by Abaki Beck
Text: “Mestizaje” and the Mexican Mestizo Self: No Hay Sangre Negra, So There is No Blackness”
Author: Taunya Lovell Banks
Quote to Highlight: “The American hypodescent rule is not the sole reason why Mexicans and Mexican American’s seem to erase the African presence in Mexico and Mexico’s history...Contemporary anti-black bias in Latin American countries like Mexico is a vestige of Spanish colonialism and nationalism that must be acknowledged, but is often lost in the uncritical celebration of Latina/o mestizaje.”
Quick Summary: In this article, the author discusses racial identity and anti-blackness in Mexico through the celebration word “mestiza” or “mestizaje” by Latin@ Critical Theory scholars. Some scholars celebrate the “mestizo” identity because it they argue it makes racial identity more “fluid” or “hybrid” in Latin America. Banks argues that uncritically celebrating the mestiza identity as “racial fluidity” merely reinforces anti-blackness by ignoring it (by iterating that because people are mixed, these specific racial identities are rendered no longer important, even if white or light-skinned identities are preferred and recognized). Banks posits that discussions of racial identity, particularly “mixed” racial identities, must be analyzed through both colonial and capitalist lenses. Not only is anti-blackness a legacy of Spanish colonialism, but is enforced by Mexico’s relationship with the United States, as Mexican immigrants often want to be racially identified as white or Indian (but never mixed black). In addition, she argues that the mestiza category is not sufficient to encapsulate the various cultural and racial identities in Mexico.
File it under: Latinx communities, mixed race experience, anti-imperialism
Type of text: Academic article, includes theory and some academic jargon
POC Online Classroom strives to make readings and resources that celebrate the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities more accessible. Rad Reading is a new series that highlight texts to read and writers to support! We will post every Tuesday.