Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

by Jasmine Mitchell

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Brazil markets itself as a racially mixed utopia. The United States prefers the term melting pot. Both nations have long used the image of the mulatta to push skewed cultural narratives. Highlighting the prevalence of mixed race women of African and European descent, the two countries claim to have perfected racial representation—all the while ignoring the racialization, hypersexualization, and white supremacy that the mulatta narrative creates.

Jasmine Mitchell investigates the development and exploitation of the mulatta figure in Brazilian and U.S. popular culture. Drawing on a wide range of case studies, she analyzes policy debates and reveals the use of mixed-Black female celebrities as subjects of racial and gendered discussions. Mitchell also unveils the ways the media moralizes about the mulatta figure and uses her as an example of an ”acceptable” version of blackness that at once dreams of erasing undesirable blackness while maintaining the qualities that serve as outlets for interracial desire.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780252085208
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 05/25/2020
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Jasmine Mitchell is an assistant professor of American studies and media and communication at SUNY Old Westbury.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

1 Foundations of the Mulata and Mulatta in the United States and Brazil 29

2 Framing Blackness and Mixedness: The Politics of Racial Identity in the Celebrity Texts of Jennifer Beals, Halle Berry, and Camila Pitanga 55

3 The Morena and the Mulata in Brazilian Telenovelas: Containing Blackness in a Racial Democracy 97

4 Reinventing the Mulatta in the United States for the 2000s: Celebrating Diversity amid the Haunting of Blackness 139

5 Remixing Mixedness: U.S. Media Imaginings of Brazil and Brazils Bid for Rio 2016 179

Epilogue 215

Notes 227

Index 251

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