Essay: Racial Categorization in North America and Brazil
How does the system of racial categorization in North America differ from that in Brazil: a) in terms of how people get categorized, b) in terms of the rigidity/flexibility of the categories, c) in terms of the races of one’s family members?
The term used is used to refer to the different types of categorization of human beings used in different countries. Different countries use this term to mean different things. This implies that although race categorizes people, it is not done by use of the same methods in all the countries.
In North America, race is used to refer to either the blacks or the whites. This means that in North America, a person is either black or white. Since the people who live in North America have been there for quite some time, they have been grouped with reference to their origin. This gives birth to African-Americans, European-Americans and Native Americans. Before the 19th century, racial grouping was done according to the color of a person as well as his social status. After the 19th century, the groping was made easier as a person was either black or white depending on his ancestry. A person was white if only he had a pure white ancestry while the blacks were from both the intermingling of the blacks and whites and pure blacks (Fish 119). This form of categorization has been used in favor of the whites so that they could be able to keep their wealth and supremacy (Fish 61). The one-drop-rule that was used in North America was very rigid and not to change under all circumstances. In Brazil, racial groups are done by use of cultural traits that are biological. Racial grouping was done in reference to a combination of eye color, hair color, skin color and hair texture. This implies that in Brazil, race was more on appearance than of hereditary factors. These racial groupings were not rigid (Miller 215).
Race can be used to bring very bad feelings into people as it is evidenced in America where race is used to oppress. On the contrary, in Brazil, race is subject to change and does not have any deeper meaning to the people.