Articulating race and class: effects on the construction of the afro-descendant identity

This paper asserts that race and class are articulated in the Brazilian context and produce effects on the afro-descendant identity. It specifically focuses on the effects of the access to university on the construction of the afro-descendant cultural identity. To understand such effects, semi-structured interviews were conducted with university students benefited by the Negraeva project, developed, from 2002 on, by the Negraeva Community, Campo Grande (MS), to maintain afro-descendants in universities. Different effects were perceived, especially that the afro-descendants gain more strength to vindicate their rights, question discriminating attitudes and do away with the myth of a racial democracy. They thus construct a cultural/racial/ethnic identity that allows them to see themselves and be seen by the others as a legitimate identity, which cannot be used to justify the domination and economic exploitation which has taken place in Brazil since the times of colonization.

Identity; Difference; Afro-descendant; Culture

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