From Brazilians to Latinos? Racialization and Latinidad in the Making of Brazilian Carnival in Los Angeles

Research paper by Bernadete Beserra

Indexed on: 12 May '05Published on: 12 May '05Published in: Latino Studies


This article discusses how Brazilians negotiate their Brazilianness and Latinidad in their process of integrating into US society. Drawing from my two-year-long field research among Brazilian immigrants, but focusing mainly on the dynamics of the 1998 and 1999 Hollywood Palladium Carnival balls, I examine some of the problems at stake in Brazilians' negotiation of identity and space in Los Angeles. I argue that in the racialized and racializing context of US society, all Brazilians have to go through a profound questioning of their racial identities because of their transformation into Latinos. Hence it is not enough for Brazilians to insist on their national identities as Brazilians. For this society racializes arriving Latin American immigrants such that what you look like will impact on both the integration of individual Brazilians into US society and Brazilians' own definitions of Brazilianness.