Are There Alternatives to Racial/Skin Color Classification in Brazil? A Comparison of Two Large Urban Areas

Paula Miranda-Ribeiro, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and CEDEPLAR
Andre J. Caetano, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

The objective of this paper is to explore alternatives to racial/skin color classification in Brazil. Data come from SRSR, a survey designed to collect information from women aged 15-59 on race, reproductive health, and sexuality, representative at the city level. Fieldwork took place in Belo Horizonte and Recife in 2002. The race questions include not only the traditional question from censuses and other Brazilian Census Bureau's (IBGE) surveys, but also interviewer's classification of the respondent (as the 1996 DHS), respondent's self-classification according to different categories, respondent's open-ended self-classification, and racial classification of famous individuals. The motivation comes from the fact that, differently from the US, racial classification in Brazil is not necessarily related to ancestry or origin but rather to appearance or phenotype. In addition, there is a rejection of the "pardo" (brown) and "preto" (black) categories used by IBGE. However, to date, researchers have not found a better alternative.

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Presented in Session 59: Latinos and Race