AnaCristina We're Not Black, We're Brazilian - � ther Hispanic nor Black We're Brazilian Ana Cristina Braga Martes(translated by Allan Vidigal

AnaCristina We're Not Black, We're Brazilian - � ther...

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· ther Hispanic, nor Black: We're Brazilian'' Ana Cristina Braga Martes (transla ted by All an Vidigal) United Scates, the terms Latino and Hispanic are considered synonyms and are often mtl~rctlangeaDJy. Thls practice applies as much to co mmon perceptions and official statistics academic studies. lmmlgrant groups settling in the Un ited States have imposed different !~ . ·~; ~ ,;, y~u these terms, however, thereby taking part in a dynamic process which allows established cul tu ral categories to be reinterpreted and given new uses, and which itself is a result of for th ese new immigrant groups to integrate into specific local in stitutional contexts. I submit th e results of a survey 1 ca rried out among Bra:z.ilian immigrants in which show that Hispanic and Latino are two distinct categories that are not only and scope (Oboler; Cashmore; Margolis 1998 and 2002; Marrow 2002) but are exclusive when subotdinated to national affiliation. To be more precise, I wHl argue that an the labd Hispanic excludes the possibility of affirming Brazilian identity; and, indeed, in Brazilian stands pr ecisely for emphasis on the negative statement: I am nor Hispanic . ... . ~~ " "'"~" categories, racial categories are social constructs; Brazilian immigrants use different ~~t!~~ion criteria from those appearing in the U.S. racial affiliation "pattern." As first-generation .rzn::r-c ;:<..-.: .• , ti-l'lll2lll.a ns app ly the same criteria they used previously in Brazil. Just as they do not define Hispanic, they also regard themselves as white, although they dearly realize t hat they are no : n-v~rni '[e Hispanics or Latinos by members of the host society. believe that an individual who relinquishes a. pos it ion of national affiliation in order or herself as a member of an ethnic group takes a step toward cultural assimilation, ..-:cu ... uu:JU •. '-<U. the justification for ethnic classifications to supersede racial ones rests on the maintenance of the cultural roots of immigrant groups. Multiculturalist discourse artd taken th e place of assimilationist ones, but current official ethnic categories are also in- t_.qx ,: ~IPre:ssinlg cultural ro ots. 1 97
72 Allan Vidigal Introduction Raquel always considered hersdf white untH, up on coming to Boston, her reacher asked her to speak on · behalf of the black women in her class. Antonio always made a point of showing pride in his nation~ origin: "I am Brazilian." In Boston, he was startled to be called Hispanic for the first time. Marcit always spoke Portuguese and has become tired of explaining that, despite having come from a So uth American country, her native language is not Spanish. Similar cases can be found by the hundr eds among Brazilian immigrants in Massachusetts and among other groups as well. Over 80 percent of : Boston's Hispanic population, for example, considers itself white (Levitt 2001). Furthermore, a detailed ; study of Cape Verdeans in Massachusetts carried out by Halter ( 1995) shows that this group ident ifi~ , itself in ethnic terms but is regarded as a racial group by the host society and by other ethnic and rad ~ j groups. These are just a few

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