Brazil’s new racial reality: Insights for the U.S.?

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2011-07-22 21:25Z by Steven

Brazil’s new racial reality: Insights for the U.S.?

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

Cheryl Staats, Research Assistant

Brazil has been a long-standing place of interest for many scholars due to its fluid racial categorization that focuses on phenotype rather than hypodescent.  With the release of Brazil’s 2010 census data, the newly-minted “minority-majority” country only further piques the interest of many in the U.S. as our country quickly approaches its own “racial tipping point” in approximately 2042.  What insights can the U.S. gain from Brazil and its experiences with this demographic transition thus far?  While the two countries possess similar yet distinct racial histories, some possible parallels are worth considering.
Non-white birth rates outpacing those of white women is one of the key factors in the U.S. demographic transition, as twelve states and the District of Columbia already have white populations below 50% among children under age five.  Seven additional states are poised to also attain a “minority majority” designation among children within the next decade.
Similar to the U.S., one of the drivers behind the numeric rise of nonwhites in Brazil has been the rise of the non-white birth rate.  Moreover, experts also cite an increased willingness of Brazilians to self-identify as black or pardo, a Brazilian term akin to mestizo or mixed race.  Among the reasons attributed to this include: a period of economic growth that is helping to dispel associations between poverty and skin color; increased presence of blacks in high-profile positions, including the appointment of a black judge to Brazil’s Supreme Court and the country’s first black actor in a leading telenovela role; and a sense of hope that is permeating the country…

Read the entire article here.

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The “inter” land: Mixing autobiography and sociology for a better understanding of twenty-first century mixed-race

Posted in Barack Obama, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2011-07-22 03:31Z by Steven

The “inter” land: Mixing autobiography and sociology for a better understanding of twenty-first century mixed-race

Villanova University
October 2009
105 pages
Publication Number: AAT 1462397
ISBN: 9781109073102

Felicia Maria Camacho

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Department of English Villanova University In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in English

In contemporary autobiographies by black/white biracial Americans, personal identity is a major source of conflict. The proposed study will address topics that are key to an understanding of biracial subjectivity and identity as presented in these autobiographies. The first chapter addresses the physicality of biracial people, paying special attention to such topics as family resemblance in interracial families, and the trope of “biracial hair” which is used as a metaphor for a distinct biracial identity that is neither black nor white. The second chapter examines another identity choice for black/white biracial subjects: singular black identity. It shows how biracial individuals can turn on its head the traditional notion of the “tragic mulatto” who is forced by the one-drop rule to accept his/her blackness. By exploring and honestly acknowledging the social experiences of both parents, the biracial individual can come to assert a healthy black identity. The final chapter links black/white biracial identity with intrinsically multiracial Latino identity. Do ethnicity, nationalism, and language suggest a way to avoid the black/white binarism of American society?

While examining these issues of biracial identity, this study will engage in a commentary on the relationships between and among various academic disciplines. When analyzing literature about race, critics often turn to race theory for secondary material. However, contemporary race theory does not do much to engage and illuminate these autobiographies of biracialism. Interestingly, sociological texts speak more directly to the “biracial phenomenon.” Therefore each chapter of this study shows how sociology and autobiography complement one another and provide a fuller, more informed picture of biracial identity.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: The Roots of Biracialism: Physical Appearance, Inheritance, and Identity in the Autobiographies of Elliott Lewis, Angela Nissel, and June Cross
  • Chapter Two: The End of Tragedy: The New Biracial Subject, Self-Exploration, and Singular Black Identity in the Autobiographies of James McBride and Barack Obama
  • Chapter Three: Finding the Third Space: Jews, Latinos, and Black/White Biracialism in the Autobiographies of Rebecca Walker, Elliott Lewis, and Angela Nissel
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited

Purchase the dissertation here.

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SOCI 006-601: Race and Ethnic Relations

Posted in Course Offerings, Social Science, United States on 2011-07-22 01:57Z by Steven

SOCI 006-601: Race and Ethnic Relations

University of Pennsylvania
Department of Sociology
Fall 2011

Tamara Nopper, Adjunct Professor of Asian American Studies

The election of Barack Obama as the United States’ first Black president has raised questions about whether we have entered a post-racial society.  This course examines the idea of racial progress that is at the heart of such a question, paying close attention to how social scientists have defined and measured racial inequality and progress in the last century.  We will consider how dramatic demographic shifts, the growing number of interracial families and individuals who identify as mixed-race, trans-racial adoptions, and the increased visibility of people of color in media, positions of influence, and as celebrities inform scholarly and popular debates about racial progress.  Along with some classic works, we will also read literature regarding the class versus race debate and color-blind racism.  In the process, students will become familiar with sociological data often drawn from in debates about racial progress and will also develop analytical and critical thinking skills.
Course Professor:

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