Not There Yet

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2017-08-10 01:21Z by Steven

Not There Yet

Fordham Law News: From New York City To You
2017-05-24

A conversation with six Fordham Law professors about civil rights.

While it has been more than 50 years since the last Civil Rights Act was passed, the United States still has work to do to fully realize the equality of all persons. To plot where we are on the long road of civil rights, Fordham Lawyer spoke with six professors: Elizabeth Cooper, Tanya Hernández, Leah Hill, Joseph Landau, Robin Lenhardt, and Kimani Paul-Emile.

How does the United States measure up against Latin American countries with our same history of slavery and racial inequality?

Hernández: It’s somewhat of a mixed bag in Latin America. There are examples of very impoverished understandings of race—a sort of denial that there is any problem with racism because of the extant mythology across the region that perpetuates the idea that racial mixture equals racial harmony. At the same time, there’s a lot of social justice activism on the part of Afro-Latinos; in fact, they have garnered significant traction with political administrations that have been amenable to them. For example, in 2012 Brazil had a significant Supreme Federal Court ruling that held that race-based affirmative action was constitutional. Notably, the opinion was rooted in the idea that neutrality was not enough—that it was not enough for law to be neutral if they wanted to achieve equality. That’s pretty remarkable. It contrasts with what has been happening with the U.S. Supreme Court in this area. Since the Reagan years, there has been this shift to a jurisprudence that is all about color blindness: Equality is viewed as simply being neutral. The Court doesn’t look at the material effects of people having different starting points and, consequently, different needs. That particular comparison shows a kind of enlightenment in the Latin American sphere that we have not seen in a while in the United States.

About a year or so after this Federal Supreme Court decision, new legislation called the Law of Social Quotas was passed in Brazil. What this did was mandate that there be race-based affirmative action within all the public federal universities. What’s significant about this is that there are actual quotas—numbers that can be measured and monitored. Institutions can be held accountable. There’s none of this discomfort with the idea that having accountability means that you’re demeaning someone by only viewing them as being a race. Instead, it’s a notion that the numbers matter because the numbers inform the direct way to integrate an institution.

This type of attention to race stands in marked contrast to the United States, where the use of affirmative action is sometimes misdescribed as being the most radical. But what is often misunderstood is that the United States has forbidden quotas since 1978 with the Bakke case [Regents of the University of California v. Bakke]. Thus, we don’t have authorization to use direct numerical set-asides. We can have targets and wish lists, but there can be no hard number. Without a hard number, how do you hold the institution accountable?…

Read the entire article here.

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The limits of affirmative action in Brazil

Posted in Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Videos on 2017-08-07 20:13Z by Steven

The limits of affirmative action in Brazil

Focus
France 24
2017-07-26

Brazil has the highest proportion of so-called “mixed race” people in the world. Yet only 13% of people aged 18 to 24 in that category are enrolled at university. Back in 2012, the government decided to introduce quotas for universities. But recently, the system appears to have stalled. Black student groups have denounced students they say are “too white” to benefit from this affirmative action policy, while universities have set up committees to examine skin color and ethnic background.

A programme prepared by Patrick Lovett and Aline Schmidt.

Watch the entire program here.

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One Woman’s Fight to Claim Her ‘Blackness’ in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive on 2017-07-25 02:12Z by Steven

One Woman’s Fight to Claim Her ‘Blackness’ in Brazil

Foreign Policy
2017-07-24

Cleuci de Oliveira
Brasília, Brazil


Illustration by Sofía Bonati

The experience of a young lawyer raises difficult questions about race, belonging, and the bureaucracy of affirmative action in a country lauded for its egalitarian history.

When Maíra Mutti Araújo speaks, she draws out her vowels and pronounces them with a distinctively sharp tone. Her accent is immediately recognizable to Brazilians as typical of Salvador, a coastal city in the country’s northeast that is as famous for its beaches as its rich African heritage. Araújo grew up in Salvador, just like her mom. Her dad, who grew up in a rural town eight hours away, has lived there since college. She has her mom’s features — a broad nose, full lips — and her dad’s nut-brown complexion.

Araújo comes from a bookish family. Her parents met when they were both chemistry majors at a local university — they now work as middle school chemistry teachers. She got her law degree at the Federal University of Bahia, one of the country’s most prestigious. During her time in law school, Araújo began to consider a career in the civil service. She interned at the Federal Attorney General’s Office in Salvador while still a student and took a job as an analyst at the government accountability office in Manaus, in the state of Amazonas, after graduation. Her goal was to eventually become a prosecutor. “I love arguing cases,” Araújo says, “that whole process of taking a case and finding a solution for it.” As a prosecutor, she says, “you’re responsible for propelling the case forward. The outcome depends on your approach.”

In late 2015, Araújo set her sights on an attractive job opening for a prosecutor back in her hometown, in the Salvador municipal department. Everyone encouraged her to apply using a relatively new affirmative action option. “You of all people! You have to do it,” Araújo’s boss at the time told her. “If I had the chance to apply as a quotas candidate, I would totally go for it,” her friends said. “And you do! So apply!”…

…Even before slavery was abolished, the mixed-race Brazilians who resulted from these unions enjoyed freedoms not available to those with darker skin tones. Many thrived as small-scale farmers, for instance, and a few reached stratospheric heights: André Rebouças, whose grandmother had been a slave, rose to become one of Brazil’s most important engineers in the late 19th century. By the turn of the century, a complex hierarchy based on skin color, facial features, hair texture, education, and elocution, among other qualities, came to dominate the Brazilian social contract.

Unlike the United States, post-abolition Brazil did not enact “anti-miscegenation” or “separate but equal” laws, so race relations evolved with relative fluidity. The end result was that, contrary to America, where even a single black ancestor several generations removed marked a person as legally black, Brazilians came to define blackness as a matter of physical appearance. According to the late sociologist Oracy Nogueira — arguably the most influential scholar of Brazilian constructions of race — the American concept of “passing” as white is a moot one in Brazil, where simply looking white makes one so.

The quotas implemented in universities and government departments were born of attempts to push back against this pervasive colorism — the privileging of light skin over dark. Activists stress the importance of black representation in positions of power — particularly by those who, on account of having a darker complexion or markedly black features, do not benefit from a fluid racial identity that could otherwise see them classified as white. Which is why activists’ frustrations have grown over what they argue are light-skinned pardos taking advantage of hard-won affirmative action policies that were not fought for with them in mind…

Read the entire article here.

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Study investigates marks of racism in “interracial families”

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2017-07-14 22:26Z by Steven

Study investigates marks of racism in “interracial families”

Agência FAPESP
São Paulo Research Foundation
2017-06-14

José Tadeu Arantes
Agência FAPESP


Society’s racial hierarchies are reproduced in families and interact with feelings, researcher says (photo: Wikimedia)

One hundred and twenty-nine years after the abolition of slavery in Brazil, and despite the myth of racial democracy, race-based prejudice is still widespread in Brazilian society – so much so that it can be found even in “interracial families”. This is the conclusion of a study by social psychologist Lia Vainer Schucman.

Schucman undertook the study during her postdoctoral research at the University of São Paulo (USP) with FAPESP’s support and in collaboration with Felipe Fachim. Her supervisor was Belinda Mandelbaum, who heads the Family Studies Laboratory at the university’s Psychology Institute (IP-USP).

“We set out to discover whether and how society’s racial hierarchies are reproduced in families whose members classify themselves differently with regard to ‘race’ – as ‘white’, ‘black’ or ‘mixed-race’ – and how these hierarchies coexist and interact with their emotions or feelings,” Schucman told Agência FAPESP.

In addition to performing an exhaustive review of the specialized literature, which took three years, Schucman personally interviewed 13 families from different regions of Brazil. She has written a book about her findings: Famílias Inter-raciais: tensões entre cor e amor (“Interracial Families: Tensions between Color and Love”). The book will be available later in 2017.

“My interest in researching the topic arose initially from my interaction with people from these families, people who experienced ‘racial contradictions’ in their own skins, as it were,” Schucman said. “It happened when I was finishing up my PhD research, which was on ‘whiteness’. Because of my research, I started to be invited to give lectures quite frequently, and after the lectures, people would often come up to tell me about cases of suffering due to racism in their own families. This happened many times. These conversations led me to realize that families could be a key to understanding ‘interracial’ relationships in the wider context of society.”

Schucman’s starting-point was the conviction that “race” is not a biological given but a social construct. It is a construct based on phenotypes, she argues, which engenders and sustains profound material and symbolic inequality in society and which affects the daily lives of millions of people…

Read the entire article here.

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Brazil’s Ongoing Race Problem: Recent Study Uncovers Shocking Treatment of Darker-Skinned Children in Interracial Families

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science on 2017-07-10 02:22Z by Steven

Brazil’s Ongoing Race Problem: Recent Study Uncovers Shocking Treatment of Darker-Skinned Children in Interracial Families

Atlanta Black Star
2017-07-01

D. Amari Jackson


SALVADOR, BRAZIL -Social psychologist finds Black Brazilian children in interracial families face shocking racism. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“The most shocking story I heard was told by a young woman, a university student who came to see me… she was phenotypically ‘Black’ but her mother was ‘white.’ She told me that when she was little, her mother would sing a lullaby with these words: ‘Plantei uma cenoura no meu quintal / Nasceu uma negrinha de avental / Dança negrinha / Não sei dançar / Pega no chicote, ela dança já’ [I planted a carrot in my backyard. / It sprouted a nigger girl in an apron. / Dance, little nigger girl! / I can’t dance. / Show her the whip, she’ll dance alright.] Her mother’s lullaby wasn’t just racist, it was a slave owner’s song.” — Social psychologist Lia Vainer Schucman from a June 2017 interview with Agência FAPESP in Brazil

Perhaps you’ve heard of the ‘bleach bath,’ a popular process designed to significantly lighten one’s skin. Or maybe the clothespin, the laundry drying device that doubles as a nighttime nasal clamp to narrow the width of what is regarded as a phenotypically Black nose. Here in the 21st century, such tragic racialized practices and psychoses are, unfortunately, still alive and well in countries across the globe.

This acknowledged, there is a common perception that the more racially diverse and interracial a society and its relationships become, the less racism it will endure. It is a questionable line of reasoning particularly prevalent in Brazil where racially mixed societies and families are the norm. It fuels the popular national narrative that racial prejudice cannot exist in South America’s largest country since “somos todos iguais” (“we are all equal”).

A recent study by social psychologist and researcher Lia Vainer Schucman says otherwise. In it, Schucman interviewed interracial families from regions across Brazil willing to discuss the manifestations and impact of racism within their units as part of her postdoctoral work at the University of São Paulo. Sponsored by Agência FAPESP, a media service of the São Paulo Research Foundation, Schucman’s research is the subject of her upcoming book, “Famílias Inter-Raciais: Tensões entre Cor e Amor” (Inter-Racial Families: Tensions Between Color and Love)…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Bleach bath’, clothes pins on the nose and ‘black monkey’: Study exposes racism in interracial families debunking one of Brazil’s greatest myths

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science on 2017-06-29 02:23Z by Steven

‘Bleach bath’, clothes pins on the nose and ‘black monkey’: Study exposes racism in interracial families debunking one of Brazil’s greatest myths

Black Women of Brazil
2017-06-27

Courtesy of Jornal Floripa

What happens when there is racism in the home? In what way does it manifest? How can interracial marriages generate children who are segregated in their own home environment because of their color? Why do many white people deny the black race of their spouses – chosen by them – and even their children? Some answers to these questions appear in a study by the doctor in social psychology Lia Schucman, who researches racial relations in Brazil.

For her postdoctoral work at USP (University of São Paulo), entitled Famílias Inter-Raciais: Tensões entre Cor e Amor (Inter-Racial Families: Tensions Between Color and Love), she interviewed 13 families who were willing to talk about the subject – often in conversations punctuated by tension and disagreement in relation to the races. In the end, the psychologist used reports from five families with different manifestations of what Lia called “racism of intimacy”…

Read the entire article here.

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Research investigates marks of racism in “interracial families”

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2017-06-09 01:33Z by Steven

Research investigates marks of racism in “interracial families”

Black Women of Brazil
Source: FAPESP
2017-05-31

José Tadeu Arantes

The final pillar of the debunked ‘racial democracy’? Post-doctorate research project exposes racism and racial hierarchies within interracial families

One hundred and twenty-nine years after the abolition of slavery, and despite the myth of racial democracy, racial prejudice continues to be widespread in Brazilian society – so widespread that it even manifests itself within “interracial families”. This was the conclusion of a study conducted by social psychologist Lia Vainer Schucman.

The study was the postdoctoral theme carried out at the University of São Paulo (USP) with support from FAPESP, a collaboration of Felipe Fachim and under the supervision of Belinda Mandelbaum, coordinator of the Laboratory of Family Studies at the Institute of Psychology at USP.

“Our objective was to verify if and how the racial hierarchies of society reproduce within families whose members self-classify differently in relation to ‘race’: as ‘brancos’ (whites), ‘negros’ (blacks) or ‘mestiços’ (persons of mixed race). And how these hierarchies coexist and interact with affections,” Schucman told FAPESP…

Read the entire article here.

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Rachel Dolezal: ‘Negra Frustrada’ (Frustrated Black Woman)

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2017-05-25 01:25Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal: ‘Negra Frustrada’ (Frustrated Black Woman)

Chinyere Osuji
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
2017-05-24

Chinyere Osuji, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers University, Camden


Rachel Dolezal

Race is a social construction. We have heard that phrase over and over again to the point that it has become a bit hackneyed. When I teach my sociology students, I tell them, “Sociologists study what people do together: we create families, schools, economic systems.” All of these things are social constructions that are produced, reproduced, and even demolished because people together make it so.

And then Rachel Dolezal comes along…

Read the entire article here.

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Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Social Science on 2017-05-03 02:22Z by Steven

Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Duke University Press
2017-05-05
328 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6358-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6373-6
12 illustrations

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Race mixture, or mestizaje, has played a critical role in the history, culture, and politics of Latin America. In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. He shows how Latin American elites and outside observers have emphasized mixture’s democratizing potential, depicting it as a useful resource for addressing problems of racism (claiming that race mixture undoes racial difference and hierarchy), while Latin American scientists participate in this narrative with claims that genetic studies of mestizos can help isolate genetic contributors to diabetes and obesity and improve health for all. Wade argues that, in the process, genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region, but a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics. Wade examines the tensions between mixture and purity, and between equality and hierarchy in liberal political orders, exploring how ideas and scientific data about genetic mixture are produced and circulate through complex networks.

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Early Afro-Brazilian Soccer Stars and the Myth of Racial Democracy

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-04-11 01:38Z by Steven

Early Afro-Brazilian Soccer Stars and the Myth of Racial Democracy

Sport In American History
2017-03-23

Zachary R. Bigalke
Department of History
University of Oregon


Carlos Molinari, “Time do Bangu em 1905,” Bangu.net, via Ludopédio, Francisco Carregal is pictured seated front row and center in the photo.

The ideology of racial democracy cast a long shadow over twentieth-century race relations in Brazil. First popularized by influential Brazilian scholar Gilberto Freyre, this theory presumed a level racial playing field that was paradoxically dependent on the whitening of the populace. Rather than helping to drive the country toward a multiracial future, racial democracy shrouded the structural issues that remained as a legacy of Brazilian slavery.

Throughout his corpus of writings, Freyre portrayed Afro-Brazilians as sexualized Dionysian figures with a florid talent for bodily movement, expressed not only through capoeira and samba but also on the soccer pitch. Freyre used soccer as a foil for his theories of racial democracy throughout the course of his career, assigning certain attributes such as surprise, skill, cleverness, speed, and spontaneity on a racialized basis even as he tried to claim racial syncretism both in soccer and in broader society. Journalist Mario Filho furthered this discourse in his 1947 book O Negro no Futebol Brasileiro, for which Freyre wrote the introduction. Freyre and later Filho lionized certain players while glossing over others to create the myth that soccer exemplified multiracial harmony within Brazil’s racial democracy.

The career arcs of two key soccer players—Francisco Carregal in Rio de Janeiro and Arthur Friedenreich in São Paulo—offer a lens to evaluate the extent of Afro-Brazilian agency during the early decades of soccer’s growth in Brazil. The stories of their respective careers and historical representations illustrate the extent to which the myth of racial democracy was contingent on the process of whitening, in soccer’s case less through manipulation of behavioral traits and physical appearance.

To better understand these individuals and their status in Brazilian soccer as vanguards for future generations of Afro-Brazilian players, let’s look at both men through the context of their careers as well as their portrayals by Filho in his landmark text…

Read the entire article here.

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