The skin color data showed that inequalities were more clearly associated with color than with ethnoracial identity — But lightness of skin was associated more systematically with better education.
Racism and Discourse in Spain and Latin America
This might mean that discriminators act on the basis of perceived color not to mention other markers such as hair , creating a coherent association between color and social status, while self-identification responds to other influences, such as an aversion among the better educated to self-identify as white in countries where the national norm is a mixed person We already knew that simple views of the dominance of whiteness are nuanced by the fact that in Brazil especially in Bahia some light-skinned people choose to identify as brown or even black for social reasons.
Pigmentocracies reinforces this nuancing for Mexico where, in addition, a significant group of whites in the north of the country had relatively low educational status and for Colombia. As a member of the project team argues in a recent article, it may be that symbolic boundaries of whiteness are less rigid than the structural ones. These books all attest to a well-known feature of the racial formations they examine, which is, in simple terms, a contradiction between racial democracy and racial hierarchy.
White Latin Americans - Wikipedia
These processes are often seen as integrally linked to mestizaje, cast as a positive equalizing force that crosses boundaries and erodes difference. On the other hand, there are processes, nearly always seen as ideological and material, that reproduce racial inequality and point up racial difference. Paradoxically, the phenomenon of mestizaje is seen as being also a vehicle for this second set of processes, which are apparently diametrically opposed to the first set. Instead of tokening an egalitarian exchange, mestizaje can enshrine hierarchical difference by being recast as blanqueamiento whitening ; and it only draws its meaning from the founding differences between blackness, whiteness, and indigeneity.
The various authors, however, address these contradictions in different ways. Although Rahier does not go into detail, this tool presumably works because the elites are dominant and are able to impose their worldview, despite resistance. As I noted earlier, these approaches tend to cast elites as simply cynical or as self-deceiving victims of their own rhetoric, while nonelites are either resistant challenging but not necessarily able to overturn dominant structures of power or they are plagued by false consciousness, misrecognizing the realities of racism, which are hidden from view by myths and ideologies of racial democracy and race mixture as a force capable of undermining racial hierarchy—myths that have no purchase on the realities of everyday life.
This means that any positive statement about racially harmonious interactions—such as those made by teachers he interviewed about social relations in the schools where they worked—inevitably appears as a manifestation of false consciousness and simple denial or misrecognition of racism. Sue addresses directly the problem of false consciousness and rejects its assumption of a duped subaltern class. The possibility that mestizaje can encompass inclusion as a lived, embodied reality —partial and interwoven immanently with partial realities of exclusion—gets short shrift.
Hordge-Freeman also tussles with the contradictions produced by mixture. The main emphasis of the book is on exposing the gendered racial hierarchies evident in ideas about bodies, beauty, family relationships, respectability, and spatial structures; she also shows that the people she worked with often reproduced racial hierarchies by evading and minimizing them for example, attributing racism to older generations, rather than their own , although they were willing to talk about race with her.
For example, women tend to reproduce aesthetic standards that see light skin, straight hair, and a narrow nose as beautiful; these standards, oriented to whiteness, are internalized and naturalized. At the same time she commented on the desirability of straightened hair and of marrying a white man. However, while alive to these contradictions, Hordge-Freeman explains them in terms of a dual dynamic of the internalization and contestation of hegemonic norms of whiteness.
For example, Hordge-Freeman looks at the huge success of the Instituto de Beleza Natural, which offers treatments relaxing, rather than straightening, hair.
It sells its services in terms of helping people improve their career opportunities and does not mention race at all. Of course, these inclusive meanings are always already exclusive ones as well.
Inclusion and exclusion are immanent in each other. The point is that the Instituto is tapping into experiential, embodied realities, not just ideologies and myths. Thus Peronism included the popular classes, avoiding the explicit discussion of race and implicitly extending the embrace of whiteness to encompass them and their mestizo background.
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Both these tendencies were ideological and material realities. All of these books include some reference to comparative frames—usually ones comparing Brazil with the United States, but also ones comparing Latin American countries. The emphasis tends to be on nonexceptionalism: Argentina, according to Alberto and Elena, is not an exception in Latin America but is a variant on a Latin American theme.
Brazil is not an exceptional racial democracy, compared to the United States, but a variant on a hemispheric American, a black Atlantic, or a Lusophone theme. This is all to the good; comparisons are useful, but defining one case as exceptional tends to play to nationalist myth making. In Latin America, the pervasiveness of mestizaje—understood as material-semiotic phenomenon—in all its regional variants gives the balance a particular form, rooted in the intimacies of kinship and neighborhoods, which holds the key to the persistence of ideas of racial democracy in the face of decades of sustained critiques.
Only by grasping racial democracy as a myth but also more than a myth can we understand its persistence. Hegemony operates by constructing realities that are at once material and semiotic.
The source is a Minority Rights Group report, which turns out to cite an online report by the Inter-American Foundation, which cites a newsletter by the Colombia Human Rights Committee. Her presentation of the data on Brazil is more robust. Lovell and Charles H.
I agree that mestizaje varies greatly by place, but it also has some recurrent features. Peter Wade is professor of social anthropology at the University of Manchester and recently held a British Academy Wolfson Research Professorship — Wade, P. Racism and Race Mixture in Latin America. Latin American Research Review , 52 3 , pp. Wade P. Latin American Research Review. Latin American Research Review , 52 3 , — Wade, Peter.
Latin American Research Review 52 3 : — Latin American Research Review 52, no. Wade, P.. Latin American Research Review , vol. Start Submission Become a Reviewer. X close. How to Cite: Wade, P. Published on 22 Sep CC BY 4. The Scope of the Books Most of the books deal primarily with antiblack racism; only Telles et al. The Balance between Mixture and Racial Hierarchy These books all attest to a well-known feature of the racial formations they examine, which is, in simple terms, a contradiction between racial democracy and racial hierarchy.
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Related Racism and Discourse in Latin America (Perspectives on a Multiracial America)
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