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Some have argued that Brazil is such a place: according to Gilberto Freyre, Brazil is a place of racial democracy, that is, race is not a prominent feature in the landscape and does not cause a great deal of discrimination (Robb 23). A close evaluation of Brazilian society reveals that it is not as post-racial as those who are proponents of racial democracy would like to believe, and that America is even more distant from this race-is-not-an-issue dream.
Racial democracy, superficially at least, seems to have a lot of things to support its claims. For one, there has been a great deal of intermarriage and subsequent offspring from multi-racial marriage for much of Brazilian history, which continues into the present day (Feyre 185). Thus, Brazilians are less likely than many to show readily recognizable characteristics of any of the three founding races of Brazilian society, indigenous people, people of African descent, and white colonizers, and thus might constitute a “meta-race” (Feyre 187). Furthermore, the things that caused such great racial conflict in other parts of the world seemed to be more absent from Brazil. Portuguese colonization, though certainly brutal, was much less so than the colonization regimes of other European nations, especially the British, who highly subscribed to ideas of scientific racism by the time of the dominance of their Empire, including the founding of the American colonies. Slaves tended to have closer relationships to their owners than in the American colonies, and slavery ended earlier in Brazil than it did in America. This would all seem to make Brazil a somewhat aracial place. Finally, instances of overt racism remain relatively less rare in Brazil than in many other previously colonized parts of the world, leading credence to the theory that Brazil has begun to move beyond the importance of racial identities.
Upon a second look, however, many of the
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