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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , ,

‘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.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What is Afro-Latin America?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science, United States on 2016-09-06 02:23Z by Steven

What is Afro-Latin America?

African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)

Devyn Spence Benson, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Latin American
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina

From Mexico to Brazil and beyond, Africans and people of African descent have fought in wars of independence, forged mixed race national identities, and contributed politically and culturally to the making of the Americas. Even though Latin America imported ten times as many slaves as the United States, only recently have scholars begun to highlight the role blacks and other people of African descent played in Latin American history. This course will explore the experiences of Afro-Latin Americans from slavery to the present, with a particular focus on Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. We will also read some of the newest transnational scholarship to understand how conversations about ending racism and building “raceless” nations spread throughout the Americas and influenced the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

In doing so, the course seeks to answer questions such as: What does it mean to be black in Latin America? Why has racism persisted in Latin America despite political revolutions claiming to eliminate discrimination? How have differing conceptions of “race” and “nation” caused the rise and decline of transnational black alliances between U.S. blacks and Afro-Latin Americans?

Last Tuesday, I began my eighth year of university teaching, but my first day at my new institution – Davidson College. Feeling both like a newbie (I was still unpacking boxes of books last week) and like an old pro, I dove right into teaching two introductory courses—Afro-Latin America and History of the Caribbean—passing out the course description pasted above. Both of my courses were cross-listed with Africana and Latin American Studies and fell under my purview as the new professor of Afro-Latin America. Mine is a joint position and the first untenured new hire for both Africana and Latin American Studies. I was initially shocked when I saw the advertisement last summer and remain shocked in many ways that both Africana and Latin American Studies at Davidson were interested in hiring an Afro-Latin Americanist as their first faculty position (other than chair) in two relatively young departments…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Religion on 2016-09-01 00:56Z 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
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The crime of miscegenation: racial mixing in slaveholding Brazil and the threat to racial purity in post-abolition United States

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-08-27 18:45Z by Steven

The crime of miscegenation: racial mixing in slaveholding Brazil and the threat to racial purity in post-abolition United States

Revista Brasileira de História
Ahead of print 2016-08-08
24 pages
DOI: 10.1590/1806-93472016v36n72_007

Luciana da Cruz Brito
City University of New York

This article discuss how the Brazilian example was debated and appropriated by politicians, scientists, and other members of the white US elite, who in the post-abolition period were preparing a nation project which maintained the old slaveholding ideologies of white supremacy and racial segregation, lasting in the country until the twentieth century. In Latin America it was possible to assess the negative effects of racial mixing, while Brazil became an example of backwardness and degeneration, reinforcing the need for urgent segregationist policies in the United States. The question of racial mixing was linked to the production of a notion of national identity which was sustained by the idea of purity of blood and in opposition to Latin American societies.

Read the entire article in English or Portuguese.

Tags: , ,

Skin Color Still Plays Big Role In Ethnically Diverse Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-08-22 21:49Z by Steven

Skin Color Still Plays Big Role In Ethnically Diverse Brazil

All Things Considered
National Public Radio

Audie Cornish, Host

Melissa Block visits a historic section of Rio de Janeiro that pays homage to Afro-Brazilian history and the many slaves that came ashore there. She talks with Brazilian filmmaker Joel Zito Araujo about what it means to be black or mixed race in Brazil, and how skin color still dictates many aspects of life.

Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Celebrating Japan’s multicultural Olympians

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive on 2016-08-20 01:40Z by Steven

Celebrating Japan’s multicultural Olympians

The Japan Times

Naomi Schanen, Staff Writer

Meet the athletes flying the flag and challenging traditional views of what it is to be Japanese

Japan and Brazil’s ties go back to the early 20th century, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived as farmers in the South American country. Brazil is home to the largest Japanese community outside Japan — 1.5 million of the country’s 205 million people identify themselves as Japanese-Brazilian, including a handful of members of the Brazilian Olympic team.

But although the host countries of the current and next Summer Olympics share cultural bonds, compared to Brazil, where nearly half of people consider themselves mixed-race, multiculturalism remains elusive in Japan, where ethnic homogeneity is often held up as something to be proud of.

Though Japan is home to the second-largest Brazilian community outside of Brazil, only 2 percent of the country’s population was born overseas. Compared to most other developed countries, immigration to Japan is negligible. However, despite having to deal with an aging, shrinking population, the majority of Japanese seem to prefer it this way. In a recent Yomiuri Shimbun poll, only 37 percent said they felt that more non-Japanese should be accepted to fill the gaps in the country’s labor market…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Half-Caste Actresses in Colonial Brazilian Opera Houses

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Women on 2016-08-16 18:38Z by Steven

Half-Caste Actresses in Colonial Brazilian Opera Houses

Latin American Theatre Review
Volume 45, Number 2, Spring 2012
pages 57-71
DOI: 10.1353/ltr.2012.0016

Rosana Marreco Brescia
Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Operatic and theatrical historians in both Brazil and Portugal frequently mention that around the last quarter of the 18th century, Queen Maria I forbade women to perform on public stages in Portugal. However, it seems that the impresarios and owners of opera houses in colonial Brazil were unaware of this prohibition, since I have found several references to actresses performing in many of the permanent theatres at the end of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th century. The great majority of these actresses were half-caste women. The most remarkable example is the case of soprano Joaquina Lapinha, prima donna of the Opera Nova in Rio de Janeiro, and probably the only native Luso-American singer to perform in a European theatre in the 18th century. This article considers the employment of actresses in the opera houses of São Paulo, Vila Rica, Rio de Janeiro, and Porto Alegre, showing how the impresarios of these public theatres managed to provide their companies with the necessary human resources.

Tags: , , ,

Science and miscegenation in the early twentieth century: Edgard Roquette-Pinto’s debates and controversies with US physical anthropology

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2016-08-09 20:25Z by Steven

Science and miscegenation in the early twentieth century: Edgard Roquette-Pinto’s debates and controversies with US physical anthropology

História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos
Published online ahead of print on 2016-07-18
17 pages
DOI: 10.1590/S0104-59702016005000014

Vanderlei Sebastião de Souza, Professor
Department of History
Universidade Estadual do Centro-Oeste, Brazil

Translated by Diane Grosklaus Whitty

The article analyzes Brazilian anthropologist Edgard Roquette-Pinto’s participation in the international debate that involved the field of physical anthropology and discussions on miscegenation in the first decades of the twentieth century. Special focus is on his readings and interpretations of a group of US anthropologists and eugenicists and his controversies with them, including Charles Davenport, Madison Grant, and Franz Boas. The article explores the various ways in which Roquette-Pinto interpreted and incorporated their ideas and how his anthropological interpretations took on new meanings when they moved beyond Brazil’s borders.

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,