PS M154C Final right

PS M154C Final right - Jose Revuelta Political Science...

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Jose Revuelta Political Science M154C TA: O Garcia 12/2/2008 PS M154C Final Question 1: Racial Politics and Popular Culture In Brazil, to be black means bringing “a color of history that some would prefer to forget and to be white means bringing the color of aspiration and success” (Sawyer lecture 10/13). Race is a direct indicator of political and economic growth, and directly affects the perception of culture in Brazil. The perception is usually a skewed one leading to racial inequality. Of course many citizens of Brazil, usually white, deny “the existence of racial inequalities, while simultaneously producing them” (Sawyer 151). We now see the issue of race becoming the main issue in Brazilian politics, and in turn becoming a permanent part of Brazilian culture through the use of stereotypes and the media, leading to a scenario where racial politics affect popular culture and vice versa. Many White Brazilians believe that it is ok to have certain stereotypes of nonwhites due to the perceived notion that they are “not racist,” always attributing racism to the United States and its Jim Crow Era. Stereotypes are “a common human response in human interactions where there is little or no information available about the other” (Telles 153). In the case of Brazil’s citizens, stereotypes usually remain and are cemented into popular culture. Most of the stereotypes are usually negative as shown by the belief that “Negros are only good in music and sports,” to which “43 percent of Brazilians agreed” (Telles 153). From a cultural perspective, it is evident that there seems to be no stigma or backlash when spouting out these racially charged statements. There is growing evidence of the minimization of racist incidents, with any form of racism seen as an isolated event from the rest of the country. Of course there are usually cases in
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2 which stereotypes are disproven by an isolated set of date in which small percentage of whites, mulattos, and blacks feel that there is no difference in intelligence levels: “8 percent believed whites are smarter, and 6 percent believed blacks are smarter” (Telles 153). Telles attributes this to the possibility that a “societally desirable response” was given rather than revealing “real inner beliefs” (Telles 154). Ironically, this ‘desirable’ response is usually made in order to defend the claim that Brazil is not racist like the United States, who unlike Brazil, places great importance on skin color. Most of the ideas found reinforcing popular culture are not generated by black people, though they do have a great effect on black people. These ideas affect culture in such a way that racial structures begin to reflect these beliefs. Popular culture then goes on to be seen as a form of opposition and resistance to any form of black upward mobility. Politics in Brazil do not help in remedying the problem of racial inequality in popular culture. We see that “the Brazilian system has been able to use miscegenation…to allow racial injustices and inequalities to
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2009 for the course POL SCI M154C taught by Professor Sawyer during the Fall '08 term at UCLA.

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PS M154C Final right - Jose Revuelta Political Science...

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