This essay observes how race adds value to market exchanges at a fisheries facility in Lisbon, Portugal. I examine scenarios that primarily involved interactions between Portuguese men who sold fish and Cape Verdean immigrant women who purchased it. The scenarios show how race is crystallized in interaction and how differently raced actors co-utilize race to accomplish different ends. When vendors initiated difference recognition for the purpose of promoting a sale, the value of race in that moment was not independent of how Cape Verdean women chose to ratify it. I show how racial knowledge could be mediated through its commodity status, as Cape Verdean women's responses codetermined the political contents of Portuguese men's racial ascriptions. Importantly, the argument is not that subjects independently engaged in the reproduction of their privileged or marginal social status. Rather, the dialectic condition of interaction involved paired forms of engagement that produced difference. An examination of this context helps illuminate when and how race recognition, in public, is identified as neutral or politically charged.
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