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Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World$
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Francisco Bethencourt and Adrian Pearce

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265246

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265246.001.0001

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Brazil and Colombia: Comparative Race Relations in South America

Brazil and Colombia: Comparative Race Relations in South America

(p.35) 2 Brazil and Colombia: Comparative Race Relations in South America
Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World


British Academy

This chapter focuses on Brazil and Colombia in the context of the official multiculturalism adopted by both countries. It looks primarily at ‘blackness’, but necessarily also makes reference to the category ‘indigenous’, as this is an inherent part of the processes by which identities come to be defined, claimed and contested. The text shows how blackness in each country oscillated between ‘ethnic’ and ‘racialised’ definitions, both from an official and from a social movement point of view, and how oscillation was related to different contexts and political conjunctures. In Colombia, there was a move between 1991 and 2009 from a very ‘ethnic’ definition towards a more explicitly ‘racialised’ one; while in Brazil, we can see a move from a pre-1988 racial definition towards a more ethnic one, which however coexists with the more racial emphasis. These are not opposed trajectories, but variations on a theme of changing, overlapping and often conflicting definitions.

Keywords:   multiculturalism, Latin America, ethnicity, race, indigenous, blackness, politics

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