Now let’s talk about some more really old articles, in part to get them out of my files and in part because they are still relevant.
Telles, Edward E. and Nelson Lim. 1998. “Does it Matter Who Answers the Race Question? Racial Classification and Income Inequality in Brazil”. Demography 35(4). November, 465-474. [REALLY ONE SHOULD READ AND CITE MORE RECENT TELLES WORK, BUT THIS MAKES SOME POINTS WORTH NOTING, FOR ME.]
– self-reporting on racial identification is less significant than how others see someone [and thus judge, pay, otherwise act toward them].
– there is also racial ambiguity in the US despite historical ridigity of US racial system. People may identify as mixed or as a different race than the one they are classified as, and appearance may not coincide with ancestry (and the US classifies by ancestry).
– there is a lot of ambiguity in Brazil and this can be used to deny discrimination [“he’s not black, so I didn’t discriminate against him as black”].
– mulatto is not an intermediary stage in Brazil, pace Degler.
– however, it is true that “money whitens”.
Burdick, John. 1998. “The Lost Constituency of Brazil’s Black Movements” (pp. 136-155). Latin American Perspectives.
– already in 1998 people had stopped saying Brazil was a racial paradise and started to valorize negritude. This had been a progressive change over the past 20 years, and the progress would have not been imaginable in the 70s.
– there was still a long way to go, though, and the reason for it was in large part ideological: people had been told there was no racism so did not interpret racist actions and situations as such, and that included black people … although in Burdick’s sample, the people who considered themselves very dark were also those who were aware of prejudice against them, and called racist incidents what they were.
* Movimento Negro says all the intermediate categories were there to manipulate slaves, benefit whites [these are the ideas that were considered “US”, I note].
– [and there is more in the article, revealing about self-identification and its vicissitudes, ringing much truer than what Sansone says, for instance]
Skidmore, Thomas. 1964. Gilberto Freyre and the early Brazilian republic. (Why was I interested in this? We will see.)
– In the modernista era Brazil was asking itself whether misgenation had done it irreparable damage. This was because they believed their backwardness had to do with their blackness . . . they had miscegenated early on but this wasn’t acceptable in modernity. [Freyre himself had had these ideas, only being disabused of them by Boas]. They had always hidden their blackness, saying they were Portuguese and even more, French, but then with the suicidal course Europe took from 1914 forward they got Spenglerian.
– After Casa-grande e senzala Freyre published Sobrados e mucambos, which describes the breakdown of the rural patriarchal society from the late 18th century and the earlier 19th. The third volume, Ordem e progresso, covers 1890-1918 and Freyre considered this his most important book because of its source material (a survey with 1000 respondents). He is interested primarily in the consequences of abolition. Skidmore: “By 1920 the last act in the history of Brazil’s patriarchal society had been played out. It was this tragic climax which Freyre set out to describe in [this volume]. (496)
– The theme: Freyre feels the key to Brazilian social history is the rize and fall of what he calls the patriarchal society. In Casa-grande, on Brazil in the 16th-18th centuries, dominated by a rural aristocracy with slave labor, that worked. But from 1700 onward the economy began to shift southward from the sugar cane growing northeast. Sobrados e mucambos illustrates this problem: the distance from townhouse to shanty is much greater than from plantation house to slave quarters. In Ordem e progresso the focus on patriarchal society works even less well. It just isn’t true that the whole country works on the patriarchal society model he describes from the early NE.