Racial Democracy in Brazil

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Conflicts about race in Brazil has brought fourth much analysis and research over the years and has allowed individuals to question the ideology that Brazil is a racial democracy. Understanding the main aspects of a racial consensus allows us to analyze it not only as myth or legend, but also as constitutional obligation. The society which has been previously debated as a racial democracy, is indeed responsible for creating very real practices of oppression through race, status and gender discrimination. This essay will explore these categories of inequality and will discuss their significant roles in how the philosophy of racial democracy is in fact a folklore.

Racial democracy is an expression that is used to describe the patterns of race matters in Brazil. According to the slides in week 2, “Racial democracy involves unity in diversity and a relative lack of racial prejudice.” (Slides, Module 2). More specifically, it insinuates that the conflicts from racial difficulties once experienced, has now grown and diminished indefinitely. The changes to Brazil over the years has indeed been tremendous, however there are still many issues in regards to race that continues on even after liberation. Individuals assume that because there is so many different races in brazil, that this means it is solid evidence that bigotry cannot exist in their society. However, this is completely inaccurate.

One of the main aspects of racial democracy being a myth is due to race. Although this subject can come across as a distasteful topic, it is important to understand why it has a very strong relevance to racial democracy. An individual’s physical characteristics can categorize someone immediately, while also having an impact on life areas such as employment and overall opportunities. As a result of this, it is no surprise that for decades the economy of Brazil has not been in favor for the success of black people. However, there were a small percentage of blacks who did thrive and become successful even though the probabilities were not likely.

Due to this example, society has tried to form an idea that Brazil is undeniably a racial democracy. Nevertheless, this is very far from the truth. “The term ‘people of color’ is itself probably the greatest single factor contributing to the myth of racial democracy, for it is used to describe all nonwhite people or ‘mixed-bloods’, a group ranging from those completely black to those almost white.” (Selcher, 1987). Overall, economic, political and social configurations have all been put in place to prevent minorities from thriving in Brazilian society.

Another example why Brazil as a racial democracy is a myth, is because of their socio-economic standing. “This hierarchy, in which social classification correlated highly with color, had developed as an integral part of the slave-based colonial economy.” (Skidmore, 2005.) In our course readings, Skidmore touches on the whitening thesis which is “where a person fits in the hierarchy based on physical characteristics and social status. It also assumed superiority of the white race.” (Slides, Module 2.) This corroborates that your overall appearance would determine where you stand in society and unless you were white, you were unable to gain a high social position.

Regardless of how much achievement a few of the blacks may have acquired, they would still remain at the bottom of the social ladder. “Blacks, having originally been brought to Brazil as slaves, were of course at the very bottom of the socio-economic and-by implication, political pyramid. With the abolition of slavery in 1888 they were immediately thrown into a competitive socio-economic situation for which they were quite unprepared. They were handicapped even before they could have been.” (Selcher, 1987). Even with the efforts of black administrations, the misconception of equality amongst all Brazilians was a fundamental part of the racial democracy myth.

Finally, the last example as to why the idea that Brazil is a racial democracy is because of gender discrimination towards women. The exclusion of women from various areas in society contributed to the myth of racial democracy because they were known as a disadvantaged group. The discrimination of women was impacted by governmental procedures and official practices, making it harder for them to receive advantages in areas such as education, revenue and occupation. “Most women who worked in the late 1800’s worked only as domestic servants.” (Slides, Module 4.) Women faced profound and powerful inequalities within society and thus was a contributing factor to the ideology that racial democracy was a myth.

In conclusion, racial democracy in Brazil is an undeniable myth based on race, gender discrimination and social status. The idea of Brazil being a racial democracy has been used as a way to belittle the existence of prejudice as it has immersed and become accepted unknowingly in many aspects of everyday life. It is vital to be aware that in order for us to come together and fight against oppression, we must first understand the crucial act of analytical self-examination. Furthermore, racial democracy in Brazil is indeed a myth and the argumentative theories in opposition to this, is doing nothing but maintaining the very thing it denies, racial oppression.

Cite this paper

Racial Democracy in Brazil. (2021, Apr 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/racial-democracy-in-brazil/

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