Wendy Trevino, “Brazilian Is Not a Race”

28

What gets me: the Multiracial Movement
Started in San Francisco in 19-
78, when “urban renewal”
Was displacing thousands of Black people.
The white women who started it had to
Have known. ’78 was the same year
Many of the Fillmore District’s former
Black residents committed suicide
Or were murdered in Jonestown, Guyana.
That had to have been all over the news.
But there’s no indication these women
Wanted to fight that kind of racism.
Vasconcelo’s case is more complex
Not cuz he was mestizo. He was not.

29

I keep thinking of this woman I met
At a “POC only” meeting years
Ago. She wasn’t just light-skinned. She looked
White. It’s hard to explain, but I wasn’t
Alone in thinking this. When it was her
Turn, she introduced herself & explained
Her father was white & her mother was
From Guatemala. She offered to leave
If anyone was uncomfortable
With her there. Everyone said it was fine.
Only later did I learn from a friend
Who’d dated her & met her mother, her
Mother’s family owned a plantation in
Guatemala. Otherwise they were Basques.

30

The Magón brothers founded the Eden-
Dale commune with family & friends in Los
Angeles, surrounded by silent film
Studios in Silver lake. There has to
Be room for that. That & everything else
That was un-American at that time
In the broadest, anti-capitalist
Sense. A friend once said race is what is done
To us; ethnicity is what we do
To ourselves. Growing up in the Valley
That didn’t feel true, but that doesn’t mean
It isn’t. Even in 1915
Trains traveling through Brownsville segregated
Black people from white. Mexican or not.

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