Nancy Morejón. Elogio de la Danza
One of the most difficult tasks for scholars to studying the African diaspora has been to locate the precise origin of enslaved Africans who were brought to the Costa Chica. As one of the pioneers of African studies in Mexico, Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán started archive investigation in the Archivo General de La Nación (AGN) in Mexico City in the 1940s. He left an important route for further Afro-Mexican studies. In his work, La población negra de México  (1989), he emphasizes that many African sources can be traced during the slave trade; however, not all of them were easily obtained because several factors obstructed his search. Among other difficulties, Aguirre Beltrán points out, “most slaves entered the New World under a generic name, such as blacks from Guinea, Angola, Cabo Verde, Congo and São Tomé” (La población 102); yet, the most recurrent name he founded in historical archives was that of the group Mandé. According to Aguirre Beltrán, this ethnic group was the most influential for Mexican culture during the 16th century. He writes, “They entered under the general denomination of Mandingos, and left as a testimony of their presence, numerous geographical places in the New Spain that hold their name as well as the persistence of the word ‘mandinga’ as a popular designation of the devil” (La población 107). Why this association of blacks with the devil? Obviously, there are religious implications here, as much as stigmatization on the part of the colonizer trying to break the will and culture of the colonized. I return to this issue below.
In regards to blacks introduced into Mexico during the three centuries of Spanish colonization, Aguirre Beltrán writes:
Having lost their freedom and being sold as slaves, Africans were disseminated throughout the entire territory of Mexico. Gradually, they blended with the rest of the population, giving as a result the profound mestizaje which currently characterizes modern Mexico. Hernández Cuevas asserts that the present reality of modern Mexico’s mestizaje cannot be accounted for without the blacks’ contribution. In his work África en México, he has pointed out:
In Mexico, dark and pale blacks, from the point of view of positive mestizaje, are not in a process of assimilation. Black men and women of yesterday and today, together with other no less important components, form the ethnicity and nationality. Blacks exist in Mexico. Black people are in the mestizos with the rainbow of their cultural contributions; blacks formed the nation and nationality. Blacks’ capacity of resistance has allowed them to persist by means of survival strategies such as mestizaje. As such, the African cultural contributions are fundamental parts of the Mexican and Mexicanity. This is verified by popular culture: oraliture, food, music, dance, sense of humor and religious symbols. In other words, Africa is medullar energy of the Mexican spirit, or African-Mexican from the Afrocentric point of view. This is ratified by the carnival and the Mexican fiestas. (17)
Hernández Cuevas’ deconstruction of traditional Mexican discourse in regards to mestizaje, from José Vasconcelos to Agustín Basave Benítez, is a new claim that overtly challenges both past and new narratives about Mexican mestizaje. By overlooking the historical presence of blacks, Mexican post-revolutionary mestizaje’s ideology erroneously assumed that mixed people are the product of Amerindians and Europeans only. In the same manner, Mexican scholars in the last two decades doing investigation about the so-called “third root” of Mexico have unanimously taken for granted the concept afromestizos as a general term for Afro-Mexicans. It seems that the concept was taken from Aguirre Beltrán who originally proposed in La Población a variety of terms to classify the different types of racial blending; thus, afromestizo -together with indomestizo and euromestizo-, are no different than hypothetical racial categories derived from a more general concept that justifies the prevalence of mestizo as dominant in Mexico. Indeed, the term afromestizo taken up by the Mexican academy has not been used by most of the population of African descendants in Mexico because they do not identify themselves as such. In this regard, Vinson III has declared:
Mexico is the only Latin American country where some scholars still refer to black people as afromestizo. Although this term would seem to identify a special characteristic of the Mexican “mixing” in the Costa Chica, individuals recognized today as blacks do not show more particularities of “mixing” than the rest of the blacks of the African diaspora. In fact, the tonalities of the skin color as well as a wide range of phenotypes are the norm amongst African descendants. Therefore, Mexico is not the exception. (57)
 The artesa is a kind of zoomorphic trough made out of a ceiba or parota tree log. The artesa is placed on the ground upside down so that a couple may dance bare feet on it. Sones de artesa are another type of Afro-Mexican music and dance now in decay. For more information on the revitalization of the only two groups in all of the Costa Chica region, one in San Nicolas Tolentino, Guerrero, and the other in El Ciruelo, Oaxaca, see Ruiz Rodríguez 11-37.
 See Aguirre Beltrán, Cuijla 8-12, and Vaughn “Mexico in the Context of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” 2-4.
 Comité de cultura. “Danza de los diablos de Collantes.” Casa del Pueblo, Santiago Collantes: n.p.: 1988.
 All translations from Spanish into English are mine unless otherwise indicated.
 José Vasconcelos as Secretary of Education in the 1920s postulated in his work La raza cósmica the notion of the mestizo as the cosmic race, the race of the future. This notion eventually turned into official ideology through education and culture after the Mexican Revolution of 1910. More recently, Agustín Basave Benítez in his work México mestizo, while criticizing to a certain extent the idea of Vasconcelos, continues praising him. On the other hand, both Vasconcelos and Basave ignore the black element in their notions of mestizaje. See Basave Benítez 136.
 See Bobby Vaughn’s “Los negros, los indígenas y la diáspora. Una perspectiva etnográfica de la Costa Chica,” in Vinson III and Vaughn. Afroméxico 84-85.
 For more information see, Marco Polo Hernández Cuevas’ essay “El Signifying chango que chinga en Chin Chin el teporocho.” África en México 79-95. Also, see Henri Louis Gates Jr., 685-723.