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Constellations of InequalitySpace, Race, and Utopia in Brazil$
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Sean T. Mitchell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226499123

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226499437.001.0001

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Racialization and Race-Based Law

Racialization and Race-Based Law

(p.115) Five Racialization and Race-Based Law
Constellations of Inequality

Sean T. Mitchell

University of Chicago Press

The first two decades of the twenty-first century have witnessed the emergence of a media and scholarly panic in Brazil over an alleged racialization of the citizenry. As affirmative action, multiculturalism, and race-based law have become institutionalized parts of Brazilian governance, critics warn that new forms of (violent) racialization of the populace will follow. Chapter 5 examines this racialization thesis by examining the relationship between the quilombo rights grounded in Brazil’s 1988 constitution and the racialization of political consciousness in Alcântara. Against scholarly critics of race-based policies, the chapter shows how social struggles have racialized the law, not, principally, the other way around. New laws, such as the quilombo rights in Brazil’s 1998 constitution have, however, opened a space for social movements to reassess existing racial forms. The chapter also examines how real ambiguity of forms of ethnoracial identification in Alcântara accounts for some divergent perspectives about quilombos among some of the quilombola allies in social movements and universities.

Keywords:   Brazil, Affirmative Action, Race, Racialization, Law, Quilombos, Multiculturalism

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