Being able to categorize the general population into specific groups based on certain characteristics is vital for the understanding of how people see themselves and others, as well as define the salient effects that the said properties have on how people’s perceptions of others and interaction with each other are shaped. For this reason, the notions of race and gender need to be considered as two of the key protected characteristics that determine the perception of otherness within a community and the shaping of criteria that define allegiance to a particular group (Lorber 16). Whereas in Brazil, race is inherently tied to social factors, such as wealth and social status, and gender expression is promoted solely from the rigidly conservative perspective of gender roles, in the U.S., race is believed to be a combination of biological and cultural factors, while rigid adherence to gender roles is seen as an outdated concept.
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Due to the multiple differences in culture and diversity rates, the Brazilian perception of race is quite dissimilar to that one promoted in the U.S., with a much heavier emphasis on class structures. The observed trend could be attributed to the fact that the vast majority of Brazilian people do not belong to the European American culture and, instead, are related closely to the African American one (Fish). Therefore, the perception of race as strongly connected to the concept of class and social struggle I prevalent in the Brazilian setting. In turn, in the U.S., profiling based on the color of the skin is prevalent, as Mullings (35) explains. Therefore, while the situation with racism is quite strenuous in both countries, the focus on the tangible physical traits is needed to retain the focus on the vulnerable groups that face prejudices regularly based on the color of their skin.
Similarly, understanding the nature of gender biases, specifically inherent sexism remaining one of the major concerns within the Brazilian society, needs to be promoted. While in the U.S., the notion of gender expression has been largely supported over the past decade, the Brazilian community has been significantly less lenient toward the idea of challenging femininity- and masculinity-related stereotypes (Kulick 574). Therefore, promoting a social perspective on the issues at hand while recognizing the biological premise on which the discrimination is built is vital both for the U.S. and Brazil.
The perception of race and the stance of gender expression in Brazil is significantly different from that in the U.S., mostly due to the connection between race and social factors in the former and the disapproval of rigid gender roles in the latter. While there is currently no single solution to the issue at hand that would satisfy the needs of all those involved, including every marginalized group, it is important to keep the focus on the needs of those the least privileged (Layton and Smith 53). Therefore, to encourage improvements in the American and Brazilian social context, the subversion of the traditional gender roles and the promotion of a more flexible perception of men presenting as feminine and women presenting as masculine must be promoted, In turn, to address the face issue, a deep understanding of how the differences in physical appearance have defined the attitudes toward people of African descent must be reevaluated so that the current notion of social justice could incorporate the needs of the African American community as well, making it more visible.
Fish, Jefferson. “Mixed Blood: An Analytical Look at the Methods of Classifying Race.” Psychology Today, 2009. Web.
Kulick, Don. “The Gender of Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes.” American Amthropologist, vol. 99, no. 3, 1997, pp. 574-585.
Layton, Matthew L., and Amy Erica Smith. “Is it race, class, or gender? The sources of perceived discrimination in Brazil.” Latin American Politics and Society, vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 52-73.
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Lorber, Judith. “Night to His Day: Social Constructions of Gender.” In Paradoxes of Gender. Yale University Press, 1994.
Mullings, Leith. “The Sojourner Syndrome: Race, Class, and Gender in Health and Illness.” Voices, 2002.