Note from BW of Brazil: Over the years of travelling and living in Brazil, I am often amazed at how the process of embranquecimento, or whitening, seems to rule over the population. Everyday, I see black parents, usually the mother or father with a child that is progressively lighter-skinned than themselves with much straighter hair. And I’ve had this conversation with numerous non-white Brazilians over the years. If the conversation progresses, people will usually admit that their mother, father or grandparents encouraged them to choose lighter/whiter partners, to whiten the family. I mention this because when the topic is race and a Brazilian knows you are American, inevitably they will make the point that “You Americans are racist because you don’t mix. Brazilians are all mixed so we can’t racist.”
This logic, or lack thereof, amazes me because of the sheer quantity of people who honestly believe this to be true. There are numerous reasons why this sort of belief system is ridiculous, of which I will only list a few here. One, much of the miscegenation one sees in Brazil is due to social engineering, as 19th century elites openly promoted the idea of encouraging racial mixture in the country with the specific goal of eventually erasing the black phenotype out altogether. Two, if people understand that US is a racially segregated nation, and that that was by design, why can’t they use the same logic to see that Brazil was engineered toward race mixture? Three, it is a well-known fact that millions of black families desire for their offspring to take on a more European appearance, but you’re not going to find many white families who tell their children to marry black and produce more African-looking children. It’s a fact that need not even be debated.
With these few points in mind, as I have been pointing to in a number of articles on the interracial phenomenon in Brazil, it’s long past due that people start to acknowledge why interracial unions are so prevalent (beyond the cliché that ‘love has no color’) as hundreds of thousands of black families progressively become whiter, or lighter, over the course of generations.
Causes and consequences of miscegenation
By Rafaela Nascimento
Miscegenation gives birth to a group of people who are confused about their identity, are “too white to be black, too black to be white,” Carlos Moore in his book Racism and Society  quotes Diop to talk about this confusion:
“I believe that biological miscegenation, cultural miscegenation, raised to the level of a political doctrine applied to a Nation, is a mistake that can even lead to lamentable results. I believe that all nations should co-operate on a cultural level, but [..] should not go beyond creating a doctrine of cultural or biological miscegenation. This may lead, in the long run, to a crisis of individual identity and crisis of national identity, as appears to have occurred in Egypt in Lower Age. “
Embranquecimento (whitening) and assimilation become essential for the acceptance of the individual and the possibility of social mobility and ascension, and it is a painful path that involves a series of choices aimed at the admiration of branquitude (whiteness), which results in self-rejection.
Colorism tends to “benefit” pessoas Negras (black people) who make people less uncomfortable, that is, those in which the phenotypes are closer to the Eurocentric standard. Mixed people who have high “passability” are more easily transited by the oppressor group, in some cases there is a lack of empathy for dark-skinned people, as the “mestiço” (person of mixed race) is tempted to move away from blackness more and more and join the white dominant group. In pigmentocratic societies the phenotypic characteristics will determine what treatments and opportunities the individual will have, so embranquecimento becomes a practice. This excerpt from the book Psicologia Social do Racismo — Estudos sobre branquitude e branqueamento no Brasil (Social Psychology of Racism – Studies on Whiteness and Whitening in Brazil) , talks about whitening and those are most interested in it:
“Firstly, the problem of embranquecimento, addressed in the last four or five decades as an exclusive problem of the black, is born of the fear of the white elite of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, whose goal is to progressively extinguish the black Brazilian segment.”
The myth of racial democracy treats miscegenation as an example of good coexistence and harmony among different races*, romanticizing a long period of compulsive and countless rapes of black and indigenous women. The importation of European labor in the post-abolition period was also a plan aimed at increasing the number of whites and getting them to “misturassem” (mix) in an attempt to whiten and eliminate the black phenotype of the Brazilian population in a question of generations.
As can be seen, miscegenation has been used as a weapon of domination and extinction of the oppressed group, as well as the racial confusion it causes in the intermediate group (“mestiço”) because they feed a false idea of harmony.
I’ll finish here, and I’ll talk about this in more detail later on.
 Racismo e Sociedade — Carlos Moore
 Diop — Na gue dief, Anta Diop, sou-ma-mak?: “Como vai, Anta Diop, meu velho irmão?”
 Psicologia Social do Racismo — Estudos sobre branquitude e branqueamento no Brasil — Bento, Maria Aparecida Silva; Carone, Iray
I also utilized as reference the book Negritude — Usos e sentidos by Prof. Dr. Kabengele Munanga.
* from the biological point of view races don’t exist, but in the political and social field the concept of race is used. The term “mestiço” also appears in quotation marks for the same reason.