RACE & ETHNICITY: The Limits of Inclusion


Sociologist Tianna Paschel examines the creation of black political subjects in Colombia and Brazil. She traces how black social movements succeeded in changing legislation to recognize certain rights of black communities, and questions how those political developments translate to real change on the ground.

Over the last decades, we have learned a great deal about the ways in which class inequalities profoundly overlap with race in Latin America. In most countries in the region, Latin Americans of more notable African and indigenous descent fare worse than the rest of the nation on nearly every socio-economic measure including income, education, and health. (1) They also have an abysmal share of their countries’ political and economic power. (2) In Brazil, where the most consistent and robust data on ethno-racial disparities exists, we also know that non-white Brazilians are more likely to be incarcerated and murdered by the police. (3) These inequalities are undeniably linked to Latin America’s legacy of colonialism and slavery, as well as the more generalized barriers to social mobility in these countries. Increasingly, studies on the region have likewise found that the persistence of ethno-racial inequality is also the reflection of ongoing practices of ethno-racial discrimination. (4)...

Tianna Paschel
Publication date: 
August 17, 2016
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article