Who Is Black in Brazil? A Timely or a False Question in Brazilian Race Relations in the Era of Affirmative Action?

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2011-07-27 05:03Z by Steven

Who Is Black in Brazil? A Timely or a False Question in Brazilian Race Relations in the Era of Affirmative Action?

Latin American Perspectives
Volume 33, Number 4 (July 2006)
pages 30-48
DOI: 10.1177/0094582X06290122

Sales Augusto dos Santos
University of BrasĂ­lia

Translated by Obianuju C. Anya

At the end of 2001 the question of race became part of the Brazilian national agenda under the pressure of black social movements for the establishment of quotas for admission of Afro-Brazilians to public universities. There was already strong resistance to this proposal. One of the principal arguments against this kind of affirmative action was and continues to be that Brazilian racial boundaries are not as rigid as those of the United States—that, given its substantial miscegenation, it is impossible to know who is black. The myth of racial democracy seriously limits realistic discussion of racism and racial identity because it prevents the identification of dysfunctional race relations. The question is not who is black but what sort of society Brazilians want to build.

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