Wendy Trevino, “Brazilian Is Not a Race”


When I say “the homogenization
Of all ethnicities” I mean the goal
Was to erase Black Mexicans. José
Vasconcelo’s essay “La Raza
Cósmica” begins with him explaining
How he thinks the human races evolved
& it only gets worse as he goes on.
He sounds like a Nazi as he lays out
A hierarchy of races with Black
At the bottom & white at the top, though
He imagines a mixed race, a new shade
Of white, that will trump them all. He sounds like
A Nazi who believes “the Indian’s
A good bridge” between the Black race & white.


Vasconcelos believed “the Indians”
Did or would eventually see themselves
As Mexicans first–-even after he
Laid out that hierarchy of races
He believed that. You can share a country
Like you can share a culture––with people
Who want you to disappear, who would take
Everything from you & still want you gone
Who would ask that you stand by silently
Or actively help as they make others
Disappear & all involved might enjoy
Dancing to “La Bamba” & not even
Know it was originally a song
Sung by African slaves in Veracruz.


The story of Malinche always seemed
Sexist to me so its anti-blackness
Isn’t that surprising, but beyond that
Story, there are others I share with those
Of Mexican &/or Latin descent
The mere mention of which will remind me
Of how I felt when I found out César
Chávez was no friend to people
He called “wetbacks,” will remind me of all
The Latinos working for the Border
Patrol & Immigration & Customs
Enforcement (ICE), will remind me of how
Vasconcelos describes the white race as
One split into Anglos & Latinos.

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