A black female politician was gunned down in Rio. Now she’s a global symbol.

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Women on 2018-03-20 17:24Z by Steven

A black female politician was gunned down in Rio. Now she’s a global symbol.

The Washington Post
2018-03-19

Anthony Faiola, South America/Caribbean Bureau Chief
Miami, Florida

Marina Lopes, Reporter
São Paulo, Brazil


Demonstrators rally for a second consecutive day last Friday to mourn Marielle Franco, a Rio de Janeiro councilwoman, black rights activist and outspoken critic of police brutality who was fatally shot in an assassination-style attack in the city on March 14. (Lianne Milton/For The Washington Post)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Before stepping into her Chevrolet Agile at 9:04 p.m. last Wednesday, Marielle Franco had just done what she did best: fire up a room.

“Let’s do this,” the 38-year-old politician with the cascading Afro had said as she wrapped up a speech at Rio’s House of Black Women calling for black empowerment.

Brazil needed it, she said. Across this troubled metropolis, police brutality and extrajudicial killings were ravaging the slums. Elected last year as the only black woman on Rio’s 51-member city council, she had gone after those responsible while reframing the debate in an uncomfortable new way.

In a society that has long seen itself as post-racial, Franco argued, the slaughter was not just a war on the poor. It was also a war on blacks…

…Racism in Brazil has a complex history.

The country imported 4 million slaves, more than 10 times the number brought to the United States. In the United States, intermixing of races was discouraged. But in Brazil, where Portuguese settlers were outnumbered by their slaves, it was endorsed as a way to “whiten” the population.

Miscegenation soon became a cornerstone of national identity, with 53 percent of Brazilians now seeing themselves fluidly as black or mixed-race.

“In Brazil, you bump up against this narrative of racial mixture, that black identity or white identity is an import — that the concept of racism was imported by Americans,” said Glen Goodman, professor of Brazilian studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Critics say that the myth of a post-racial Brazil silences conversations about deep-rooted discrimination and violence…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Book Talk: The Politics of Blackness: Racial Identity and Political Behavior in Contemporary Brazil

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-02-22 01:08Z by Steven

Book Talk: The Politics of Blackness: Racial Identity and Political Behavior in Contemporary Brazil

Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean
University of South Florida
IBL Conference Room (FAO 296)
4202 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, Florida
Thursday, 2018-03-01, 14:00 EDT

Presenter

Gladys L. Mitchell-Walthour, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Economy
Department of Africology (African Diaspora Studies)
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Profess Mitchell-Walthour is the author of The Politics of Blackness: Racial Identity and Political Behavior in Contemporary Brazil.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Politics of Blackness: Racial Identity and Political Behavior in Contemporary Brazil

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy on 2018-02-22 00:46Z by Steven

The Politics of Blackness: Racial Identity and Political Behavior in Contemporary Brazil

Cambridge University Press
December 2017
260 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781107186101
Paperback ISBN: 9781316637043

Gladys L. Mitchell-Walthour, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Economy
Department of Africology (African Diaspora Studies)
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

This book uses an intersectional approach to analyze the impact of the experience of race on Afro-Brazilian political behavior in the cities of Salvador, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Using a theoretical framework that takes into account racial group attachment and the experience of racial discrimination, it seeks to explain Afro-Brazilian political behavior with a focus on affirmative action policy and Law 10.639 (requiring that African and Afro-Brazilian history be taught in schools). It fills an important gap in studies of Afro-Brazilian underrepresentation by using an intersectional framework to examine the perspectives of everyday citizens. The book will be an important reference for scholars and students interested in the issue of racial politics in Latin America and beyond.

  • Uses an intersectional approach that allows readers to understand how race, class, gender, and aesthetics shape Afro-Brazilian political behavior
  • Appeals to social scientists using quantitative and qualitative methods to study race, gender, group behavior, and politics
  • Develops a theory of racial spatiality that gives readers a bottom-up understanding of political representation and its reliance on everyday Afro-Brazilian citizens

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Afro-Brazilian political underrepresentation
  • 2. Blackness and racial identification in contemporary Brazil
  • 3. Negro group attachment in Brazil
  • 4. Negro linked fate and racial policies
  • 5. Afro-descendant perceptions of discrimination and support for affirmative action
Tags: , , , , ,

Goodbye ‘Racial Democracy’? Brazilian Identity, Official Discourse and the Making of a ‘Black’ Heritage Site in Rio de Janeiro

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2018-02-13 02:07Z by Steven

Goodbye ‘Racial Democracy’? Brazilian Identity, Official Discourse and the Making of a ‘Black’ Heritage Site in Rio de Janeiro

Bulletin of Latin American Research
Special Issue: Reflections on Repression and Resistance: The Vivid Legacies of Dictatorship in Brazil
Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2018
Pages 73–86
DOI: 10.1111/blar.12636

André Cicalo
King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

This article explores the racial thinking in Brazilian governance exposed during the creation of a Circuit of African Heritage in the port area of Rio de Janeiro from 2011 on. The Circuit and the policy discourses that have surrounded its establishment are visibly framed within a philosophy of ethno-racial recognition and multiculturalism, which apparently suggests a rupture from the long-established discourse of mixture and racial democracy in Brazil. Nonetheless, a careful analysis of the creation of the Circuit of African Heritage indicates that policy discourse is not conclusively unsettling the country’s traditional faith in a shared, colour-blind national identity.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

Tags: , , ,

Jennifer Roth-Gordon on her new book, Race and the Brazilian Body

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews on 2017-11-13 00:52Z by Steven

Jennifer Roth-Gordon on her new book, Race and the Brazilian Body

CaMP Anthropology
2017-09-04

Interview by: Ilana Gershon, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Indiana University, Bloomington

Jennifer Roth-Gordon, Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

If you were at a wedding, and the person at your table happened to be a scholar of African-American experiences of the Jim Crow South who wanted to know a bit about your book, what would you say?

Can the person sitting next to the Jim Crow scholar at our table be someone who witnessed the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville? I think I might open by saying to them that I study race relations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a context which is both very similar and very different from the ones that they are immersed in. My book is an investigation into how we can watch people draw on and perpetuate racial hierarchy in daily conversations and interactions, in a national context where noticing racial difference is (and has long been) taboo. These racial ideas – about the superiority of whiteness and the inferiority of blackness – are the same ideas that were legalized in the Jim Crow South and that white people marched to uphold just a few weeks ago, in defense of statues meant to keep nonwhite people “in their place.” I can point to very little that changes, over time or across national boundaries, in the civilized/uncivilized and upstanding/dangerous distinctions between what whiteness and nonwhiteness are thought to represent.

Brazil also suffers from incredibly high levels of structural racism that almost always exceed statistics from the present-day U.S. (from racial gaps in education levels, income, and where people live, to what scholars have called a black genocide of thousands of Afro-descended youth killed by police each year). Despite these national similarities, Brazil has long used incidents like Charlottesville (such as the Civil War, lynchings, the LA riots and Rodney King beating, Ferguson, and so on) to define themselves in contrast to the violent history and aggressive nature of race relations in the U.S. Though they are now more aware of racism than ever before, many Brazilians continue to take pride in their reputation for racial mixture and racial tolerance. While most would admit that Brazil is not (and has never been) a “racial democracy,” there is a strong belief that inequality in Brazil is socioeconomic, rather than racial.

My book seeks to explain the “comfortable racial contradiction” that surrounds Rio residents with signs of blackness and whiteness but discourages them from describing what they see in racial terms. It’s not a contradiction that is “comfortable” for all, but I argue that this contradiction is surprisingly easy to live within, even as it may be hard to unravel and explain – in the same way that we now have to contemplate what it means to live in a “colorblind” America that has people on both ends of the political spectrum loudly proclaiming that race matters. I study how racial ideology allows us to live in societies that promote themselves as tolerant and equal, even as we are daily surrounded by (and participating in) profoundly racially unequal and unjust circumstances. Laws and torches are not the only ways to maintain white supremacy, and swastika-flag bearers are not the only ones who keep systems of racial hierarchy in place…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , ,

Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-11-12 23:03Z by Steven

Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro

University of North Carolina Press
December 2016
248 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780520293793
Paperback ISBN: 9780520293809
Adobe PDF E-Book ISBN: 9780520967151
ePUB Format ISBN: 9780520967151

Jennifer Roth-Gordon, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Arizona

Based on spontaneous conversations of shantytown youth hanging out on the streets of their neighborhoods and interviews from the comfortable living rooms of the middle class, Jennifer Roth-Gordon shows how racial ideas permeate the daily lives of Rio de Janeiro’s residents across race and class lines. Race and the Brazilian Body weaves together the experiences of these two groups to explore what the author calls Brazil’s “comfortable racial contradiction,” where embedded structural racism that privileges whiteness exists alongside a deeply held pride in the country’s history of racial mixture and lack of overt racial conflict. This linguistic and ethnographic account describes how cariocas (people who live in Rio de Janeiro) “read” the body for racial signs. The amount of whiteness or blackness a body displays is determined not only through observations of phenotypical features—including skin color, hair texture, and facial features—but also through careful attention paid to cultural and linguistic practices, including the use of nonstandard speech commonly described as gíria (slang).

Vivid scenes from daily interactions illustrate how implicit social and racial imperatives encourage individuals to invest in and display whiteness (by demonstrating a “good appearance”), avoid blackness (a preference challenged by rappers and hip-hop fans), and “be cordial” (by not noticing racial differences). Roth-Gordon suggests that it is through this unspoken racial etiquette that Rio residents determine who belongs on the world famous beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon; who deserves to shop in privatized, carefully guarded, air conditioned shopping malls; and who merits the rights of citizenship.

Contents

  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  • 1. BRAZIL’S “COMFORTABLE RACIAL CONTRADICTION”
  • 2. “GOOD” APPEARANCES: RACE, LANGUAGE, AND CITIZENSHIP
  • 3. INVESTING IN WHITENESS: MIDDLE-CLASS PRACTICES OF LINGUISTIC DISCIPLINE
  • 4. FEARS OF RACIAL CONTACT: CRIME, VIOLENCE, AND THE STRUGGLE OVER URBAN SPACE
  • 5. AVOIDING BLACKNESS: THE FLIP SIDE OF BOA APARENCIA
  • 6. MAKING THE MANO: THE UNCOMFORTABLE VISIBILITY OF BLACKNESS IN POLITICALLY CONSCIOUS BRAZILIAN HIP-HOP
  • CONCLUSION: “SEEING” RACE
  • NOTES
  • REFERENCES
  • INDEX
Tags: , ,

Skin Color Still Plays Big Role In Ethnically Diverse Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-08-22 21:49Z by Steven

Skin Color Still Plays Big Role In Ethnically Diverse Brazil

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2013-09-19

Audie Cornish, Host

Melissa Block visits a historic section of Rio de Janeiro that pays homage to Afro-Brazilian history and the many slaves that came ashore there. She talks with Brazilian filmmaker Joel Zito Araujo about what it means to be black or mixed race in Brazil, and how skin color still dictates many aspects of life.


Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2016-06-18 21:26Z by Steven

Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil

Rutgers University Press
November 2001
278 pages
6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-3000-0
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-5602-4

Robin E. Sheriff, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of New Hampshire

In the 1933 publication The Masters and the Slaves, Brazilian scholar and novelist Gilberto Freyre challenged the racist ideas of his day by defending the “African contribution” to Brazil’s culture. In so doing, he proposed that Brazil was relatively free of most forms of racial prejudice and could best be understood as a “racial democracy.” Over time this view has grown into the popular myth that racism in Brazil is very mild or nonexistent.

This myth contrasts starkly with the realities of a pernicious racial inequality that permeates every aspect of Brazilian life. To study the grip of this myth on African Brazilians’ views of themselves and their nation, Robin E. Sheriff spent twenty months in a primarily black shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, studying the inhabitants’s views of race and racism. How, she asks, do poor African Brazilians experience and interpret racism in a country where its very existence tends to be publicly denied? How is racism talked about privately in the family and publicly in the community—or is it talked about at all?

Sheriff’s analysis is particularly important because most Brazilians live in urban settings, and her examination of their views of race and racism sheds light on common but underarticulated racial attitudes. This book is the first to demonstrate that urban African Brazilians do not subscribe to the racial democracy myth and recognize racism as a central factor shaping their lives.

Table Of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 The Hill
  • Chapter 2 Talk: Discourses on Color and Race
  • Chapter 3 Silence: Racism and Cultural Censorship
  • Chapter 4 Narratives: Racism on the Asphalt
  • Chapter 5 Narratives: Racism at Home
  • Chapter 6 Whiteness: Middle-Class Discourses
  • Chapter 7 Blackness: Militant Discourses
  • Chapter 8 Conclusion: Dreaming
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
Tags: , , ,

Whiteness and Miscegenation: Ethnographic Notes, Social Classifications and Silences in the Brazilian Context

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2016-04-01 18:47Z by Steven

Whiteness and Miscegenation: Ethnographic Notes, Social Classifications and Silences in the Brazilian Context

Studi Culturali
Volume VII, Number 1, April 2010
pages 87-102
DOI: 10.1405/31883

Valeria Ribeiro Corossacz
Dipartimento di studi linguistici e culturali
Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

This article presents some reflections from ongoing research on white upper-middle class men in Rio de Janeiro. The analysis of the construction of whiteness as an object of ethnographic enquiry permits us to consider the specificities and difficulties of ethnographic research on a category that in Euro-Western and Brazilian contexts represents the Self through which the social and cultural Other is defined. From these premises the article investigates what it means to classify him/herself and to be classified as white in Brazilian society, historically characterised by a valorisation of miscegenation and currently by a heated debate on anti-racist policies. The material presented shows how the invisibility of whiteness is associated on the one hand to the perception of the privilege connected to it, on the other hand to the pre-eminence of social class as an interpretive category.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , ,

Brazil’s hidden slavery past uncovered at Valongo Wharf

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2014-12-27 00:41Z by Steven

Brazil’s hidden slavery past uncovered at Valongo Wharf

BBC News
2014-12-24

Julia Carneiro
BBC Brasil, Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is a city looking to the future. Major development work is underway in the city’s historic port area as it prepares to host the Olympics in 2016.

But the construction effort to make all that happen has unexpectedly shone a light on a dark side of Rio: its past as the largest entry point for African slaves in the Americas.

In 2011, excavation work uncovered the site of Valongo Wharf, where almost a million African slaves disembarked before the slave trade was declared illegal in Brazil in 1831.

The wharf and the complex surrounding it were constructed in 1779 as part of an effort to move what was regarded as an unsightly trade to an area far from the city centre…

…Anthropologist Milton Guran, who co-ordinates the bid to have Valongo recognised as a Unesco World Heritage site, thinks preservation is especially important because “we had successive attempts to erase this history”.

“Slavery finally started being perceived as something heinous and the Empire sought to obliterate that mark,” he says…

…The impact of slavery on Brazilian society can be seen to this day. Over half of Brazil’s population is black or mixed race, but its elite remains largely white…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,