Beyond Racism: Race and Inequality in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States

Beyond Racism: Race and Inequality in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States

Beyond Racism: Race and Inequality in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States

Beyond Racism: Race and Inequality in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States

Synopsis

A provocative comparative study of issues of race, racism, & strategies to improve the status of people of African descent in Brazil, South Africa, & the United States.

Excerpt

After two centuries of such dramatic and spectacular progress, the divide between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the marginalized, that continues to exist—and in fact, to widen—puts to serious question the nature and quality of our humanity. That these inequities—amongst nations and within single nations—still correlate so strongly to racial differences demeans us all.

Nelson Mandela

This volume is a unique collage of perspectives on the causes and consequences of gross disparities in power and well-being between “persons of European or African descent or appearance” in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States. The awkward phrase in quotation marks describes people who, in common parlance, are often labeled “white” or “black. ” Its use signals that perceived “race” is a subjective idea, variously understood, constructed, and maintained to forge group and individual identities and apportion rights and privileges in these three nations and others around the globe. Although all human beings are the same beneath the skin, and “race” as a scientific matter has little meaning, perceived differences in race, color, or phenotype have long furnished the method and rationale by which disparities in power and wellbeing between and among these groups have been perpetuated.

Much of the existing literature about “race relations” in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States mines the subject in country-specific terms. It is useful to focus upon the exceptionality of discrete nations. Such close-up examinations of culture, history, resources, governance, and other variations that comprise the world's tapestry of diversity are . . .

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