Author(s): Melissa Nobles 

Status/Format: Published

Date: 2005

Publication Type: Journal Article

Publisher: Dædalus

Volume and Issue: Winter 2005

Page Numbers: 82 - 87

The Myth of Latin American Multiracialism



Many Latin American nations have long proudly proclaimed a multiracial ideal: unlike the United States, countries like Brazil and Mexico have celebrated the mixing of races, and claimed to extend equal rights and opportunities to all citizens, regardless of race. As a result of the region’s regnant faith in racial democracy, it has long been widely assumed that Latin American societies are nondiscriminatory and that their deep economic and social disparities have no racial or ethnic component. Yet new statistical evidence (a byproduct of democratization) suggests that most of the region’s societies have yet to surmount racial discrimination. At the very time that some in the United States have timidly embraced multiracialism as a fitting ideal for North Americans, Latin American critics have begun to argue that multiracialism, like racial democracy, functions as an ideology that masks enduring racial injustice and thus blocks substantial political, social, and economic reform.