Between Brown and Black: Anti-Racist Activism in Brazil (Paperback)
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With new momentum, the Brazilian black movement is working to bring attention to and change the situation of structural racism in Brazil. Black consciousness advocates are challenging Afro-Brazilians to define themselves and politically organize around being black, and more Afro-Brazilians are increasingly doing so. Other segments of the Brazilian black movement are working to influence legislation and implement formal mechanisms that aim to promote racial equality, including Affirmative Action Racial Verification Committees. For advocates of these committees, one needs to be phenotypically black enough to be a more likely target of racism to qualify for Affirmative Action programs. Paradoxically, individuals are told to identify as black but only some people are considered black enough to benefit from these policies. Afro-Brazilians are presented with a whole range of identity choices, from how to classify oneself, to whether one votes for political candidates based on shared racial experiences. Between Brown and Black argues that Afro-Brazilian activists’ continued exploration of blackness confronts anti-blackness while complicating understandings of what it means to be black. Blending linguistic and ethnographic accounts, this book raises complex questions about current black struggles in Brazil and beyond, including the black movements’ political initiatives and antiracist agenda.
About the Author
ANTONIO JOSÉ BACELAR DA SILVA is an assistant professor in the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
"Silva’s pioneering analysis brings attention to the previously unexplored interstices between browns and blacks in terms of blackness and antiracist work. This much needed, timely, and long-overdue book provides a masterful, nuanced, and above all sensitive, analysis of a very complex topic critical to understanding Brazilian race relations and mixed-race peoples’ identities more broadly."
— G. Reginald Daniel
"Bringing scholarship on Brazil’s tangled politics of race and racism into the twenty-first century, Silva examines recent shifts in discourse and consciousness among Afro-Brazilians in the era of affirmative action. Anti-racist consciousness building, the practices associated with racial quotas, and the reception of racial messaging in electoral campaigns all come under Silva’s lens. Leaning on Bakhtin’s still trenchant insights, this book provides an accessible and engaging update on a changing nation."
— Robin Sheriff