Ye Sil Cha
Comparative essay 1
Comparative essay: Mexico versus Brazil
A. The key focus of the paper
This paper will cover two chapters from Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin
America by Edward Telles, specifically chapter two (The Different Faces of Mestizaje) by
Regina MartÃnez Cases, Emiko SaldÃvar, RenÃ© D. Flores, and Christina A. Sue and chapter five
(Mixed and Unequal) by Graziella Moraes Silva and Marcelo PaixÃ£o. This book sheds light on
the way ethnicity and race are defined in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. The authors of
each chapter begin by covering the history of each Latin American country in relation to
colonization, independence, and whitening. Then the PERLA surveys are introduced in order to
illustrate the following: the factors that contribute to ethnic identification; â€œthe extent and nature
of inequality and discriminationâ€; â€œthe degree of ethnic inequalityâ€; and â€œthe nature of social
relations across ethnic boundariesâ€ (3).
I will focus on Mexico and Brazilâ€™s mestizaje and miscegenation narratives, as well as
briefly discuss the influence of Manuel Gamio and Gilberto Freyre, respectively. Then I will go
over some important PERLA data that sheds light on the mestizaje self-identification in Mexico
and the preto/pardo self-identification in Brazil. I will conclude by mentioning some
nation-building initiatives taken by these two countries to attain a more multicultural nation.
B. A summary of the readings
The first part of chapter two discusses Mexicoâ€™s ethnic and racial relations. Under Spanish rule,
the lives of the native indigenous population in Mexico were heavily regulated and controlled by
sociopolitical institutions. The Spanish Crown created legal codes that the Spaniards, indigenous
people, slaves, and castas (mixed race) had to follow. These laws governed the rights of each
ethnoracial group and regulated how one group interacted with another. The castas system was a
way for the Spanish and creole elites to establish, maintain, and exercise power over the
mixed-race, those in the middle of the socioracial hierarchy, and indigenous people and Africans,
those on the bottom of the hierarchy. After Mexico gained independence in 1821, the castas
system was abolished and replaced by the mestizaje ideology. This ideology promoted the
mixing of Mexicans racially as well as linguistically and culturally, which was emphasized by
Vicente Riva Palacio who believed that the mestizo race or mixed race was superior to the white
race. He questions the power and superiority of racial purity by saying that â€œthe mestizo…had
accumulated virtues and vices from various races and, by multiplying them over time, acquired
the indisputable right to autonomyâ€¦â€ (42). Another influential anthropologist in Mexico,
Manuel Gamio, argued that mestizaje was a fusion of cultures rather than genetics. The key
takeaway is that mestizaje is polysemic; race mixture can be attributed to the mixing of cultures
and, at other times, it can be associated with the mixing of genes.
Chapter five begins by emphasizing Brazilâ€™s celebration of mixture and miscegenation in
the early twentieth century. They were portrayed as a nation that was able to overcome racial
discrimination and prejudice from interbreeding with African slaves, white Portuguese
colonizers, and the indigenous people. But studies began to show that racial inequalities were
still very much alive in Brazil– upward mobility was not equal for blacksâ€™ (pretos) and whitesâ€™,
and even if the blacks achieved upward mobility, they still faced discrimination. Social scientists
found that blacks and browns or mixed-race (pardos) were affected by racial discrimination
almost equally (173). Even after the abolishment of slavery in 1888, Brazil still excluded blacks
from social mobility through different restriction laws, cultural and social movement repressions,
and European immigration encouragements. The Brazilian government wanted to whiten the
population by advocating white immigration. But when Getulio Vargas took power, Brazil began
its journey towards racial democracy. Vargasâ€™s plan to build the nation included the acceptance
of African cultural expressions– he believed that Brazilâ€™s prosperity depended on a celebration
of racial mixture.
An anthropologist, Gilberto Freyre, also held the belief that Brazil should accept the
ethnoracial minority; however, he put greater emphasis on the Portuguese contributions to
Brazilâ€™s national identification over the contributions made by Indigenous and African
populations. The presence of racial discrimination has been overlooked and denounced countless
times until the 2001 United Nations Conference against Racism and Discrimination: the
Brazilian government acknowledged the presence and persistence of racial discrimination and
prejudice. Brazil began to take action by passing laws and mandating a change in the education
system in order to deal with racial inequalities. The Brazilian state even implemented affirmative
action programs in order to combat the racial and socioeconomic inequalities throughout the
C. Comparative assessment
The ideology of race mixture in Mexico and Brazil has been articulated by two very influential
thinkers, Manuel Gamio and Gilberto Freyre, respectively. Both anthropologists emphasized the
importance of mixture for a prosperous nation; however, Gamio believed in the fusion of
cultures while Freyre pushed for a racial mixture or a miscegenation, but still, they both saw the
importance and benefits of celebrating mixture rather than viewing racial differences as a
problem. The ideas of whitening a country by mixing European blood with the colored began to
lose popularity as the mestizaje ideology gained momentum. But both nations have different
mestizaje narratives: Mexicoâ€™s narrative emphasizes the role of the indigenous and Spanish
population on its mestizaje identity while understating African contributions while Brazilâ€™s
national mestizaje narrative incorporates its African roots.
Out of the four countries PERLA surveyed, Brazil showed the greatest consistency
between census racial categories and the color categorization by respondents according to the
color palette the researchers used. There was a clear role in how pigmentocracy was affecting the
socioeconomic lives of Brazilians. â€œMoney whitensâ€ is a famous expression that was adopted by
Brazilians in order to whiten the population. Although over the years whitening has become less
popular, there was a strong belief in â€˜racial mobilityâ€™ by moving up on the socioeconomic ladder.
However, modern Brazil shows the opposite: education which increases the chance of
socioeconomic mobility no longer whitens the population but darkens it– more years of
schooling increases the likelihood that one will identify as preto/pardo.
This is also seen in Mexico: Mexicans were more likely to self-identify as mestizo with
greater years of high school education due to a formal exposure to Mexicoâ€™s mestizaje ideology.
However, the key difference between these nationsâ€™ self-identification in regards to the social
structure is that Mexicoâ€™s strong mestizaje ideology is shared and emphasized in the lives of
many Mexicans, so identifying as Mestizo puts one higher up on the social ladder; however,
Brazil still holds some social and economic value to the lightness of oneâ€™s skin composition so
self-identifying as white increases oneâ€™s social status. Inequality or pigmentocracy in the case of
Latin America does not always correspond to ethnoracial classifications– again, sometimes
mestizos held a higher status than whites in Mexico.
There has been a long-held belief that all Mexicans self-identify as mestizo and
indigenous but the PERLA survey revealed the following about contemporary Mexicans: more
than 13% identified as white, 64.3% as mestizo, 11.9% as indigenous, and 3% as either black or
mulatto. The PERLA data also found a polysemic nature with ethnic and racial categories for
both Mexico and Brazil. The format of the questions influenced the racial and ethnic
self-identification population percentage. Questions that were more general and broad yielded a
greater number of self-identified indigenous people in Mexico than questions that were more
specific about ethnic groups. Again, education had a great influence on oneâ€™s identification as a
mestizo, along with the influence of oneâ€™s geographic location; those residing in the northern
regions of Mexico were more likely to identify as white partially due to the north being regarded
as an â€œimportant component of capitalist developmentâ€.
The Brazilianâ€™s identification of blackness also depended on how blackness was
operationalized; the percentage varied greatly, being as long as 6% to 59.4%. When open-ended
questions about oneâ€™s race identification were asked PERLA found that only 6% self-identified
as preto/pardo, but more specific questions about oneâ€™s African ancestry resulted in more than
60% of the respondents indicating that at least one parent was preto or pardo. This shows the
polysemantic nature of racial and ethnic identification in Mexico and Brazil– there are multiple
ways to ask the same question because different cultures have different ways of categorizing race
Mexico and Brazil participated in nation-building initiatives for the betterment of their
country. Mexico embraced the ideology of mixture and adopted it as their national narrative
partially to dissociate itself from Spain and Europe; by doing so, Mexico was able to focus on its
indigenous heritage rather than the influence of whites. The mestizaje ideology has been
incorporated into the academic environment in order to educate students on the history and
meaning of mestizaje. The Brazilian government has denied racial inequality until the 2001
United Nations Conference against Racism and Discrimination in Durban, South Africa. After
this conference, it established federal agencies to combat racial inequalities, passed laws
â€œgranting land rights to communities that were historically lands of fugitive slavesâ€, and
implemented affirmative action in most public universities (181). But these actions do not
indicate a full eradication of racial and ethnic inequality– discrimination and prejudice are still
Letâ€™s conclude by taking a look at employment and education opportunities in Mexico:
those with lighter skin were more likely to work for â€œhigh-status jobsâ€ (76). Itâ€™s a good sign that
government action is being taken but we must remember that thatâ€™s only the start and itâ€™s the
easiest step. The existence of racial inequality can get lost in new governmental reforms and
initiatives tackling discrimination, but it can still exist in the social and cultural sectors.
D. Discussion questions
1. How are the two anthropologists, Manuel Gamio and Gilberto Freyre, similar and
different in their ideologies?
2. How do the ideologies of mixture/miscegenation in Mexico/Brazil differ?
3. What was the significance of the 2001 United Nations Conference against Racism and
Discrimination? What steps were taken by the Brazilian government after this
4. Why is education so important in oneâ€™s racial and ethnic self-identification? How did
education affect people from Mexico? From Brazil?
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more