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American RoutesRacial Palimpsests and the Transformation of Race$
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Angel Adams Parham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624750

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624750.001.0001

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Racial Systems and the Racial Palimpsest

Racial Systems and the Racial Palimpsest

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter 1 Racial Systems and the Racial Palimpsest
Source:
American Routes
Author(s):

Angel Adams Parham

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624750.003.0002

Chapter 1 provides an in-depth introduction to the Anglo-American and Latin/Caribbean racial systems—the two layers of the racial palimpsest that exists in southern Louisiana. A racial system is a collection of formal and informal rules that order the ways color, phenotype, and status are “read” from individuals’ bodies in a way that places them higher or lower in the social hierarchy which apportions resources and opportunities. The conceptualization of the Anglo-American and Latin/Caribbean racial systems emerges from an in-depth, comparative analysis of the ways racial categories and practices changed over time in the United States and across the Americas. This discussion lays the conceptual foundation for the racial palimpsest concept, which is then applied to material in the chapters that follow.

Keywords:   racial system, Latin America, Caribbean, race, racial categories, Latin/Caribbean racial system

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