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Rutgers University Press
Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil / Edition 1

Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil / Edition 1

by Robin E. Sheriff
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In the 1933 publication The Masters and the Slaves, Brazilian scholar and novelist Gilberto Freyre challenged the racist ideas of his day by defending the “African contribution” to Brazil’s culture. In so doing, he proposed that Brazil was relatively free of most forms of racial prejudice and could best be understood as a “racial democracy.” Over time this view has grown into the popular myth that racism in Brazil is very mild or nonexistent.

This myth contrasts starkly with the realities of a pernicious racial inequality that permeates every aspect of Brazilian life. To study the grip of this myth on African Brazilians’ views of themselves and their nation, Robin E. Sheriff spent twenty months in a primarily black shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, studying the inhabitants’s views of race and racism. How, she asks, do poor African Brazilians experience and interpret racism in a country where its very existence tends to be publicly denied? How is racism talked about privately in the family and publicly in the community—or is it talked about at all?

Sheriff’s analysis is particularly important because most Brazilians live in urban settings, and her examination of their views of race and racism sheds light on common but underarticulated racial attitudes. This book is the first to demonstrate that urban African Brazilians do not subscribe to the racial democracy myth and recognize racism as a central factor shaping their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813530000
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Robin E. Sheriff is an assistant professor of anthropology at Florida International University.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1The Hill13
Chapter 2Talk: Discourses on Color and Race29
Chapter 3Silence: Racism and Cultural Censorship59
Chapter 4Narratives: Racism on the Asphalt84
Chapter 5Narratives: Racism at Home118
Chapter 6Whiteness: Middle-Class Discourses150
Chapter 7Blackness: Militant Discourses185
Chapter 8Conclusion: Dreaming218

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