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Afro-ParadiseBlackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil$
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Christen A. Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039935

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039935.001.0001

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The Paradox of Black Citizenship

The Paradox of Black Citizenship

(p.77) 2 The Paradox of Black Citizenship

Christen A. Smith

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the politics of citizenship, blackness, and exclusion in Bahia, taking up the question of Afro-nationalism. It argues that black people confront visible and invisible human walls in their everyday attempts to access resources and dignity in the city, and these walls are often subtle, elusive, and guileful. The police and other residents tasked with maintaining security act as a border patrol that delineates the boundaries of the moral racial social order. Spatial practices of race performatively and theatrically press the black body to the margins of national belonging. Through these embodied practices, the state produces national frontiers of belonging along the cartographic lines of a racial hierarchy. The maintenance of racial democracy as a national ideology depends on the diffuse, mundane repetitions of violence in states, cities, and neighborhoods as well as the more spectacular moments of state terror that we associate with police violence.

Keywords:   citizenship, blackness, exclusion, Bahia, Afro-nationalism, racial apartheid, Brazil, police violence

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