Pele branca, máscaras negras: diplomatas brasileiros na Nigéria e concepções identitárias (1962-1966)

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This paper analyzes the foundational experiences of Brazilian diplomats in the creation of a Brazilian presence alongside newly independent Nigeria, seeking to understand the role played by the idea that Brazil was a racial democracy in defining relations with the new nation. The idea of racial democracy encompasses a system of beliefs about the uniqueness of Brazilian cultural and racial mixture, benign social relations and inter-racial intimacy. During the middle decades of the twentieth century, racial democracy also became a state doctrine for projecting a positive national identity, both within Brazil and abroad. While the idea is most often associated with writer Gilberto Freyre, this study does not focus on his considerable influence. Instead, it looks at the ways a generation of diplomats and intellectuals both carried out the official exercise of portraying Brazil as a racial democracy and how they embraced this belief as part of a complex of identity in which race and ethnicity were embraced as shared national characteristics.

Original languagePortuguese
Pages (from-to)474-518
Number of pages45
JournalRevista de Antropologia
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Brazil
  • Foreign Policy
  • Identity
  • Nigeria
  • Race Relations
  • South-Atlantic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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