Thanks to movements like Black Lives Matter, Western society’s chronic discrimination against black individuals has become front-page news. Yet, there is little awareness of the systemic factors that make such a distinct form of dehumanization possible. In both the United States and Brazil—two leading nations of the black diaspora—a very necessary acknowledgment of black suffering is nonetheless undercut by denial of the pervasive antiblackness that still exists throughout these societies.
In The Denial of Antiblackness, João H. Costa Vargas examines how antiblackness affects society as a whole through analyses of recent protests against police killings of black individuals in both the United States and Brazil, as well as the everyday dynamics of incarceration, residential segregation, and poverty. With multisite ethnography ranging from a juvenile prison in Austin, Texas, to grassroots organizing in Los Angeles and Black social movements in Brazil, Vargas finds the common factors that have perpetuated antiblackness, regardless of context. Ultimately, he asks why the denial of antiblackness persists, whom this narrative serves, and what political realities it makes possible.
- rightsPortions of chapter 1 were previously published as “Gendered Antiblackness and the Impossible Brazilian Project: Emerging Critical Black Brazilian Studies,” Cultural Dynamics24, no. 1 (2012): 3–11. doi.org/10.1177/0921374012452808. Portions of chapter 5 were previously published as “Black Disidentification: The 2013 Protests, Rolezinhos, and Racial Antagonism in Post-Lula Brazil,” Critical Sociology, December 24, 2014, 1–15. doi.org/10.1177/0896920514551208.
The following publications are reprinted by permission of Red Salmon Arts. “Does Heaven Have a Ghetto?” “Prayer,” “Dear Lord, I’m in residential,” “It’s Not Too Late,” “Hell ain’t shit compared to life—Protect me God it’s rough,” and “I’m trying to get out” from Does Heaven Have a Ghetto? copyright 2009 Red Salmon Press. “Praying for Freedom,” “Despite Hard Times,” “In My Hands,” “Dear Mama!” “Let It Slide By (A Whole Lot of Struggle),” “Where I Come From,” “New Beginning,” “Always Together,” “Trapped Inside,” “Hands in Diamond Shape,” “LSI (Low Self-Image),” and “All I Need” from I Come from a Teardrop copyright 2010 Red Salmon Press.
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