kumeyaay
peoples in San Diego, California, which is a city that borders Tijuana, México; it has five U.S.
military bases; and is considered to be among one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.
I actively participate in, hence contribute to the further sustainability of Eurocentric capitalist systems among which are the sexist, classist, and racist salaried work, mortgage-financing, and federal student loans. I paid taxes to the U.S. government Internal Revenue Service in 2020 of
over 100,000 thousand dollars in income, which represents approximately 22,000% more than
the earnings of Indigenous and Black women who live in poverty in Latin América; and 27% less
than the earnings of a White male in academia in California. My earnings come from institutional systems of power that are dedicated to the legitimation of the production of knowledge in standard English, through patriarchal science, and racialized and gendered professional education. Therefore, I profit financially from my scholarly agenda on decoloniality
and social justice that seeks to question and delink from the very same racists and capitalist
systems that my livelihood depends on.
I am part of a eurocentric profession that abides singularly to Western systems of colonial
power that perpetuate relationality within the ideas of marriage, family, and therapy–I am a
family therapist from Nova Southeastern University in the U.S.; and psychologists de la
Universidad de Los Andes en Colombia. I hold the MFT license in three states, California, Texas
and Florida. I am part of the faculty team of the Westernized, San Diego State University master’s program and Spanglish certificate training.
For more information regarding marcela’s work: