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Abstract

This paper analyses black Brazilians' narratives about seeing whites, defining white privilege, and interacting with whites and white privilege. We find that black Brazilians identify whites in three interrelated ways: (i) as skin colour; (ii) as the privileged class; and (iii) as those who racially discriminate against them. Interviewees acknowledge that white privilege exists in Brazil, but middle-class and working-class respondents report different ways that white privilege is exercised. Working-class respondents relate white privilege to phenotype, such as whites benefiting from societal definitions of beauty. By contrast, middle-class respondents see white privilege in the widespread assumption that certain occupations and spaces are "naturally" white. Across social classes, however, interviewees largely disagree about the awareness of whites of their own privilege and the best ways to address and interact with it.

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