ethnic invisibility in neoliberal argentina

ethnic invisibility in neoliberal argentina - JANUARY...

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JANUARY FEBRUARY 2005 REPORT ON RACE, PART 2 requiring profound institutional changes and budgetary outlays, would likely encounter greater resistance than the changes made up to this point. Ideas may compel people lo change their minds and even certain aspects of iheir behavior, but alone they seldom build the political coali- tions needed to back the allocation of money and changes in the rules. In Brazil's world of pork-barrel pol- itics, old habits die hard. Breaking these habits will like- ly require threats and incentives in addition to moral conviction. Even weakly implemented, though, quotas compel people to talk about race. As Senator Paulo Paim noted, even a law tbat works only partially is an advance, lt generates debate, because then you can ask and force Ipolitical] parties to explain, why quotas aren't filled,,. . Laws don't always give the results that we expect, but they offer yet another instrument to do politics,"^^ Proposing quotas exposes racism. In short, the appear- ance of quotas in public discourse prevents anyone from denying that race matters. Given Brazil's myth of racial democracy, this is no small achievement. The concept of race originated as an attempt by nine- teenth-century biologists and anthropologists to rank and evaluate the supposedly inherited differences among human populations. It has long been understood that il has almost no basis in biology ^^ Since it aids social dis- crimination, it would be desirable to move beyond the concept of "race," But race has validity as a social catego- ry. Racial labels define human identities and structure social relations. How can public policy address these concems while avoiding essentialism? There is a tension between trying to get beyond race on the one hand and forming practical strategies lo combat racism on the other. Negotiating this tension—affirming the living practice of race while simultaneously denying ils essence—is the challenge Brazil faces. • Ethnic (In)Visibility in Neoliberal Argentina by Alejandro Grlmson During the 1990s, Argentina's govemment and national media repeatedly called attention to a wave of migration that was supposedly flood- ing the country with new immigrants, a wave comparable in scale lo the influx of Europeans at the tum of the previous century. This time, how- ever, the new arrivals were coming from the neighboring countries of Bolivia, Paraguay and Pem. The govemment celebrated this as a sign that Argentina had entered the "First World," Germany had its Turks, the United States its Mexicans and Argentina its Bolivians, But overshadowing the celebration was an official xenophobia thai blamed the newcomers for the country's growing social and economic ills. According to government and media accounts, the torrent of immigrants from near- by countries was causing an explosion in unemployment and crime. The truth was, demographic data disproved the storied jump in immigration rates. The proportion of the population consisting of immigrants from neigh-
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course ANTH 178 at San Jose State University .

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ethnic invisibility in neoliberal argentina - JANUARY...

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