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36 - Afra-descendant Literature

The Afra Ecuadorian writer Luz Argentina Chiriboga writes a story about the burden of being named Linda when your aspect is the opposite of the standard of beauty. In the comments, we talk about how Christianity spun some racist ideas that still haunt our societies.

First Story

White Skin for Sale Caracas, Venezuela: 1796

The Spanish crown no longer considers Indian lineage vile; black blood, on the other hand, darkens births for many generations. Rich mulattos can buy certificates of whiteness for five hundred silver coins.

To remove the stain that greatly afflicts him, the king pronounces Diego Mejías Bejarano, mulatto of Caracas, to be white so that his sad and inferior condition should not be an impediment to his use, treatment, alternatives, and mode of dress vis-à-vis (face-to-face) other subjects.

In Caracas, only whites can attend Mass in the cathedral or kneel on carpets in any church. The master race are known as Mantuans because the mantilla is the privilege of white ladies. No mulatto may be a priest or a doctor.

Mejías Bejarano has paid up the five hundred coins, but the local authorities decline to obey. An uncle of Simón Bolívar and the other Mantuans of the town council declare that the royal warrant is frightening for the inhabitants and creoles of America. The town council asks the king: How is it possible for the white inhabitants and natives of this province to admit at their side a mulatto descended from their own slaves, or from the slaves of their fathers?

(From Faces and Masks: Memory of Fire, Volume 2 by Eduardo Galeano. Translation Copyright © 1987 Cedric Belfrage. Published by Nation Books: New York)


Welcome to Tres Cuentos, the podcast dedicated to literary narratives of Latin America. The anecdote read by my friend Don Hymel, can be found in the book Faces and Masks: Memory of Fire, by Eduardo Galeano, translated by Cedric Belfrage.


In Spanish, there is an old saying, "El mono aunque se vista de seda, mono se queda." One translation I found reads, "Disguise yourself all you want; your rotten stench will never go away." A more literal translation is, "Even if the monkey dresses in silk, he is still a monkey."

In other words, no one can disguise his humble origins with fancy clothes. So, if you were not born with the right ancestry, your manners (or something in you) will give you away.

I remember that when I was about 15, my mom got me a flowery dress. I was eager to wear it, so I put it on to go run an errand at the neighborhood store. When I was leaving the residential unit where we lived, I was approached by a woman in her 50s and asked if I was a maid who worked in one of the houses. I froze, I said no, and I went on my way.

To that woman, I was a person of lower class because my brown skin and flowery dress was all she needed to complete her observation. To me, it was the end of that dress.

During colonial times those in power sold titles to those who could buy them. Those in lower positions thought that they could ascend the social ladder of that system that was repressing them. There was, however, a dominant structure that had classified the world as either civilized or barbaric, beautiful or ugly, white or black. This system has evolved into new forms of bullying and discrimination.

Today, we continue our journey through the literature of afro descendants. We welcome the honest and sweet words of the Afra-Ecuadorian writer Luz Argentina Chiriboga.

The listener can find the following excerpt in the book The Afro Hispanic Reader and Anthology, edited by Paulette A. Ramsay and Antonio D. Tillis, and translated by Ingrid Watson Miller.

The narration comes in the powerful voice of the storyteller Sheila Arnold. I will tell you more about her in the comments.

Luz Argentina Chiriboga tells us a story of a woman named Linda, a name that in Spanish means "pretty." However, the name, instead of granting the bearer its appealing attributes, becomes a curse. A nightmare that torments its carrier, because as we know, the world prefers beauty over its opposite.

This World is not For Ugly Girls


By Luz Argentina Chiriboga Guerrero

Adapted by CQS and DH

Read by Sheila Arnold

Originally in Spanish from Este mundo no es de las feas. Luz Argentina Chiriboga Guerrero. 2006. Quito: Editorial Libresa, 103-11.

English translation From The Afro Hispanic Reader and Anthology, edited by Paulette A. Ramsay and Antonio D. Tillis. Copyright © 2018. Used with permission of the publisher Ian Randle Publishers. All rights reserved. Chiriboga’s text was Translated by Ingrid Watson Miller for The Afro-Hispanic Reader.

At home everyone said that I needed to visit the psychiatrist, since this doctor studies the structure of the human personality. I was not afraid; it was just a matter of interpreting some ink spots without structured forms, a method utilized by the Greeks that gave good results.

The case was clear. The neighbors got together, and they began to weave the most varied opinions. Each one drew logical conclusions. They advised Luís, my father who could not sleep, to carry his offspring to Dr. Joaquín Robusto. The physician was the son of a Spaniard and had come to Ecuador as a guest to participate in conferences in some provinces of the country. While there, he met a Mexican colleague, whose slender figure lit up with grace, married her and remained in Ecuador.

My parents, Luis Castañeda and Roxana Perea, forced me to undergo treatment with Dr. Robusto, because I felt disembodied, like an abstract being. Constantly, I felt the sensation of walking on a tightrope or standing on the edge of a cliff. I was there, in class with my books and notebooks, but for the teachers and for my classmates, I did not exist. I was without body, an amorphous particle, without life, a nobody.

Truth be told, I had not agreed to the suggestive name I had been given, valid for another being who was not me. I was different from what the name was and what it represented, not a Cleopatra with tender eyes at night or Sophia Loren with that divine grace. Although, since then I have realized the importance of a name.

Perhaps, I had inherited my features from a relative, or perhaps the crossing of my parents was not appropriate, or maybe my mother was frightened when she was pregnant, or saw a monkey in the waning night, or she crossed the forest and the Bambero frightened her. How should I know, or possibly a family member played a dirty trick on me, because I inherited an unprotected ugliness, ugliness with a capital U, the cause of my fears and my anxieties.

Most strange was that because of my mother’s refined sensibility, I was named Linda. What an absurdity! What a lack of reasoning, of fundamental balance, without considering for a moment in detail the daughter that she had brought into the world; a world so complex, so difficult that it only has room for normal people. If my face or my profile were to be observed from any angle, my ugliness would stand out.

At home they were intrigued and spent hours, weeks, and months thinking about where I had inherited this terrible flaw, it was too late when they realized the mistake, the grave error of having given me a name so unrealistic and cheerful, Linda (beautiful). What sign did I give them at birth to call me that name, such a fragrant and fresh name, because that and more is what Linda suggests.

Philosophers will say that beauty is only skin deep, that there are other values to celebrate, and that we must be optimistic. They say that the great masters levitate and their souls leave their bodies, whether beautiful or ugly. Dad, however, recommended conformity and resignation.

When I was in the crib, I heard my parents’ reasoning about the name I would carry for life and it began to intrigue me. My father said “Rosa”, then I screamed, he hushed “Quiet, my little girl.”

I was already beginning to recognize patterns, rules, remnants and aberrations of the world. In order to satisfy the demands of society, there would have to be another baby, because on this planet beauty was worshiped and beauty was white. My mother came to belief that by spraying a little face powder on me and hiding the stain on my buttocks, everything would be solved. Not so much.

The idea of choosing a name for me was re-energized and I felt a strange fear. A fear, which became increasingly acute upon hearing that I would bear the name Bella, another naiveté of my parents. I cried. What were they thinking? I could not determine which of the two said, “She will be called Rosalinda.” Then I kicked hard, I threw the toys that were around me. Mom, confused, felt that something strange was happening. I felt the need to refute them, to tell them not to commit such an error, but they did not understand my signals.

If I had been born normal without this remarkable ugliness, I would have been happy to be called “Rosalinda,” “Jungle,” “Summer,” “Spring,” then I would always be cheerfully singing. There was nothing that worried me more than wearing a name that was discordant with my figure; it was like getting used to a new way to die. In the future, as a young woman, my face would cause vertigo. I saw myself monstrously ugly, and I was afraid to face life.

Tomorrow, when dawn had knocked on my bedroom window, I would suffer a severe crisis of contradiction, denial, because people do not accept those different from themselves. I was lost; I would not have peace for the rest of my life.

“Yes, you will be called Linda.”

Mom noticed my reaction. Suddenly, I suffered an outburst, fever. I cried so hard, a lamp on the nightstand fell on the floor. They had concluded that my name would be Linda. They imagined I would inherit my mother’s grace and father’s height, but they were wrong. I inherited my features from a relative, that like a ghost had come to haunt me. A stranger that had spent his life cursed for being weird, different, anatomically dissonant, undefined, average.

They did not get it. I was the one who would have to carry the name Linda forever, while dragging my ugliness by the trickery of a distant ancestor, who perhaps had been a quiet primate fruit-eater living in the trees or a bug.

I reflect, as if I were suddenly submerged in a strange underworld, populated with ghosts, of unknown forms. How will I be able to express my free will if I am marked with this inheritance? How to change this genetic code? Will I be able to break molds? I observe my sister with her delicate factions, with her pink cheeks and her blond hair. According to the neighbors, she should have been called Helen of Troy or Delilah. What will she say upon seeing me: that I am, a tadpole?

Desperate, I feel my ugliness on the surface, in all my pores, as if an insect went across my face, climbed to my eyes, and stayed put on my nose. In vain I fight to scare it away, but it is part of me. Perhaps I was destined to be a lizard, a frog, a rabbit, and since there is an amazing similarity with animals in the process of forming a new individual, then at the last instant, I became human.

Perhaps, by mistake, another body was introduced into my mother’s womb that came from the beyond, from the big bang or of the big apes, from that the mysterious genetic itinerary, and remained to live among humans. I asked myself, what to think and do about that desire or trap that nature conjured to bring together this union, if I am so ugly?

I thought I had better go back and pretend to be sick. I did not move, I refused to eat, and when my parents noticed my emaciated face, they called the doctor. I remember that he was next to me, dressed in a white suit; he took my pulse and while caressing my hand he whispered, “Stay in this world, don’t go back.”

It is not a dream, but I became an expert on Sigmund Freud, Rorschach and Machover.

Dr Joaquín Robusto’s son, Ricardo, a young man with eyes like the waning night, showed me some prints in black and grey, with different combinations of tones and polychromes. Satisfied with my answers, the examiner, showed his approval and confidence in my way of being, and while I repeated: “I am Linda, I am Linda,” he adapted to my ugliness and I filled his loneliness.


This story reminds me of that old saying, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” To me, the beholder is the culture that uses a racial lens. For centuries, those lenses have filtered and shaped the idea of beauty, subscribing it to what is pure, white, and docile.

Then, before we dive into the way tales were spun and twisted to justify the superiority of the white culture in Latin America, I must introduce the voice that gave life to Chiriboga’s tale: Sheila Arnold.

Sheila Arnold has been a full-time Storyteller for seventeen years traveling through the United States and sharing stories; as well as doing Historic Character Presentations and Christian Monologues. Ms. Sheila is a Professional Imaginator with a passion, vision, and ministry of healing hearts, unifying communities, and reminding people to share their stories. Visit her website at:

Remember, dear listeners, that you can subscribe to the podcast by visiting our website or follow us on Facebook or Instagram as Tres Cuentos Podcast.

If you have a topic or an author you would like us to consider for future programs, contact us through our website.

Finally, if you find value in what we are doing at Tres Cuentos, we appreciate your positive comments on iTunes and of course, when you share the episodes.


The website Ecuador Fiction tells us more about today's author: "Luz Argentina Chiriboga is one of Ecuador's premier Afro-descendent writers." Her literary scope includes narratives, essays, novels, and poetry. It reflects her interests in genealogy, linguistics, the environment, and human rights in the arena of Afro-Latina women and culture.

Luz Argentina Chiriboga's work explores racial and sexual identities in a patriarchal, religious, and racist culture and digs into taboo subjects such as birth control, domestic violence, homosexuality, and female sexual autonomy. Some of her books have been translated into English, French, and Italian. So, check them out.


The idea of beauty is indeed determined by culture, the beholder, some money, and these days globalization. Media and influencers have modeled in our minds what is acceptable, desirable, and considered normal.

But the question lingers, where does the idea of beauty come from? And how did one story become the accepted and standard version for centuries?

To tackle the early construction of the idea of beauty in the Hispanic imaginary, we must refer to a paper written by the scholar María Eugenia Chávez, “Color, Inferioridad y Esclavización,” (Color, Inferiority, and Slavery).

From history, we learned that the concept of race, its classification, and its effect on minorities dates back to the end of the 18th century. Yet, Chávez gives proof that the heinous idea of racism dates further back in time.

Most Christians believe that humans came from Adam. However, for the early Christian fathers, there was another interpretation – one that explains in more detail the origin of the African people.

Legend says that there is an obscure passage in the Old Testament where Cham, Noah’s third son, one day laughed at his drunk naked father. His older brothers Seth (Sem) and Jafet covered the nakedness of his father. In turn, Cham’s mockery was severely punished with a curse. He and his descendants were condemned to servitude as the slaves of his brothers’ descendants.

To this, I got to say, what a horrible way to address the situation. Also, why is the father drunk? Aren’t parents supposed to give a good example? Well, I am glad we do not live in such terrible times anymore. Or do we?

But let us continue with the twisted tale. The scholar María Eugenia Chávez tells us that "although in the bible story there is no reference to the color of skin as part of the curse, the sneaky Christian fathers began spinning a new interpretation of the story and adding more flavor to it to justify the difference and inferiority of the African people."

The foundational Jewish myth establishes a division of the world into three parts. Seth and Jafet respectively kept Europe and Asia, and Cham kept Africa and the Arabic Peninsula.

Note that in the original tale, the curse only includes the punishment of servitude. There is no mentioning of the darkening of Cham descendant's skins. Yet, this last detail began seasoning the cautionary tales that religious interpreters were telling each other and their parishioners for about a thousand years.

One of those religious interpreters was the Jesuit Alonso de Sandoval. This man lived most of his life in Cartagena de Indias (today north of Colombia), evangelizing enslaved Africans arriving at the port. In 1627, Sandoval wrote the following:

"To understand the great difficulty that is the human species between the Ethiopians (also known as Africans) and the other black kingdoms, it is necessary to know the cause of the origin of the monsters… the principal of this is that when nature did not achieve its perfect goal, which is to procreate beings alike, nature conceived something monstrous. Thus, with reason, it can be concluded that monstrosity is a sin of nature."

But this twisted diatribe, digs deeper into the divine and assures that "blackness comes either from God's will -who intended such variety, - or it is intrinsic to those people…"

Later he continues, "Then, it is my understanding that the black skin of the African nations, did not come only from the curse Noah cast on his grandson Chanaan […] but on an intrinsic quality placed by God in Cham, which was an excessive heat, so his children will be born with a tarnish, that became the mark of a man who dared to mock his father; and so, God stipulated that in the seminal matter of its first-born Chuz, and not in the others, lived the temperament of his first qualities, which resulted in the quality of blackness […] Therefore, black people's origins can be traced to Cham, who was the first servant and slave in the world […] and that the black color that was before an added variety to the human species, and greatly admired, is now a stain."

So, from the twisted elaborations of an old tale, some religious scholars arrived at a far-fetched and atrocious conclusion that, unfortunately, still permeates today's world.


Yet, we should not crucify Sandoval. He, of course, had some inspiration from the works of another Jesuit called Joseph de Acosta. This man served the colonial government during the Sixteenth century. He dedicated his body of work to explain the origin and nature of the native Americans and their societies.

Basically, he divided the world between European-white and barbarians. Now, since the white-Europeans did not need categorization, they were all good. The others were classified in the following order. First, the Chinese and Japanese, followed by Peruvians (Incas), Mexicans (Aztecs), and Chileans; the last group being the savages that most resembled the beasts.

María Eugenia Chávez tells us “that the Jesuit Acosta is credited with the introduction of color as a visible sign of natural and immutable inferiority.”

Referring to the native Americans, in 1589, Acosta compares them with the biblical descendants of Cham. According to him, the natives were a depraved and wicked nation, whose understanding and way of thinking cannot be transformed because they had been cursed from the beginning.

Here is one of Acosta’s quotes on the subject. “These natives have become filled with hereditary malice, that is so ingrained, that it will be exceedingly difficult to remove it from them. Just as an Ethiopian (referring to Africans) cannot change his color of skin or the leopard cannot change his patchy color, so these natives cannot do good, since they have been taught to do evil […] This is the reason why even with much work a great result cannot be expected because these people are a cursed seed, abandoned of divine aid and destined to perdition.”

I wonder if the old Spanish saying “malicia indigena,” that could be translated as “indigenous malice or trickery,” comes from those times.

Despite the enormous and tedious work that Acosta believed he had still to accomplish, he persevered in his intent of evangelizing the peoples of the so-called New World. To Acosta and later his follower Sandoval, salvation is necessary to rescue the natives and the enslaved Africans from the perilous fate that nature has condemned them to, which is profoundly exhibited in their little understanding, their voracious appetite, and their heresy.

Both men concluded that the only way for these nations to aspire to any redemption was to be converted to the Christian faith. In the meantime, these inferior people had to subject themselves to the authority of those who understood the faith, the word, and the force of the true god.

Sandoval explicitly emphasizes that Africans must accept their servitude with humbleness and obedience and accept their fate as a necessary pain.


One Spanish folktale called "La Reina Mora" tells the story of a young man on a journey to seek his fortune, who finds a beautiful enchanted white and delicate princess. After giving the girl of his dreams some bread and water, the young man realizes he cannot make her walk back to his home because she is naked. No, he needs to bring a carriage, horse, and dress to take her back. So, he asks her to sit on the branch of a tree and wait for him to return.

When the man leaves, soon comes a mora, a dark skin woman (referring to the moors), a servant, or a gypsy, depending on the version. The mora comes to the lake, river, or fountain below the tree where the pretty girl awaits. The dark skin woman kneels to fill her bucket with water and, upon seeing a reflection of a pretty white girl, realizes who is in the tree. The girl tells the woman that she is waiting for a young man.

The story goes that the mora gets jealous and, since she is a sorcerer, turns the sweet girl into a white dove and takes the girl's place upon the tree. From there, the story continues, and you can imagine the vicious dark skin woman's fate when the truth comes out.

Let's consider for a moment that this story has been told in Spain and all across the Americas and the impact that its message carries.

A simple story like this one, along with other polarizing discourses and discriminatory practices, found fertile land in the Spanish renaissance ideas. They convinced themselves that the world was divided between civil and barbarous, dark color and white color, Europe and the rest of the world, saviors and condemned, dominators and dominated. Curiously, in many ways, we seem to trace back to those not-so-good old times.

The scholar María Eugenia Chávez tells us that "during the centuries after colonialism, the identities of mestizaje (race mixing) were deeply affected by antagonistic discourses. Social relationships and legislation aimed to reproduce all forms of differentiation and to repress the subordinated population."

And then we have another member of the clergy (those bonzos as Machado de Assis called them) adding his political thinking to the mix: none other than Juan Solórzano y Pereyra, also a Jesuit and a contemporary of the other religious men I mentioned before.

In his treatise Indiarum iure siue, published in 1647, Solórzano y Pereyra divides the world's inhabitants, according to their measure of civility. Here is what he had to say about the mixing of races or mestizaje.

"They took the name of mestizos due to the mixing of blood and nations that joined in conceiving them. And the mulattos, although they also fall under the same category, they are children of a black woman and a white man, or vice versa. Such mix, the most distasteful and extraordinary, is compared to the nature of a mule. The most outrageous is that they are born out of adultery and other illegal and punishable gatherings because no honorable Spaniard can marry an Indian or black woman."

As we see, the mestizos were considered a product of sinful and delinquent relations that suggested filthiness, impurity, and contamination. They were called "Mancha de color vario," (stain of various colors).

I must stop to encourage you to read the book of comedian Trevor Noa, Born a crime, which talks about being a mixed-race child in South Africa.


However, before we conclude that the attack on mestizaje (racial mixing) has its roots in colonial times, the scholar María Eugenia Chávez indicates otherwise. The so-called stain-of-color evolves from the speeches of purity-of-blood that appeared in the Iberian Peninsula due to the Christian faith-based movements of reconquest.

Chávez explains that “along with the wars of removal of the Arabic communities that had settled in the peninsula for over seven centuries, a new discourse evolved to keep identities differentiated and justify the Christian dominance.”

This new belief was the purity-of-blood, and its counterpart was the stain-of-color. The latter unfolded in a quite intricate categorization. Chavéz indicates “that early into colonialism, lies a need of setting aside those mestizos that descended from Africans, and those that did not.”

The more Africans arrived to Hispanic America, the more racial mixing seemed unstoppable. Terms such as zambo, mulatto, coyote, lobo (wolf) were introduced to indicate the lineage and class of people of color. In case you missed it, all these names refer to animal qualities.

Chávez mentions that in the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language the term Zambo is defined as follows: “wild and grotesque animal, that is raised in certain parts of the Americas […] it’s skin is of various colors […] It is so heinous that at first sight, it gives a fright to those who do not know him.”

In contrast, by the 18th century, the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language defines the white color this way: “The white man and woman it is the same as an honorable person […] Blacks, mulattos, Berber (referring to Muslims), and other people are considered unimportant and despicable due to the lack of white color intrinsic of Europeans. The white man or woman is by nature well-born.”


Growing up, I heard the expression "mejorar la raza," (better the race), which implies that people should marry those who can whiten the family color. Thus, it was inconceivable to date a black person, no matter how smart, lovely he or she could be. The opposite but white was infinitely times better because it all goes down to reputation.

María Eugenia Chávez tells us that "The mestizaje (the mixing of races) represented a disturbing element to the colonial order. It implied the cohabitation of two separate republics, that of the Spaniards and the Indians."

Notice that there is no mention of the African slaves because they were not considered a culture. Instead, they were subordinate to the white-Spanish rule and needed to be kept away from the natives.

Nevertheless, from the very beginning, the ideal colonial structure failed, so the mestizaje was reluctantly accepted as an undesirable consequence.

Chávez continues by saying that "from the beginning of the colonial era, the mixed identities where the white-European element had not partaken, began to be defined as "castas de color incierto," that is castes -of-uncertain-color.

Interestingly, during the 12 and 13th century when in the Iberian Peninsula, Muslims, Jews, and Christians coexisted, the term casta or caste was used to designate groups of Christians. It meant that they were not mixing with others, so it came to mean absence-of-mixing, later in time, good-lineage.

Back to the not-so-enlightening-ideas of the 18th century, it is during this time that a strict system was produced classifying the different mixing of colors. From there also began a whitening speech of redemption, denouncing societies' degeneration and blackening.

I will now read to you one of the caste systems outlined in México in 1715.

1. Spaniard and India produce mestizo.

2. Spaniard and mestiza produce castizo.

3. Castizo and Spanish woman produce Spaniard. (Note the “upgrade”)

4. Spaniard and black woman produce mulatto.

5. Spaniard and mulata produce morisco.

6. Spaniard and morisca produce albino.

7. Mulatto and mestiza produce mulatto torna atrás (that is a reverse mulatto, or back to incivility, or a downgrade)

8. Black and Indian produce lobo (wolf).

9. Indio and loba (female wolf) produce grifo.

10. Lobo and Indian produce lobo torna atrás (a bit of an upgrade).

11. Mestizo and Indian produced coyote.

There are many more categories depending on the decade and the Latin American country, each more infuriating than the previous one. However, what is sad is that there are still many people using some of these offensive terms in everyday life.

In conversation with elders, someone may bring up with a whispered comment about that great grandpa that had a so-called affair with someone of color. Then, the family will sigh in relief that luckily, his transgression did not lead to staining his grandchildren lineage.

Chávez finalizes her article by telling us that during this same 18th century, naturalists, and philosophers such the Swedish Carl von Linneo, the French George Louis Leclerc, and the German Immanuel Kant, “developed a metalanguage to explain the existence of intrinsic characteristics that justified the differences among human beings.”

The new system intended to establish a hierarchy between primitive and developed. The system that evolved and was prominent until recent decades classified the world as “third world countries” and “first-world-nations.” Today, they called it “developed countries” and “undeveloped or developing countries.”

I cannot count how many times I have heard people using the term undeveloped countries and see how their chest proudly rise because they do not live there. I found it offensive and unrealistic.

To that, I say, get a dose of reality, walk down your neighborhood, meet the homeless people of your city, or visit an impoverished community in your county. You will know that the undeveloped is not outside. It is right here. Instead, people are looking away from the pain and suffering next door.

Those antagonistic discourses spanning many centuries, were wickedly designed by those in power to justify their brutal and heinous domination.

And with this cry for a conscious reflection on how our thinking and speeches still may reflect the not-so-good-old-times, we end today’s episode.

I will leave you with a poem by the Ecuadorian author Luz Argentina Chiriboga, taken from the book Daughters of the Diaspora: Afra-Hispanic Writers, editor Miriam DeCosta-Willis, published by Ian Randle Publishers, and translated by Rosemary Geisdorfer Feal.


Let my braid loose so it may dance in the wet wind. I want to feel its intoxicating language. This wild, elusive tangle lights the fire that makes me delirious. It cries out a full-bodied surrender, and it casts shadows on my nocturnal rebellions. It soars, dances with frightened wings and when it flies about it reveals its African origin. My kinky hair brings a frenzy a swell of waves an ancestor who comes from afar. This sheen so black carries forth ancient codes. Beneath these curls with their cracking voices my grandparents emerge.


And following the echoes of the ancestors, we conclude today’s episode. We will be back in two weeks with the sensual literature of one of the strongest female voices in Puerto Rico, Mayra Santos Febres. So, brace yourselves! next episode we will share one my favorite short stories written by Febres, and we will have her in the program sharing with us her journey, wisdom, and poetry.

Until the next cuento, adios, adios


· Este mundo no es de las feas. Luz Argentina Chiriboga Guerrero. 2006. Quito: Editorial Libresa, 103-11.

· The Afro Hispanic Reader and Anthology, edited by Paulette A. Ramsay and Antonio D. Tillis. Copyright © 2018. Ian Randle Publishers. Jamaica.

· Faces and Masks: Memory of Fire, Volume 2 by Eduardo Galeano. Translation Copyright © 1987 Cedric Belfrage. Published by Nation Books: New York

· Daughters of the Diaspora: Afra-Hispanic Writers, editor Miriam DeCosta-Willis. Copyright © 2003. Ian Randle. Publishers. Kingston.

· “Color, Inferioridad y Esclavización: la invención de la diferencia en los discursos de la colonialidad temprana”. María Eugenia Chávez. URL:


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