Expats Find Brazil’s Reputation For Race-Blindness Is Undone By Reality

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-05-23 20:24Z by Steven

Expats Find Brazil’s Reputation For Race-Blindness Is Undone By Reality

Parallels: Many Stories, One World
National Public Radio
2015-05-22

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

There is a joke among Brazilians that a Brazilian passport is the most coveted on the black market because no matter what your background — Asian, African or European — you can fit in here. But the reality is very different.

I’m sitting in café with two women who don’t want their names used because of the sensitivity of the topic. One is from the Caribbean; her husband is an expat executive.

“I was expecting to be the average-looking Brazilian; Brazil as you see on the media is not what I experienced when I arrived,” she tells me.

As is the case for many people from the Caribbean basin, she self-identifies as multiracial. The island where she is from has a mixture of races and ethnicities, so she was excited to move to Brazil, which has been touted as one of the most racially harmonious places in the world.

“When I arrived, I was shocked to realize there is a big difference between races and colors, and what is expected — what is your role, basically — based on your skin color,” she says…

Read the entire article here. Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

Tags: , ,

Brazilian Racial Democracy: Reality or Myth?

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-05-23 19:19Z by Steven

Brazilian Racial Democracy: Reality or Myth?

Humboldt Journal of Social Relations
Volume 10, Number 1, (Fall/Winter 1982/83): Race & Ethnic Relations: Cross-Cultural Perspectives
pages 129-142

Carlos Hasenbalg, Professor of Sociology
Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro

Suellen Huntington
University of California, Berkeley

The Brazilian claim to “racial democracy” is examined historically. and in light of the 1976 Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios data on race. class. and social mobility in Brazil. Racism is seen as limiting upward mobility for all non-white Brazilians, pointing to a potential break in Brazil’s “color—class continuum.” The interlocking social mechanisms which maintain Brazilian faith in the existence of racial democracy are briefly analyzed.

The popular Brazilian ideology of racial democracy holds that there is no prejudice or discrimination against non-whites in Brazil. certainly not when compared to the United States. This paper examines that ideology in terms of the realities of race, class, and social mobility in contemporary Brazil. We begin by briefly describing the historical background of the ideology of racial democracy as it bears on race relations in Brazil. Second, we summarize and criticize three main theoretical approaches to race relations and their Brazilian variations. Third, we discuss racism as a causal variable in social stratification and compare the evidence of social mobility for white and non-white Brazilians. Finally, we analyze the social mechanisms supponing the Brazilian belief in racial democracy and their effects on equality of opportunity in Brazil. For perspective, we note the most pertinent comparisons to the United States.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT

Brazil’s history helps explain the development of the ideology of racial democracy and its strong hold on the Brazilian popular mind. Brazil. colonized under the auspices of the Portuguese crown, remained subject to its strongly authoritarian, paternalistic, and monarchical traditions for three-hundred years. Unlike the United States where slavery was an issue from its very beginning and became a bitter point of contention in the Civil War. slavery was easily accepted by Brazil‘s Portuguese settlers whose long familiarity with slavery dates to the Moorish invasions. These differences of attitude influenced the racial compasition of their respective populations. In Brazil through the 1850, half the population was enslaved; in the United States, slaves were never more than fifteen percent of the population. The presence of this large slave population in Brazil, along with the relative absence of white women, prompted a high rate of miscegenation resulting in a large group of mixed race and mulatto slaves. In the United States, where miscegenation was both less common and illegal, all offspring of mixed unions were classified as negroes.

Brazil, the last country in the Western hemisphere to relinquish slavery, did so slowly, in a series of compromise reforms which sought to balance the needs of a plantation economy for cheap. plentiful labor against a sporadic, mostly non-violent, abolitionist movement and the force of international condemnation. When the national legislature passed an abolition law in 1888, most slaves in Brazil had been freed, partly by state legislatures acting independently, but also by county governments, by city governments, by city blocks, and by private citizens. Rather than a tumultuous emancipation, Brazilian slavery merely disintegrated. In the United States, the slavery issue was finally settled in 1865 with the Northern victory in the Civil War.

To solve the plantation labor crisis envisioned as the aftermath of abolition and to ease the transition to free labor, the Brazilian government instituted in 1885, a program promoting the importation of European workers. This program attracted 6,500 Italian laborers in 1886, 30,000 in 1887, and 90,000 in 1888, the year of offical emancipation. During the period of emancipation, immigrant labor worked side-by-side with ex-slaves, but most ex-slaves, unable to compete with the relatively more skilled, relatively more literate European workers, were soon relegated to the lowest positions—unskilled labor and domestic service, tenant farming and sharecroppingin the urban and rural workforce. In the United States, skilled black workers were replaced by whites in the post-Civil War South; in the North, they were systematically excluded from the skilled trades, from all but menial labor, and from union membership. In post-emancipation Brazil, however, the replacement of black ex-slaves by white immigrants resulted from hiring decisions by individual employers rather than from any systematic or organized opposition, thus tending to create class rather than racial antagonisms.

In addition, in the United States whites filled the intermediate positions in the occupational hierarchy, leaving blacks only the least desirable, worst paying positions. In Brazil the labor shortage, together with a prejudice in favor of light skin, caused these intermediate positions to be filled by mulattoes. This labor market preference for whites first, mulattoes second, and blacks last created a status and income continuum corresponding to the color continuum, in contrast to the caste-color line created in the United States…

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , ,

The Challenge of Mixed-Blood Nations

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-05-13 22:06Z by Steven

The Challenge of Mixed-Blood Nations

Indian Country Today Media Network
2015-04-25

Duane Champagne, Professor of Sociology and American Indian Studies; Professor of Law
University of California, Los Angeles

Countries with indigenous nations usually also have mixed-blood nations composed of people of indigenous descent and other nations or races. In an increasingly shrinking world where ethnicity is a quantity in flux, it is sometimes difficult to get a handle on how they relate to one another. The two groups would seem to be natural allies. But the reality isn’t that simple.

To begin with, much depends on the relations of the mixed bloods to the larger nation state. Take Canada, where the mixed-blood community is called Métis, a French word meaning—well, mixed blood. The Métis historically have had friendly relations with Indian communities. But currently they claim their own history and culture, a hybrid of European and indigenous community. Some Métis identify and live with tribal communities, while others do not. These separatists believe themselves to be a distinct nation or ethnic group from the indigenous nations and from Canada. Métis communities in Canada have separate land claims and negotiations with the Canadian government.

Meanwhile, in Latin and South America, as well as in Africa, people of mixed blood usually do not strongly identify with indigenous nations. They tend to reject indigenous ways in favor of national culture. Mestizos, for instance, are persons of indigenous ancestry who have taken up national culture and do not live in or engage with members of indigenous tribal communities.

This disengagement, in fact, can be quite vehement. Mestizo nations like Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and many others segregate their indigenous communities and maintain hostile and repressive political and cultural relations over indigenous nations. As for assimilated Mestizos, they can generally be relied on to embrace the values and lifestyles of modern market economies and broad national culture while openly rejecting their indigenous counterparts.

In the United States, the situation is particularly complex because there is no official designation of a mixed-blood nation…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

From Chains to Chiles: An Elite Afro-Indigenous Couple in Colonial Mexico, 1641–1688

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-05-05 01:25Z by Steven

From Chains to Chiles: An Elite Afro-Indigenous Couple in Colonial Mexico, 1641–1688

Ethnohistory
Volume 62, Number 2, April 2015
pages 361-384
DOI: 10.1215/00141801-2854356

Pablo Miguel Sierra Silva, Assistant Professor of History
University of Rochester

This article explores the life of an elite Afro-indigenous couple in the city of Puebla de los Ángeles during the seventeenth century. Through the study of a freedman, Felipe Monsón y Mojica, and his indigenous wife, Juana María de la Cruz, I propose a new approach to the study of the African diaspora in the urban centers of New Spain (colonial Mexico). By combining an extensive corpus of notarial, judicial, and parochial records with isolated references to Puebla’s Nahuatl-language annals, this article also sheds light on city-dwelling native women who married enslaved men. I argue that formal unions of this type held enormous social, political, and commercial potential for Afro-indigenous couples to emerge as new political actors and urban patrons. In particular, the Monsón de la Cruz household rose to a position of preeminence in pardo religious and military corporations through commerce in indigenous agricultural products.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Dragons in the Land of the Condor: Writing Tusán in Peru

Posted in Articles, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2015-04-29 19:51Z by Steven

Dragons in the Land of the Condor: Writing Tusán in Peru

University of Arizona Press
2014
264 pages
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-3111-0

Ignacio López-Calvo, Professor of Latin American Literature
University of California, Merced

Foreword by Eugenio Chang-Rodríguez, Professor Emeritus

Building on his 2013 study on Nikkei cultural production in Peru, in Dragons in the Land of the Condor Ignacio López-Calvo studies the influence of a Chinese ethnic background in the writing of several twentieth- and twenty-first-century Sino-Peruvian authors.

While authors like Siu Kam Wen and Julia Wong often rely on their Chinese cultural heritage for inspiration, many others, like Pedro Zulen, Mario Wong, and Julio Villanueva Chang, choose other sources of inspiration and identification. López-Calvo studies the different strategies used by these writers to claim either their belonging in the Peruvian national project or their difference as a minority ethnic group within Peru. Whether defending the rights of indigenous Peruvians, revealing the intricacies of a life of self-exploitation among Chinese shopkeepers, exploring their identitarian dilemmas, or re-creating—beyond racial memory—life under the political violence in Lima of the 1980s, these authors provide their community with a voice and a collective agency, while concomitantly repositioning contemporary Peruvian culture as transnational.

López-Calvo bridges from his earlier study of Peruvian Nikkei’s testimonials and literature and raises this question: why are Chinese Peruvian authors seemingly more disconnected from their Asian heritage than Japanese Peruvian authors from theirs? The author argues that the Chinese arrival in Peru half a century earlier influenced a stronger identification with the criollo world. Yet he argues that this situation may soon be changing as the new geopolitical and economic influence of the People’s Republic of China in the world, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, affects the way Chinese and Sino–Latin American communities and their cultures are produced and perceived.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In Puerto Rico, a push to revive indigenous culture

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-04-22 19:18Z by Steven

In Puerto Rico, a push to revive indigenous culture

The Associated Press
2015-04-20

Anica Coto

SAN LORENZO, Puerto Rico (AP) — In Puerto Rico’s misty, bamboo-studded mountains, elementary school students are studying a nearly extinct language, beating on drums and growing native crops like cassava and sweet potato as they learn about the indigenous people who lived on the island before Christopher Columbus.

The children in four towns in the island’s southeast corner play a ceremonial ball game that was called batey by the native Tainos, who were all but wiped out during colonial times. The boys and girls also learn words from the local Arawak language, which was in part rebuilt with help from linguists, and still exists in varying forms among other native groups in the hemisphere.

Now, a group of academics and educators hope to expand the Taino education program to other public schools around the U.S. territory in an effort to teach children this little known part of the territory’s history.

“If you don’t know your roots, you don’t know yourself,” said anthropologist Carlalynne Yarey Melendez, director of the Taino cultural organization that runs the educational program. “There are so many communities and schools that want the classes, but I can’t keep up with the demand.”

Puerto Ricans’ interest in the territory’s indigenous past has grown in recent years, with 42,000 of the 3.7 million people then living on the island identifying themselves as at least partially Taino in the 2010 Census.

But even though that’s just a little more than 1 percent, Puerto Rico’s legislature is considering a proposal to declare Melendez’s Naguake organization to be the island’s first indigenous-based community. The designation would allow it to receive federal funds under a program that aids native groups, and expand the program to other towns…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Brazilian soap operas slowly cast black middle class

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Social Science on 2015-04-12 02:12Z by Steven

Brazilian soap operas slowly cast black middle class

Al Jazeera America
2015-04-11

Matt Sandy

Morgann Jezequel


Actor Sílvio Guindane poses on the set of the telenovela Vitória at Record studios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October, 2014. Rafael Fabres / Getty Images Assignment for Al Jazeera America

Black actors move beyond roles as maids, thieves and drug dealers, but insiders say more diverse film/TV writers needed

RIO DE JANEIRO – Dressed in a fitted white designer shirt, Sílvio Guindane stood beneath a chandelier on a grand wrought iron staircase and smiled confidently. Below, a set of ornate drinking glasses sat next to a collection of spirit bottles. Above, framed monochrome prints and color landscapes adorned the walls.

It is an archetypal image of upper middle class Brazil. And for good reason as this is the set of “Vitória,” one of the country’s ubiquitous novelas, the phenomenally popular soap operas that for more than 50 years have thrived on the country’s major television networks — often by portraying lavish lifestyles beyond the means of most viewers.

There is just one thing that is unusual: Guindane, 31, who plays a successful engineer, is black…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Black Blood Brothers: Confraternities and Social Mobility for Afro-Mexicans

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Religion on 2015-04-12 01:30Z by Steven

Black Blood Brothers: Confraternities and Social Mobility for Afro-Mexicans

University Press of Florida
2006-05-30
304 pages
6 x 9
Hardback ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-2942-9

Nicole von Germeten, Associate Professor of History
Oregon State University

Celebrating the African contribution to Mexican culture, this book shows how religious brotherhoods in New Spain both preserved a distinctive African identity and helped facilitate Afro-Mexican integration into colonial society. Called confraternities, these groups provided social connections, charity, and status for Africans and their descendants for over two centuries.

Often organized by African women and dedicated to popular European and African saints, the confraternities enjoyed prestige in the Baroque religious milieu of 17th-century New Spain. One group, founded by Africans called Zapes, preserved their ethnic identity for decades even after they were enslaved and brought to the Americas. Despite ongoing legal divisions and racial hierarchies, by the end of the colonial era many descendants from African slaves had achieved a degree of status that enabled them to move up the social ladder in Hispanic society. Von Germeten reveals details of the organization and practices of more than 60 Afro-Mexican brotherhoods and examines changes in the social, family, and religious lives of their members. She presents the stories of individual Africans and their descendants—including many African women and the famous Baroque artist Juan Correa—almost entirely from evidence they themselves generated. Moving the historical focus away from negative stereotypes that have persisted for almost 500 years, this study is the first in English to deal with Afro-Mexican religious organizations.

Tags: , , ,

Mestizaje and Globalization: Transformations of Identity and Power

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-04-06 00:28Z by Steven

Mestizaje and Globalization: Transformations of Identity and Power

University of Arizona Press
2014
264 pages
10 photos, 3 illlustrations, 5 tables
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-3090-8

Stefanie Wickstrom, Senior Lecturer of Political Science
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington

Philip D. Young (1936-2013), Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
University of Oregon

The Spanish word mestizaje does not easily translate into English. Its meaning and significance have been debated for centuries since colonization by European powers began. Its simplest definition is “mixing.” As long as the term has been employed, norms and ideas about racial and cultural relations in the Americas have been imagined, imposed, questioned, rejected, and given new meaning.

Mestizaje and Globalization presents perspectives on the underlying transformation of identity and power associated with the term during times of great change in the Americas. The volume offers a comprehensive and empirically diverse collection of insights concerning mestizaje’s complex relationship with indigeneity, the politics of ethnic identity, transnational social movements, the aesthetic of cultural production, development policies, and capitalist globalization, with particular attention to cases in Latin America and the United States.

Beyond the narrow and often inadequate meaning of mestizaje as biological and racial mixing, the concept deserves an innovative theoretical consideration due to its multidimensional, multifaceted character and its resilience as an ideological construct. The contributors argue that historical analyses of mestizaje do not sufficiently understand contemporary ways that racism, ethnic discrimination, and social injustice intermingle with current discourse and practice of cultural recognition and multiculturalism in the Americas.

Mestizaje and Globalization contributes to an emerging multidisciplinary effort to explore how identities are imposed, negotiated, and reconstructed. The chapter authors clearly set forth the issues and obstacles that indigenous peoples and subjugated minorities face, as well as the strategies they have employed to gain empowerment in the face of globalization.

Tags: , , ,

Dismantling the Racial Paradise

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-03-31 18:42Z by Steven

Dismantling the Racial Paradise

Stanford University Press Blog
March 2015

Tiffany Joseph, Assistant Professor of Sociology; Affiliated Faculty of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

How migration to and from the U.S. is transforming notions of race in Brazil.

I still remember my first trip to Brazil—I was amazed by the diversity of physical features I saw among the population, a continuous range of skin tones between what Americans think of as “white” and “black.” Everyone seemed to get along well; residential segregation levels were low and interracial couples, families and friend groups appeared to be the norm. It would have been easy to believe that Brazil was a racial paradise compared to the United States. However, as I learned Portuguese and spent more time in the country, I came to realize that Brazil was a country of racial contradictions.

Despite having seemingly more “cordial” interpersonal relations, Brazil has struggled with rampant social inequality, especially between lighter and darker Brazilians. While Brazilians espoused the beauty of its multiracial population, I was perplexed every time I passed stands full of Brazilian magazines and saw a sea of fair-skinned faces with blonde hair and blue eyes upheld as the ideal image of beauty. As a black American, I began to notice commonalities between the pervasiveness of structural racism in Brazil and the U.S. while being keenly aware of the different racial ideologies that characterized each nation’s history.

Brazil was once considered the global model for burying racial hatchets and fostering social inclusiveness, while the U.S. has garnered a reputation for being an overtly racist country. As the two largest countries in the Americas, both indelibly impacted by long histories of structural racism, Brazil and the U.S. have been the focus of countless comparative studies on race. And though the number of people traveling and migrating between each country has increased significantly in the last few decades, there are few accounts of how these migrations facilitated movement of race between these countries…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,