Jasmine MitchellNov 22, 2021
Imagining the Mulatta
Blackness in U. S. and Brazilian Media
University of Illinois Press 2020
Brazil markets itself as a racially mixed utopia. The United States prefers the term melting pot. Both nations have long used the image of the mulatta to push skewed cultural narratives. Highlighting the prevalence of mixed race women of African and European descent, the two countries claim to have perfected racial representation-all the while ignoring the racialization, hypersexualization, and white supremacy that the mulatta narrative creates.
In Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U. S. and Brazilian Media (U Illinois Press, 2020), Jasmine Mitchell investigates the development and exploitation of the mulatta figure in Brazilian and U.S. popular culture. Drawing on a wide range of case studies, she analyzes policy debates and reveals the use of mixed-Black female celebrities as subjects of racial and gendered discussions. Mitchell also unveils the ways the media moralizes about the mulatta figure and uses her as an example of an "acceptable" version of blackness that at once dreams of erasing undesirable blackness while maintaining the qualities that serve as outlets for interracial desire.
Mickell Carter is a doctoral student in the department of history at Auburn University. She can be reached at email@example.com and on twitter @MickellCarter