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Café con leche: Race, Class, and National Image in Venezuela

Wright, Winthrop R.

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ISBN 10: 029271128X / ISBN 13: 9780292711280
Published by University of Texas Press
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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About this Item

029271128X 029271128x 167p. Jacket is faded, edges are worn, with some chipping near corners and spine. Scuffed on back panel through barcode. Board corners are gently bumped. Pages are clean, bright, and unmarked. Tight binding. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-063230

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Café con leche: Race, Class, and National ...

Publisher: University of Texas Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

About this title

Synopsis:

For over a hundred years, Venezuelans have referred to themselves as a café con leche (coffee with milk) people. This colorful expression well describes the racial composition of Venezuelan society, in which European, African, and Indian peoples have intermingled to produce a population in which almost everyone is of mixed blood. It also expresses a popular belief that within their blended society Venezuelans have achieved a racial democracy in which people of all races live free from prejudice and discrimination. Whether or not historical facts actually support this popular perception is the question Winthrop Wright explores in this study.

Wright's research suggests that, contrary to popular belief, blacks in Venezuela have not enjoyed the full benefits of racial democracy. He finds that their status, even after the abolition of slavery in 1854, remained low in the minds of Venezuelan elites, who idealized the European somatic type and viewed blacks as inferior. Indeed, in an effort to whiten the population, Venezuelan elites promoted European immigration and blocked the entry of blacks and Asians during the early twentieth century.

These attitudes remained in place until the 1940s, when the populist Acción Democrática party (AD) challenged the elites' whitening policies. Since that time, blacks have made significant strides and have gained considerable political power. But, as Wright reveals, other evidence suggests that most remain social outcasts and have not accumulated significant wealth. The popular perception of racial harmony in Venezuela hides the fact of ongoing discrimination.

From the Back Cover:

For nearly a hundred years, Venezuelans have referred to themselves as a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) people. This expression well describes the racial composition of Venezuelan society, in which almost everyone is of mixed blood. It also voices a popular belief that within their blended society Venezuelans have achieved a racial democracy in which people of all races live free from prejudice and discrimination. Whether or not historical facts actually support this popular perception is the question Winthrop Wright explores in this study.

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