An examination of how racial and gender hierarchies are intertwined in Brazil
The Sorcery of Color
Identity, Race, and Gender in Brazil
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Elisa Larkin Nascimento
Originally published in 2003 in Portuguese, The Sorcery of Color argues that there are longstanding and deeply-rooted relationships between racial and gender inequalities in Brazil. In this pioneering book, Elisa Larkin Nascimento examines the social and cultural movements that have attempted, since the early twentieth century, to challenge and eradicate these conjoined inequalities.
The book's title describes the social sleight-of-hand that disguises the realities of Brazilian racial inequity. According to Nascimento, anyone who speaks of racismor merely refers to another person as blacktraditionally is seen as racist. The only acceptably non-racist attitude is silence. At the same time, Afro-Brazilian culture and history have been so overshadowed by the idea of a general "Brazilian identity" that to call attention to them is also to risk being labeled racist.
Incorporating leading international scholarship on Pan Africanism and Afrocentric philosophy with the writing of Brazilian scholars, Nascimento presents a compelling feminist argument against the prevailing policy that denies the importance of race in favor of a purposefully vague concept of ethnicity confused with color.
"This is an extremely thoughtful and challenging study of the overlapping and often confusing histories of identity, race, and gender in Brazil....This book has considerable appeal as history and theory...Highly Recommended."
"The book is explicitly devoted to making a huge theoretical and historical review of the position of black people in Brazil, as well as of their fights for justice and recognition, and in this it has been particularly successful. Placing herself on these crossroads, blessed by Esu, the author produces an intellectual position complimented by her political engagement, and makes a political statement by means of her intellectual criticism. This intellectual enterprise is of great importance at this moment when Brazil is undergoing unprecedented progressive polarization regarding the implementation of affirmative action policies. "
“[More persuasive...is] Larkin Nascimento’s informative account of the myriad institutional forms through which Afro-Brazilians mobilized over the course of the 1900s very few of whom called for a return to their African heritage…Also useful is a chapter on the psychology of Brazilian racism[.]"