Discourses of Citizenship in American and Brazilian Affirmative Action Court Decisions

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-01-08 20:02Z by Steven

Discourses of Citizenship in American and Brazilian Affirmative Action Court Decisions

American Journal of Comparative Law
Volume 64, Number 2, (Summer 2016)
pages 455-504
DOI: 10.5131/AJCL.2016.0015

Adilson José Moreira
Harvard University; Mackenzie Presbyterian University

American and Brazilian courts are traveling quite different paths regarding the question of racial justice. Race neutrality has become an influential interpretive approach in both jurisdictions, a perspective that articulates a depiction of these nations as culturally homogenous societies with the defense of liberal principles as a necessary requirement for social cohesion. Because of the representation of Brazil and the United States as democracies that facilitate integration of all racial groups, courts in these countries have developed an equal protection approach that combines the rhetoric of assimilation and formal equality. However, while the discourse of race neutrality gains continuous political force in the United States, race consciousness is acquiring increasing persuasive power in Brazil. As the implementation of affirmative action programs has expanded into different sectors, various social actors have questioned their constitutionality. Although state and federal courts in Brazil have condemned affirmative action because it supposedly subverts liberal principles and moral consensus about equal racial treatment, the Brazilian Supreme Court has recently classified race neutrality as a strategy of racial domination. Differently from American affirmative action cases, this decision formulated a notion of citizenship that functions as a counterhegemonic narrative. In articulating progressive constitutional principles and a group-oriented equal protection perspective, the Brazilian Supreme Court has significantly contributed to the deconstruction of the traditional discourse of race transcendence. The Court’s decisions may serve as an interesting point of comparison for the debate about affirmative action in the United States, since Brazilian history shows very clearly how race neutrality allows majoritarian groups to defend racial privilege while advocating formal equality as a way to promote social inclusion.

Read the entire article here.

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The Checkered Past of Brazil’s New Race Court (JWJI Race & Difference Colloquium Series)

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Science on 2017-01-08 01:56Z by Steven

The Checkered Past of Brazil’s New Race Court (JWJI Race & Difference Colloquium Series)

Jones Room, Woodruff Library
The James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
Monday, 2017-02-06, 12:00-13:30 EST (Local Time)

Ruth Hill, Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities, Professor of Spanish
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

A categorical crisis around racially-mixed persons has become a legal quagmire in Brazil. In August 2016, the Brazilian government announced the formation of the Racial Court (Tribunal Racial) to confront the steady stream of legal challenges that has beset the racial segment of the country’s Quotas System (Sistema de Cotas). The latter is an affirmative-action program giving preference to the disabled, the economically-disadvantaged, graduates of public schools, and specific racial groups (Amerindians and persons of African ancestry) in government offices and higher education. Litigation and media attention are centered on the program’s interstitial racial category, pardo. The category preto—the straightforward “black” in Brazil until it was jettisoned in educated quarters for negro, “negro”—and the category pardo (of European and an undefined amount of African and/or native origins) are often treated as subsets of the category negro. Still, color not descent is invoked when it is stated that persons “of pardo color” or “preto color” are eligible for the racial quotas for government posts, which are set aside “for negros and pardos.”

Whether colors or categories, where does pardo end and branco (“white”) or negro begin? In other words, when does afrodescendente (“Afro-descendant”) end and branco begin? In this Race and Difference Colloquium, Ruth Hill (Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities, Professor of Spanish, Vanderbilt University) argues that the pardo problem of today streams from the first global and systematic investigation into racial admixture, in the sixteenth century, which came on the heels of legislation to “uplift” Catholic neophytes in the Iberian empires. Those centuries-old arguments over mixed-race neophytes anticipated the moral and legal dilemmas of Brazil’s present-day affirmative-action program.

The Race and Difference Colloquium Series, a weekly event on the Emory University campus, features local and national speakers presenting academic research on contemporary questions of race and intersecting dimensions of difference. The James Weldon Johnson Institute is pleased to have the Robert W. Woodruff Library and the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript and Rare Book Library as major co-sponsors of the Colloquium Series.

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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 2016-12-27 18:49Z by Steven

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

Duke University Press
2017
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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Are Brazilians Latinos? What their identity struggle tells us about race in America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-12-21 19:03Z by Steven

Are Brazilians Latinos? What their identity struggle tells us about race in America

The Conversation
2016-12-20

Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Columbia University, New York, New York

Bikini waxes, keratin hair blowouts and all-you-can-eat steakhouses.

In the United States, all three are closely associated with the word “Brazilian.” Yet, although none of these things are linked to Latino identity, one of the questions that journalists frequently ask me is, “Are Brazilians Latinos?” Surprisingly, many Brazilian-Americans also ask me the same question. As one of my students put it, “Because ‘Brazilian’ is not an option in any census, job or college form, you get older and wonder, where do I fit in?”

The confusion is warranted.

It illuminates how U.S. public discourse and policy classifies 57 million people from very different ethnic, racial and national backgrounds into the categories of “Latino” and “Hispanic.” That Brazilians do not quite fit the box enables us to probe the terms “Latino” and “Hispanic” and their implications. This is important at a time when Latinos are reaching 18 percent of the U.S. population…

Read the entire article here.

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Book Reviews: Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist [Geiger Review]

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-12-18 02:21Z by Steven

Book Reviews: Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist [Geiger Review]

Comparative Civilizations Review
Volume 75, Number 75, Fall 2016
Article 11
pages 125-126

Pedro Geiger

G. Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania University Press, 2012

The long and excellent book by Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis, of 338 pages, focuses on two related issues. One deals with racial questions in the USA and in Brazil, detailing their historical development.

Racial problems were established in both countries by the encounter of the European colonization with the prior Colombian population and by the colonial introducing of African slaves in the American continent. The book deals with the behavior and the perceptions of the racial issue by the different social sectors of the American and of the Brazilian societies, and with the evolution of the legal policy measures taken by both states in regard to it. Brazil has earned the reputation of being a racial democracy for the reason of not having had legalized social barriers based in race. However, discrimination among sectors of the population existed and still exists there.

The opportunity of dealing with racial questions was taken by the author to cover with accurate studies the full Brazilian history. Based on a large and good bibliography, he discusses a wide variety of themes, comparing interpretations of known Brazilian historians, like the ones made by the Marxian Caio Prado Júnior with the ones made by the Weberian Raymundo Faoro, or describing cultural traits brought by the slaves (like their religions), how they influenced Brazilian culture, and how they were treated by the government institutions.

The second theme of the book deals with the Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis (1839- 1908) an icon of Brazil’s literature and the founder of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. The linkage between the two themes treated in the book is the fact that, like Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis had an African ancestry…

Read the entire review here.

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The Intercept Brasil Welcomes Ana Maria Gonçalves As A Columnist On Race, Politics, And Culture

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery on 2016-12-15 20:01Z by Steven

The Intercept Brasil Welcomes Ana Maria Gonçalves As A Columnist On Race, Politics, And Culture

The Intercept
2016-12-02

Glenn Greenwald, Co-founding Editor

THE CREATION OF The Intercept, and then the Intercept Brasil, was motivated by a core purpose: to provide crucial journalism and commentary that, for whatever reasons, is not being adequately provided to the public. We are especially thrilled to announce the arrival of Ana Maria Gonçalves as our new columnist because her work so powerfully advances that objective.

By virtue of “Um Defeito de Cor” (A Color Defect), her 952-page 2006 novel about the life of an African woman enslaved and brought to Brazil who buys her freedom and sets out in search of her lost son, Gonçalves has become an important voice in global debates on race and culture. The book, which spans eight decades, powerfully connects modern Brazil with its long history of slavery, and — like the main character herself — confronts some of the most difficult, entrenched, and complex interactions between politics, race, culture, and power. The book is now being made into a Roots-like miniseries, to be broadcast next year…

…The role of race in Brazil is fascinating and relevant both in the ways it is unique to Brazil and the ways it is universal. Brazil was the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery (1888), and — just as in the U.S. — that historic sin continues to shape institutions and identities in ways society would rather not acknowledge…

Read the entire article here.

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Pharmacogenomics, human genetic diversity and the incorporation and rejection of color/race in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2016-12-14 02:51Z by Steven

Pharmacogenomics, human genetic diversity and the incorporation and rejection of color/race in Brazil

BioSocieties
March 2015, Volume 10, Issue 1
pages 48–69
DOI: 10.1057/biosoc.2014.21

Ricardo Ventura Santos
Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública/ FIOCRUZ & Museu Nacional/UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Gláucia Oliveira da Silva
Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil

Sahra Gibbon, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
University College, London, United Kingdom

Public funding for research on the action of drugs in countries like the United States requires that racial classification of research subjects should be considered when defining the composition of the samples as well as in data analysis, sometimes resulting in interpretations that Whites and Blacks differ in their pharmacogenetic profiles. In Brazil, pharmacogenomic results have led to very different interpretations when compared with those obtained in the United States. This is explained as deriving from the genomic heterogeneity of the Brazilian population. This article argues that in the evolving field of pharmacogenomics research in Brazil there is simultaneously both an incorporation and rejection of the US informed race-genes paradigm. We suggest that this must be understood in relation to continuities with national and transnational history of genetic research in Brazil, a differently situated politics of Brazilian public health and the ongoing valorization of miscegenation or race mixture by Brazilian geneticists as a resource for transnational genetic research. Our data derive from anthropological investigation conducted in INCA (Brazilian National Cancer Institute), in Rio de Janeiro, with a focus on the drug warfarin. The criticism of Brazilian scientists regarding the uses of racial categorization includes a revision of mathematical algorithms for drug dosage widely used in clinical procedures around the world. Our analysis reveals how the incorporation of ideas of racial purity and admixture, as it relates to the efficacy of drugs, touches on issues related to the possibility of application of pharmaceutical technologies on a global scale.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF.

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Black or white?

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2016-12-12 18:45Z by Steven

Black or white?

The Globe and Mail
2016-12-12

Stephanie Nolen, Latin America Bureau Chief
Rio De Janiero, Brazil


Jacqueline Suellen Chaves poses for a photo on Belm Docs. She’s a black woman rejected as too white for a job as a social worker by a panel.
Daniel Ramalho/For The Globe and Mail

It was a policy was born of good intentions but has stirred up perplexing, often painful, questions: What makes a person black, or white? Is it facial features? Hair? Family? Or an experience of racism? And who gets to decide?

Jacqueline Chaves checked the Internet every day, waiting to see test results posted – a pass would be the last step in her long road to a job as a social worker.

Ms. Chaves, 23, had worked hard to get through a degree program at the competitive federal university in Belem do Para, a port city on the Amazon forest’s Atlantic coast. There were many tough tests along the way but she wasn’t a bit worried about this final one. It was an exam to assess whether she qualified for a position being reserved for an affirmative-action candidate. Ms. Chaves knew she would sail through, because she is black.

Or thought she was…

…Commissions are vital to ensure that limited affirmative-action spaces are not used by cheating white students, said Iuri Nascimento, an activist with a racial-equality advocacy organization called Negrex. Any argument that it’s impossible to tell who is eligible in a country with a lot of mixed-raced people is simply aimed at undermining the system, he added.

There is no “purely objective scale” of blackness, he said, but it’s also not that hard to tell who is black and who isn’t: Police officers identify who is black just fine, argued Mr. Nascimento. (Black Brazilian men are killed by police three times more often than white.)…

…Yet there are many Brazilians – including other black activists – who think that the tribunals are a terrible idea. Petronio Domingues, a historian with the Federal University of Sergipe who studies the fight for racial equality in Brazil, said it’s absurd to think that there are characteristics that can be evaluated objectively to determine race.

“They’re looking only at a person’s appearance, and that doesn’t define race,” he said. “Any definition of what it is to be black cannot be external to the individual. … Race is a social construction, without scientific basis.” Nor is there any evidence that proves that black people with very dark skin suffer more prejudice than those who are called pardo, or brown, he added, so it makes no sense to give more “points” to someone whose skin is darker or hair curlier…

Read the entire article here.

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What is the Black Atlantic? My Comparative Perspective

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2016-12-11 22:08Z by Steven

What is the Black Atlantic? My Comparative Perspective

Afro-Europe International Blog
2011-01-09

Sibo Kano

Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic (1994) is a difficult read but it’s a very influential book. An author who builds further on Gilroy’s work and who writes very accessible books about blackness is Livio Sansone (professor of anthropology at the University of Bahia, Brazil). His book ‘Blackness Without Ethnicity’ (2003) was a very insightful read that I recommend to anyone interested in the subject. In this book he compares black Brazilian experience and cultural production with the African American experience (check this blog www.afrobrazilamerica.com on the difference between black US and black Brazil experiences). One of the chapters of the book even goes further and is based on his research among black youth in Amsterdam compared to black youth in Bahia and Rio. Generally Sansone has written interesting articles about blackness and Western Afro cultures (check this article) . Below I will give my understandings and perspectives on the Black Atlantic, as an inherent part of the broad social and cultural entity called ‘The West’.

There are black people living in all countries of the Americas, in Europe and of course in Africa. The history of all these black populations is interrelated and all in reference to their relation to white European culture. African nations are (unfortunately) a consequence of European history and international affairs. African elites have often Europe and European languages as a reference point for culture, knowledge and social emancipation. The same thing can be said in an even more thorough sense of Latin America. All these cultures, or at least its elites and urban populations are therefore according to me part of the same Western world.

But the black populations of these nations are not all the same, just as all these countries differ from each other although being interrelated in history. Black Brazilians experience race in a very different way than African Americans. Black Britons do not express their identity within the UK in the same way as Black French communities in France. Each country has its own dynamics, history, culture and identity. Still there is also much in common which is all centered around three elements: history, race and Africa…

Read the entire article here.

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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
2016-11-07

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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