Double-voicing in the everyday language of Brazilian black activism

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In this study of the daily linguistic practices of Brazilian black activists, we draw on Jane Hill’s well-known research on voice to interrogate how speakers metalinguistically invoke “competing” points of view. Bringing together research conducted at the height of politically conscious hip hop’s success in the late 1990s in Rio de Janeiro and fieldwork conducted with race-based community organizations in Salvador, Bahia in 2009–2010, we argue that speakers actively counterpose “racist” and “anti-racist” voices – often within a single translinguistic word – in their quest to display racial consciousness. Embracing similar linguistic processes, political opponents of race-based policies draw different battle lines within the same words, interpreting the struggle as one between North American and Brazilian understandings of race and racism.


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