Claremont McKenna College
In 1990, the census reported that Brazilian’s population was 55.3 percent branco, 39.3 percent parda, 4.9 percent negro, and 0.5 percent Indio. In response to complaints that these racial identities were not sufficient, the IBEG conducted a survey where they asked people “Qual é sua cor?” This survey resulted in a list of 134 different racial identities that reflect the complexities of race in Brazil due to a history of miscegenation. At the two extremes of this racial spectrum is branco and negro. These two extremes have cultural and historical significance that I examine through scholarly research. In the field, I examined the implications of this historical spectrum in the lives of young people of Afro-descent in Bahia by discussing the ways in which racial identity is created and understood today as well as what elements are involved in this formation. My intentions were to examine how the creation of these racial identities is a reflection of internalized racism in that it values whiteness over blackness, paying specific attention to how these identities also endorse a hierarchy of beauty that idealizes European traits. Instead, through my research at CEAFRO I met a group of individuals who identity as being of Afro-descent and affirm their identity as Afro-Brazilians. Therefore, this paper is about the affirmation of an Afro-Brazilian identity and the role of aesthetics in this formation.
Hosten, Ayana, "Tornar-Se Negro & Thinking Beautiful" (2007). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. Paper 244.