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

Sheriff, Robin E.

18 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0813529999 / ISBN 13: 9780813529998
Published by Rutgers Univ Pr, Piscataway, New Jersey, U.S.A., 2001
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism ...

Publisher: Rutgers Univ Pr, Piscataway, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Cloth-Black

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

About this title

Synopsis:

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.

From the Back Cover:

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 significance of this contrast on African Brazilians' views of themselves and their nation, Robin E. Sheriff lived in a primarily black shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, where she explored the inhabitants's 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.

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