Wendy Trevino, “Brazilian Is Not a Race”


My dad would always say we were people
Of the mud––Native, Spanish, mud. My mom
Would say, “No seas Malinche,” sometimes.
I always thought you could be, then later
After reading Anzaldúa, I thought
One day I would write about Malinche.
After Anzaldúa, who insisted
The demise of the Aztec Empire
Wasn’t one woman’s fault, who understood
That the Aztec’s treatment of other tribes
Contributed to their own destruction
As it subverted solidarity
Among natives against the Spanish. Yeah.


Looking at the story of Malinche
Only got me so far. Genesis by
Eduardo Galeano, the first book
In his Memory of Fire, got me
Farther. Black in Latin America
With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. did, too.
How do enslaved Africans fit into
The story of Malinche? Where were they?
that story became more interesting
More important to me than Malinche’s.
In the Americas, only Brazil
Had more African slaves than New Spain. From
The time of Cortés to the election
Of Guerrero, there were African slaves.


Mestizaje refers to the general
Process of mixing ancestries. Some say
As an ideology it’s kind of
“An alibi for the nation”––tied to
Nationalist interests, it celebrates
Racial diversity even as it
Denies social realities that are
As real as they are divisive. It has
Circulated in the Caribbean
& in Hispanic America––“most
Notoriously in Brazil”––though now
In decline. In Mexico, the goal under
This ideology was the homo-
Genization of all ethnicities.

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