“Certainly a page turner, Hordge-Freeman makes various scholarly contributions, the biggest being her exploration of how phenotype-based affection can reproduce racial inequality in racialized societies, which hardly any studies of race in the United States and Brazil have done. . . . This book should be read by anyone with an interest in the African Diaspora, race and racism in Brazil, and family socialization practices.”
(Text Courtesy of University of Texas Press)
The Color Of Love reveals the power of racial hierarchies to infiltrate our most intimate relationships. Delving far deeper than previous sociological examinations of the black Brazilian experience, Hordge-Freeman examines the relationship between racialization and the emotional life of family. Based on interviews and a sixteen-month ethnography of ten working-class Brazilian families, this provocative work sheds light on how families simultaneously resist and reproduce racial hierarchies. Examining race and gender, Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman illustrates the privileges of whiteness, by revealing how those with “blacker” features often experience material and emotional hardships. From parental ties, to sibling interactions, to extended family and romantic relationships, the chapters chart new territory by revealing the connection between proximity to whiteness and the distribution of affection within families.
Hordge-Freeman also explores how black Brazilian families, particularly mothers, rely on diverse strategies that reproduce, negotiate, and resist racism. She frames efforts to modify racial features as sometimes reflecting internalized racism, and at other times responding to material and emotional considerations. Contextualizing their strategies within broader narratives of the African Diaspora, the author also explores how Salvador’s inhabitants perceive the history of the slave trade itself in a city that is referred to as the “blackest” in Brazil. She argues that racial hierarchies may orchestrate family relationships in ways that reflect and reproduce racial inequality, but black Brazilian families actively negotiate these hierarchies to assert their citizenship and humanity.
Hordge-Freeman’s book, The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families, will be released in October 2015 by the University of Texas Press. This project was funded by the American Sociological Association/National Institute of Mental Health Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Ford Dissertation Fellowship, and the FLAS grants administered by the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke.