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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Black + Woman in Brazil: The Search for Inclusion and Representation

Publication Date: 
April 2018

Brazil is said to be one of the most successful racist systems in the world, founded on the exploitation of people, economy, and goods. Hidden behind this success is the notion of “racial democracy,” the ideology that Brazil has harmonious race relations (Guimarães, 2007). Colonization and slavery laid the foundation for what would be a fruitful system of oppression, keeping the elite wealthy and making it seemingly impossible for those who are poor and Black to achieve social mobility. It is a system providing an ample amount of challenges if one finds oneself on the side of the intersecting identity of being a Black woman. There is a disproportionate amount of structural and cultural violence committed against the Black female body, creating an ongoing state of fear, inferiority, and ultimately, psychological terrorism. In Brazil, one of the worst things a person can be is a Black woman, and the tactics used to disenfranchise the Black woman are relentless. My autoethnography, through anthropological methods, explores my unique education-abroad experience living in various parts of Brazil as a Black American woman over the course of four months, specifically examining how my research on the Afro-Brazilian woman’s experience became my reality. I analyzed how being a disidentified person can show up differently, depending on the geographical location, in hopes of adding to the conversation of what true inclusivity, representation, and equity look like in praxis.

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