The Influences Affecting and the Influential Effects of Multiracials: Multiracialism and Stratification

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-17 22:27Z by Steven

The Influences Affecting and the Influential Effects of Multiracials: Multiracialism and Stratification

Sociology Compass
Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2014)
pages 63-77
DOI: 10.1111/soc4.12100

Hephzibah V. Strmic-Pawl, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina

Early research on multiracials documents the existence of a newly emergent population, those who identify with more than one race or what is commonly now known as multiracials. Contemporary research on multiracialism has a new focus on the stratification that multiracials experience and how multiracials may be influencing a new racial hierarchy. This paper discusses some of the primary issues of multiracialism and stratification including colorism, the racial hierarchy, social class, gender and sexual orientation, and multiracial as a celebrity-like status. As the multiracial population grows, so must the field of multiracialism grows to include critical issues and questions regarding stratification.

Read the entire article here.

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I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-15 22:04Z by Steven

I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway

The Atlantic
2014-04-14

Doug Glanville

A retired Major League Baseball player explains how he’s trying to turn an upsetting encounter with the police into an opportunity for dialogue.

It was an otherwise ordinary snow day in Hartford, Connecticut, and I was laughing as I headed outside to shovel my driveway. I’d spent the morning scrambling around, trying to stay ahead of my three children’s rising housebound energy, and once my shovel hit the snow, I thought about how my wife had been urging me to buy a snowblower. I hadn’t felt an urgent need. Whenever it got ridiculously blizzard-like, I hired a snow removal service. And on many occasions, I came outside to find that our next door neighbor had already cleared my driveway for me.

Never mind that our neighbor was an empty-nester in his late 60s with a replaced hip, and I was a former professional ballplayer in his early 40s. I kept telling myself I had to permanently flip the script and clear his driveway. But not today. I had to focus on making sure we could get our car out for school the next morning. My wife was at a Black History Month event with our older two kids. The snow had finally stopped coming down and this was my mid-afternoon window of opportunity.

Just as I was good-naturedly turning all this over in my mind, my smile disappeared.

A police officer from West Hartford had pulled up across the street, exited his vehicle, and begun walking in my direction. I noted the strangeness of his being in Hartford—an entirely separate town with its own police force—so I thought he needed help. He approached me with purpose, and then, without any introduction or explanation he asked, “So, you trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people’s driveways around here?”

All of my homeowner confidence suddenly seemed like an illusion…

…As offended as I’d been, the worst part was trying to explain the incident to my kids. When I called my wife to tell her what had happened, she was on her way home from the Black History Month event, and my son heard her end of the conversation. Right away, he wanted to know whether I’d been arrested. My 4-year-old daughter couldn’t understand why a police officer would “hurt Daddy’s feelings.” I didn’t want to make my children fear the police. I also wasn’t ready to talk to them about stop-and-frisk policies, or the value judgments people put on race.

Until that moment, skin colors had been little more than adjectives to my kids. Some members of our family have bronze or latte skin; others are caramel-colored or dark brown. Our eldest and “lightest-skinned” daughter had at times matter-of-factly described her brother and me as “brown” and herself as “white.” But that night, my wife made it painfully simple. “We are black,” she explained. “All of us.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed or Not, Why Are We Still Taking Pictures of “Race”?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-15 15:29Z by Steven

Mixed or Not, Why Are We Still Taking Pictures of “Race”?

Racism Review: scholarship and activism towards racial justice
2014-04-13

Sharon Chang

Just days ago PolicyMic put up a piece entitled “National Geographic Concludes What Americans Will Look Like in 2050, and It’s Beautiful.” In it writer Zak Cheney-Rice attempts to address the so-called rise of multiracial peoples which has captured/enchanted the public eye and with which the media has become deeply enamored. He spotlights a retrospective and admiring look at National Geographic’sThe Changing Face of America” project of last year featuring a series of multiracial portraits by well-known German photographer Martin Schoeller, and also peripherally cites some statistics/graphs that demonstrate the explosion of the mixed-race population.

“In a matter of years,” Cheney-Rice writes, “We’ll have Tindered, OKCupid-ed and otherwise sexed ourselves into one giant amalgamated mega-race.” Despite admitting racial inequity persists, he still flirts with the idea of an “end” approaching (presumably to race and by association racism), and suggests while we’re waiting for things to get better, we might “…applaud these growing rates of intermixing for what they are: An encouraging symbol of a rapidly changing America. 2050 remains decades away, but if these images are any preview, it’s definitely a year worth waiting for.” We are then perhaps left with this rather unfortunate centerpiece of his statement, “Here’s how the ‘average American’ will look by the year 2050”:…

…What I think is incredibly important here (and doesn’t seem to have come up in the ensuing disputes) is why portraits designed to quantify/quality racialized appearance were taken with such intent in the first place? Photography which captures a person’s image for the sole and express purpose of measuring then discussing their supposed race is not new and frankly, like pretty much everything race-related, has a long and insidious history. It’s known as racial-type photography and it was popularized in the late 19th century by white pseudo-scientists to “prove” the superiority of some races, and the inferiority of others. Anthropologists used photography to make anatomical comparisons, then racially classify and rank human subjects on an evolutionary scale “seeming to confirm that some peoples were less evolved than others and would therefore benefit from imperial control” (Picture Imperfect: Photography and Eugenics, 1879-1940 by Anne Maxwell, p.21)…

Read the entire article here.

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Making the Modern Family: Interracial Intimacy and the Social Production of Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-07 03:39Z by Steven

Making the Modern Family: Interracial Intimacy and the Social Production of Whiteness

Harvard Law Review
Volume 127, Issue 5 (2014-03-17)
pages 1341-1394

Camille Gear Rich, Associate Professor of Law
Gould School of Law
University of Southern California

According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family. By Angela Onwuachi-Willig. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 2013. Pp. 325.

Angela Onwuachi-Willig’s provocative book According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family seems tailor-made for the current cultural moment. The book arrives on the heels of the reelection of our first mixed-race President. It arrives in the midst of a media blitz that favorably presents mixedrace couples on a routine basis, making the multiracial family seem a normal, even pedestrian occurrence. Indeed, in 2012 the cultural embrace of the interracial family seemed complete when Modern Family was chosen as the top sitcom in the United States. The program centers on the Dunphy-Pritchetts, an interracial, gay-tolerant family, seemingly progressive in all dimensions. Onwuachi-Willig’s new book, however, boldly challenges the contemporary claim that interracial families are now an accepted and celebrated part of the American polity. The author instead painstakingly reveals that the world still subjects the interracial family to insult and inferior treatment that the law fails to address and, further, that the acceptance of interracial couples in contemporary popular culture is far more partial, conditional, and ambivalent than it might initially seem.

One need look no further than the program Modern Family itself to find evidence of America’s continuing anxiety about interracial unions. While fans of the program know the cast of characters well, the program’s viewers most likely have not fully apprehended the program’s cultural commitments and underlying political ambitions. The core characters of Modern Family are members of a white nuclear family, Claire and Phil Dunphy and their three children. This couple’s 1950s-style Dick and Jane union stands alongside the May-December romance of Claire’s white father, Jay Pritchett, who, having separated from Claire’s white mother, has married Gloria, a fiery Latina from Colombia. Jay has also functionally adopted Manny, Gloria’s Latino son. The family clan is complete when we are introduced to Claire’s brother, Mitchell Pritchett, a white gay man who has coupled with another white gay man, Cameron, and adopted Lily, a Vietnamese child. The not-so-silent political subtext that informs this current cultural favorite is that the era of interraciality has ended and the postracial future has arrived. Indeed, in the world of Modern Family, “interraciality,” the term Onwuachi-Willig uses to describe the discrimination aimed at mixed-race couples in American society, is a relic of the past. The program further reassures its viewers that the white nuclear family will not be threatened by this new post-racial future, a time when whites casually form intimate family relationships with people of color. For Modern Family is treacle-coated reassurance that in these new “modern families,” interracial parenting and interracial marriage will simply mimic the dynamics of the white nuclear family in its original form.

Close analysis of Modern Family further demonstrates that, despite the seeming cultural celebration of interracial families, the racial acceptance offered in the program is surprisingly partial. One major racial group is left out of the Dunphy-Pritchett clan’s seemingly capacious diversity circle — blacks. Indeed, in the Dunphy-Pritchett family, white parents eagerly reach out to care for Latino, Asian, and mixed-race children, but there are no black children in the family. Over the course of each season we occasionally see black friends, or black neighbors, but there is no sign that any black person has ever been invited into the Dunphy-Pritchett marital bed. One wonders, why did the producers’ willingness to represent interracial intimacy stop with blacks? According to Our Hearts provides an answer. Onwuachi-Willig explains that black-white romantic dyads and the mixed-race families they produce are particularly anxiety provoking in the United States and, as a consequence, are typically erased and rendered culturally invisible (p. 18). She further argues that this invisibility hides the fact that black-white families suffer under a unique form of hostility and disadvantage (p. 9). By charting these black-white couples’ experiences and using them in a “miner’s canary” analysis to assess race relations, she argues, we learn just how long racism and fear of interracial intimacy have endured (p. 122)…

…Indeed, history shows that the interracial family historically has been an institution that assimilated ethnic or racial differences to whiteness and therefore did not disturb the existing racial status hierarchy. Ethnic whites that immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s, including Germans and Northern Europeans, intermarried with “American” or British whites as a way of being absorbed into the larger category of privileged white persons. A second wave of immigrant intermarriage expanded the category of whiteness again in the 1950s and 1960s, when Italians and other Southern Europeans were added to the category of whiteness. Today we are experiencing a third wave in this expansion as sections of the Asian and Latino communities have gained sufficient social status that they are being accepted as suitable marriage partners by privileged whites today. In many cases, whites appear willing to treat Asian or Latino background, particularly for mixed-race persons, as a kind of “ethnic” rather than racial difference. Professor Charles Gallagher refers to this dynamic, in which racialized or subordinated ethnic groups are granted status equal to whiteness, as “racial redistricting.”

Given the subtle and sophisticated nature of Onwuachi-Willig’s account of the interracial family, it is surprising that she does not cover the potentially racially regressive role the interracial family can play in contemporary race relations. However, this oversight may be a consequence of methodological choices she makes in her study. First, Onwuachi-Willig opts to make the black-white multiracial family the paradigmatic case that guides her understanding of interraciality (p. 122), and an assimilation focus is not as common in black-white families. Sociologists have suggested that assimilation messages are not as common because phenotypic differences prevent many children in black-white mixed-race families from assimilating to whiteness easily. However, there is some evidence that even black-white interracial families use these unions as a path for their children into whiteness when possible. Second, sampling bias may account for the problem. Onwuachi-Willig uses an approach called convenience sampling in her account. Specifically, she collects stories from former volunteers and acquaintances made through friends (pp. 8–10); understandably these like-minded individuals were more likely to share her progressive vision. Those who were not like-minded, for obvious reasons, would likely opt not to participate in a study of interraciality-based discrimination. Members of interracial couples who could see their children easily transitioning to a white identity or a transcendent raceless identity would be less interested in exploring the unique forms of discrimination faced by interracial couples.

Despite these problems, in my view, Onwuachi-Willig’s account of the interracial family provides a much-needed starting point for persons interested in theorizing about the relationship between family formation and racial formation. However, some supplementation of her account is required in order to fully address the interracial family’s tutelary role or its role as a site of racial messaging. Part B further explores these roles, concentrating on families that appear to be committed to assimilating their members to whiteness and therefore are treated as reinforcing existing racial status hierarchy in the United States…

Read the entire review here.

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The A.C.T.O.R. (A Continuing Talk on Race) presents: (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race

Posted in Arts, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-06 19:44Z by Steven

The A.C.T.O.R. (A Continuing Talk on Race) presents: (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race

Busboys and Poets
Langston Room
14th & V Streets, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Sunday, 2014-04-06, 17:00-19:00 EDT (Local Time)

Join us for a discussion with (1)ne Drop author, Yaba Blay!

What exactly is Blackness? What does it mean to be Black? Is Blackness a matter of biology or consciousness? Who determines who is Black and who is not? Who’s Black, who’s not, and who cares? (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race seeks to challenge narrow perceptions of Blackness as both an identity and lived reality. Featuring the perspectives of 60 contributors representing 25 different countries and countries of origin, and combining candid narratives with simple, yet striking, portraiture, this book provides living testimony to the diversity of Blackness. Featured on CNN Newsroom and the inspiration behind CNN’s Black in America 5 – “Who is Black in America?” – (1)ne Drop continues to spark much-needed dialogue about the intricacies and nuances of racial identity, and the influence of skin color politics on questions of who is Black and who is not. (1)ne Drop takes the very literal position that in order for us to see Blackness differently, we have to see Blackness differently.

The A.C.T.O.R. (A Continuing Talk on Race) open discussion series is produced and hosted by Busboys and Poets as a community service. It provides the opportunity for people to come together and speak openly and honestly about issues of race. The intent is that each person walks away from the discussion feeling something: challenged, educated, uncomfortable, enlightened, refreshed, reassured and hopefully inspired and moved to action! Each month there is a new topic for discussion with a Busboys and Poets-sponsored facilitator. This series is produced and facilitated by our Marketing and Events Director, Pamela Pinnock.

Free and open to all. To be added to the A.C.T.O.R. email list, please email press@busboysandpoets.com

A.C.T.O.R. is held on the first Sunday of every month at Busboys and Poets 14 th & V; 5:00 PM.

For more information, click here.

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Seminar on Mixed Race in Fiji: The Part Indian Fijians

Posted in Media Archive, Oceania, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, Videos on 2014-04-06 16:48Z by Steven

Seminar on Mixed Race in Fiji: The Part Indian Fijians

2014-04-05

Rolando Cocom
School of Social Science
The University of the South Pacific

This is a research design of an explorative study to be conducted in Fiji on ‘mixed race’ persons of iTaukei and Indo-Fijian parentage. The study seeks to render an interpretive understanding of ‘mixed race’ ethnic and national identification based on interviews with participants in Suva, Fiji. The research questions are (a) how do persons of mixed parentage (iTaukei and Indo-Fijian) identify themselves with an ethnic label or labels? (b) what are the perspectives on the institutionalization of the term “Fijian” as a national identity label? (c) what do such experiences tells us about the racialization and politicization of ethnicity? This study is interesting and significant in light of the increasing number of ‘multiracial’ movements in Anglo-America; the small number of inter-marriages between iTaukei and Indo-Fijian citizens; and the recent policy change to identify all Fijian citizens with the term Fijian. The presentation covers the central aspects of research designs: the literature review (on Anglo-America & Fiji), conceptual framework, methodology, and the modest implications of the study.

Read the presentation (in Microsoft Powerpoint) here.
Read the discussion paper (in PDF format) here.

NOTE: No part of this presentation is to be used, redistributed, or cited without the author’s consent. Contact: cocom_rolando@yahoo.com

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Where Did “Hispanics” Come From?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-01 01:58Z by Steven

Where Did “Hispanics” Come From?

Sociological Images: Inspiring Sociological Imaginations Everywhere
2014-03-29

Claude S. Fischer, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

One may well wonder where the term “Hispanic,” and for that matter, “Latino,” came from. The press and pundits are all abuzz about the Hispanic vote, Hispanic organizations, and Hispanic cultural influences. Back in the mid-twentieth century, however, they wrote about Mexicans or Puerto Ricans or Guatemalans, not about Hispanics. Of course, people of Latin American origin have become far more numerous in the United States since then and the immigration itself brings more attention. Nonetheless, the labels have changed. Starting in the 1970s, the media rapidly adopted the “pan-ethnic” term Hispanic, and to a lesser degree, Latino, and slowed down their use of specific national labels.* So did, organizations, agencies, businesses, and “Hispanics” themselves.

As recounted in her important new book, Making Hispanics, sociologist (and my colleague) G. Cristina Mora tells the story of how people as diverse as Cuban-born businessmen in Miami, undocumented Mexican farm workers in California, and third-generation part-Puerto Ricans in New York who do not even understand Spanish were brought together into one social category: Hispanic-Americans…

Read the entire article here.

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Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-01 01:55Z by Steven

Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American

University of Chicago Press
March 2014
256 pages
1 halftone, 5 line drawings, 3 tables
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 9780226033662
Paper ISBN: 9780226033839
E-book ISBN: 9780226033976

G. Cristina Mora, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics. She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media executives in the 1970s and ’80s created a new identity category—and by doing so, permanently changed the racial and political landscape of the nation.

Some argue that these cultures are fundamentally similar and that the Spanish language is a natural basis for a unified Hispanic identity. But Mora shows very clearly that the idea of ethnic grouping was historically constructed and institutionalized in the United States. During the 1960 census, reports classified Latin American immigrants as “white,” grouping them with European Americans. Not only was this decision controversial, but also Latino activists claimed that this classification hindered their ability to portray their constituents as underrepresented minorities. Therefore, they called for a separate classification: Hispanic. Once these populations could be quantified, businesses saw opportunities and the media responded. Spanish-language television began to expand its reach to serve the now large, and newly unified, Hispanic community with news and entertainment programming. Through archival research, oral histories, and interviews, Mora reveals the broad, national-level process that led to the emergence of Hispanicity in America.

Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Organizations
  • Introduction: Making Hispanics: Classification and the Politics of Ambiguity
  • One: Civil Rights, Brown Power, and the “Spanish-Speaking” Vote: The Development of the Cabinet Committee on Opportunities for Spanish Speaking People
  • Two: The Rise of a Hispanic Lobby: The National Council of La Raza
  • Three: “The Toughest Question”: The US Census Bureau and the Making of Hispanic Data
  • Four: Broadcasting Panethnicity: Univision and the Rise of Hispanic Television
  • Conclusion: The Hispanic Category and the Development of a New Identity Politics in America
  • Notes
  • Index
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Whiteness Without Complex?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-01 01:10Z by Steven

Whiteness Without Complex?

Anthropology While White
2014-03-06

Sarah Abel, Marie Curie Fellow
EUROTAST

A couple of weeks ago I attended an event called ‘Color Without Complex‘, featuring a public conversation between image activist Michaela Angela Davis and ethnographer and publisher Dr. Yaba Blay. The discussion revolved around Blay’s recent book and accompanying exhibition, (1)ne Drop, which looks at the faces and stories of individuals who identify as black, but do not necessarily fit with common prototypes of blackness in the US. By focusing on light-skinned individuals existing at the very outer periphery of blackness, the project tests the perceptual limitations and the social implications of the one drop rule in today’s post-segregation America – a country in which contemporary notions and benchmarks of ‘race’ are still rooted in cultural and legal traditions established under slavery, colonialism and Jim Crow segregation.

The theme up for debate was colourism, a hot internet topic over the past nine months in particular, and the object of a number of recent documentaries, chat shows and news articles in the US. While social prejudice against people ‘of colour’ – as well as the pathological tendency of the Western media to showcase whiteness not only as the norm, but also as virtually the sole domain of beauty – are perhaps two of the most visible social legacies of colonialism throughout the Atlantic world and beyond, these recent debates are bringing to light skin colour prejudices within the black community. Whereas, historically, light coloured skin was prized and aspired to throughout the Americas as a path to social ascension and a means of escaping the stigma of blackness, in recent decades pan-Africanism and a multitude of black pride initiatives have caused a shift towards celebrating and embracing blackness as embodied by a dark-skinned, African ideal. Meanwhile, in some cases light-skinned blacks have become the target of double-edged prejudice: stigmatised by whites for being black, and ostracised by blacks for apparently aspiring to be white…

…And yet, I think it is worth mentioning that there was also a significant minority of white women among the audience who turned up to listen to the debate. Looking around the room, I wondered what had brought them there, like me, to listen from the sidelines into a conversation to which we were not party. In the Q&A session at the end, the (white) woman sat in front of me, holding hands tightly with her (black) husband, asked a question about healing through empathy [at 00:45:43]. Some minutes later, a young (white) woman a few rows further down asked the following question [at 01:05:05]:

“How would you defend, or maybe not necessarily defend, but how would you address a woman who is of colour, but appears to look as white as I do? How would you talk to her or address to her what her place is in relation to colourism, for example? How does colourism apply to her, because she looks white but she is a person of colour, and identifies with that?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Becoming a black woman: an identity in process

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-03-26 15:36Z by Steven

Becoming a black woman: an identity in process

Black Women of Brazil: The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent
2013-07-31

Fernanda Souza

“(…) We are born preta (black), mulata, parda, brown, roxinha (a little purple) among others, but becoming negra (black) (1) is an achievement.” (Lélia Gonzalez)

“How (does one) to form an identity around color and non self-acceptance of blackness by the majority whose future was projected in the dream of branqueamento (whitening)?” (Munanga, p. 137, 2004)

My entire life I saw myself as a parda (brown), morena, mulata, mestiça (mixed race), but never, under any circumstances, negra (black). Although having blacks uncles and cousins, besides my late grandmother being black, I didn’t not recognize as such because of not thinking my parents were black, because I believed in the idea that blacks were only those people who had darker skin and my father and my mother could be seen, even by themselves, as mestiços and not as negros. That’s where we have one of the great subtleties while one of the biggest problems for racial consciousness in the country: the mestiço. The mestiço, as an intermediate category between white and black, is a result of the long process of mestiçagem (racial mixture) that marks Brazil. Mestiço here should be understood primarily as someone who is the child of a interracial couple (in this case, I refer to the union between a black man/ white woman and white man/black woman) and can also, to facilitate understanding of the text, be understood as someone who, even though not being the son/daughter of an interracial couple but of black parents, having lighter skin and had/has difficulty in defining themselves as black. Again I reiterate: this extension of the concept of “mestiço” is only to help in the understanding of the text and not to have to use the term “non-white” because it encompasses other ethnic groups, such as indigenous and neither “pardos (browns)”, because I find it politically innocuous for a text that will discuss mainly mestiçagem and the difficulty of asserting a racial-ethnic identity.

Miscegenation constitutes the cornerstone of the myth of racial democracy, whose central idea is that we are mestiços, the result of interbreeding between the three races – white, Indian and Black – which occurred through a contact and a harmonious coexistence between the three – forgetting that this process started from the rape of black women enslaved by plantation masters and there is nothing harmonious about it – and, in this sense, here there doesn’t exist so much discrimination and racial prejudice and people recognize themselves first as Brazilian than from a racial-ethnic identity of the oppressed, because as the myth of racial democracy dissolves, it mitigates and obscures the tensions, conflicts and racial prejudices present in Brazil, as Kabengele Munanga (2004) pointed out…

Read the entire article here.

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