Is Neymar Black? Brazil and the Painful Relativity of Race

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2018-07-01 04:57Z by Steven

Is Neymar Black? Brazil and the Painful Relativity of Race

The New York Times

Cleuci de Oliveira, BrasĂ­lia-based reporter

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, center, celebrating a goal with his teammates during Brazil’s World Cup match against Serbia on Wednesday. Michael Steele/Getty Images

Ever since his “It’s not like I’m black, you know?” comment, Neymar has served as a focal point in the country’s cultural reckoning with racism, whitening, identity and public policy.

Years before he became the most expensive player in the world; before his Olympic gold medal; before the Eiffel Tower lit up with his name to greet his professional move from Barcelona to Paris, Neymar da Silva Santos JĂşnior, the Brazilian forward known to the world simply as Neymar, faced his first public relations controversy.

The year was 2010, and Neymar, then 18, had shot to fame in Brazil after a sensational breakout season. During an interview for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, in between a conversation about Disneyland and sports cars, he was asked if he had ever experienced racism. “Never. Not in the field, nor outside of it,” he replied.

“It’s not like I’m black, you know?”

His answer was heard like a record-scratch across the country. Was this young man in denial about his racial identity? Particularly when in the same interview he outlined his meticulous hair care regime, which involved getting his locks chemically straightened every few weeks, then bleached blonde.

Or was there a less alarming explanation behind his comment? Could Neymar merely be pointing out that, as the son of a black father and a white mother, his lighter skin tone shielded him from the racist abuse directed at other players? Had he, at least in his context, reached whiteness? Whatever the interpretation, Neymar’s words revealed the tricky, often contradictory ways that many Brazilians talk, and fail to talk, about race in a country with the largest population of black descendants outside of Africa

Read the entire article here.

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Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America [Brunsma Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-01-16 16:27Z by Steven

Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America [Brunsma Review]

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 39, Issue 3, 2016
pages 492-494
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2015.1095308

David L. Brunsma, Professor of Sociology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia

Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America, by Edward Telles and the Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA), Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Press, 2014, 320pp., $29.95 (paperback), ISBN 978-1-4696-1783-1

In the inaugural issue of Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (2015) in laying out what he saw as the most necessary theoretical developments in the sociology of race and ethnicity wrote:

… racial theory should have been rooted in the experiences of the first peoples who experienced racialization, but that was not the case… Even when Latin American and Caribbean writers have written about race, they have relied mostly on American or European theorizations. We would be in a better explanatory position today to understand not only race in the world system, but even developments in the United States and Europe, if we were to go back and … ‘begin at the beginning’. [r]ooting our racial theory on the historical experiences of the oldest racial regimes in the world. (79)

Those oldest racial regimes are located in present-day Caribbean and Latin American countries. For over five years, the 12 scholars who make up the Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA) have been working on the conceptualization, pilot studies, and, ultimately, groundbreaking data collection effort to comparatively ‘illuminate how race and ethnicity play out in Latin America’ (31). Edward Telles, eminent sociologist of race and ethnicity at Princeton University in the USA, has coordinated this amazing effort, resulting in Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America. This book begins to fill major gaps in the empirical, and, given time, ultimately, the theoretical development so necessary to understand inequalities and experiences of race and racialization. Equally important, this study introduces researchers in Europe and the USA to a set of scholars and scholarships that have not typically made it into the theoretical and empirical canon of studies of race and ethnicity (e.g. Mexico’s Regina MartĂ­nez Casas, Columbia’s Ă“scar Almario, Peru’s Juan Carlos Callirgos, and Brazil’s Graziella Moraes Silva, to name just a few). PERLA, formed in 2008 and concluding data collection by 2013, has given us the first cross-national, representative surveys of race and ethnicity in Latin America—the sheer scale of the project is breathtaking…

Read or purchase the review here.

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Mestizaje and Public Opinion in Latin America

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2015-03-01 02:50Z by Steven

Mestizaje and Public Opinion in Latin America

Latin American Research Review
Volume 48, Number 3 (2013)
pages 130-152
DOI: 10.1353/lar.2013.0045

Edward Telles, Professor of Sociology
Princeton University

Denia Garcia
Department of Sociology
Princeton University

Latin American elites authored and disseminated ideologies of mestizaje or race mixture, but does the general population value them today? Using the 2010 Americas Barometer, we examined public opinion about mestizaje in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru using survey questions that modeled mestizaje both as a principle of national development and as tolerance for intermarriage with black or indigenous people. We found that most Latin Americans support mestizaje, although support varies by country and ethnicity. Across countries, we find partial evidence that the strength of earlier nation-making mestizaje ideas is related to support for mestizaje today, and that strong multicultural policies may have actually strengthened such support. Ethnoracial minorities showed particular support for the national principle of mestizaje. Finally, we discovered that the national principle of mestizaje is associated with more tolerant attitudes about intermarriage, especially in countries with large Afro-descendant populations.

Ideas of mestizaje, or race mixture, are central to the formation of many Latin American nations and are assumed to predominate in much of the region today (Hale 2006; Holt 2003; Telles 2004; Wade 1993). Concepts of mestizaje stress racial fusion and the inclusion of diverse racial elements as essential to the nation; hence mestizos, or mixed-race people, are considered the prototypical citizens. Although racial hierarchies characterize Latin American socioeconomic structures (Telles, Flores, and Urrea-Giraldo 2010), ideas of mestizaje have stood in contrast to ideas of white racial purity and anti-miscegenation historically held in the United States (Bost 2003; Holt 2003; Sollors 2000). While ideas of mestizaje emerged as Latin American state projects in the early twentieth century, they are often hailed as widely shared ideologies that are central to Latin Americans’ understanding of race and race relations (Knight 1990; Mallon 1996; Whitten 2003).

Despite Latin America’s diverse racial composition and the fact that an estimated 133 million Afro-descendant and 34 million indigenous people reside there, according to recent data—numbers far higher than in the United States (Telles, forthcoming)—racial attitudes in Latin America have, surprisingly, been understudied. Despite clues from ethnographic research, we lack nationally representative evidence on the general population’s feelings about mestizaje. In this article, we examine support for mestizaje and its variations across nation and ethnicity in eight Latin American countries with large nonwhite populations: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru. These countries represent more than 70 percent of Latin America’s population and are home to the vast majority of both Afro-descendants and indigenous people in the region. We focused on two dimensions of the mestizaje ideology: as a national development principle and an individual intermarriage principle. The first, which is closely related to the national narratives developed by elites during nation making, maintains that race mixture is good for the nation. The second addresses tolerance for intermarriage in one’s family—often considered the ultimate marker of racial and ethnic integration (Alba and Nee 2003; Gordon 1964).

Our examination of eight Latin American countries provides new contexts for thinking about racial attitudes, beyond the large literature that is dominated by the case of the United States. Since racial meanings are context dependent, the study of Latin America may complicate social science understandings of racial attitudes more generally. As Krysan (2000, 161) wrote, “This complexity forces those who have developed their theories in an American context to take care not to rely too heavily on uniquely American values, principles, politics, and racial histories.” Latin America differs from the United States in that nothing like mestizaje ideology exists in the United States. Moreover, understanding racial attitudes is important because they may guide behaviors, even though attitudes are often more liberal than actual behaviors (Schuman et al. 1997). In particular, the degree to which the public embraces mestizaje may be important for understanding whether the ideology has implications for racial and national identity and democratic politics in Latin America, including whether the population would support or resist measures to combat racial discrimination and inequality…

Read the entire article here.

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Pigmentocracies: Educational Inequality, Skin Color and Census Ethnoracial Identification in Eight Latin American Countries

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2015-02-27 02:28Z by Steven

Pigmentocracies: Educational Inequality, Skin Color and Census Ethnoracial Identification in Eight Latin American Countries

Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
Available online: 2015-02-25
DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2015.02.002

Edward Telles, Professor of Sociology
Princeton University

René Flores
University of Washington

Fernando Urrea Giraldo, Professor of Sociology
Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia


  • We use two measures of race and ethnicity – ethnoracial self-identification as used by national censuses and interviewer –rated skin color to examine educational inequality in eight Latin American countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.
  • We find that inequality based on skin color is more consistent and robust than inequality based on census ethnoracial identification.
  • Census ethnoracial identification often provided inconsistent results especially regarding the afro-descendant populations of Colombia, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.
  • Skin color inequality was particularly great in Bolivia and Guatemala.
  • Parental occupation, a proxy for class origins, is also robust and positively associated with educational attainment.
  • In other words, both class and race, especially as measured by skin color, predicts educational inequality in Latin America.

For the first time, most Latin American censuses ask respondents to self-identify by race or ethnicity allowing researchers to examine long-ignored ethnoracial inequalities. However, reliance on census ethnoracial categories could poorly capture the manifestation(s) of race that lead to inequality in the region, because of classificatory ambiguity and within-category racial or color heterogeneity. To overcome this, we modeled the relation of both interviewer-rated skin color and census ethnoracial categories with educational inequality using innovative data from the 2010 America’s Barometer from the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) and 2010 surveys from the Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA) for eight Latin American countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru). We found that darker skin color was negatively and consistently related to schooling in all countries, with and without extensive controls. Indigenous and black self-identification was also negatively related to schooling, though not always at a statistically significant and robust level like skin color. In contrast, results for self-identified mulattos, mestizos and whites were inconsistent and often counter to the expected racial hierarchy, suggesting that skin color measures often capture racial inequalities that census measures miss.

Read the entire article here.

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Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Economics, History, Mexico, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Science on 2014-11-07 19:07Z by Steven

Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America

University of North Carolina Press
October 2014
320 pages
59 figs., 4 maps, 23 tables, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4696-1783-1

Edward E. Telles, Professor of Sociology
Princeton University


The Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA)
Princeton University

Pigmentocracies—the fruit of the multiyear Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA)—is a richly revealing analysis of contemporary attitudes toward ethnicity and race in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, four of Latin America’s most populous nations. Based on extensive, original sociological and anthropological data generated by PERLA, this landmark study analyzes ethnoracial classification, inequality, and discrimination, as well as public opinion about Afro-descended and indigenous social movements and policies that foster greater social inclusiveness, all set within an ethnoracial history of each country. A once-in-a-generation examination of contemporary ethnicity, this book promises to contribute in significant ways to policymaking and public opinion in Latin America.

Edward Telles, PERLA’s principal investigator, explains that profound historical and political forces, including multiculturalism, have helped to shape the formation of ethnic identities and the nature of social relations within and across nations. One of Pigmentocracies’s many important conclusions is that unequal social and economic status is at least as much a function of skin color as of ethnoracial identification. Investigators also found high rates of discrimination by color and ethnicity widely reported by both targets and witnesses. Still, substantial support across countries was found for multicultural-affirmative policies—a notable result given that in much of modern Latin America race and ethnicity have been downplayed or ignored as key factors despite their importance for earlier nation-building.


  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. The Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA): Hard Data and What Is at Stake
  • 2. The Different Faces of Mestizaje: Ethnicity and Race in Mexico
  • 3. From Whitened Miscegenation to Triethnic Multiculturalism: Race and Ethnicity in Columbia
  • 4. ÂżEl pals de todas las sangres? Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary Peru
  • 5. Mixed and Unequal: New Perspectives on Brazilian Ethnoracial Relations
  • 6. A Comparative Analysis of Ethnicity, Race, and Color Based on PERLA Findings
  • Notes
  • References
  • About the Authors
  • Index
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Making Race Count in the Census

Posted in Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-17 17:29Z by Steven

Making Race Count in the Census

New York University
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center
53 Washington Square South
New York, New York 10012
Wednesday, 2014-09-17, 18:30-21:00 EDT (Local Time)

Are Hispanics becoming white? Are Latin@s a race? How can we account for race and ethnicity in ways that best represent our interests? Can a Census form really capture our social realities?

Join a distinguished panel of experts for a dialogue on race, Latin@s, and the U.S. Census.

  • Angelo FalcĂłn is president of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) and editor of its Network on Latino Issues.
  • Zaire Zenit Dinzey-Flores is associate professor of sociology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
  • Nicholas Jones is the Director of Race & Ethnic Research and Outreach of the Population Division at the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Nancy LĂłpez is associate professor of sociology and director and co-founder of the Institute for the Study of “Race” and Social Justice at the University of New Mexico.
  • Edward E. Telles teaches courses in race, ethnicity and immigration, with a special emphasis on Latin America and Latinos, at Princeton University.

“Making Race Count in the Census,” is part of the public programming leading up to our second transnational conference Afro-Latin@s Now: Race Counts! to be held in New York City on October 23-25, 2014.

To RSVP, click here.

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The Color Of Health: Skin Color, Ethnoracial Classification, And Discrimination In The Health Of Latin Americans

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2014-06-02 19:00Z by Steven

The Color Of Health: Skin Color, Ethnoracial Classification, And Discrimination In The Health Of Latin Americans

Social Science & Medicine
Available online: 2014-06-01
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.054

Krista M. Perreira, Professor of Public Policy and Associate Dean Office for Undergraduate Research
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Edward E. Telles, Professor of Sociology
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey


  • Uses newly collected data on 4921 adults from Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru
  • Examines multiple measures of race/ethnicity and their associations with health
  • Finds significant skin-color gradients in self-reported health.
  • Finds significant skin-color gradients in class-based discrimination and low SES.
  • SES and class-based discrimination largely account for disparities in health by skin color.

Latin America is one of the most ethnoracially heterogeneous regions of the world. Despite this, health disparities research in Latin America tends to focus on gender, class and regional health differences while downplaying ethnoracial differences. Few scholars have conducted studies of ethnoracial identification and health disparities in Latin America. Research that examines multiple measures of ethnoracial identification is rarer still. Official data on race/ethnicity in Latin America are based on self-identification which can differ from interviewer-ascribed or phenotypic classification based on skin color. We use data from Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru to examine associations of interviewer-ascribed skin color, interviewer-ascribed race/ethnicity, and self-reported race/ethnicity with self-rated health among Latin American adults (ages 18-65). We also examine associations of observer-ascribed skin color with three additional correlates of health – skin color discrimination, class discrimination, and socio-economic status. We find a significant gradient in self-rated health by skin color. Those with darker skin colors report poorer health. Darker skin color influences self-rated health primarily by increasing exposure to class discrimination and low socio-economic status.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Not Just Color: Whiteness, nation, and status in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-09-21 04:52Z by Steven

Not Just Color: Whiteness, nation, and status in Latin America

Hispanic American Historical Review
Volume 93, Number 3 (August 2013)
pages 411-449
DOI: 10.1215/00182168-2210858

Edward Telles, Professor of Sociology
Princeton University

René Flores
Princeton University

In this study we use statistical analysis of nationally representative surveys from the 2010 AmericasBarometer to examine how color, nationality, and several individual characteristics are related to white identification in 17 Latin American countries. Unlike the common treatment of racial identification as a fixed and self-evident determinant of social status or behavior, we treat it as a flexible social outcome. We find that though white identification is largely shaped by skin color, it is also shaped by national context, social status, and age.

We discover that white identification is more common among persons of a brown skin color in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Costa Rica than in the rest of Latin America, where such persons would generally identify as mestizo. This suggests that the whitening ideologies of these four countries have made whiteness a more capacious category. We find that younger Latin Americans are less likely to identify as white compared to their older conationals, suggesting a changing valorization of whiteness. Furthermore, college-educated persons are less likely to identify as white than their lower-educated counterparts, challenging ideas that “money whitens.” Findings for age and education may reflect a recent shift to multiculturalism. In addition, we find that white identification is predicted to change in response to the survey interviewer’s color, suggesting that choices about racial identification are relational.

The work of historians has been critical to understanding our findings for the contemporary period, and we suggest ways that sociological work like ours might inform historical work on race and ethnicity.

Read or purchase the article here. Read the entire original paper here.

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Pigmentocracy in the Americas: How is Educational Attainment Related to Skin Color?

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Reports, Social Science on 2013-03-08 23:22Z by Steven

Pigmentocracy in the Americas: How is Educational Attainment Related to Skin Color?

Latin American Pubic Opinion Project
AmericasBarometer Insights
Number 73 (2012)
Vanderbilt University
Number 73 (2012)
9 pages

Edward Telles, Professor of Sociology
Princeton University

Liza Steele
Department of Sociology
Princeton University

Executive Summary: This Insights report addresses the question of whether educational attainment, a key indicator of socioeconomic status, is related to skin color in Latin America and the Caribbean. Based on data from the 2010 AmericasBarometer, our analysis shows that persons with lighter skin color tend to have higher levels of schooling than those with dark skin color throughout the region, with few exceptions. Moreover , these differences are statistically significant in most cases and, as we show in a test of several multiracial countries, the negative relation between skin color and educational attainment occurs independently of class origin and other variables known to affect socioeconomic status. Thus, we find that skin color, a central measure of race, is an important source of social stratification throughout the Americas today.

Read the entire report here.

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Cultural Imperialism and the Transformation of Race Relations in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-02-14 01:30Z by Steven

Cultural Imperialism and the Transformation of Race Relations in Brazil

Latin American Perspectives
Issue 178, Volume 38, Number 3 (May 2011)
pages 194-208
DOI: 10.1177/0094582X10390624

Bernadete Ramos Beserra, Professor
Federal University of Ceará

Edward E. Telles, Race in Another America: The Significance of Skin Color in Brazil. Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2006. 324 pp.

G. Reginald Daniel, Race and Multiraciality in Brazil and the United States: Converging Paths? University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006. 365 pp.

Jeffrey D. Needell, The Party of Order: The Conservatives, the State, and Slavery in the Brazilian Monarchy, 1831–1871. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006. 460 pp.

No work in the field of race and race relations in Brazil has provoked as much controversy as Bourdieu and Wacquant’s (1999) “On the Cunning of Imperialist Reason.” In it the authors argued that cultural imperialism “rests on the power to universalize particularisms linked to a singular historical tradition by causing them to be misrecognized as such” (41). Although they used other examples to clarify their proposition, they focused on the debate on race and, taking the case of Brazil as an example of the “ethnocentric intrusion” of the U.S. tradition on studies of race in sharply different realities, denounced the historical U.S. solutions for the problem of racism that were being proposed and adopted by many Brazilian scholars and politicians at the time.

What made the article so important was, of course, the position of Pierre Bourdieu in the field of sociology. It was not just a Brazilian scholar, belonging to the so-called white elite, who was questioning the direction of recent studies of race and racism in Brazil but the most famous sociologist of the time. As might be expected, Bourdieu and Wacquant’s criticism created some turmoil among U.S. and Brazilian students of race relations, and it has since influenced the academic debate on the theme in both countries as well as in Europe itself, where the article was first published. The responses were diverse. Some scholars, such as French (2000) and Telles (2002), dismissed the critique altogether, arguing that Bourdieu and Wacquant were unfamiliar with recent scholarship in the area and therefore their intervention was authoritarian and inadequate. Others, such as Pinho and Figueiredo (2002), called attention to the fact that the colonized position of Brazil made it vulnerable to external influences in general, not just those coming from the United States. They exemplified their point by sketching the history of the field of social sciences in Brazil and showing that it had always been influenced by “foreign” scholarship. At the same time, they asked why these influences should be considered particularly problematic when they promoted a sort of enfranchisement of minorities. Should not minorities—in Brazil or elsewhere—borrow from the experiences of their counterparts in other parts of the globe? While most scholars agreed that Bourdieu and Wacquant’s critique overlooked important new scholarship in the field, they could not fail to consider the truth of their argument that Brazilian perceptions of race and racism had recently been transformed in the image of those of the United States. Therefore, the article also served to support those scholars who challenged the interpretations of the academic supporters of the black movement and its politics aimed at radically changing Brazilian perceptions of race and racism in order to impose solutions that made sense only in the context of U.S. racism in the 1960s.

Since the publication of this article, there has been an increasing “Americanization” of the solutions proposed for Brazil’s racial problem. The binary U.S. view of race that divides the world between whites and nonwhites has not only been adopted by the black movement and some scholars but also been promoted by the Brazilian government. Moreover, the debate, which used to be restricted to the academic sphere, has now gained the attention of the mass media and the general population.

Therefore, against the population’s general understanding of race, constructed under the hegemony of mestiçagem (mixing) policies, the Brazilian government today claims that we are no longer mestiços, as we used to believe we were, but either blacks or whites (Maggie, 2008; Theodoro, 2009). The new politics differs considerably from our fantasy of racial democracy, and, according to the new wisdom, what we have now is a racism even more insidious than U.S. racism because it is concealed and more difficult to resolve. Therefore, in spite of evident differences between the racism constructed in Brazil and in the United States (Burdick, 1998; Sheriff, 2001; Sansone, 2003; Fry, 2000), it is on a supposed need, far more mistaken than our fantasy of racial democracy, for similarity in the strategies of the black movements in the two countries that the post-Durban affirmative action policies are founded.2 These policies date back to the resurgence of the black movement in Brazil at the end of the 1970s in the context of the rise of the new social movements—political subjects whose demands were no longer connected to labor and class positions but based on other similarities and identifications, permanent or circumstantial, that are currently referred to as “identities,” such as neighborhood, ethnicity, color, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation…

…The studies of Telles and Daniel are important and complementary contributions to the field of race relations in Brazil from a U.S. perspective. They are complementary in that they ask different questions and rely on different sets of data. While Telles articulates a detailed literature review on race relations in Brazil with sophisticated statistics in order to demonstrate that racism produces increasing inequality, Daniel compares sociohistorical phenomena that produce what (following Omi and Winant, 1986) he calls distinct “racial projects”—a ternary one in Brazil and a binary one in the United States. His purpose is to understand what has led such different societies to converging paths. Although studying distinct subjects, both writers feed into the sociological tradition that considers race a determinant factor in the production of social inequality. Thus, although aware of the differences between Brazilian and U.S. societies, they apply to the study of Brazil the same framework developed to explain U.S. race relations and racism. Daniel’s study provides more opportunity to reflect on the specificities of the two cases and their approaches to social injustice based on racial discrimination.

Telles’s main aim is apparently to show that in Brazil as in the United States, race is a determinant factor in the production of social inequality. This is not exactly a new idea (see, e.g., Hasenbalg, 1979; Hasenbalg and Silva, 1988; GuimarĂŁes, 2002; Theodoro, 2009), but the particularity of his contribution resides in the fact that his arguments are largely based on statistical data. Comparing tables of income distribution and other socioeconomic markers in Brazil, the United States, and South Africa, he concludes that Brazilian society is racially structured. In Chapter 5, for instance, by way of discussing “racial inequality and development,” he states (107) that “as long as whites, browns, and blacks are unevenly distributed along the income structure, racial inequality exists.” As do other scholars, he conceives race as the irreducible constituent and determinant of social structure and relations. Yet, even if one were to accept the argument that social inequality is a by-product of racism (which is misleading), an essential question would still remain: what similarities between Brazilian and U.S. racism would justify adopting the same policies to deal with the problem?…

…Daniel’s Race and Multiraciality in Brazil and the United States: Converging Paths? agrees with Telles that race is determinant in shaping Brazilian and U.S. societies. However, his “multiracial” background pushes him to understand this situation through other sources and evidence. Also inspired by Omi and Winant’s theory of racial formation, according to which race is not an “objective reality” but exists as a social construction, Daniel aims to explain the origins and development of Brazilian and U.S. “racial projects.” What clearly broadens his perspective is the connection he establishes between Brazilian and U.S. “racial formations” and the development and worldwide consequences of the Eurocentrism that is the basis of what he calls a “dichotomous racial hierarchy.” By reconstructing the steps by which Europe created the idea of race and provided scientific support for racist ideologies, Daniel shows how different expressions of racism sprang from the same source…

Read or purchase the entire review here.

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