Confounding Anti-racism: Mixture, Racial Democracy, and Post-racial Politics in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-07-27 02:15Z by Steven

Confounding Anti-racism: Mixture, Racial Democracy, and Post-racial Politics in Brazil

Critical Sociology
Published online before print 2014-01-31
DOI: 10.1177/0896920513508663

Alexandre Emboaba Da Costa, Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Policy Studies
University of Alberta, Canada

In this article, I analyze the particularity of post-racial ideology in Brazil. I examine recent deployments of mixture and racial democracy as re-articulations of historically hegemonic versions of these ideologies that minimize the problem of racism, deny its systemic nature, and deem ethno-racial policies as threats to achieving nonracial belonging and citizenship. Drawing on scholarship on race and racism from the United States, Brazil, and elsewhere in Latin America, I delineate a relational framework for analyzing the post-racial and apply this framework to three examples of post-racial ideology. Through these examples, I illustrate the problematic logics shaping aggressive investments in the post-racial as future promise to the detriment of addressing the unequal effects racial difference presents for inclusion/exclusion today. The article asserts the necessity of mounting transnational and interdisciplinary theoretical, epistemological, and practical strategies to challenge the ways post-racial ideologies rearticulate racial hierarchies, maintain racial subordination, and delimit social change.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Q & A with Ana Carolina Vidal + her Afro-Futuristic project

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2015-07-09 01:34Z by Steven

Q & A with Ana Carolina Vidal + her Afro-Futuristic project

Rooted In Magazine
2015-07-08

Annina Chirade


O Mestiço Revisited II, Ana Carolina Vidal

São Paulo native, Ana Carolina Vidal, is a multi-racial Brazilian artist who explores the dynamics of her country through her art. Her work is largely focused on portraiture; each piece in her ongoing Afro-Futuristic project is both an affirmation and reimagining of her identity. Through each subject, she pushes for us to see the ancestors that exist within us. Her gaze is filled with an emotional honesty towards a society still at odds with its past. Ana centres her Indigenous, African and European roots within a larger social framework; the political and personal can’t help but be intertwined in her work.

It’s precisely because of her honesty that one is able to understand the deep love she has for her homeland. In every conversation we’ve had, her knowledge and quest to share the fullness of her country’s many cultures leaves one wanting to know more. She embraces its music, art, film, literature, dance, food and politics with passion. Ana is part of a young generation looking to break down the simplistic images many have of Brazil, and to shape its future. She has even created a Tumblr page, Brasil of Color, to let fellow Brazilians learn and share their histories. So how does her art speak to a society so awash with culture and complexity? I set up an interview to find out.

Annina: What is your background as an artist – do you consider yourself as mostly self-taught?

Ana: When I was a child, my aunt was my first contact with art. She was a painter and inspired me to pursue what I love – even if it took me a lifetime – I should do it! I would bother my parents a lot as a child to put me in a local artisan group; they taught me some handicrafts and how to paint, but I took those classes for a short period. Then when I was very young at school I took extra-curricular painting classes. In my teenage years I stopped painting. I was mainly self-taught, I still feel I need to learn so much. I think it’s interesting to have that academic basis, not only of techniques, but ways of thinking and building your creative process; learning new ways to relate to art that are different from the ways you already do…

…Annina: In your work you give special focus to Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous people, why is that important to you?

Ana: I think it’s important to reaffirm myself to me. Although I have many privileges by being white-passing, my family is so multi-racial. I heard a lot of stories and encountered so many backgrounds which were extremely different. I always had the feeling that most of my family got lost in time; you don’t know the name of someone, you don’t know their story, because many of them were very poor. I always wanted to document them so that they would no longer be forgotten.

We have this myth of ‘Brazilian racial democracy’, but we know our [people of colour] experiences are different and I could always see that growing up. I could see how different my father’s life was from my mother’s; how my mother could get further being a white woman. In my father’s family, I could see the difference between him as a black man and my aunt’s as black women; how they stayed behind for obvious gender and race reasons. Although I am privileged enough to not go through a lot of that, I was still affected in many ways. I still hear comments – they are less offensive – I’m always questioned about my identity…

Read the entire interview here.

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As South Carolina deals with its Confederate flag, one town in Brazil flies it with pride

Posted in Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2015-06-24 18:53Z by Steven

As South Carolina deals with its Confederate flag, one town in Brazil flies it with pride

The World
Public Radio International
2015-06-22

Bradley Campbell, Producer


Descendants of American Southerners wearing Confederate-era dresses and uniforms dance during a party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War in Santa Barbara D’Oeste, Brazil, April 26, 2015. (Credit: Paulo Whitaker/REUTERS)

The push to remove the confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina’s state capitol gained steam today. Some of the state’s top politicians, including Gov. Nikki Haley, have jumped on board.

So far, more than 500,000 people have signed a MoveOn.org petition asking for the flag to be taken down. But the South isn’t the only place in the world you’ll find the Confederate flag still flying.

It’s also proudly displayed in the rural Brazilian town of Santa Barbara D’Oeste.

“Once a year, the descendants of about 10,000 Confederates that fled the United States and came down to Brazil after the Civil War, they have a family get together,” says Asher Levine a Sao Paulo-based correspondent for Reuters. “They all take part in stereotypically ‘Southern Things’ like square dances, eating fried chicken and biscuits, and listening to George Strait. That kind of thing. And a lot of Confederate flags everywhere.”

So when these people look at the confederate flag, what do they see?

Levine says it’s more ethnic than political. What fascinates him is that over the generations, the population has mixed with the Brazilians. So it’s a lot of people with a lot of different shades, not just white folks. “A lot of people who are descendants of these confederates have African blood as well,” he says. “So you’ll see at the party people with dark skin waving the confederate flag.”…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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The mythology of racial democracy in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2015-06-24 01:32Z by Steven

The mythology of racial democracy in Brazil

openDemocracy: free thinking for the world
2015-06-22

Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of History
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Brazil’s government has taken important steps to combat racial inequalities over the past two decades. Afro-Brazilian populations nevertheless remain socially and economically excluded, continuing patterns that began with legal slavery.

Brazil has been in the news a great deal of late, especially in association with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The most popular images involve football, carnival, samba, sunny beaches, and tanned women in bikinis. Less well known is the history of slavery and racism, which continues to have a profound impact upon Brazilian society.

Brazil has the dubious distinction of having imported the largest number of enslaved Africans—more than five million—of all countries of the Americas. The slave trade from Africa to Brazil was outlawed in 1831, but an illegal trade continued until 1851 before being outlawed for a second time. In contrast, legal slavery persisted until 1888, making Brazil the last country to abolish slavery in the western hemisphere. Today, 53 percent of the Brazilian population self-identify as black or pardo (brown, or mixed race). These terms as established by the Census refer to colour and not ancestry.

Achieving the abolition of slavery in Brazil was a long and difficult process. Abolition in 1888 was preceded by laws that, theoretically at least, freed the children of enslaved women (1871) and slaves who reached the age of sixty (1885). There was already a large free black population when slavery was abolished, and both this population and newly freed slaves received little or no assistance from the Brazilian government. There was no distribution of land or provision of education, leaving established patterns of wealth, privilege and racial hierarchy in place. In 1891, a new constitution established that only males with high incomes had the right to vote. The illiterate population, the vast majority of whom were Afro-Brazilians, remained prohibited from voting. At the same time, the government continued to encourage European immigration as a means to replace the enslaved African workforce, whose numbers had decreased following the ban of the Atlantic slave trade to Brazil. Inspired by eugenic theories, the monarchy and later the Republican government, as well as Brazilian elites, believed that the arrival of massive numbers of Europeans would lead to miscegenation and eventually ‘whiten’ the majority black Brazilian population…

Read the entire article here.

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Exhibit: “AfroBrasil: Art and Identities”

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2015-06-12 02:55Z by Steven

Exhibit: “AfroBrasil: Art and Identities”

National Hispanic Cultural Center
Art Museum
1701 4th Street SW
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Friday, December 12, 2014 to mid-August, 2015; Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-17:00 MT; Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-17:00 MT

Brazil* hosted soccer’s World Cup in the summer of 2014, and soon will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. While many are familiar with these events and Brazil’s other achievements, they may be unaware of the cultural and ethnic complexity of this large South American country.

The largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world, Brazil is home to the second largest population of African origin outside the African continent. Yet, despite its sporadic economic dynamism, its soccer prowess (who has not heard of Pelé, the “Black Pearl”?), the fame of its Carnaval, and the acclaim given the 1959 Oscar-winning French film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro), starring Afro-Brazilian actors, many aspects of its Afro-Brazilian identity, art, and culture have not received the status or attention they merit.

Today, Afro-Brazilian art and identities saturate the core of Brazilian culture and society, but may not rise commensurately to the surface in galleries, museums, or the works of art historians. The artists, writers, musicians, and critics who do tackle Afro-Brazilian reality more often than not narrate; in doing so they include their personal experiences in a unique multi-racial and multi-ethnic nation-state. AfroBrasil: Art and Identities shows the multiple important ways in which Afro-Brazilian artists and their colleagues from other countries address the complexities of Brazil’s African heritage and its impact across frontiers and oceans.

Using a team approach, the exhibition has been curated to comprise four distinct, yet inter-related, sections, which can be visited in any order to make different connections and gain different perspectives…

…Photograph: Baianas (Praça de Sé, Salvador, Bahia), Paulo Lima, 2013, courtesy of the artist

*Brasil is spelled with an “s” in Portuguese and Spanish, with a “z” in English. Text and label materials in this exhibition use both spellings, depending on context.

For more information, click here.

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Expats Find Brazil’s Reputation For Race-Blindness Is Undone By Reality

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-05-23 20:24Z by Steven

Expats Find Brazil’s Reputation For Race-Blindness Is Undone By Reality

Parallels: Many Stories, One World
National Public Radio
2015-05-22

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

There is a joke among Brazilians that a Brazilian passport is the most coveted on the black market because no matter what your background — Asian, African or European — you can fit in here. But the reality is very different.

I’m sitting in café with two women who don’t want their names used because of the sensitivity of the topic. One is from the Caribbean; her husband is an expat executive.

“I was expecting to be the average-looking Brazilian; Brazil as you see on the media is not what I experienced when I arrived,” she tells me.

As is the case for many people from the Caribbean basin, she self-identifies as multiracial. The island where she is from has a mixture of races and ethnicities, so she was excited to move to Brazil, which has been touted as one of the most racially harmonious places in the world.

“When I arrived, I was shocked to realize there is a big difference between races and colors, and what is expected — what is your role, basically — based on your skin color,” she says…

Read the entire article here. Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

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Brazilian Racial Democracy: Reality or Myth?

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-05-23 19:19Z by Steven

Brazilian Racial Democracy: Reality or Myth?

Humboldt Journal of Social Relations
Volume 10, Number 1, (Fall/Winter 1982/83): Race & Ethnic Relations: Cross-Cultural Perspectives
pages 129-142

Carlos Hasenbalg, Professor of Sociology
Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro

Suellen Huntington
University of California, Berkeley

The Brazilian claim to “racial democracy” is examined historically. and in light of the 1976 Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios data on race. class. and social mobility in Brazil. Racism is seen as limiting upward mobility for all non-white Brazilians, pointing to a potential break in Brazil’s “color—class continuum.” The interlocking social mechanisms which maintain Brazilian faith in the existence of racial democracy are briefly analyzed.

The popular Brazilian ideology of racial democracy holds that there is no prejudice or discrimination against non-whites in Brazil. certainly not when compared to the United States. This paper examines that ideology in terms of the realities of race, class, and social mobility in contemporary Brazil. We begin by briefly describing the historical background of the ideology of racial democracy as it bears on race relations in Brazil. Second, we summarize and criticize three main theoretical approaches to race relations and their Brazilian variations. Third, we discuss racism as a causal variable in social stratification and compare the evidence of social mobility for white and non-white Brazilians. Finally, we analyze the social mechanisms supponing the Brazilian belief in racial democracy and their effects on equality of opportunity in Brazil. For perspective, we note the most pertinent comparisons to the United States.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT

Brazil’s history helps explain the development of the ideology of racial democracy and its strong hold on the Brazilian popular mind. Brazil. colonized under the auspices of the Portuguese crown, remained subject to its strongly authoritarian, paternalistic, and monarchical traditions for three-hundred years. Unlike the United States where slavery was an issue from its very beginning and became a bitter point of contention in the Civil War. slavery was easily accepted by Brazil‘s Portuguese settlers whose long familiarity with slavery dates to the Moorish invasions. These differences of attitude influenced the racial compasition of their respective populations. In Brazil through the 1850, half the population was enslaved; in the United States, slaves were never more than fifteen percent of the population. The presence of this large slave population in Brazil, along with the relative absence of white women, prompted a high rate of miscegenation resulting in a large group of mixed race and mulatto slaves. In the United States, where miscegenation was both less common and illegal, all offspring of mixed unions were classified as negroes.

Brazil, the last country in the Western hemisphere to relinquish slavery, did so slowly, in a series of compromise reforms which sought to balance the needs of a plantation economy for cheap. plentiful labor against a sporadic, mostly non-violent, abolitionist movement and the force of international condemnation. When the national legislature passed an abolition law in 1888, most slaves in Brazil had been freed, partly by state legislatures acting independently, but also by county governments, by city governments, by city blocks, and by private citizens. Rather than a tumultuous emancipation, Brazilian slavery merely disintegrated. In the United States, the slavery issue was finally settled in 1865 with the Northern victory in the Civil War.

To solve the plantation labor crisis envisioned as the aftermath of abolition and to ease the transition to free labor, the Brazilian government instituted in 1885, a program promoting the importation of European workers. This program attracted 6,500 Italian laborers in 1886, 30,000 in 1887, and 90,000 in 1888, the year of offical emancipation. During the period of emancipation, immigrant labor worked side-by-side with ex-slaves, but most ex-slaves, unable to compete with the relatively more skilled, relatively more literate European workers, were soon relegated to the lowest positions—unskilled labor and domestic service, tenant farming and sharecroppingin the urban and rural workforce. In the United States, skilled black workers were replaced by whites in the post-Civil War South; in the North, they were systematically excluded from the skilled trades, from all but menial labor, and from union membership. In post-emancipation Brazil, however, the replacement of black ex-slaves by white immigrants resulted from hiring decisions by individual employers rather than from any systematic or organized opposition, thus tending to create class rather than racial antagonisms.

In addition, in the United States whites filled the intermediate positions in the occupational hierarchy, leaving blacks only the least desirable, worst paying positions. In Brazil the labor shortage, together with a prejudice in favor of light skin, caused these intermediate positions to be filled by mulattoes. This labor market preference for whites first, mulattoes second, and blacks last created a status and income continuum corresponding to the color continuum, in contrast to the caste-color line created in the United States…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Brazilian soap operas slowly cast black middle class

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Social Science on 2015-04-12 02:12Z by Steven

Brazilian soap operas slowly cast black middle class

Al Jazeera America
2015-04-11

Matt Sandy

Morgann Jezequel


Actor Sílvio Guindane poses on the set of the telenovela Vitória at Record studios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October, 2014. Rafael Fabres / Getty Images Assignment for Al Jazeera America

Black actors move beyond roles as maids, thieves and drug dealers, but insiders say more diverse film/TV writers needed

RIO DE JANEIRO – Dressed in a fitted white designer shirt, Sílvio Guindane stood beneath a chandelier on a grand wrought iron staircase and smiled confidently. Below, a set of ornate drinking glasses sat next to a collection of spirit bottles. Above, framed monochrome prints and color landscapes adorned the walls.

It is an archetypal image of upper middle class Brazil. And for good reason as this is the set of “Vitória,” one of the country’s ubiquitous novelas, the phenomenally popular soap operas that for more than 50 years have thrived on the country’s major television networks — often by portraying lavish lifestyles beyond the means of most viewers.

There is just one thing that is unusual: Guindane, 31, who plays a successful engineer, is black…

Read the entire article here.

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Dismantling the Racial Paradise

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-03-31 18:42Z by Steven

Dismantling the Racial Paradise

Stanford University Press Blog
March 2015

Tiffany Joseph, Assistant Professor of Sociology; Affiliated Faculty of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

How migration to and from the U.S. is transforming notions of race in Brazil.

I still remember my first trip to Brazil—I was amazed by the diversity of physical features I saw among the population, a continuous range of skin tones between what Americans think of as “white” and “black.” Everyone seemed to get along well; residential segregation levels were low and interracial couples, families and friend groups appeared to be the norm. It would have been easy to believe that Brazil was a racial paradise compared to the United States. However, as I learned Portuguese and spent more time in the country, I came to realize that Brazil was a country of racial contradictions.

Despite having seemingly more “cordial” interpersonal relations, Brazil has struggled with rampant social inequality, especially between lighter and darker Brazilians. While Brazilians espoused the beauty of its multiracial population, I was perplexed every time I passed stands full of Brazilian magazines and saw a sea of fair-skinned faces with blonde hair and blue eyes upheld as the ideal image of beauty. As a black American, I began to notice commonalities between the pervasiveness of structural racism in Brazil and the U.S. while being keenly aware of the different racial ideologies that characterized each nation’s history.

Brazil was once considered the global model for burying racial hatchets and fostering social inclusiveness, while the U.S. has garnered a reputation for being an overtly racist country. As the two largest countries in the Americas, both indelibly impacted by long histories of structural racism, Brazil and the U.S. have been the focus of countless comparative studies on race. And though the number of people traveling and migrating between each country has increased significantly in the last few decades, there are few accounts of how these migrations facilitated movement of race between these countries…

Read the entire article here.

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Race on the Move: Brazilian Migrants and the Global Reconstruction of Race

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-03-31 17:26Z by Steven

Race on the Move: Brazilian Migrants and the Global Reconstruction of Race

Stanford University Press
February 2015
240 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780804792202
Paper ISBN: 9780804794350
Digital ISBN: 9780804794398

Tiffany D. Joseph, Assistant Professor of Sociology; Affiliated Faculty of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

Race on the Move takes readers on a journey from Brazil to the United States and back again to consider how migration between the two countries is changing Brazilians’ understanding of race relations. Brazil once earned a global reputation as a racial paradise, and the United States is infamous for its overt social exclusion of nonwhites. Yet, given the growing Latino and multiracial populations in the United States, the use of quotas to address racial inequality in Brazil, and the flows of people between each country, contemporary race relations in each place are starting to resemble each other.

Tiffany Joseph interviewed residents of Governador Valadares, Brazil’s largest immigrant-sending city to the U.S., to ask how their immigrant experiences have transformed local racial understandings. Joseph identifies and examines a phenomenon—the transnational racial optic—through which migrants develop and ascribe social meaning to race in one country, incorporating conceptions of race from another. Analyzing the bi-directional exchange of racial ideals through the experiences of migrants, Race on the Move offers an innovative framework for understanding how race can be remade in immigrant-sending communities.

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