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Race, childhood and school: etnography between children in a public school of São Paulo

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Karina Fasson
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Marcia Regina de Lima Silva; Anete Abramowicz; Sylvia Gemignani Garcia; Sandra Gouretti Unbehaum
Advisor: Marcia Regina de Lima Silva

The present study has the study of racial relations in childhood in the school environment as its object, and as a background the context of political and institutional changes observed in Brazil since 2003, with the promotion of racial equality and the fight against racism. In this sense, the research question was: how are racial relations constructed among children in a school environment that assumes the existence of racism and racial inequality in Brazil? The methodology used was the ethnography, as presented in the social studies of childhood, and complemented by classical perspectives and studies in the school environment. This methodology involved strategies and procedures that included entry into the field and acceptance, information gathering through observation and interactions, constant writing of field notes and subsequent elaboration of detailed descriptions, interpretations and theorizations. The research was carried out in a school managed by São Paulos city, where I followed the daily life of a fourth year class, inside and outside the classroom, during the school year of 2016. Through the observation of the relationships among children, it was possible to understand aspects related to racial attitudes and behaviors (prejudice and racial discrimination, respectively). As a result, with regards to attitudes, we noticed that the aesthetic preferences of the children were related to the white phenotype, taken as the pattern, which was evident even by the way some black children portrayed themselves. Despite this, it was possible to note counterpoints to this pattern. Concerning behaviors, verbal offenses among children reveal characteristics of the treatment given to the racial issue. The following aspects stand out: (1) children who suffer racism often report such acts to a responsible adult (unlike which was seen in previous studies); (2) children have a perception that it is wrong to offend peers with words related to color/ race; (3) racial insult is not seen as a specific type of discrimination but placed alongside other peer violence problems of childhood/ adolescence: it is generally termed as bullying by children and also by adults in school; (4) playful offenses characterize most of the occurrences of racial discrimination among children, denoting ambivalence. Finally, the importance of the inclusion of childhood in the agenda of sociological studies on race relations is pointed out, considering its potential to explain the limit in the reduction of racial inequalities in education, as well as for reflections on what happens in adult life and for what to reflect on state policies aimed at combating racial discrimination and inequality in Brazil. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 15/09415-4 - The school environment in the context of policies to face racism and the promotion of racial equality in Brazil
Grantee:Karina Fasson
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master