Between (in)visibilities: Experiences of race and migration among Brazilians in the Netherlands
Rodrigues Silva, A.
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This research investigates how Brazilians experience race in the Netherlands. Race is socially constructed and historically and contextually dependent, so this thesis looks at the ways in which race is lived by Brazilians in a new social and racial context. The study focuses on how this type of postcolonial migration (re)produces and (re)constructs racial meanings and identities, and how various axes of difference intersect in this process. Drawing upon 24 semistructured interviews, the empirical analysis is divided into two parts. Visa Matters shows how race is invisible as a term, but present as a structuring notion, in immigration policies. Brazilian women moving to the country in a transnational relationship are subjected to strict and exclusionary controlling practices, which redefine the privilege and mobility they enjoyed in Brazil. At the same time, the different visa regimes re-inscribe and reinforce systems of privilege and inequality, not only among those applying for a ‘partner visa’, but especially among those migrating as highly skilled migrants or those holding dual citizenship, one of which is European. Visibility Matters presents how race is currently used in the Netherlands as a way to define and categorise people, despite the general denial of its existence in contemporary relations. A dichotomous colonial classification and a colonial relation of power still persists, where white representations of Dutchness/Europeanness are reinforced in the bodies of Brazilians carrying the visible marks of whiteness, while black/brown Brazilians are taken to represent foreignness. In this exchange, Brazilians who are identified as white enjoy the privileges of whiteness even if they are migrants, while Brazilians identified as black/brown must face the consequences of racism in their everyday lives.