Contemporary Forms of Discrimination:
Race in the United States and Brazil Post-Emancipation
Juliette C. Finley
Racial ideologies are fundamentally judgments about who is worthy, who is decent, who belongs, and who doesn't. The notion of centrality and the idea of superiority, that one’s culture or group is superior to those of others, has championed race relations throughout history. The rationalizations once used to legitimate and justify Black inferiority have now been reemployed. Contemporary forms of discrimination, are often subtle and covert, posing extreme, concrete consequences for people's lives through implicit, systemic methods. More specifically, examining how racial power constitutes and reproduces itself through law and culture catalyzes the fight for equality and peace.
Brazil’s history of colonialism, slavery and dictatorship, followed by tumultuous social change, has produced a country that is at once culturally homogenous and chromatically wildly diverse. The contemporary United States faces a pervasive crisis of race, a crisis no less severe than those the country has confronted in the past. The origins of the crisis are not particularly obscure: the cultural and political meaning of race, its significance in shaping the social structure, and its existential aspects all remain profoundly unresolved. As a result, the society as a whole, and the population as individuals, suffer from confusion and anxiety about the issue.
Although both Brazil and the United States inherited European norms that favo...