Wendy Trevino, “Brazilian Is Not a Race”


Where am I going with this? I thought
I knew. It makes sense that whenever race
Comes up, I think about the Rio Grande
Valley––“the Valley” as anyone
Who knows the place calls it. That’s where I learned
I’m not white & what that means & how what
That means changes & doesn’t & to who.
Harlingen (where I was born & raised) is
The whitest town in the Valley. Anglos
Made up about 10% of the town
When I lived there. My extended family
Lived in Brownsville & La Joya. Anglos
Made & make up less than 7%
Of both of those towns. Where is this going?


Gloria Anzaldúa was also
From the Valley. Her Wikipedia
Page says she was born in Harlingen like
Me. I read Borderlands/La Frontera:
The New Mestiza
in college, after
One of my Philosophy professors
Recommended it to me. At the time
I was more than anything excited
To be from the same place as this published
Writer, but to be honest, I didn’t
Understand how “living between cultures”
Made us special. I didn’t even see
How the “cultures” were distinct. I still don’t.
Her approach didn’t resonate with me.


Anzaldúa died from complications
Associated with diabetes
In 2004. She was 61.
Around the same age as my Aunt Licha
Who also died from complications
Associated with diabetes
Around that time. Imagining these two
Women––one in Santa Cruz, the other
In Harlingen––dying, it’s hard not to
Reflect on what I know about their lives.
How different they were. My aunt loved reading
Too, but the Bible. Her approach didn’t
Resonate with me either, but my love
Of reading was always compared to hers.

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