Colour and Race in Brazil: From Whitening to the Search for Afro-Descent


in Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Published by British Academy

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780197265246
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754197 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Colour and Race in Brazil: From Whitening to the Search for Afro-Descent

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The purpose of this chapter is to clarify the way in which Brazil has developed a system of colour classification with regard to Afro-descendants in the period since abolition. The intention is not only to show how this system developed over time, but also how it has been shaped by the mobilisation of the black population around the notion of race: as a group sharing solidarity and common experiences of subordination and discrimination. The strategy is to trace the terms ‘colour’ and ‘race’ and their meanings through time, as used or systematised into classifications by the state, social movements and social scientists. This study is both preliminary and incomplete, but it is hoped that it can serve as a guide for future and more systematic research on specific periods, places and social agents.

Keywords: colour; race; Brazil; racial identity; national identity

Chapter.  8260 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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