The Land of Miscegenation: Is the Racial Democracy Theory in Brazil a Myth?

The Land of Miscegenation: Is the Racial Democracy Theory in Brazil a Myth?

Morgan State University
May 2005
86 pages
Publication Number: AAT 1430902
ISBN: 9780542025518

Makini Ramisi Chaka

A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts

This research is designed to show that Brazil’s racial democracy theory, founded in the early-20 th century by sociologist, Gilberto Freyre, is a myth. The theory states that miscegenation, acculturation and assimilation created a cultural mélange that made all races equal. However, severe social, economic, and political oppression of non-whites, specifically African descendants in Brazil have forced the country to reevaluate its national endorsement as a racial democracy.

The author explores three of the fundamental factors of the racial democracy theory, (1) miscegenation, (2) race vs. class, and (3) social and legal discrimination. In addition the author uses comparative analysis methodology from a cultural studies disciplinary approach to evaluate the arguments of proponents and opponents of the racial democracy theory. The opponents led by Florestan Fernandes in the 1960’s reveal white supremacy as the dominating form of race relations between blacks and whites in Brazil by examining racial mixing, race and class disparities, and forms of discrimination. This research focuses on the effects of those factors upon the Afro-Brazilian population, which distinctly occupy a subordinate place in society.

The conclusion reached by this author is that the racial democracy theory is a myth of the powerful white elite. The myth not only denies racial identification and a shared ethnic identity of African descendants in Brazil, but it also suppresses racial mobilization and denies them a right to legal defense.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1
    • Introduction
    • Statement of the Problem
    • Background of the Problem
    • Purpose of the Study
    • Importance of the Study
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review
  • Chapter 3: Theoretical Framework
  • Chapter 4: Miscegenation
  • Chapter 5: Race vs. Class
  • Chapter 6: Social and Legal Discrimination
  • Chapter 7: Conclusion

Purchase the thesis here.

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