Patrick Wolfe: Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Posted in Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2016-12-01 02:24Z by Steven

Patrick Wolfe: Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

New Books Network

Lynette Russell, Professor
Monash University, Australia

Aziz Rana, Professor of Law
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Widely known for his pioneering work in the field of settler colonial studies, Patrick Wolfe advanced the theory that settler colonialism was, “a structure, not an event.” In early 2016, Wolfe deepened this analysis through his most recent book, Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race (Verso Books, 2016) which takes a comparative approach to five cases in: Australia, Brazil, Europe, North America, and Palestine/Israel. Just as settler colonialism grew through institutionalized structures of Indigenous elimination, categorical notions of race grew through purpose-driven (and context-specific) exploitation, classification and separation. In Traces of History, the machinery and genealogy of race are as present in land relations as they are in legal precedents.

Wolfe ties together a transnational pattern of labor substitution and slavery, Indigenous land dispossession, and the inception of racial categories which continue to normalize these historical processes into the present. While the Indigenous/settler relationship is binary across societies, Wolfe posits, the seemingly fixed concepts of race it produces are, actually, widely varied. Bearing strong threads of influence by Said, DuBois, Marx, and countless Indigenous and Aboriginal scholars, Wolfe lays down a model for drawing connections across these cases, while simultaneously acknowledging that as with any ongoing process, there remain pathways for optimism and change.

Patrick Wolfe passed away in February 2016 shortly after the publication of Traces of History. The following interview is with Dr. Lynette Russell and Dr. Aziz Rana, two of Wolfe’s many colleagues and thought partners both impacted by and familiar with his work. Prompted by the release of Traces of History and Wolfe’s untimely passing soon after, the interview recorded here engages the book as a platform for broader discussion about the substance of Wolfe’s intellectual pursuits, integrity, commitments and the creativity and challenges borne of them…

Listen to the interview (00:48:39) here. Download the interview here.

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Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2016-12-01 00:12Z by Steven

Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Verso Books
January 2016
306 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781781689172
Hardback ISBN: 9781781689165
Ebook ISBN: 9781781689196

Patrick Wolfe

Traces of History presents a new approach to race and to comparative colonial studies. Bringing a historical perspective to bear on the regimes of race that colonizers have sought to impose on Aboriginal people in Australia, on Blacks and Native Americans in the United States, on Ashkenazi Jews in Western Europe, on Arab Jews in Israel/Palestine, and on people of African descent in Brazil, this book shows how race marks and reproduces the different relationships of inequality into which Europeans have coopted subaltern populations: territorial dispossession, enslavement, confinement, assimilation, and removal.

Charting the different modes of domination that engender specific regimes of race and the strategies of anti-colonial resistance they entail, the book powerfully argues for cross-racial solidarities that respect these historical differences.

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Blackness, Science, and Circulation of Knowledge in the Eighteenth-Century Luso-Brazilian World and the United States

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-11-26 21:54Z by Steven

Blackness, Science, and Circulation of Knowledge in the Eighteenth-Century Luso-Brazilian World and the United States

The Eighteenth Century
Volume 57, Number 3, Fall 2016
pages 303-324
DOI: 10.1353/ecy.2016.0020

Bruno Carvalho, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
Princeton University

It has become increasingly common for scholars to locate the eighteenth century as a turning point in what Nell Irvin Painter calls the “now familiar equation that converts race to black and black to slave.” Recent studies explore how scientific racism, which flourished in the nineteenth century, emerges in debates involving Enlightenment savants like Voltaire, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and several less prominent authors. European anatomists, natural historians, and philosophers devised racial classification schemata, frequently relying on erroneous travel narratives as their main source of knowledge. The voices of “non-whites” are predictably muted in debates that took place almost exclusively among Europeans, but that also included well-connected North Americans, chief among them Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). Although “race”—by no means a stable concept in the eighteenth century—included myriad categories besides “blackness,” this article will discuss how intellectuals in the Americas wrote about black Africans and their descendants in the context of Enlightenment-era science.

Given how the Portuguese and British Americas received the majority of Africans taken to the New World as slaves, it is not surprising that there is a longstanding tradition of comparative approaches to racial relations in Brazil and the United States. Sparse attention, however, has been paid to how the transatlantic circulation of eighteenth-century scientific discourses, especially in natural history, might have impacted the later development of different forms of racism across the hemisphere. This study brings to the fore texts from the Luso-Brazilian world that have been largely overlooked, and aims to add to the vast literature on Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1781). Although the analysis here does not pretend to be comprehensive or exhaustive, by investigating connections between a group of would-be revolutionaries in the Brazilian captaincy of Minas Gerais and the United States independence movement, it attempts to be connective as much as comparative. This hemispheric approach evinces the disparate roles and station of Luso-Brazilian and United States lettered elites in transatlantic circulation of knowledge, while seeking to contribute to an understanding of how they produced divergent texts about blackness in the period preceding the French and Haitian revolutions.

The Luso-Brazilian eighteenth century has generated an outstanding body of scholarship, but it does not often appear prominently in panoramic studies of the period—despite the fact that the Portuguese empire remained one of Europe’s most extensive, and that gold from its Minas Gerais possessions had a significant impact on the global economy. Perhaps it is so because Brazil does not easily fit within the Age of Revolutions paradigm: in 1822, it was the Portuguese monarch’s son, rather than a republican revolutionary, who declared independence. Brazil was an empire through most of the nineteenth century, and became a republic in 1889, later than its Spanish-speaking neighbors. Eighteenth-century movements that might have become comparable to the United States and Haitian Revolutions were thwarted by the Crown. Likewise, although by some estimates mining in the Portuguese Americas alone propelled about ten percent of all slave trade in the eighteenth century, the Luso-Brazilian world remains largely absent from scholarship on the connections between slavery and the “Sciences of Man” during the Enlightenment: one aspect of what Charles Withers calls “geographies of human difference.”

While the historiography on slavery and race relations in the Portuguese empire has for some time been vibrant, studies on Luso-Brazilian scientific representations of race in the eighteenth century are still lacking. This might be attributed to the perception that scientific racism was a phenomenon of the nineteenth century, or that Portugal remained mired in religious obscurantism, its writers therefore not attuned to Enlightenment-era debates. Through a transatlantic lens, Brazil’s place in eighteenth-century geographies of knowledge is usually further diminished by how, unlike the British and Spanish Americas, it had neither universities nor a printing press. Nonetheless, as we well know, central books and ideas of the Enlightenment circulated among lettered elites.

In Brazil and Portugal…

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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, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Mexico, Monographs, Social Science on 2016-11-14 19:49Z by Steven

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

Duke University Press
324 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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Whitening, Mixing, Darkening, and Developing: Everything but Indigenous

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2016-11-10 00:39Z by Steven

Whitening, Mixing, Darkening, and Developing: Everything but Indigenous

Latin American Research Review
Volume 51, Number 3, 2016
pages 142-160
DOI: 10.1353/lar.2016.0038

Juliana Luna Freire, Assistant Professor of Spanish/Portuguese
Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts

This article analyzes the image of Brazilian Indigenous minority groups as a figurehead in media discourse, which is based on racializing logics that celebrate historical performances of Indigeneity but minimize attention to the political activity and grassroots movements of the existing population. Using cultural studies as a starting point, this study draws on Diana Taylor’s understanding of identity and on postcolonial thinker Homi Bhabha’s theorizing on nation to conduct a reading of discourses and performances of Indigeneity as part of cultural memory. I propose an analysis of the limited scenarios allowed in this construction of a nation in Brazilian media outlets, which often claim there is political motivation for identity and are incapable of dealing with contemporary Indigenous groups. Overall, this analysis highlights the need to rethink the way we discuss ethnic identity so as to foster a larger dialogue about identity, heritage, and minority cultures in such a way that we avoid falling into a paradigm of modernization and acculturation when discussing ethnicity, and to promote better understanding of the different ongoing political and cultural movements in contemporary Brazil.

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Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion on 2016-10-31 15:04Z by Steven

Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race

Oxford University Press
376 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190625696

Edited by:

H. Samy Alim, Professor of Education; Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics (by courtesy)
Stanford University

John R. Rickford, J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities
Stanford University

Arnetha F. Ball, Professor
Stanford Graduate School of Education
Stanford University

  • Brings together a critical mass of scholars to form a new field dedicated to theorizing and analyzing language and race together-raciolinguistics.
  • Breaks new ground by integrating the deep theoretical knowledge gained from race and ethnic studies, and the ethnographic rigor and sensibility of anthropology, with the fine-grained, detailed analyses that are the hallmark of linguistic studies
  • Takes a comparative, international look across a wide variety of sites that comprise some of the most contested racial and ethnic contexts in the world, from rapidly changing communities in the U.S. and Europe to locations in South Africa, Brazil, and Israel
  • Builds upon and expands Alim and Smitherman’s ground-breaking analysis to form a new field dedicated to racing language and languaging race.

Raciolinguistics reveals the central role that language plays in shaping our ideas about race. The book brings together a team of leading scholars-working both within and beyond the United States-to share powerful, much-needed research that helps us understand the increasingly vexed relationships between race, ethnicity, and language in our rapidly changing world. Combining the innovative, cutting-edge approaches of race and ethnic studies with fine-grained linguistic analyses, chapters cover a wide range of topics including the language use of African American Jews and the struggle over the very term “African American,” the racialized language education debates within the increasing number of “majority-minority” immigrant communities as well as Indigenous communities in the U.S., the dangers of multicultural education in a Europe that is struggling to meet the needs of new migrants, and the sociopolitical and cultural meanings of linguistic styles used in Brazilian favelas, South African townships, Mexican and Puerto Rican barrios in Chicago, and Korean American “cram schools,” among other sites.

With rapidly changing demographics in the U.S.-population resegregation, shifting Asian and Latino patterns of immigration, new African American (im)migration patterns, etc.-and changing global cultural and media trends (from global Hip Hop cultures, to transnational Mexican popular and street cultures, to Israeli reality TV, to new immigration trends across Africa and Europe, for example)-Raciolinguistics shapes the future of studies on race, ethnicity, and language. By taking a comparative look across a diverse range of language and literacy contexts, the volume seeks not only to set the research agenda in this burgeoning area of study, but also to help resolve pressing educational and political problems in some of the most contested racial, ethnic, and linguistic contexts in the world.


  • Introducting Raciolinguistics: Theorizing Language and Race in Hyperracial Times / H. Samy Alim, Stanford University
  • Part I. Languaging Race
    • 1. Who’s Afraid of the Transracial Subject?: Transracialization as a Dynamic Process of Translation and Transgression / H. Samy Alim, Stanford University
    • 2. From Upstanding Citizen to North American Rapper and Back Again: The Racial Malleability of Poor Male Brazilian Youth / Jennifer Roth-Gordon, University of Arizona
    • 3. From Mock Spanish to Inverted Spanglish: Language Ideologies and the Racialization of Mexican and Puerto Rican Youth in the U.S. / Jonathan Rosa, Stanford University
    • 4. The Meaning of Ching Chong: Language, Racism, and Response in New Media / Elaine W. Chun, University of South Carolina
    • 5. “Suddenly faced with a Chinese village”: The Linguistic Racialization of Asian Americans / Adrienne Lo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • 6. Ethnicity and Extreme Locality in South Africa’s Multilingual Hip Hop Ciphas / Quentin E. Williams, University of the Western Cape
    • 7. Norteno and Sureno Gangs, Hip Hop, and Ethnicity on YouTube: Localism in California through Spanish Accent Variation / Norma Mendoza-Denton, University of Arizona
  • Part II. Racing Language
    • 8. Towards Heterogeneity: A Sociolinguistic Perspective on the Classification of Black People in the 21st Century / Renée Blake, New York University
    • 9. Jews of Color: Performing Black Jewishness through the Creative Use of Two Ethnolinguistic Repertoires / Sarah Bunin Benor, Hebrew Union College
    • 10. Pharyngeal beauty and depharyngealized geek: Performing ethnicity on Israeli reality TV / Roey Gafter, Tel Aviv University
    • 11. Stance as a Window into the Language-Race Connection: Evidence from African American and White Speakers in Washington, D.C. / Robert J. Podesva, Stanford University
    • 12. Changing Ethnicities: The Evolving Speech Styles of Punjabi Londoners / Devyani Sharma, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Part III. Language, Race, and Education in Changing Communities
    • 13. “It Was a Black City”: African American Language in California’s Changing Urban Schools and Communities / Django Paris, Michigan State University
    • 14. Zapotec, Mixtec, and Purepecha Youth: Multilingualism and the Marginalization of Indigenous Immigrants in the U.S. / William Perez, Rafael Vasquez, and Raymond Buriel
    • 15. On Being Called Out of One’s Name: Indexical Bleaching as a Technique of Deracialization / Mary Bucholtz, University of California, Santa Barbara
    • 16. Multiculturalism and Its Discontents: Essentializing Ethnic Moroccan and Roma Identities in Classroom Discourse in Spain / Inmaculada García-Sánchez, Temple University
    • 17. The Voicing of Asian American Figures: Korean Linguistic Styles at an Asian American Cram School / Angela Reyes, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
    • 18. “Socials”, “Poch@s”, “Normals” y Los de Más: School Networks and Linguistic Capital of High School Students on the Tijuana-San Diego Border” / Ana Celia Zentella, University of California, San Diego
  • Index
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Disrupting Racialized Knowledges: Blackness in Salvador da Bahia

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive on 2016-10-27 19:00Z by Steven

Disrupting Racialized Knowledges: Blackness in Salvador da Bahia

Friktion Magasin for Køn, Krop and Kultur

Morten Stinus Kristensen

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Bryce Henson who recently defended his dissertation Rediasporizing Bahia: The Lived Experiences of Blackness and the Cultural Politics of Bahian Hip-Hop at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In the following interview, which has been edited for clarity, structure, and brevity, Dr. Henson discusses one element of his wide-ranging dissertation project: how the Black population of Salvador da Bahia, the former colonial capital of Brazil where Dr. Henson did his fieldwork, push back against the idealized idea of Blackness that dominates the Brazilian national imaginary of Bahia, and how this fantasy of Bahia serves a central function for upholding the fantasy of Brazil as a post-racial nation and culture.

MSK: How do you define Blackness and how do you use it, conceptually and methodologically in your work?

BH: So I work through three interlocking definitions of Blackness. I locate the first definition of Blackness within the African diaspora in how Black bodies or bodies ascribed to Africa are inscribed with negative cultural and moral values. Then, I define it not only as a racialization process but also as an ethnoracial identity formed by those within the community. Finally, I define Blackness by how Black subjects take this as a political imperative to critique white supremacy and, at another level, not only critique white supremacy and the way that Blackness operates in their own lives, but challenge that very stigma of Blackness itself and to alter and change those prescriptive values that are attached to their bodies.

So methodologically and conceptually what I did [in this project] was I combined critical Black studies with British cultural studies. The first thing I did was to look at the dominant representations and [cultural] codes in which Blackness is understood. But also I intersect that with how these discourses are lived and the material conditions of [Black life] through ethnographic research. How do those everyday meanings, made out of the domain of Black lives, cause friction with these dominant representations or discourses? Then at a final stage, I tie this intersection between dominant representations and lived realities of race to Blacks’ own cultural production as a form of political participation. This serves not only as a site of media making, but also knowledge production that can at the very least disrupt racialized knowledges.

So in short, what I do is loop Blackness from the dominant representations to the material and lived conditions – and then also back how that circulates and how people speak back. With that, I am drawing on scholars such as Tricia Rose, James Snead, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to emphasize Afro-diasporic models of culture that utilize repetition, layering, the cut, sampling and intertextuality in how Blackness is always in conversation with not only other Afro-diasporic members but also with the dominant society as well. So you have this transnational dialogue among each other but also the social forces that are impinging on their lives…

MSK: All national and cultural contexts differ in how race in general and Blackness in particular is constructed and operate. How did this understanding of Blackness guide your work and what did you find?

BH: The interesting thing about Brazil is how Blackness is celebrated in quite a few but extremely limited ways through Afro-Brazilian culture, such as the hypersexual mulata, samba music, and male football players. Brazil uses this to portray itself as being racially exceptional, which attempts to say that racism is not a factor there. In many instances, many people would say to bring up race or even racial divisions is itself racist. The kind of national mythology of Brazil or the grand narrative is what we broadly call racial exceptionalism is such: Brazil had much more benign colonizing and slavery structures. As a result, race is not a matter of social division and that racism is not a social ill. One way they do that is to stress the interracial mixture that began in its colonial era and continues today. Keep in mind that, like in the United States, the Portuguese colonizer coerced African and Indigenous women into sex, often forcibly through rape. But this gets erased under national mythologies which is articulated through the racial democracy myth, national identities, and the fetishization of the hypersexual mulata. In short, it says to be Brazilian is to be racially mixed –to be mixed with Indigenous, African, European ancestry—and that is evidence of a raceless society.

Salvador da Bahia is crucial to these national mythologies. Bahia is crudely speaking the most African area in Brazil. Its population is approximately 80% African descendant in a city of three million. And that includes both dark-skinned and mixed Brazilians. But the discourses around Bahia are very much that of a city locked in the past with these kinds of premodern African cultural aesthetics that become widely known and celebrated and then circulate as the global imaginary…

Read the entire article here.

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Slavery’s legacies

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science on 2016-10-04 00:30Z by Steven

Slavery’s legacies

The Economist


American thinking about race is starting to influence Brazil, the country whose population was shaped more than any other’s by the Atlantic slave trade

ALEXANDRA LORAS has lived in eight countries and visited 50-odd more. In most, any racism she might have experienced because of her black skin was deflected by her status as a diplomat’s wife. Not in Brazil, where her white husband acted as French consul in São Paulo for four years. At consular events, Ms Loras would be handed coats by guests who mistook her for a maid. She was often taken for a nanny to her fair-haired son. “Brazil is the most racist country I know,” she says.

Many Brazilians would bristle at this characterisation—and not just whites. Plenty of preto (black) and pardo (mixed-race) Brazilians, who together make up just over half of the country’s 208m people, proudly contrast its cordial race relations with America’s interracial strife. They see Brazil as a “racial democracy”, following the ideas of Gilberto Freyre, a Brazilian sociologist who argued in the 1930s that race did not divide Brazil as it did other post-slavery societies. Yet the gulf between white Brazilians and their black and mixed-race compatriots is huge…

…Of the 12.5m Africans trafficked across the Atlantic between 1501 and 1866, only 300,000-400,000 disembarked in what is now the United States. They were quickly outnumbered by European settlers. Most whites arrived in families, so interracial relationships were rare. Though white masters fathered many slave children, miscegenation was frowned upon, and later criminalised in most American states.

As black Americans entered the labour market after emancipation, they threatened white incomes, says Avidit Acharya of Stanford University. “One drop” of black blood came to be seen as polluting; laws were passed defining mixed-race children as black and cutting them out of inheritance (though the palest sometimes “passed” as white). Racial resentment, as measured by negative feelings towards blacks, is still greater in areas where slavery was more common. After abolition, violence and racist legislation, such as segregation laws and literacy tests for voters, kept black Americans down.

But these also fostered solidarity among blacks, and mobilisation during the civil-rights era. The black middle class is now quite large. Ms Loras would not seem anomalous in any American city, as she did in São Paulo…

…Both black and white Brazilians have long considered “whiteness” something that can be striven towards. In 1912 João Baptista de Lacerda, a medic and advocate of “whitening” Brazil by encouraging European immigration, predicted that by 2012 the country would be 80% white, 3% mixed and 17% Amerindian; there would be no blacks. As Luciana Alves, who has researched race at the University of São Paulo, explains, an individual could “whiten his soul” by working hard or getting rich. Tomás Santa Rosa, a successful mid-20th-century painter, consoled a dark-skinned peer griping about discrimination, saying that he too “used to be black”.

Though only a few black and mixed-race Brazilians ever succeeded in “becoming white”, their existence, and the non-binary conception of race, allowed politicians to hold up Brazil as an exemplar of post-colonial harmony. It also made it harder to rally black Brazilians round a hyphenated identity of the sort that unites African-Americans. Brazil’s Unified Black Movement, founded in 1978 and inspired by militant American outfits such as the Black Panthers, failed to gain traction. Racism was left not only unchallenged but largely unarticulated.

Now Brazil’s racial boundaries are shifting—and in the opposite direction to that predicted by Baptista de Lacerda. After falling from 20% to 5% between 1872 and 1990, the share of self-described pretos edged up in the past quarter-century, to 8%. The share of pardos jumped from 39% in 2000 to 43% in 2010. These increases are bigger than can be explained by births, deaths and immigration, suggesting that some Brazilians who used to see themselves as white or pardo are shifting to pardo or preto. This “chromatographic convergence”, as Marcelo Paixão of the University of Texas, in Austin, dubs it, owes a lot to policy choices…

Read the entire article here.

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For Affirmative Action, Brazil Sets Up Controversial Boards To Determine Race

Posted in Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-09-29 20:17Z by Steven

For Affirmative Action, Brazil Sets Up Controversial Boards To Determine Race

Parallels: Many Stories, One World
National Public Radio

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

When the test scores came out, Lucas Siqueira, 27, was really excited. His high mark on the Foreign Service exam earned him a coveted position at Brazil’s highly competitive Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“They hire 30 diplomats a year and thousands of people sign up,” he says in fluent English from his home in Brasilia, the capital.

It was, he says, a great day.

Siqueira considers himself to be mixed race, known in Brazil as pardo, or brown.

“I consider myself to be a very typical Brazilian and I’ve always been very proud of it. In my dad’s family, my grandfather is black, my grandmother has Indian and white roots. And on my mother’s side they are mostly white, mostly Portuguese,” he said.

How he defines himself matters because he was required to self-identify on his application. In 2014, the government introduced a quota system for federal jobs. The affirmative action regulations require that 20 percent of all government positions be filled by people of color — either black or mixed race.

Lucas Siqueira identified himself as mixed race on his application for a job at Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government decided he wasn’t, and his case is still on hold. As part of the affirmative action program in Brazil, state governments have now set up boards to racially classify job applicants.
Courtesy of Lucas Siqueira

The problem came once the announcement of the appointments was made public…

Wide disparities

The legacy of the period can still be felt today. Even though the majority of the population is of African descent, only 5 percent of Afro-Brazilians were in higher education as recently as 10 years ago. Because of affirmative action, that number is now 15 percent. Vaz says these are hard won gains, but there is a long way to go.

“Only 5 percent of executives are black in Brazil, politicians, diplomats, all things, so the black people don’t access the space of power in my country. This is the real issue we have,” he says.

In the U.S., race is still largely determined by parentage because of the history of the “one drop rule,” where white institutions historically deemed a person black if they had even one drop of black blood.

In Brazil, he says, the criteria is different. Skin tone matters more than race, because so much of the population is mixed…

Read the entire story here. Download the story here.

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‘Pigmentocracy’ a Major Factor in Brazil, Venezuela Turmoil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-09-29 01:25Z by Steven

‘Pigmentocracy’ a Major Factor in Brazil, Venezuela Turmoil

Fordham Law News: From New York City To You

Ray Legendre

A global audience watched Brazil unveil the 2016 Olympics earlier this month with a flashy, jubilant opening ceremony that celebrated its racial diversity and belied its ongoing political and economic strife. But acting President Michel Temer’s maneuvering in the months before the Games revealed a racial reality in South America’s most populous country that is anything but golden, Fordham Law School Professor Tanya Hernández said.

“It looked like a racial utopia during the opening ceremonies, but if you look at the cabinet this president has put into place there’s nary a dark-skinned person in the crowd,” said Hernández, associate director and head of global and comparative law programs and initiatives for the Center on Race, Law & Justice at Fordham Law. “You would think you were looking at Sweden, as opposed to Brazil, when you look at the cabinet.”

Temer’s rapid assembly of lighter-skinned cabinet members in the wake of President Dilma Rousseff’s suspension of powers in May highlights the implicit racial bias that exists in Brazil and other Latin American countries with large mixed-race populations. The so-called “pigmentocracy” considers “lighter as brighter” and more capable of excelling in government and other high paying jobs, said Hernández, author of Racial Subordination in Latin America. Lighter-skinned people, of European heritage, are also less likely to suffer the rampant violence and housing displacement as poor black citizens of African descent…

Read the entire article here.

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