Students of American history know of the law's critical role
in systematizing a racial hierarchy in the United States. Showing
that this history is best appreciated in a comparative perspective,
The Long, Lingering Shadow looks at the parallel legal
histories of race relations in the United States, Brazil, and
Spanish America. Robert J. Cottrol takes the reader on a journey
from the origins of New World slavery in colonial Latin America to
current debates and litigation over affirmative action in Brazil
and the United States, as well as contemporary struggles against
racial discrimination and Afro-Latin invisibility in the
Spanish-speaking nations of the hemisphere.
Ranging across such topics as slavery, emancipation, scientific
racism, immigration policies, racial classifications, and legal
processes, Cottrol unravels a complex odyssey. By the eve of the
Civil War, the U.S. slave system was rooted in a legal and cultural
foundation of racial exclusion unmatched in the Western Hemisphere.
That system's legacy was later echoed in Jim Crow, the practice of
legally mandated segregation. Jim Crow in turn caused leading Latin
Americans to regard their nations as models of racial equality
because their laws did not mandate racial discrimination- a belief
that masked very real patterns of racism throughout the Americas.
And yet, Cottrol says, if the United States has had a history of
more-rigid racial exclusion, since the Second World War it has also
had a more thorough civil rights revolution, with significant legal
victories over racial discrimination. Cottrol explores this
remarkable transformation and shows how it is now inspiring civil
rights activists throughout the Americas.
Subjects: Law, Sociology
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