Blacks and Whites in São Paulo Brazil (1888-1988) (1991)

This history book refutes the Brazilian myth of “racial democracy,” by retracing the country’s unique experience from the abolition of slavery in 1888 to the late 1980s. The century in between is described through periodicals and media (among other sources) that covers race relations and Black life in Brazil. It finds narratives of Blackness from Brazil’s largest and most economically important State. In Brazil, the unspoken segregation renders racism invisible for many who are accustomed to paradigms of racism that were enforced by laws, red-lining, or apartheid-like regulations. Instead, the transition between the plantation economy of 1888 to contemporary industrialization is not just one of commerce, but one of offering Black people access to racial integration into middle and working-class jobs. The dream of integration for Black laborers confronted European immigration in the early 20th century and the dream went unfulfilled due to discriminatory hiring against Black and dark-skinned people. Social and political organizations for anti-racism and Black empowerment are also highlighted thoroughly. The optimistic end of the book should be contrasted with recent events in Brazilian life for quite the comparison between 1998 and 2018 & beyond.

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