When you are just beginning to love yourself, you seek your story in-between Black and Xicana feminism.
You savor conversations between bell hooks and Amalia Mesa-Bains. You relish the book Homegrown, in which they respectively bring Black/African-American and Chicanx histories, lives, and movements into relationship. In your favorite chapter, Mesa-Bains honors Chicanx altars and altarmaking, and hooks recalls the altars Black folks make in the Deep South.
You savor writing that brings Gloria Anzaldúa and Audre Lorde into conversation, mapping linkages between Xicana and Black feminism through their shared attention to spirit and ancestors and mythmaking.
You savor these, but you still seek.
You seek where Blackness and Xicanidad meet. Where Blackness and Xicanidad inhabit each other. Where La Blaxicana and her kin—La Afromexicana, La Afro-Tejana, La Afro-Indígena, for example—are expected to exist because they have for centuries. You seek places where, even if people do not identify with any of these labels, the history of afrodescendientes in Mexico is still named.
You turn to history, or rather to what history you can find:
The first enslaved Africans arrived in Mexico as early as 1519 with Spanish conquistadores. Afrodescendientes “outnumbered” Spanish settlers in New Spain from 1570 until 1810. Their lives were deeply interconnected with Indigenous/Native, Spanish, and other communities (or castas/castes in colonial terms). During the Mexican Inquisition, Afromexicanas (Afromexican women) were questioned for healing with herbs, speaking to ravens, and talking to the sea . . .†
Here, you pause, Blaxicana. As a Black woman, you know the magic stereotype well. You know how old ways, Indigenous ways that honor all our relations, can be misread. You know how Black healing ways have been stigmatized. And you know, in your huesos, your bones, the language La Afromexicana may have been speaking. You know from reclaiming old ways. From reconnecting with the sacredness of the sea. From ancestral migrations across the same Atlantic Ocean. Tu sabes la frontera, y sabes bien el mar. You know the borderlands, and you also know the sea.