This paper discusses how whiteness is perceived and described by upper-middle class men self-identifying as white in Rio de Janeiro. In part one I present a brief history of critical whiteness studies and the specific characteristics of studying whiteness in Brazilian, with particular attention to Brazilian color classification and the relationship between class and color. In part two I explore the main methodological problems related to the study of whiteness within the framework of Brazilian research on whiteness and French sociological analysis of the upper-middle class and aristocracy. I then discuss interviewees\u2019 efforts to give definitions of whiteness, their silences and laughter, and the different types of answer they offer. Class appears as a privileged language for giving concrete content to whiteness: while class is described as something more tangible and objective, whiteness is perceived by these men as elusive and impossible to put into words
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