The End of Official Color-blindness and the Rise of Anti-anti-racism in Latin America

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The End of Official Color-blindness and the Rise of Anti-anti-racism in Latin America

A few decades ago almost no Latin American countries included questions about race or ethnicity on national censuses. Today, the collection of such data is the dominant practice in the region. Most analysts of this shift have focused on the politics of recognition that pressured states to make afro-descendent and indigenous populations officially visible in statistics and social policy. In this talk, I draw attention to a different reading of this trend. The politics of recognition in Latin America is not merely a politics that makes visible what was already there. It is also a productive politics that affects the social and political realities it pretends to simply describe. Attending to the productive effects of the politics of recognition is critical to understand emergent forms of reactionary anti-anti-racism in the region.

Mara Loveman is Professor of Sociology and Professor and Chair of Demography at UC Berkeley. Her research examines ethnoracial politics, nationalism, and the state in the Americas in comparative and historical perspective. She is the author of the multiple-award winning book, National Colors: Racial Classification and the State in Latin America (Oxford University Press 2014), which traces how, when, and why Latin American states collected ethnoracial population data from the colonial period to the present day.  Her research has also appeared in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, Hispanic American Historical Review, among other journals. Her current research analyzes the recent transformation of the datascape for analysis of ethnic and racial inequalities in Latin America, and implications for both progressive and reactionary politics.