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RaciolinguisticsHow Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race$
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H. Samy Alim, John R. Rickford, and Arnetha F. Ball

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190625696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190625696.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

From Upstanding Citizen to North American Rapper and Back Again

From Upstanding Citizen to North American Rapper and Back Again

The Racial Malleability of Poor Male Brazilian Youth

(p.51) 2 From Upstanding Citizen to North American Rapper and Back Again

Jennifer Roth-Gordon

Oxford University Press

This chapter foregrounds the idea that bodies are racially malleable—that is, that people engage in daily practices (such as clothing, bodily aesthetics, and language) in order to change the ways that their bodies are racially perceived. Drawing on data collected with poor male favela (shantytown) youth and famous Brazilian rappers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I investigate how speakers embrace language, in particular, to influence how “white” or “nonwhite” their body appears to others. While they may speak more “proper” to police officers to sound like upstanding citizens who deserve better treatment, Brazilian youth also draw on North American Hip Hop influences to embrace the sounds of what they perceive to be a “tough” urban blackness.

Keywords:   language, blackness, whiteness, Hip Hop, slang, citizenship, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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