The Ideological Self: Race, Ideology and Identity in Brazil, 1964-1985

Open Access
Blair, Dana E
Area of Honors:
Interdisciplinary in Anthropology and History
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Timothy Michael Ryan, Honors Advisor
  • Solsiree Del Moral, Thesis Supervisor
  • Catherine Wanner, Honors Advisor
  • Claire M Milner, Faculty Reader
  • Race
  • Ideology
  • Identity
  • Brazil
According to the ideology of the “racial democracy,” the high rate of miscegenation and absence of legal segregation resulted in the absence of racial discrimination in Brazil. This ideology was incongruent with reality. On every level - social, political and economic - nonwhites were subordinate to whites. During the military dictatorship (1964-1985), the government rejected dialogue and social policy on the issue of racial inequality, exacerbating the marginalization of the nonwhite population. Nonetheless, it was an important period for the development of racial consciousness. The main argument of this thesis is that both the elite and the nonwhite population perpetuated the ideology of the “racial democracy” to support their own interests. The elite used the “racial democracy” to keep race out of the question and maintain white superiority in the social hierarchy. The nonwhite population used the “racial democracy” as an attempt to cope with the incongruence of the “official ideology” with reality.