Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil

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Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil

Robin E. Sheriff, "Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil"
Publisher: Rutgers University Press | ISBN 10: 0813530008 | 2001 | PDF | 278 pages | 1.1 MB

Brazil has the largest African-descended population in the world outside Africa. Despite an economy founded on slave labor, Brazil has long been renowned as a "racial democracy." Many Brazilians and observers of Brazil continue to maintain that racism there is very mild or nonexistent. The myth of racial democracy contrasts starkly with the realities of a pernicious racial inequality that permeates Brazilian culture and social structure. To study the impact of this contrast on African Brazilians' view of themselves and their nation, Robin E. Sheriff lived in a primarily black shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, where she explored the inhabitants' views of race and racism firsthand. 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 recognize the deceptions of the myth of racial democracy–while embracing it as a dream of how their nation should be. Robin E. Sheriff is an assistant professor of anthropology at Florida International University