The University of Arizona

“In Lak’ Ech (You Are My Other Me):” Mestizaje as a Rhetorical Tool that Achieves Identification and Consubstantiality

Ana Milena Ribero


This paper explores how the discourse of mestizaje works rhetorically around three common lines of argument that align with Kenneth Burke’s theory of consubstantiality. Using the historical example of Afro-Cuban rights in post-independence Cuba and the current example of Arizona’s ethnic studies controversy, the author analyzes the use of mestizaje’s rhetorical topoi by disempowered populations. Further, the author complicates the rhetorical use of mestizaje by arguing that the ambivalent nature of consubstantiality allows mestizaje to be used to oppress as well as to fight oppression. Traditionally defined as the mixture of indigenous and European peoples, mestizaje has often been studied as a measurement of miscegenation and a political discourse that crafts national identities. The author takes a different approach in arguing that mestizaje is a rhetorical tool with common lines of argument that can be manipulated to achieve a desired end.


mestizaje, HB2281, ethnic studies, consubstantiality, identification, rhetoric, Latino

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