Wendy Trevino, “Brazilian Is Not a Race”


Since I started writing this poem less than
A year ago, Mexico recognized
The African ancestry of more than
1 million Mexicans for the first time
In a census survey. “Black” will debut
As an official category in
The 2020 national census.
This is decades after the much discussed
“Multicultural turn” of the 90s
In Latin America, when people
Of African descent went from being
“Invisible” to becoming part of
The state’s apparatus, “communities”
Lawyers could find a legal way around.


In the U.S., the 2000 census
Allowed respondents to check all races
That applied. It was either that or add
A “multiracial” category. It
Was the choice that split the Multiracial
Movement. The middle class white women who
Started the Movement were on the same side
Of the debate as Newt Gingrich, wanting
A standalone category that would
have affected the numbers of other
Minority racial categories
& funding for race-based initiatives
& civil rights programs. Their primary
Concern was their children’s “racial safety.”


When I say the middle class white women
Who started the Multiracial movement
Were concerned about their children’s “racial
Safety,” I mean they could see their children
Weren’t white, but they wanted everyone else
To see how they weren’t Black either––cuz “safety.”
Groups like the NAACP did
Not like them. The white women didn’t get
It. They thought these groups must be for the “one-
Drop rule.” In his book Amalgamation
Schemes, Jared Sexton attacks the Movement
& celebrations of “impurity”
In general––Anzaldúa’s included.
“Impurity’s” a given. Race is not.

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