The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families (Paperback)

The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families By Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman Cover Image
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Winner, Section on the Sociology of Emotions Outstanding Recent Contribution (Book) Award, American Sociological Association, 2016
Charles Horton Cooley Award for Recent Book, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 2017
Best Publication Award, Section on Body and Embodiment, American Sociological Association (ASA), 2018

The Color Of Love reveals the power of racial hierarchies to infiltrate our most intimate relationships. Delving far deeper than previous sociologists have into the black Brazilian experience, Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman examines the relationship between racialization and the emotional life of a family. Based on interviews and a sixteen-month ethnography of ten working-class Brazilian families, this provocative work sheds light on how families simultaneously resist and reproduce racial hierarchies. Examining race and gender, Hordge-Freeman illustrates the privileges of whiteness by revealing how those with “blacker” features often experience material and emotional hardships. From parental ties, to sibling interactions, to extended family and romantic relationships, the chapters chart new territory by revealing the connection between proximity to whiteness and the distribution of affection within families.

Hordge-Freeman also explores how black Brazilian families, particularly mothers, rely on diverse strategies that reproduce, negotiate, and resist racism. She frames efforts to modify racial features as sometimes reflecting internalized racism, and at other times as responding to material and emotional considerations. Contextualizing their strategies within broader narratives of the African diaspora, she examines how Salvador’s inhabitants perceive the history of the slave trade itself in a city that is referred to as the “blackest” in Brazil. She argues that racial hierarchies may orchestrate family relationships in ways that reflect and reproduce racial inequality, but black Brazilian families actively negotiate these hierarchies to assert their citizenship and humanity.

About the Author


ELIZABETH HORDGE-FREEMAN, a 2015–2016 Fulbright Scholar, is an assistant professor of sociology with a joint appointment in the Institute for the Study of Latin America & the Caribbean at the University of South Florida.

Praise For…


"The Color of Love is an insightful treatment of the social psychology of race and the family, ostensibly in Brazil but with observations that have more general applicability."
— Social Forces

"Certainly a page turner, Hordge-Freeman makes various scholarly contributions, the biggest being her exploration of how phenotype-based affection can reproduce racial inequality in racialized societies, which hardly any studies of race in the United States and Brazil have done. . . . This book should be read by anyone with an interest in the African Diaspora, race and racism in Brazil, and family socialization practices."
— Humanity & Society

"...an important contribution to the growing academic literature on race and color in Brazil. The Color of Love, firmly rooted in the discipline of sociology, is interdisciplinary in the best possible way."
— American Journal of Sociology

"The Color of Love provides a necessary narrative that must be included in family research dis-course...I urge family researchers to read [it] to help them in understanding the family unit as a complex societal agent that is capable of resisting and reproducing dominant ideologies and also love."
— Journal of Family Theory and Review

"[Hodge-Freeman's] work with an understudied group allows her to add a significant contribution to the field of race. . . . The Color of Love is an excellent ethnographic project."
— Symbolic Interaction

"This book makes a great contribution to understanding racial relations in Brazil by considering family and close neighbor relationships, the socialization process, and negotiations of gendered and racialized bodies, from a perspective that dialogues with theories of social stratification, feminist theory while triangulating race, class, and gender."
— Revista Brasileira de Estudos de População

"This book undoubtedly offers both theoretical and empirical gems to the sociology of race and inequality as well as to the study of the African diaspora in Latin America and beyond."
— Contemporary Sociology

"The ethnographic data on families show that ideas about racial hierarchy operate across a wide range of phenotypes and self-identifications. Hordge-Freeman shows this exceptionally well for Brazil . . . Hordge-Freeman's excellent ethnography interrogates families and bodies as sites of race-making in Brazil."
— Latin American Research Review


Product Details
ISBN: 9781477307885
ISBN-10: 1477307885
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2015
Pages: 328
Language: English
Series: Louann Atkins Temple Women & Culture Series