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date: 17 April 2021


Term used to describe both the process and the concept of genetic mixing of races; called blanqueamiento in Spanish and branqueamento in Portuguese.
  • Thomas E. Skidmore


As a process, whitening it is simply one value-laden way of referring to the combining of gene pools that human populations have always experienced. This process has carried many labels, some of them now of dubious respectability, such as “interbreeding” and Miscegenation. The value implied in the term itself suggests the alleged superiority of the “white” component. The emergence of the term in the nineteenth century makes it a late addition to the popular interpretation of reproductive mixture among humans. It is based on the concept of race, a term with at least two meanings in the history of the Americas.

When the Portuguese and Spanish first colonized the continent, the Iberians were using race (raça or raza to distinguish between Iberian Christians and Iberian non Christians such as the Jews and the Moors In case of dispute over an individual s racial status church and secular ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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