Divergence or Convergence in the U.S. and Brazil: Understanding Race Relations Through White Family Reactions to Black-White Interracial Couples

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-16 19:25Z by Steven

Divergence or Convergence in the U.S. and Brazil: Understanding Race Relations Through White Family Reactions to Black-White Interracial Couples

Qualitative Sociology
March 2014, Volume 37, Issue 1
pages 93-115
DOI: 10.1007/s11133-013-9268-2

Chinyere Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

Different approaches to race mixture in the U.S. and Brazil have led to the notion that they are polar opposites in terms of race relations. However, the end of de jure segregation in the U.S., the acknowledgement of racial inequality, and subsequent implementation of affirmative action in Brazil have called into question the extent to which these societies are vastly different. By examining race mixture as a lived reality, this study offers a novel approach to understanding racial boundaries in these two contexts. I analyze 87 interviews with individuals in black-white couples in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro to examine the cultural repertoires and discursive traditions they draw on to understand white familiesā€™ reactions to black spouses. I find that U.S. couples employ ā€œcolor-blindnessā€ to understand opposition to Blacks marrying into the family. Brazilian couples perceive overt racism and the use of humor from white family members. Nevertheless, couples with black males experienced more hostility in both sites. In addition, white male autonomy was related to the lower hostility that black female-white male couples experienced in both societies. By examining contemporary race mixture as a lived reality, this study complicates simplistic understandings of race relations as similar or different in these two societies. Furthermore, with the increase of multiracial families in both societies, it reveals the family as an important site for redrawing and policing racial boundaries.

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ā€˜Mutts like Meā€™: Multiracial Studentsā€™ Perceptions of Barack Obama

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-04-22 22:24Z by Steven

ā€˜Mutts like Meā€™: Multiracial Studentsā€™ Perceptions of Barack Obama

Qualitative Sociology
Volume 35, Number 2 (2012)
pages 183-200
DOI: 10.1007/s11133-012-9226-4

Michael P. Jeffries, Assistant Professor of American Studies
Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts

Existent sociological studies of multiracialism in the United States focus on identity construction, the cultural and legislative battle over multiracial categorization, and the implications of demographic shifts towards an increasingly ā€œmixed raceā€ population. This article engages literature from each of these areas, and uses data from in-depth interviews with self-identified multiracial students to document their perceptions of President Barack Obama and trace the symbolic boundaries of multiracial identity. Interviews are specifically directed towards the influence of race on Obamaā€™s identity management and political career, the relationship between Obama and respondentsā€™ multiracial identity, and Obamaā€™s impact on Americaā€™s racial history. Respondents hold favorable opinions of the President despite his inconsistent affirmation of multiracial identity. They believe that emphasis on Obamaā€™s blackness rather than multiracialism is the unfortunate result of both personal choices and political pressures. In addition, the cohort insists that racism remains is a major factor in Obamaā€™s career and in America at large.

ReadĀ the entireĀ article here.

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