Conclusion: Uma Luta que Nos Transcende
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At our historical juncture, we are faced with uncertainty in all our definitional constructs; these are the times in which grand narratives are debunked, totalizing designations are found wanting, and affiliations taken for granted are scrutinized based on their centrality to the definitions of position and power. In these times when negotiation, mutual imbrication, and ambivalence rule, why is it important to discuss Afro-Brazilian identity? In this era of globalization, just as separations elide due to the omnipresence of the internet, email, the media, and travel, they are reinforced by the major economic blocks, military might, and the lack of understanding of cultural difference. As we view the changing face of things and the increasing consumption of the materiality of the West, each day increases the distance between those included and those dispossessed. Religious and ethnic wars, battles over territory, and battles over oil are testaments to the contestations between hegemonic structures and the Others they have created. Whether identity is constructed by national discourse, state ideologies, and dominant paradigms, or asserted by the speaking self, depends on the ability of social, cultural, and political subjects to cohere voice and assert who they are. Thus, if we consider it retrogressive to speak of identity, then we cannot fully understand the potency of dissimilitude and the desire to construct subjectivity and cultural autonomy.