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mooseboy84


Newbie
   
wow.  i have read all through these post and it has been informative and interesting.  this post shows how stupid the whole human construct of race is.
-
i have a question for adrianerik.

how are black americans treated there?

on tony browns journal, he had a show that talked about black americans living in brazil, and how they liked it.

gladys night, or some black singer has a huge apartment and villa in brazil.  during that tony brown show, [maybe 8 or 9 years ago it was on] many of the people said it was better for them there than america.

is this because they had money? not all were rich, but had enough money to stay there.
-


aslo, for everyone. how is pele treated? he is really dark skin and i dont think he can be called anything but black. or, is he special because hes a national celebrity?


and lastly, not to throw a whole wrench in the engine, but what is "white" by brazilian terms?   there are those that have white skin and blue eyes and are undeniably "white" in brazil.  but some of the "white" people in brazil may be considered "latino" and not white by american standards.


for instance. my mother works with a woman thats from argentina. shes considers herself to be "white", however, by american standards she would be called latino or hispanic since shes looks a little "ethnic" and has a swarthy hue,  and would probably not be called "white" by most "white" people in america.

would this definition be applied to many "white" brazilians as well?


god, race is the stupidist thing, lol.


(Edited by mooseboy84 at 4:20 am on Jan. 24, 2003)

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<<because i f**kin said so>>

Total Posts: 12 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 4:18 am on Jan. 24, 2003 | IP
Loco


Newbie
   

 Brazilians standards are diferent from the US, but you cant say what standard is the right one, many italians are considered white in Italy but not in US.

 The white race is divided in many types like latins, anglo-saxon, aryans, russians and others.

 But for many people in US latin means some1 who looks like mexican...hehehehehehe...thats true because when I say that Im latin on the internet chatrooms evry1 from US call me mexican.

 I know that americans from this Forum knows the diference betwen some1 from Brazil and some1 from Mexico, but many people dont.

I have white skin (my german origin)... and brown eyes and hair(my italian)...I dont know how I would be considered in US, but if you want to call me Latin its ok, Im proud of my latin culture.

Bye

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SEI LÁ

Total Posts: 16 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 8:08 am on Jan. 24, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
BLACKS IN BRAZIL ARE JUST AS POOR AS BLACKS LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 12:54 pm on Jan. 24, 2003 | IP
ELEGANTGENT



Junior Member
   
MARQUESEAZY, I ASKED YOU IN ORDER TO PROVE A POINT ABOUT YOUR COMMENTS. NO OFFENSE.

Total Posts: 53 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 2:00 pm on Jan. 24, 2003 | IP
ELEGANTGENT



Junior Member
   
loco, a lot of americans (white or black)   are only familiar with mexicans for the most part. my idea is that there is very little exposure of other latins through the media and poor public education and segregation ( not political but by choice ). that is unless you live in south florida, or the big cities on the coast. i am in the midwest. surprizingly most people do not know nor have they heard of rio, sao paulo, bogota and on and on. although there are many ways for access, people here are geographically ignorant. it is sad but true. for many their interest lies in entertainment more than information. very few can tell between people from brazil and columbia, nigeria or madagascar, japan or china because of the exposure. one time i saw a lady ask an italian lady if she was from mexico. the italian lady was very offended and accused the american lady of racism and being predjudiced. i thought that it was highly illogical to accuse her of that. then i wondered if it was because she no gusto chicanos.

Total Posts: 53 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 2:53 pm on Jan. 24, 2003 | IP
Jo


Newbie
   
Elegantgent,  what you say is certainly true.  I, too, am a midwesterner (now living and working in the Nordeste do Brasil).  

Most educated Americans, in spite of their wealth compared to other people in the world, are geographically and culturally ignorant compared with educated Brazilians   They really have no concept of differences among peoples  south of their own border.  One reason is that they don't travel much at all, partly because they don't have time off work, and partly because they don't have the desire, tradition, or the language.  Those that do know a foreign language usually know Spanish which is of little use here.
(Not really true, with a few weeks of study with a good teacher, the Spanish speakers will be able to pick up Portuguese very rapidly compared to those who know no Spanish, but many of the educated don't even know Portuguese is spoken in Brazil.)



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Jo

Total Posts: 8 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 3:13 am on Jan. 25, 2003 | IP
Guest



Anonymous
   
Hey Patinho, it's cool man. I've learned a lot from you here, and I've learned alot period. I think we become very passtionate when we feel someone is attacking who we are, and where we come from. So I overstand, and say I completely understand where you came from, and I myself apologize for any misunderstanding.

I understand and don't deny that Americans have a certain "air" about them. I am American, and I do get offended when people use sweeping stereotypes about us. I won't even get into the whole battle again. But I'm very proud of my country, especially after the World Trade Center devestatuon, we as Americans showed such solidarity and not to mention the support from all over the world. So that alone makes me know that when pushed we can become cohesive as a world.  We aren't perfect, but we are a trying country. Sometimes our politicians, movies, and sports, and just overall appeal to other countries isn't indicative of how we all see things. Not every American is dumb as some would make us out to be, some of us truly want to learn. Besides what makes America to me a truly diverse place, is the immigrants and their culture. And despite popular belief and our past, we do have a culture, and we do know how to accept and understand. I don't feel any country has a "perfect" system, but we all try to do the best that we can, with what we have. As a world we can all learn from eachother, especially if we lay down the assumptions and stereotypes upon meeting people. If we can try and accept people as they come to us and not from preconcieved notions, perhaps then and only then can learning of two cultures and the acceptance of diversity in each person by their character as opposed to the color of their skin, then perhaps we as a whole can truly be free.

But thanks everyone for the opinions and passtionate responses. It's been an experience and I have learned a lot.

Now, I must now prepare my college students for a test on culture. Be well.

Bryan.

(Edited by Guest at 9:58 am on Jan. 25, 2003)


(Edited by Guest at 10:10 am on Jan. 25, 2003)

Total Posts: 211 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 9:49 am on Jan. 25, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
WHO CARES MOST AMERICANS WILL NEVER VISIT BRAZIL ANYWAYS AND THEY COULD CARE LESS THE ONLY SOUTH I CARE ABOUT IS ATLANTA

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 7:04 pm on Jan. 25, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Hmmm. Interesting post. I have a few comments to make...

1) "More or less racist" is ridiculous as nobody has come up with an objective way of quantifying racism. What it all comes down to is that you'll think Brazil or the U.S. is less racist depending on which form of racism you prefer.

2) Racism isn't a singular phenomena. There are types of racisms and the ones in the U.S. don't necessarily match over to the ones in Brazil.

3) Class is a seperate issue and, though entwined with racism, the one is not and should not be reducible to the other. Many Americans find Brazilian classim to be racism as they (the Americans) tend to be blind to the classism on display in their own culture. Class is really something Americans don't like to think about and race is something Brazilians don't like to think about. Both systems are classist and racist however.

4) I'd say the racial prejudice is quite different from racism, though most people conflate the two. This is the difference: prejudice is a purely psychological thing while racism is social in nature. One can change or remove one's prejudices, but that won't change racism. I might be the most unprejudiced guy in the world, but if the police were to find me and a similary dressed black man walking alone at night in Flamengo (or Beverley Hills), guess who they'll probably stop? That's racism at work and I can't do much about it with my individual actions.  To the degree that I treat the priveledges I get from having white skin as natural rights, however, I am supporting racism.

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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 11:17 am on Jan. 28, 2003 | IP
Guest



Anonymous
   
Great reponse, but no one is debating if Brasil is the country of the future or not :-)

You make some great points, although some have already been pointed out by others in this topic. Either way great post!

Total Posts: 211 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 12:55 pm on Jan. 28, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
YEAH I SEE BRAZIL'S FUTURE AND ITS FULL OF VIOLENCE,FAVELAS,CRIME,HOMICIDES,POVERTY,CORRUPTION,CHILD MOLESTING GRINGOS,AND RACISM

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 12:11 am on Jan. 30, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Hey Sleazy, it's amazing how many humorless people take my tagline at face value. Think about it a bit. I'll wait.

RE: the issue at hand, I suggets that anyone who wants an informed black american's take on racism in Brazil read Eugene Robinson's "From Coal to Cream".

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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 7:32 am on Jan. 30, 2003 | IP
Adrianerik


Newbie
   
@macunaima - That book introduces many great topics and I've always wondered whether it was ever translated into Portuguese.

And considering the illiteracy rate in Brazil and the racial/ethnic demographics of that illiteracy I don't know if a translation would have any meaning.

I'm curious.

In light if this book what is the source of your optimism for Brazil?  

Peace

Total Posts: 50 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 2:33 pm on Jan. 30, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Adrianerik,

Why do you think I'm being optomistic about Brazil? I'm confused...

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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 4:10 pm on Jan. 30, 2003 | IP
Adrianerik


Newbie
   
Actually not by your posts.  I only made a guess based upon the concluding phrase in all of all of your posts.

I am optimistic to the extent that Frederick Douglas' statement "power yields nothing without a demand'  is slowly being played out in Brazil.

But it also, to us a metaphor, is just the third inning in a long 9 inning baseball game.  So I'm optimistic about the third inning....I don't know about the entire game yet.

Peace


Total Posts: 50 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:37 am on Jan. 31, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Adrianerik,

You REALLY consider my tagline to be OPTOMISTIC?! That's a hoot! Think about a bit and get back to me...

Re: race... Look, things ARE getting better than they were before. The issue is at least out in the open now and Brazilians are being forced to talk about it.

However, looking around me - and I know it's very not-PC to say this among a certain crowd - I can't help but shake the feeling that our major problem is CLASS. We can give all the visibility in the world to Afro-Brazilians on billboards and the like, elect numbers of them to public office, establish quotas for them in federal schools but you know what? At the end of the day, none of that's going to do much to redistribute wealth and power away from the 5 percent who have it in Brazil to the 95 percent who don't.

Furthermore, it's worth pointing out that probably 92 percent of Brazil's white people are also poor and uneducated. Even if we were able to manage to distribute priveledge equally, based on race, Brazil would STILL be the worst country in the world for wealth distribution.

Given all this, I think it's incredibly important to work on racism issues here. I think there will be no solution to our problems without dealing with these. However, unlike many north americans involved in this issue, I do not think that increased racial consciousness will be a social panacea for Brazil.

It certainly hasn't worked to bring justice to the U.S.

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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:56 am on Jan. 31, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Adrianerik,

Let me tell you a bit about myself so you know where I’m coming from. I’m an immigrant to Brazil, having lived here for 15 years, who has extensive experience in race and ethnic studies in the States. I’m working on my doctorate in social anthropology at the National Museum with Dr. Giralda Seyferth, perhaps the best ethnic studies theorist in Brazil. My professors are part of an intellectual circle that includes such researchers into race as Yvonne Maggie, Peter Fry, Olívia Cunha and Lívio Sansone, among many others. I’ve pretty much dedicated my entire adult life to studying and comparing race in the U.S. and Brazil. I, myself, am white and come from working class, almost white trash roots in North America (primarily).

Now, given all the above, I can say very few things for sure about race in Brazil. Here’s a list of what I DO know...

1) Any Brazilian who talks about “the Brazilian race” or about how we are all just one happy mocha-flavored mix is talking out their ass. The roots of this ideology are well mapped by now and stretch back to the branqueadora philosophies of the last century. Interestingly enough, it’s almost always pale-skinned, middle and working class Brazilians who claim this sort of thing exists, usually just prior to affirming “I have black and indian blood in me, too, so I can’t be racist.” I’m sure I don’t have to tell you why this argument is a load of B.S. First of all, one’s ancestry DOES NOT define ones race and CERTAINLY doesn’t define one’s attitudes. Secondly, as I’ve stated above, even if one isn’t prejudiced, that doesn’t mean one isn’t racist.

Bottom line: when Brazilians talk about the “Brazilian race”, check to see if your wallet’s still there. The only reason they do it is to AVOID talking about substantial issues involving race and racism.

2) Yes, race does not exist. However, people BELIEVE it exists and that belief motivates behavior. It’s a lot like astrology: it doesn’t matter how many times people have pointed out its illogic, millions still believe in it. This is why social scientists still look at race. It is a social reality. Belief in it causes things to happen and we need to map those things out. Brazilians believe that their way of looking at race is different from the way Americans look at it, ergo, it is. Q.E.D.

3) Given that, the U.S. American essentialist, hypodescendency take on race is simply fucking ridiculous. We do not need to import a U.S. American perspective into Brazil to resolve our problems. Let’s face it: the U.S. perspective has done a piss-poor job of even allowing you guys to get a handle on your own problems. Why we should import ideologies that have manifestly NOT WORKED to resolve racism elsewhere is beyond me. Instead, we should concentrate our efforts on understanding how Brazilians see and organize physical difference that is codified as race. Your comment on the 1994 carnival theme shows a potential dangerous lack of understanding: the “America” in the theme “America – Land of Black Dreams” refered to the western hemisphere as a whole, not the U.S. exclusively.

4) A great article for you to read, if you haven’t already, is Oracy Nogueira’s “Preconceito de marca e preconceito de cor.” Though I don’t agree with everything Oracy says, I think this article is a true stepping off point for discussions of comparative racism in Brazil and the U.S. Re: Robinson’s book, my take on it is up for all to see at Amazon.com. Basically, though I think Robinson makes several interesting points, he misses many more. Frex, I don’t think his command of Portuguese is very good. How else can one explain the fact that he spent an entire decade in Brazil, the decade when afro-descended Brazilians finally achieved a public voice and got some real legislation passed in their favor, and not, apparently, have noticed a single bit of the political and intellectual ferment going on around him? Robinson finally comes back to the old, hackneyed statement that “things never change in Brazil”. Now this is simply stupid and a cop-out: things HAVE changed, a lot and mostly for the better, since Gene first put his foot in Brazil.

5) Salvador and the whole Afro-mumbo-jumbo tourism thing going on up there is very, very questionable in my eyes and in the eyes of many of my Black friends and colleagues. Salvador has basically crowned itself the ruling city of afro-brazil, forgetting that MANY other areas in Brazil have other, equally valid, even more rooted African traditions than Salvador. Much of what has been passed off as “roots” tradition in Bahia has been made up, whole cloth, over the last few decades. It’s about as “roots” as kwanza. Meanwhile, other, smaller and less mediated Afro-Brazilian communities find it hard to get a word in edgewise given all the hype over whatever media-friendly afro-crunchy fad is coming out of Salvador THIS carnaval season. I’m not impressed with Salvador, no. In order to make that wonderful afro-touron paradise that is the Pelourinho, they pushed out thousands of poor families of all colors and gentrified the neighborhood. And while the artists and musicians of Salvador have pushed Black Brazilians into visibility, they have not had hardly any success in translating that visibility into real change or power. The bancada congressional of Salvador and its government continue to be the same reactionary fuckers as ever before.

Salvador, to me, is living proof of Paul Gilroy’s recent commentaries on the marketing of blackness within a social structure where power and race are not challenged. Just putting black faces on T.V. does not change power structures.

Finally, Rio de Janeiro has an Afro-Brazilian tradition that is as strong or stronger than Salvador’s, but which is frequently pooh-poohed by Black Nationalists because of its historical willingness to cross-over with whites. However, many Black carioca cultural activists I know are much more in favor of representing REAL traditions that may have contradictory elements within them, than inventing new ones off the fly that translate Brazilian realities into comfortable shades of black and white so that gringo media conglomerates might have an easier time digesting them.

6) As a corrollary to number 5, above, I take with a huge, whopping grain of salt any claims to the “purity” of any “African” traditions encountered in Brazil. A GREAT example of this is capoeira. Now, capoeira is a BRAZILIAN tradition with African roots. There is no proof, anywhere, that it came over in from Africa in anything like its current form. In Rio, the capoeristas of the 19th century formed a sort of royal guard for the imperial family. They were street gangs, mostly dark in color, but also including many, many whites and lighter-skinned mulattoes. THEY certainly didn’t consider themselves to be a living representation of Africa in Brazil, though they did acknowledge that their fighting form had African roots.

In the 1940s, Vargas decided that capoeira was a living monument to Brazilian folklore and from then on ‘til the ‘80s, that’s what you heard coming out of the mouths from most capoeiristas. Again, it was acknowledged that its roots were in slavery, but the idea that it was an AFRICAN art form, miraculously preserved through centuries of oppression, was not bandied about. Only with the recent growth of Afro imagery as (mainly white) tourist consumption item has capoeira been recast as an AFRICAN martial art.

Bottom line: nothing made it through the colonial period here in “pure” form, wherever it may have come from and to claim otherwise is not only ludicrous, but intellectually dishonest. Not that that stops many self-described “afro-brazilian” leaders from doing just this. We may not all be generically “Brazilian”, but none of us are pure, either!

7) Finally, 9 out of 10 North Americans, of whatever color, who come here get hung up on their own racial issues and try to extrapolate them to Brazilians. The proper way to appreciate what’s going on here is only through long term living and studying. Nothing scares me more than meeting some well-meaning twenty-something gringo who’s earnestly working for an NGO here in Brazil and who believes they have all the answers for our social problems at the tips of their fingers in their laptop memory. Frequently, these people aren’t even culturally savvy enough to be able to watch the nightly news or read Veja and understand what’s going on. My suggestion to folks who want to help out here is that it’s a long term project that requires one to work a lot on oneself, first. We have enough well meaning ignorant Brazilians. We don’t need to import new ones from over seas.

(Please understand that this last comment isn’t directed towards you. You seem to be trying to educate yourself, at least, which puts you light years beyond the average gringo yahoo I have to deal with. Keep going in the direction you are, as it seems to me that you are on the right track.)

That’s it for now. Maybe I’ll think of some more things later.


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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 9:17 am on Jan. 31, 2003 | IP
Ze


Junior Member
   
You've earned my respect.

Total Posts: 93 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 12:33 pm on Jan. 31, 2003 | IP
Guest



Anonymous
   
Where are the Black Brazilians at? Everyone is yapping away but and some of the yapping makes a lot of sense. The last few posters are making a lot of sense. But I have read this entire topic, and I still don't see anyone that is Black and Brazilian on here, not an implanted person who loves Brazil, not White Brazilians, but a Black one, born and raised in Brazil. Are there none on this board?

My comments above is not to be disrespectful to any Brazilian I just feel since the headline is asking a specific question of a specific people, why aren't they answering?  

Total Posts: 211 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 4:07 pm on Jan. 31, 2003 | IP
Adrianerik


Newbie
   
Interesting post.  And this is not a derogatgory statement....you evaluate some history of the African Disapora from  a purely white perspective.  Questions of authenticity are not an African-American arguement.

The fluid and always moving phenomenon that is called the Black Movement is also one of the biggest critic of many 'authentic' African cultures.

We've learned not to take a snapshot of a moment in time in Africa and deem it to be the authentic thing.  We allow the affirmation of a people that whatever they create for their own survival is just as 'authentic' as the snapshot.  Kwanzaa was never billed as an African holiday.  It is African-American.  It is authentically African-
American.   And even though almost all (though not totally) of sub-saharan Africa can be traced to the area now called Nigeria and Cameroon the harvest festivals are different because these Africans created what they needed for their time and environment.  The clothing was different because they created authentic 'African' clothing for their environment.  

It's polemical at what point the creations and expressions of a people are no longer 'that' people but 'another' people.  No longer 'African' but 'Brazilian'.  

But we are adults.  It's not worth the time.  We African-Americans submit that 'jazz' is an American music (though before it became popular it was derisively colored').  But we know that it would have never existed had not the African poly-rhythms and syncopation in the spirituals met urban cool (and urban anger).  But....sem problema....it is American.  

And let's get specific about Salvador.  There is the one question about the politics of power and who controls the images of a society.  Are the Black dominated radio stations and black dominated newspapers in Salvador the ones dissing the  efforts of black people in other parts of Brazil?    And who are these 'made-for-tourist' attractoins in Salvador?  Are you talking about the young people flipping upside down for tourists in Terreiro De Jesus or the work of the organization Stephen Biko or DIDA?  Which is an orchestrated facade for white toursim?  Both?  Which does not impress you?

We have a group that works directly with Ile Aye - whose group created that Black America theme.  (it wasn't the theme of Salvador's Carnaval...but just this group).  Our information including the dressing up of Ile Aye as Malcolm, King, Garvey, and other African-American activists is very different from yours.  I'm interested in your source.

Really don't have time Brazzil forum right now.  (ya wouldn't think it) but I am interested in a dialogue.

But you raised some good discussion points. I like to be specific.  So I'll ask some questions.  And I'll try to get back here more intently on Sunday.  I need to know who the 'WE' is in your statements.  I need to know what black american 'ideology' you are talking about.  We have many ideologies.  Some successful.  Some not.  Some that should be emulated by the entire world...and some to avoid.  I'm looking for some clarification there.  

And also your understanding about what we, African-
Americans, understand the defeat of racism to be in America....the de-clawing of the system...or the empowering of those affected by the system.  And what parameters you are using to judge the success of it.  

I'm also curious about these black friends in Rio.  I work with some of the groups there and perhaps, one day, we can all sit down one day for an afternoon talk.  (I'll be there February 20th).  It's in Rio where, when comparing like educated blacks and mulattoes, that they are still denied their equality in positions and salary.

We, in the United States, at the beginning of the century also thought that as the general tide of the American economy rose that  along with the exploited whites, and european immigrants (two different groups) that African-Americans would also rise.  That was an error.

I don't like to play class versus race.  We have two feet to stomp on both.  

But...a much peaceful weekend.  People will gravitate towards that which changes their lives.  It doesn't matter where it comes from.  


Total Posts: 50 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 4:14 pm on Jan. 31, 2003 | IP
Guest



Anonymous
   
I'm intrigued by this dialogue. Adernik, my wife is a Black woman and American ( I am a very White man haha and both loveeeeeee Brasil) she is over here going "you go boy!" she says she loves the points you make, like you it seems she wasn't clear on what the M (sorry I couldn't remembe how to spell your name please forgive, but the intelligent M person) poster was trying to say. I think her nose began to flare when she read "rootless"jaja. Either way I am looking forward to learning here. Great dialogue fellas and this is my idea of a decent and respectful conversation, if I may so so myself.

I'd like to hold off on commenting and register so I can be identified among the sea of "guest" posters.

Total Posts: 211 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 10:11 pm on Jan. 31, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Adrianerik,

Questions of authenticity aren’t what I’m about. As a social anthropologist, I believe that ALL traditions are invented. If Black Americans feel the need for a Kwanza, more power to them. Cool. Just don’t tell me that it’s a millennial tradition imported from Africa and not expect me to laugh.

And that, my friend, is EXACTLY what many promoters of Afro-Brazilian culture (particularly in its media-friendly hyped-to-the-gills Salvadorean variants) do. I’m not the one calling for authenticity checks: THEY ARE. When the entire sport of capoeira can follow its tail down Alice’s rabbit hole arguing endlessly over which form “regional” or “angolano” is more “pure”, then obviously SOMEBODY involved thinks authenticity a worthwhile label to struggle for. When Candomblé terreiros in Salvador claim to be “pure” representations of African religion, then certainly authenticity is an issue among their adherents.

I think you are evaluating the history of Afro-Brazil through North American eyes when you make the flip statement that “Questions of authenticity are not an African-American argument.” Not to attack you, simply an observation: only someone very unaware of recent changes in law and due process in Brazil, particularly as regards Black people and land, could make a statement like that. Since 1990 (IIRC) proven descendants of quilombo communities have the same rights to land as Indian tribes. So you can bet your Olodum t-shirt that “authenticity” is a HUGE issue for many Afro-Brazilians, if only because real, material benefits are tied up in the struggle for it.

The tradition-inventing  we see occurring around black issues and images has actually made it harder for many african-brazilians to get their due. I’ll give you one example: because of the popularization of the idea of the “quilombo”, most Brazilians have an ahistoric, romanticized notion of what these maroon communities were about. Along comes a small rural black community that is trying to get land based on the fact that they are descendants of quilombeiros. They have to fight an uphill struggle, simply because their ancestors don’t have a history that’s anything like that being presented for the quilombos on the telenovela das 8:00 or in the Carnaval de Salvador. In this case, invented tradition is trampling PROVABLE HISTORY and many Black people, precisely those from the poorest, more rural communities that are likely to maintain more African cultural traditions, are being overwhelmed by a wave of flashy glitz that does very little to put power, land or money into Black hands.

“Are the Black dominated radio stations and black dominated newspapers in Salvador the ones dissing the efforts of black people in other parts of Brazil?”

When they present African-Brazilian cultural forms in Salvador as “real” and “pure” and those in other places of Brazil – such as Rio and Sampa – as somehow not “roots” enough then, yes, they are dissing the efforts of Black people in other parts of Brazil. They contribute to the occultation of real history in favor of a media friendly version whose major goal is to sell more Brahma. Now, obviously this is not the only thing these stations and newspapers do, but many, if not all of them periodically engage in this kind of sloganeering. It’s something I think they need to think harder about. I’m certainly not suggesting they be shut down or that they are useless, however.

“And who are these 'made-for-tourist' attractoins in Salvador?  Are you talking about the young people flipping upside down for tourists in Terreiro De Jesus or the work of the organization Stephen Biko or DIDA?  Which is an orchestrated facade for white tourism?  Both?  Which does not impress you?”

The expulsion of thousands of poor from residency in Pelourinho didn’t impress me, for starters, and there’s plenty of blame to go around for that. I want to make it clear, however, that I’m not saying that everything that’s going on in Salvador sucks. There are, of course, many fine groups at work up there. What I AM saying is that the media orchestrated image of Salvador as the capital of black Brazil is more trouble than it’s worth for many, perhaps most, black Brazilians. Furthermore, just based on what I’ve heard and seen over the years, many Black Salvadoran activists are very complacent when it comes to promoting that image.

“We have a group that works directly with Ile Aye - whose group created that Black America theme.  (it wasn't the theme of Salvador's Carnaval...but just this group).  Our information including the dressing up of Ile Aye as Malcolm, King, Garvey, and other African-American activists is very different from yours.  I'm interested in your source.”

Ah. So it wasn’t the Carnaval theme. IIRC, there was a “Blacks in the Americas” carnaval theme in Salvador some 6, 7 years ago and I assumed that was what you were speaking of. That “Blacks in the U.S.” was one particular bloco’s theme, I can buy. Was it part of the larger theme? I would have been interested in seeing their take on these historical figures. Marcus Garvey in gold lamé. Now there’s a thought. But perhaps that would be too carioca... ;-)

“I need to know who the 'WE' is in your statements.”

Provisionally, you might say members of the Brazilian polis: those who live, work, vote and raise their children here. In short, Brazilian citizens who are, of course, primarily responsible for our country’s political choices, who are the major movers in Brazilian cultural activism of all forms and who I presume – given that it’s written into our constitution – mostly feel that racism is an issue that needs to be dealt with on the level of government policy. Call me a conservative, but I think if you’re going to mess with the politics of a country, you should be a member of the polis. Otherwise, you’re moving perilously close to colonialism.

“I need to know what black american 'ideology' you are talking about.  We have many ideologies.”  

I might better say American ideology, as it seems to be pretty well distributed across race lines. Here are its hegemonic elements as far as I see them: hypodescendency, exclusivism, pluralism and a focusing upon race to the clear detriment of class or other political-identitary issues. I think these are themes that historically run through discussions of race in the U.S. on all sides of the color-line and I think that there’s a clear bias among certain North Americans that the only way “progress” will occur on racial issues in Brazil is for Brazilians to be “educated” to see the world through a lens crafted from these elements. To me, this is missionary proselytizing of the worst sort, the kind of stuff one would expect 19th century proponents of “the white man’s burden” to engage in and it surprises me that so many supposedly “anti-racist” anti-imperialist” Americans engage in it.

“And also your understanding about what we, African-
Americans, understand the defeat of racism to be in America....the de-clawing of the system...or the empowering of those affected by the system.  And what parameters you are using to judge the success of it.”

OK. The defeat of legally mandated apartheid in the U.S. was an obvious good. However, I’d say that the majority of Black Americans are worse off economically and politically today, relative to whites, than they were, say, 30 years ago. In spite of Black Nationalism, there has been a huge backlash in the U.S. and the States is probably FARTHER away from eliminating racism than in was in 1968 (given either of your definitions of racism). So I’d have to say that while laudable and based on much analysis that is correct, exclusivist, hypodecendent, pluralist Black Nationalist thought in the U.S. has pretty much been a failure in terms of getting the goods for the people it claims to support. Given this, one wonders why anti-racist activists in Brazil should feel the need to adopt this perspective.

“I don't like to play class versus race.  We have two feet to stomp on both.”

Me too. However, name one national political leader of any color in the States who does this. Jesse Jackson tried, for a while. From where I’m sitting – and I could be wrong – the movements up there pretty much look like one pony circuses. When I read the works of Black Brazilianists like Angela Gilliam I certainly don’t see any understanding of class being displayed. When I talk to U.S. students down here on study grants or exchange programs (many of them black), I see very little awareness of class issues.  What I DO hear is a lot of rhetoric; stuff like “We are against classism and racism”. Well, if one is, then it strikes me that one needs to reach out to white poor and working class communities as well as black and latino ones. In the States, the whites are the majority of the poor, aren’t they? Yet I don’t see ANY Americans doing this, certainly not on a national level. So it seems to me that a lot of empty rhetoric is being spouted about class issues: you folks talk about stomping with two feet, but when the time comes to kick, both always seem to be kicking somewhere else... I wonder, if MLK’s vision of a poor, urban alliance had come about, where would you folks be now? Probably a lot better off. Maybe I’m wrong. Enlighten me if I am.

Guest, re: the “rootless” stuff, I suggest the next time your wife comes down here, she take a step or two back from the folks involved in the community radio stations and such and see how the images they are crafting re: black identity are being utilized and regurgitated by the larger Brazilian media. Two things are happening simultaneously here: Black Brazilians are crafting more assertive images for themselves. I think this is good and shouldn’t be stopped. However, these images are then being absorbed by the media and sent back at Black Brazilians in order to get them to buy “ethnic” soap and watch “historical” soap operas. What I’m trying to say is that community-based image and tradition crafting, in and of itself, ultimately leads nowhere if not linked to strategies that redistribute wealth and power. The States has not become any less racist just because more black people appear on U.S. T.V. In fact, one can make the argument that it’s become MORE racist. So Afro-Brazilian orientated media culture doesn’t impress me as a way out of our dilemma and most of what I see coming out of Salvador has major ties to this sort of imageering and promotion.

If you think I’m exaggerating Salvador’s role, take a look at Marqueseazy’s post above where he blithely says “Salvador is the only Black city in Brazil”. This is what the hype is causing at ground level across the nation, but in order to see it, one needs to step back from the black NGO and community associations and look at what’s going on in the larger society. Marqueseazy’s statement, though ignorant, is unfortunately what most Brazilians believe and what many Salvadorans are happy with.

My major point in all of this isn’t that Salvador is bad or that the people who are doing (often good) work up there are evil and wrong. It is simply this: the deification of Salvador as the cradle and root of all things Afro-Brazilian causes more problems than it solves and I think you internationals should think about that a bit next time you feel the urge to laud the city to the skies as a “black paradise”.

Re: your visit to Rio, we can meet, sure. If I'm not overloaded with my thesis project defence, we could go for a beer.

-----
Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 6:20 am on Feb. 1, 2003 | IP
Guest



Anonymous
   
you can not take the statement of one idiot to represent how everyone feels about salvador. and who is to blame for a perpetuation that isn't 100% true? aren't all countries that rely on tourism to a degree guilty of selling rose colored glasses? i love how people who are not of a country like to dissect and say what should and shouldn't be done. it's very interesting to say the least.

but respect is given because some of you hold strong opinons some i share some i don't. at this point everything becomes redundant.

Total Posts: 211 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 11:04 am on Feb. 1, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
BRAZIL IS SO RACIST BECAUSE ITS 2003 AND BLACKS IN BRAZIL DONT EVEN HAVE THEIR OWN TV SHOW.AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE THEIR OWN TV SHOWS SINCE THE 50'S WITH THE FIRST BEING NAT KING COLE.ALMOST 100% OF THE FACES YOU SEE ON BRAZILIAN TELEVISION IS WHITE.WHERE IS THE BRAZILIAN VERSION OF THE COSBYS OR MY WIFE AND KIDS NOWHERE BECUASE THEY DONT EXIST.I DONT THINK THERE ARE EVEN ANY UPPER CLASS BLACK FAMILIES IN BRAZIL THEY ARE NON EXISTENT.COUNTRY OF THE FUTURE MY AZZ BRAZIL IS ONLY A RACIAL PARADISE IF YOU HAVE WHITE SKIN BUT ITS WORST THEN HELL IF YOU ARE BLACK LIVING IN BRAZIL.BRAZIL DOSENT PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH ABOUT RACIAL EQUALITY FOR ALL AND CANT NOBODY PROVE ME WRONG ON THAT.ATLEAST IN THE U.S THERE IS CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.WHERE IS THE BRAZILIAN VERSION OF JESSE JACKSON HAHAHA THAT DOSENT EXIST EITHER NOT TO MENTION THE MANY BLACK COLLEGES IN THE U.S AND NON IN BRAZIL NOT EVEN SALVADOR HAS BLACK COLLEGES.BRAZIL HAS NO BLACK ENREPEUNERS IN MUSIC LIKE THE U.S HAS WITH RUSSEL SIMMONS,MASTER P,AND P DIDDY JUST TO MAKE A FEW.

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:11 pm on Feb. 1, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
WHITE PRIVELEDGE IN BRAZIL IS WAY MORE ACCEPTED IN BRAZIL THEN IN THE U.S

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:15 pm on Feb. 1, 2003 | IP
Ze


Junior Member
   
You mean that black colleges is not an apartheid legacy?

Total Posts: 93 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 1:16 am on Feb. 2, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Guest,

Marqueseazy's opinion regarding Salvador is, unfortunately, the norm, not that of an isolated fool.

Marquesleazy:

Regarding the "non-existant" black middle and upper-class in Brazil, Marqueseazy, one of them is staring over my shoulder right now and laughing at your silly ass.

"BRAZIL IS SO RACIST BECAUSE ITS 2003 AND BLACKS IN BRAZIL DONT EVEN HAVE THEIR OWN TV SHOW."

Try A Turma do Ghetto and O Show do Netinho on Rede record. There are more, too.

ALMOST 100% OF THE FACES YOU SEE ON BRAZILIAN TELEVISION IS WHITE.

True. Whereas in the U.S. it's around 90 percent. And as we can easily see, the increased T.V. presence of Blacks has resulted in increased prosperity across the board for black people. The American black lower and working classes are so much more better off economically and politically now than they were in, say 1970, when there were hardly any black faces on American T.V. My hat's off to you, Marqueseazy: you've found the solution to racism in Brazil. All we need are a few more African-Brazilian faces in our toothpaste commercials and we'll be on the high road to prosperity and justice for all.

Frankly, I see very little real improvement in race relations that has come about because of the increased black presence on T.V. in the States. Spike Lee deals with this issue rather well in bamboozled, I feel.

I'd rate the lack of black faces on Brazilian T.V. as "annoying" and "highly insulting", myself. It's more of a symptom of a problem than an actual problem. What say we attack the problem and trust that the symptoms will resolve themselves?

I DONT THINK THERE ARE EVEN ANY UPPER CLASS BLACK FAMILIES IN BRAZIL THEY ARE NON EXISTENT.

Bullshit. There aren't that many of them, but they very definitely exist. Remember the "Cinderella of Espirito Santo" story from a few years ago? Worse than ignoring Brazil's piss-poor race and class situation is exagerating it to the point where one ignores the many important, real changes which have ocurred. One shouldn't pooh-pooh the existence of people who, in spite of all the problems we have here, have managed  to beat the odds and GAIN some measure of economic and political power.

I should also remind you that less than 5 percent of Brazilians of ANY COLOR make more than 400 US dollars a month. There aren't that many rich or middle class Brazilians to begin with. This is a stark contrast with the U.S., where black poverty is embedded in overall prosperity. If race were eliminated as a factor in the economy in the U.S., almost half of the U.S. poor would disappear. In a similar situation in Brazil, we'd STILL have the worst wealth distribution in the industrialized world.

COUNTRY OF THE FUTURE MY AZZ.

You, like many humorless people, have obviously not thought about the multiple meanings in my tagline. I suggest you mull it over.

BRAZIL IS ONLY A RACIAL PARADISE IF YOU HAVE WHITE SKIN BUT ITS WORST THEN HELL IF YOU ARE BLACK LIVING IN BRAZIL.

Well, my friend now says she's off to shovel some coal into the furnace. Hysterical hyperbole doesn't help us deal with this problem, Marques. Because of people like you who are obviously talking out of their asses, people who actually have something constructive to say about ending racism in Brazil are not listened to. Your bullshit actually helps to make racism stronger.

BRAZIL DOSENT PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH ABOUT RACIAL EQUALITY FOR ALL AND CANT NOBODY PROVE ME WRONG ON THAT.

Uh huh. Of course, the United States ALWAYS practices what it preaches re: human equality, right? That's why, with the greatest concentration of wealth in human history to draw upon, its education, health and environmental stats are among the worst of the first world nations. Everyone gets equal treatment in the States.

ATLEAST IN THE U.S THERE IS CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

Your belief that these things don't exist down here simply shows how ignorant you are of Brazilian realities and how unqualified you are to even be talking about this issue. Brazil has many affirmative action programs and more are being implanted every day. And Brazil has hundreds - perhaps thousands - of civil rights groups. How do you think that quilombo land provision got into the constitution? Why do you think racism is against the law here? Do you think the white elite just woke up one morning and said "Gee, let's put these things into law just for shits ang giggles"?

If there's one thing I can't stand more than the average bliss-ninny take on Brazil as a "racial paradise", its little soldiers of the apocalypse like you, Marques, who blithely denounce all the hard work that's been done as "useless" and lable every advance, personal or social, as "non-extant".

WHERE IS THE BRAZILIAN VERSION OF JESSE JACKSON

At this moment? Heading up the Ministries of Urban Development, Culture and Environment, for starters.

There are dozens of well known black politicians across the Brazilian landscape. I'll just name my favorite, for now: Benedita da Silva, former federal senator, former vice-governor and governor of Rio de Janeiro, currently urban planning minister. Bené grew up and has lived all her life in the favelas. Still lives there.

HAHAHA THAT DOSENT EXIST EITHER

As I said above, what doesn't seem to exist is any substantial knowledge that you may have about Brazil. It's hard to believe that someone could be so ignorant as you about this issue, Marques and yet still have such strongly held opinions regarding it. What's up with that? One would presume that if you were truly concerned about race and class issues in Brazil that you would at least bestir yourself to acquire SOME basic information about the topic. It's apparent to me, however, that you're just plain butt-ignerint on this issue. So why all the noise?

NOT TO MENTION THE MANY BLACK COLLEGES IN THE U.S AND NON IN BRAZIL NOT EVEN SALVADOR HAS BLACK COLLEGES.

Some 20 percent of the student bodies of UERJ and UFRJ, the best universities in Rio, are afrodescendant. I wonder what the percentage is at Harvard, Yale and Princeton, hmmm?

BRAZIL HAS NO BLACK ENREPEUNERS IN MUSIC LIKE THE U.S HAS WITH RUSSEL SIMMONS,MASTER P,AND P DIDDY JUST TO MAKE A FEW

Oh, man. Now you are REALLY talking straight out your asshole. If there's ONE area where blacks have done very well for themselves in Brazil, it's the music industry. First of all, I don't think Brazil has music entrepeneurs of any color like they do in the States. But if we're talking about blacks who run their own careers and work to find new talent, opening space in the market for it, and incidently making a buck off it as it goes by, then we'd have to talk about people like Gilberto Gil, Carlinhos Brown, Milton Nascimento and a host of other black musicians/cultural entrepeneurs.

-----
Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 5:22 am on Feb. 2, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
One other thing I think needs to be emphasized, that Marquesleazy's point bring up...

Listening to guys like him, one gets the impression that all white folks in Brazil are rich while all blacks are poor. The truth of the matter, the vast majority of all Brazilians, whatever their color, are poor.

When one looks at the U.S., one sees a poverty situation that simply doesn't need to exist. With a minimum of effort, the U.S. government could give everyone health care, a roof over their head, decent education and good nutrition. This wouldn't strain the economy. We're talking about providing for the lower 25 percent ot the U.S., the clear minority, a disporoprtionate number of whom are not white.

Now in Brazil, probably 90 percent of the country doesn't have anything approaching what Americans would consider to be a "reasonable" life style. even if we redistributed all wealth in this country in such a way as to eliminate race (i.e. equal, representative percentages of upper, middle and lower class peoples across color lines), we'd STILL be one of the world's most economically unjust nations.

So how many of these problems Sleazy sees in Brazil are due to race and how many due to class? Race nationalism in Brazil is simply a waste of time as it doesn't even come close to addressing the problems of the vast majority of Brazilians.

But the Yanks like it, so hey: there's lots of grant money to be made off of it.

-----
Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 8:08 am on Feb. 2, 2003 | IP
Guest



Anonymous
   
Macunaima, you have my respect dawg! I am a Black man and I don't share the views of this Marquesleazy person, he is totally speaking out of his ass!

You made some excellent points, ones I've heard expressed by some Black Brasilians I've met during my visits to Rio, Recife, and Salvador. I contribute the issues mostly with class, and their issuses are very different than African-Americans and I think we all need to remember that when visiting or learning about Blacks in Brasil. It's not the same even I had to hang that theory up. I do agree and blame the bullshit that was laid on me by some not to well intended people from Brasil and America. It's crazy because I listen to this Urban radio station in New York City and they always go to Salvador every year. I know it's well intended but even they were misinformed. The commercial was like "the mecca of African culture, come and visit and discover Salvador da Bahia." So I called-up there and laid some knowledge on the brother Doug Banks and he was like "well man this is what they ask us to say." I knew he knew better than that, but Macunaima is correct when he says it's not a correct statement or even an correct assessment if you spent even a week in Rio, Recife, and especially Salvador. But that's my opinion. I am still learning about Brasil so I am a long way from understanding the country as a whole. I'd like to spend some time in Sao Paulo now.

I don't think this sleazy person has even visited let alone lived in Brasil. I honestly think he's a mole put here to stare fires and continue to spit ass oil on the entire topic.

Peace People and stay up!

-----Darren

Total Posts: 211 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 12:36 pm on Feb. 2, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
WHERE IS THE BRAZILIAN VERSION OF MOTOWN HUH OH WAIT THAT DOSENT EXIST EITHER.WHERE IS THE BRAZILIAN VERSION OF SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO OH WAIT THEY DONT HAVE ONE.AMERICA HAS BLACK HISTORY MONTH WHERE IS BRAZIL'S BLACK HISTORY MONTH HUH EXPLAIN THAT

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:08 pm on Feb. 2, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
AMERICA IS MORE AFROCENTRIC THEN BRAZIL WILL EVER BE.IN AMERICA AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE PROUD TO BE BLACK UNLIKE BLACK BRAZILIANS WHO WOULD RATHER CLAIM THEY ARE MORENO THEN BLACK CAUSE THEY ALL HAVE LOW SELF ESTEEM WHEN IT COMES TO BE BEING BLACK ONLY 6% OF BRAZILIANS CLAIM TO BE BLACK THATS A VERY  PATHETIC SMALL NUMBER

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:14 pm on Feb. 2, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Marqueseazy,

What do you mean "Where's Brazil's Motown?" If you mean a music industry principally owned and operated by and catering to blacks, then Salvador and Rio have plenty of comparisons. Just because YOU don't like what passes for popular black music in Brazil doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Brazil's black history month falls in November around the week of celebrations in memory of Zumbi.

Re: America's supposed Afro-centrism, here's what I've got to say about it and this may hurt some people's feelings...

Black America's Afro-Centrism has very, very little to do with Africa. Denied real participation in the U.S., they  constructed a parallel culture. To avoid the pain of being orphans in a strange land, they've invented a mythical homeland. To call Black America's culture "African" in any meaningful sense of the word is simply misleading: in its moral outlook on the world, it is American as the day is long. It just happens to be black.

Despite the often brutal racism Brazilian Blacks have suffered, there never was a question of whether or not they were part of Brazil. Since before abolition, blacks have considered themselves and have been considered to be the most typical and basic component element of Brazilian nationality. Ask any Black Brazilian and he'll tell you: Africa may be where his great grandmother came from but HE is Brazilian and proud of that. The best, most honest and moral mãe de santos and mestres will also tell you "We respect Africa, but THIS is our home. Brazil. What we build here is what will last." As far as I can see, there is no slippage between the idea of being black and being Brazilian. I have never heard a Black Brazilian say "I don't  feel like I am Brazilian". I've heard many Black Americans say this.

The racism Brazil expressed in the late 19th century, while aborrent by today's standards, was considered RADICAL back then. It was essentially a biologicalizing version of "uplift the race". The basic idea behind branqueamento was the salvation of a barbarian race through intermixture. This is not all that disimilar to what certain Afro-American luminaries were preaching in the U.S. at the same time, the one difference being that the Brazilian ideologues also believed in physical admixturing and not just cultural assimilation. However, in the U.S., "uplifting" Black Americans were fought tooth and nail as the white working class and bourgeoisie stuggled to keep Blacks OUT - culturally, economically, and socially - of the United States. Down here, this ideology was enshrined as the only way to give Brazil a future.

American "afrocentrism" is a survival mechanism created to deal with a society that was never, in any way, shape or form, going to accept black citizens as part of its body public. It's questionable to me how such a mechanic would work in Brazil, where rigid boundaries are abhorred by one and all and Black citizens have always been encouraged to be proud to simply be Brazilian, no need for hypens.

It is revealing to me that Black America feels the need for a Black Christmas and so invented Kwanza, a synthetic holiday that falls opposite the Christian celebration. Depite all the hype about the 7 traditions (or however many they are) all Kwanza is to most people is the Black x-mas, the way Haunakah is the jewish x-mas. It is a classic Barthian ethnic boundary marker, erected to do one thing and one thing alone: salient difference. Cada macaco em seu galho.

Yesterday, February 2nd, was Iemanja's day and all over Brazil, people were setting offerings afloat in boats. My friend picked up his 2 year old Irish/Bahian son off the kitchen floor and took him down to the bay to celebrate. The kid is light-skinned enough that he'll probably be valenced as white when he's older. In his day-to-day life, he's learning respect for the orixá. At the celebration, I saw thousands of white faces. Iemanja is part of THEIR culture, too. The orixá mean something to them. Sadly, I think the majority of Black Americans don't even know what that word means.

That's Brazilian afrocentrism at work for you. People here don't often need to stand out in the streets screaming "I'm African, dammit!" because the cultural knowledge that goes along with that proposition is part of every Brazilian's day-to-day life. I live in a world where the orixá walk around daily dressed in peoples' bodies. You can run into Ogum or Exu at any busstop in Rio if you're not careful. I live in a world where if I come down with a cold, my friends and neighbors immediately advise me to take a discharging bath with rock salt. I live in world where polyrythyms abound and where what people say is nowhere near as important as what they imply, where my roomate maintains an altar in our back room to his cigana. I live in a world where Africa is part of everyone's daily life. We don't need to light seven candles at x-mas and dream of a mythical wherever in order to touch it: it's right there in front of our face, everyday, for eveyone to reach out and grasp if they choose.

Your belief that American afrocentrism proves that they are less racist is nothing more than the flip side of the tired old argument that Brazilians accept miscegenation and thus are less racist, Marquesleazy. Both American afrocentrism and Brazilian miscegenation developed as survival mechanisms for Black people to get along in an unfriendly and often arbitrary world. One worked better up there, the other worked better down here. To say that Brazil should have done things the way the States did, aside from being ignorant, is reductionist and chauvinist. It travels perilously close to racism as it posits an innately supperior social/economic grouping against which all others must be measured. You simply declare the U.S. way of doing things to be better and, to the degree that Brazil doesn't precisely immitate this, it is worse.

This is the exact same logic that maintained social darwinism and good 'ol boiler plate racism alive and well for so long.

The irony of your commentary, Marquesleazy, is that it shows exactly how deeply you believe in traditional American ideologies of exceptionalism, pluralism, exclusivism and messianism. All of these ideologies have roots, not in Africa, but in white, Protestant Europe. In your desire to trumpet your "afrocentrism", you simply show yourself to be a puritan dressed in a dashiki.

There's your "afrocentrism" for you.

-----
Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 5:22 am on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
stark114


Newbie
   
Macunaima,

Nice post. Question for you regarding beauty standards in Brazil.  Are "african" features universally degraded in Brazil?  Are there any role models for "Black" brazilians in this department? What's worse in Brazil? Being poor? Black? Or to be considered "Ugly".

Total Posts: 5 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 6:32 am on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
dean


Newbie
   
As a child in England I used to have a real boyhood adulation for Brazil. I love football and in the 1980's we had  FEW high profile black players in England. So consequently black people in England supported Brazil. To me Brazil seemd like heaven  Flair players like Zico and Socrates and with Pele a black man as an international hero  it seemed the model of integration.
However when I started my teaching career in London. I actually met Brazilians for the first time.  I think over a period of 5 years of about 1000 students I taught in London only one was properly black and maybe about 20-30 were mixed race  and it shocked me even more that those mixed race Brazilians considered themselves white or said that race was irrelevant in their life. When I pointed to the fact that it must be relevant since so few people of dark complexion travelled outside of the country there were often embarassed silences.  They were bemused as to why mixed race (black/white) people in England often identified more with their blackness.
Of the white Brazilians I met many seemed visually disappointed to see a non-white teacher teaching them. One middle aged man even challenged me saying "How can you be English you have a foreign name (my family name is African)?"

I asked him "How can you be a Brazilian you have a Portugeuse name?!" The point seemed lost on him though. Some also said to me that if they saw a black guy in Brazil driving a nice car they usually associated him with drug dealing. If they saw a light skinned person driving a nice car they would assume there was white money in the family.
Anyway it's not all negative I did meet some really sincere and decent people and many seemed to have a spontaneity and genuiness that we don't have in England but it saddened me that the country  I had once idolized seemed fairly racist at the end of the day.
Anyway I digress.   I haven't been entirely put off infact I'm actually planning a trip to Brazil next year as one of my buddy's has married and emmigrated to Rio. How is life there as a black person?  Are you treated with respect?


Total Posts: 4 | Joined Feb. 2003 | Posted on: 6:51 am on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Stark,

One thing I think the new Afro wave really HAS helped with is that it's helped make African beauty standards more acceptable. Still, we got a lot of bottle-blonds here, too.

Dean, I'm not black. Life for black people here is much like anywhere else, I gather. Even the rich have to deal with racism and the poor are screwed. I would say, however, that Brazil has come a long way int he last twenty years towards addressing its racism. At least people finally admit we have a problem down here!

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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 10:31 am on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
Tais


Newbie
   
Excellent comments Macunaima, Obrigado!

Total Posts: 8 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 11:19 am on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
LETS TALK ABOUT BRAZILIAN CINEMA WHERE'S THE BRAZILIAN VERSION OF SPIKE LEE AND JOHN SINGLETON DAMN BRAZIL DOSENT HAVE THAT EITHER.BLACK WOMEN HERE HAVE WON MISS AMERICA BEFORE CAN BRAZIL SAY A BLACK WOMAN HAS WON MISS BRAZIL BEFORE HMMM?

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 1:02 pm on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
WHERE IS BRAZIL'S VERSION OF BET BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION AMERICA HAS ONE WHY DOESENT BRAZIL GEE I WONDER WHY

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 1:10 pm on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
fernandobn


Junior Member
   
And then! You guys have a such necessity to show the world that everything in America is fine just because you have Black versions of everything, like programs only for blacks, so no whites are allowed, this is hypocrisy. I remember back in 1965 in washingnton DC. My father openned the door for a black lady and she said I will gonna sue you! My father just entered in a seven eleven to buy cigarettes, and only black were there everybody start to staring at my father, this is not the way things goes in Brazil. We don't do a lot of things America does because we don't see and feel as you, and what is good for America isn't necessary good for Brazil! Got it! Yes, we have racism, but who doesn't and besides after a fair amount of reincarnations I bet you gonna start to accept and understand better the Human differences.

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Fernando B.

Total Posts: 55 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 2:17 pm on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Marquesleazy.

I suggest you see Onibus 174, Cidade de Deus, Cidade dos Homens or de Notícias de uma Guerra Particular for cinema that deals with the realities of black Brazil. This stuff makes Singleton and Lee's work look positively conservative and pedestrian by comparison.

Regarding "Miss Brazil" in 15 years of living here, I've never seen or heard of a pageant. It must exist, but frankly, I really don't think people pay much attention to it. Several Black Brazilians have represented the country at the Miss Uiverse pageant however.

Regarding BET, I'll just quote "Boondocks" and say that I'm not sure how providing more pictures of black women's gyrating asses helps black Americans' self-esteem or socio-economic position. We get exactly what BET shows on our normal T.V., year in and year out, and double doses at Carnaval.

You're really reaching, Marques, but you haven't answered my one question, to whit:

Why are you so vehement about racism in Brazil seeing as how you are so butt-ignerint about what's going on down here? Usually folks who hold strong opinions at least have some facts to back them up. They study the stuff they obsess upon. You don't seem to know jack about Brazil and less about the lives of Black people here.

So 'sup with that?

All you show is your massive ignorance re: Brazilian culture and history. EVERY TIME you've claimed Brazil doesn't have something, I've shown that you are simply talking out your ass. "Brazil doesn't have affirmative action." We do. "Brazil doesn't have Black history month." We do. "Brazil doesn't have black musical entrepeneurs." We do. "Brazil doesn't have black T.V. shows." We do. And now "Brazil doesn't have black cinema".

Sorry. We do.

I suggest you learn something about Brazil before you start trying to compare it to the States. Otherwise, you're just going to continue looking like a chump.

I'm going to stop responding to your idiot accusations unless you're willing to answer the one simple question I posed you above. Your accusations re: racism in Brazil are along the lines of a man asking another "So have you stopped beating your wife yet?" Refuting them is like shooting fish in a barrel: a cheap thrill, but ultimately unsatisfying.

I think it's clear to everyone by now that you're just a fool with a big mouth, so I suggest you put up or shut up.



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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:26 pm on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
THE ONLY TIME YOU SEE BLACKS ON BRAZILIAN TELEVISION IS WHEN THEY ARE SLAVES OR MAIDS AND NANNY'S FOR RICH WHITE FAMILIES CAN SOMEBODY PROVE ME WRONG ON THAT.I HAVE A FRIEND WHO WENT TO BRAZIL AND HE SAID MOST BLACKS DONT IDENTIFY AS SO THEY IDENTIFY WITH BEING MORENOS NOW WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW AN AFRICAN AMERICAN DENY HE WAS BLACK NEVER BECAUSE WE ARE PROUD OF WHO WE ARE CAN YOU SAY THE SAME THANG FOR BLACK BRAZILIANS NO BECAUSE THEY WOULD RATHER BE MULATTOES THEN BE BLACK.IN AMERICA EVEN THE LIGHTEST SKINNED BLACKS ARE STILL PROUD OF THEIR HERITAGE AND DONT CLAIM TO BE SOMETHING ELSE.WE HAVE THE NAACP WHERE IS BRAZIL'S VERSION OF THE NAACP.WE HAVE BEEN MAKING BLACK MOVIES BEFORE BRAZIL EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT MAKING CITY OF GOD.EVER SEEN BOYZ IN THE HOOD,MALCOLM X,DO THE RIGHT THANG,BARBERSHOP,FRIDAY,COMING TO AMERICA,DEAD PRESIDENTS,THE COLOR PURPLE,ANTWONE FISHER,BOOMERANG,MENENCE TO SOCIETY,AND THATS NOT EVEN THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG BECAUSE THERE'S ALOT MORE AMERICAN  BLACK MOVIES THEN THAT SO NOW LET ME SEE YOU BEAT THAT.

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 4:11 pm on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
Guest



Anonymous
   
Wait hold-up Marquesleazy. As an Black man living and working in Harlem (Sugar Hill to be exact) I will have to stop your crazy ass comments here.

I've read every single post in this thread, and I do remember you saying somewhere on this site, that you are "bi-racial" and either didn't consider yourself Black, as in both parents are Black, but you considered yourself "bi-racial"? Am I correct, please allow me to stand properly if I'm not.

As far as Blacks being proud of saying their Black, well that's not true my friend. Although it saddens me as a Black man, in which both of my parents are Black. The truth is there are several and have been several people in America who are clearly Black, but hate their race, hate their heritage. Including several of our most famed Black politicians. I can't remember his name now, but there is one who says "don't call me Black, or African-American, I am only American." There have been evidence of Blacks "passing" for White, there have been the upper-class Blacks of "Martha's Vineyard" who have their famous "paper bag" test. Where by the test your skin colour to a paper bag, to see if you are darker or lighter, and of course the lighter you are the better. There is out "lIL Kim" (who doesn't represent all Black women, but some and a growing number of them at that) who hates being dark-skinned, with her wide nose, she's had surgery to look like Pamela Anderson, and this she has said herself and wears blue contacts. In fact every single Black woman she named that she felt was beautiful was of the lighter persuation. So please let's kill the "Black Americans are wayyyy better than Brazilians, when it comes to race." This is soooo not true my brotha. I hate to inform you and let you see the light, but most famous Blacks are more and more "claiming" some other ethnic make-up. I think Lauryn Hill is the only one they couldn't convince to say she was something other than a Black woman. Yes they tried, they even said "you must be more than Black" lol, and she laughed because clearly she's not, but of course that's Americans for you. Oh and let me not forget the fact that Black women routinely want to marry men with "good hair" NOT ALL, but a large majority are growing very ignorant in their quest to find a place within the American Dream. Not to mention Black men who become very well off and or famous routinely choose the lighter skinned Black woman with Eurocentric features, or even White women (some think it's a crime, some don't) but this so telling of the state of Black people. The lighter you are in American the US OF A the better off you are as far as success and treatment.

It's a fact, people like to deal with people who are more like them, hence Eminem's success over even Biggie or Tupac. Racism exsists all over music, movies, and sports. So don't play your self.

Fool yourself all you want Mr. Marque, but the truth is Blacks are just as fucked-up as anyone else. I live and breath Harlem baby. All my life, I was born and raised in the mecca of the Black Yankee Movement, so please we can go toe to toe about the issues of my people. And to think I'm considerd a "Buppie" you know Black version of a "Yuppie" lol. It's crazy you really are blowing hot air man. BET sucks, and sadly even the music videos dipict better of the state of young Black Americans, rarely do you see a DARK SKINNED SISTAH (Black woman), you see the lighter and the Latina looking ones, shaking her ass, shaking it fast--watch yo self. So fuck what you heard Marque, consider what you know.

Theres no shame in me laying out Black folks dirty little secrets, there is racism within our own communities. My litte sis use to get teased because her hair was "good" and she was "light-skinned", yeah by her own Black people. It's amazing how much we haven't changed. Oprah is lucky she can speak so eleloquently, because she'd be just another negroe if she didn't create a niche for herself. Look at how many Black women have won Oscars, for leading roles. Halle (whose mother is White and father is Black) in like 30 years, HA! We haven't moved , and when White actressed were polled about who they'd like to look like, they didn't name Angela Basset or Whoopi Goldberg, most named Halle, a bi-racial woman, why because "she has a lil white a lil black" lol. Oh and Blacks play baffons in movies, we play maids still, nannies, the same shit just dressed-up differently.

As far music moguls, man please ONLY ONE BLACK WOMAN SITS ON THE CHAIR OF A MAJOR MUSIC LABEL. That's Sylvia Rhone of Elektra/Wea/Warner Bros. Even Black execs complain. ALL BLACK A&R executives work in the URBAN OR BLACK MUSIC DEPARTMENTS, NEVER in Rock n' Roll, never in POP, or hell WORLD MUSIC. But still these Blacks promote whorish images, gansta music, and baffonary. The rest well, sell us shorter than we sell ourselves. So kill the bullshit Marque man. I could go on for days. BET is a joke, as them why they are scraming to re-vamp their programming, it's a damn shame, so much potential and all they do is play "shake your ass real fast, big booty girl", "hey boo, baby mama" crap. I don't mind that sometimes, but not ALL THE TIME, there is more to the Black experience than movies, music, and sports. The best thing on BET is TEEN SUMMIT, which speaks the truth in helping our youth understand it's not all about the "bling bling".

It is sad how we with all the progress, really haven't progressed, we'd rather play victim instead of realizing the power we have as a whole, we are some divided as people and any Black person who is honest about this knows I speak nothing but the truth. It hurts like hell, but we get no where with sprouting around like out shit don't stink, or that we are far more advance than say Brazil. Cause buddy-boy were not, we are just as ass backwards. We allow others to dictate us and this is truth. We are religious to a fault, we want to be lead rather than lead. Its' truth and we are hung-up on race so much that we don't move, we just stay stagnant.

My generation has yet to fight for anything, no my ancestors and people before me faught, all we do is make claims, blame, and stay complacent. Please my rother kill the bull, cause I can tell you a million things that show we are no better or far advance than Brazil.

Oh and out of all the music Blacks contribute each year to the American culture less than 5% of the members on NARAS (GRAMMIES) are Black, this has been an issue as well, even less on the Academy (OSCARS). So don't fool yourself, and even less work behind the scenes or are "shot callers" you know, studio execs, development people, sign the checks, screenwriters. Hell it's so bad that book publishers have to create a "black bookline" and offshot of their major book lines. So fucking sad, and all we get are either "black romance, black violence, black world" the shit can be mind-blowing and numbing. It's like can we get out the box for a minute. Oh and what about all the Blacks who refuse to vote, or fill out the census report? Holding on to some old ass notion that we are somehow not helping ourselves if we vote, come on give me a break. Laziness lies within out community, and I know why, but that's no excuse. We have more opportunites than the average African or Black anywhere else, what do we do--NADA! We make slow ass snail movements. We' much rather shake our butts, sing to a rap song, or play victims in every situation.

Oh and racism exsists remember James Byrd, Amadou Diallo, man the KKK, shit it's still here. If America was so perfect we wouldn't need Affirmative Action, something that's a double edge sword. We have to be told how to treat eachother.

Everyone is afraid of being snuffed-out, everyone is afraid of losing their place in the world. So sad, and it's not just exclusive to Blacks. Every group of people have this issue, it's usually fear that we act on.

How about you for once speak like a person with some sense, and answer some questions. I think you just like to add shit to add it, and sadly I'm sorry your Black.

I'm just tired of your stance that "we are the champions" bull, because we aren't my friend, we are in many ways just as sad as the state of any country where two groups can't and refuse to understand eachother. Yeah we try, but hey man we all use excuses.

So to Brazilians on this forum please know and note not all BLACKS in America feel or even share the same feelings as Marquesleazy. The educated ones know that we can't compare our issues with yours.

========================================

Fernando B, while I respect your opinion. Please note that BET has shown Whites and Latins on it's channel, especially the music videos, and even movies they re-run. BET is not the only channel in America that caters to a certain group of people, we do have Univision and Telemundo both which service the Latin community. There is the country music channel, which has basically no Blacks or Latins, but this is mainly because of the lack of both in country music mainstream. I have seen The Neville Brothers (Black men) on there. Some could argue that most Network TV in America doesn't show the true America, meaning void of any color be it Latins, Blacks, or Asians. BET, Telemundo, and Univision were created out of the issues stated above, the lack of representation of these groups of people on mainstream television, not to exclude. But to show our stories our way, but sadly some of these channels lost the vision that it began with. BET isn't the only one who makes their people look stupid. Telemundo and Univision have some serious issues as well, in fact you rarely see darker skinned Latins on either of those channels unless they are some famous singer. It's crazy American have yet to really change.

Darren.

(Edited by Guest at 8:18 pm on Feb. 3, 2003)

Total Posts: 211 | Joined Dec. 2002 | Posted on: 8:07 pm on Feb. 3, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Hey Marques...

I could refute everyone of your claims, but why waste breath on an ignerint mother fucker?

So I'll content myself with asking just one question:

Have you stopped beating your wife yet? You really should, you know, as the police are on to your shit.

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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:47 am on Feb. 4, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
RE: Blackness and national identity.

I'm going out on a limb here, but I think most blcak Brazilians see their skin color in relation to their nationality in the same way they do their gender.

"Black" doesn't necessarily negate or modify "Brazilian" for them in the same way that male of female doesn't. People recognize both as identity categories but don't recognize the one identity as wiping out or even having anything to with the other.

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Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 4:36 am on Feb. 4, 2003 | IP
Adrianerik


Newbie
   
Getting back to the point.  

1) It is silly for any Black person to play games of 'COMPARATIVE OPPRESSION 101'.  I don't have time for this 'who is more fucked-up arguement'.  For those who play those games...."a pox 'pon both your houses"  Whether the Belgians chopping off the hands of the Cameroonians, the Afrikaners roasting black people over bar-b-cue pits, the Australians herding the Aborigines like rats to the edge of cliffs and pushing them off, the Americans hanging them up in trees or the  'cordial racism' in Brazil that objectifies aspects of African culture while still trapped in a color based that daily destroys the soul of Afro-Brazilans... these ALL are in the category of 'FOUL SHIT'.  And it is silly to compare shit with shit.  

Or to compare the efforts of Ku-Klux-Klan racists or Patronizing Liberals.  They eat of the same pot.  They appoint themselves the arbiters of black progress.  Buck-Tooth killers in the night or benovolent Tarzans they select and choose the 'good ones' and the 'bad ones'.

2)  @Macunaima - every Black Consciousness Movement...every movement for Black pride....every movement for Black empowerment is NOT a BLACK NATIONALIST MOVEMENT.  Black Nationalism was one of many ideologies.  Martin Luther King was not a Black Nationalist, neither was Julian Bond, neither was Paul Robeson, neither was W.E.B. Dubois, neither (in his last days) was Stokely Carmichael a.k.a Kwame Toure.  The Nation of Islam has elements of Black Nationalism in its tenets but also is not a Black Nationalist Movement.  

You really need to get off of this 'African-Americans just want to imitate  Africa' kick.  Unless you understand the difference between the schools of thought of Molefi Asante (proponent of Afrocentricity) and Henry Louis Gates (at Harvard), a proponent of African-American history as an end in itself then you need to stop spreading some of these telescoped generalizations that you are making.

I have not encountered many Black Nationalist Movements in Brazil.  But many Black Pride and Black Consciousness and Black Empowerment movements.

3) @Macunaima - (rather to all)  You can go to the official Kwanzaa site to see what Kwanzaa has to say about itself (www.originalkwanzaasite.org) and not the interpretations of a white american ex-patriate in Brazil.  This is the site of the Kwanzaa creator Ron Karenga.  I'm sure that it was a figure of speech or the shorthand of the internet when Macunaima says "When he is told...." as if Karenga singled him out to explain Kwanzaa.  If he didn't understand what 70 million others clearly understand well......okay.  Kwanzaa is a derivation of what we feel was the glue of African communities.  Africans have never copied other Africans and neither do we.  There are many aspects of certain African cultures that are dysfunctional in today's world.  Just as Picts and the Angles and the Saxons of England united into the Anglo-Saxons and took the best of their cultures and the rest disappeared.  That is a fundamental teaching of Ron Karenga.  That is the fundamental purpose of the priniciple of Kuumba - Creativity.  We draw upon our past successes at survival and adapt to our current environment.

We take shit like legumes and rice and in Jamaica we make Rice and Peas, in Trinidad, we make Peas and Rice (small word competition), in South Carolina we make 'hoppin Johns' (rice and black-eyed peas) and in Brazil we make fejoada.  If you think it's due to some Brazilian soul....fine.  National pride...and all that.  It's understandable.  And there is a degree to which an ethnic culture is absorbed as a national or regional culture (consider the entire white American south whose every nuance and food and speech is the direct imitation of the Africans they oppressed.)

The Christmas season was chosen because owing to our dependence upon the American economy Karenga knew that poor families could not just take time off for an African-American created, but not officially sanctioned holiday.  Most families would already see each other during the Christmas holidays and the goal of the Black Power Conference of 1966, at which many initiatives of Black Consciousness was initiated, was to not create elitist symbols for our people, attainable only by the middle class....but a clearly attainable one.  I am both Christian and a profound celebrant of Kwanzaa, as are many in my church who have no problems with a celebration of Christ and a celebration of our culture and our achievements and our hopes for the future.  What white liberals and their opinions are....who gives a shit.  Actually Kwanzaa has helped to focus the African-American Christmas to a less commerical celebration.

4) @Macunaima - I'm wondering if you include Benedita Da Silva on your list of 'WE'.  Considering that, by her own words, her impetus to run for elective office was by the man she admired, Martin Luther King.  And later, in 1997 and 1998 she enlisted the aid of Jesse Jackson, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison...gave many speeches on the similarities (and dis-similarities) of the struggles in Brazil and other Diasporan communities.  At that time her views did not echo thoss of Macunaima.  I have not followed her statements since then.  

5)  The issue of class versus race.  The European concept of duality....of either/or versus an African concept of parallelism (both/and) can be contrasted here.  It seems that the contention is since a pride in yourself, in your people and your history....the ability to look into your own personal mirror....or the mirror reflected back to you in your grandmothers eyes or the eyes of your black playmates........that since this will get you a job.....then fuck it.

If that is the basic contention (or one of the basic contentions....) then there is a profound lack of understanding of the destruction caused by your  racist images perpetrated in Brazilian society and the destruction of the soul, worldview and aspirations of the people that it affects.  

And it affects Brazilians of all colors.  The color caste system in Brazil affects all of those 'colors' in between.  (and that is another discussion beyond the scope of this forum).  The concept of 'colorhood' and the concept of 'peoplehood').  And perhaps Macunaima does not see it or chooses not talk about it but I can talk to any number of black, brown, tan Brazilians and (maybe because I'm a good listener) it does not take long to see the affects of the psychic burden of people trying to balance a demonic system with the 'horrivel niggers grasping for them at the bottom' and the 'glorious but never attainable "bem-brancos" at the other end.  

As our people did here, you see a people who hide behind the objectification of themselves.  (Whatever could not be hidden by crass materialism.)  A big ass, the ability to shake their ass, or kick a football.)  Dying their hair blonde.

6) It's so interesting that the attitudes of many Brazilians parallel that of the Southern white racists who insisted that their idyllic ante-bellum south was a land of racial harmony until the 'outside agitators' arrived.  Because their 'nigras' ain't smart enough to conceive of this black consciousness communist stuff on their own.

In a study by Folha da Sao Paulo 90% of Brazilians  (actually of the sampling) acknowledged racism as a big concern in Brazil but only 10% acknowledged that they ever did any thing racist.  Okay.  That's fine.  However the study analyzed this same group on racist attitudes (intelligence, achievements, etc) and 87% strongly held racist viewpoints of black people.  Okayyyyyyy!  And it's interesting that my friends who seem to ignore the fact that I am proudly African-American will (and they are really nice people) display their clear bigotry in comments they make to me.  Most recently, at a visit to Salgueros Samba school rehearsal.

So...not to get too carried away because I really need to eat breakfast.  For Macunaima, I do have a problem with your use of absolutes and generalizations ("all", "never".  You would be slaughtered at any of the academic conferences we have because of such statements.  The question would be "are you led by your academics" or by a worldview of color.

An example:  Several years ago over 200 'scholars' on Thomas Jefferson (all white and pompous)  laughed and giggled and tittered because of the claims of some poor old 'colored' folks that they were the descendants of Thomas Jefferson throughh his slave Sally Hemings.  This family had much evidence passed down by their ancestors.   But these whites were academics....PhDs who had devoted their life to Jefferson.  They laughed...they pooh-pahed.

Well....enter the world of DNA...and conclusively the men of this black family were descended from Thomas Jefferson.

Which I could care less.  (I am descended from my glorious black grandmother and she was a Goddess...anything else can't compare).

But the question of how these academics had so blinded themselves in their worship of Jefferson that years of study could not change their idolatry of while male virtue.

Regarding authenticity:  It was you who raised the point.  It was raised in the context of cultural authenticity and not various activist intiatives.  Those should be worked out by the people involved.

If those black people are looking over your shoulders...let me offer them some a piece of African-American ideology....on unity.  

A nigger in Rio is a nigger in Salvador...is a nigger in Rondonia.  Think big...not parochial.  Listen to YOUR people first and others second.  Among the gripes of my Brazilian friends in the States is the quickness in  which the Blacks who have made it desert their people.

A bit of ideology from the American indians....consider the impact of all of your decisions on your 7th generation (thank you grandmother and grandfather...God rest your souls).

A final word on Jesse Jackson and uniting across racial lines.  During his run for the presidency Jesse Jackson succeeded in creating a Rainbow Coalition (blacks, whites, hispanics and asians) that generated 33 percent of the vote at that time.  And not one of those entities had to sell out their ethnic souls to respect the peoplehood of the other.  Many academics have studied that phenomenon.  And I am not a big fan of Jesse.


Peace



Total Posts: 50 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 6:16 am on Feb. 4, 2003 | IP
BRENT


Newbie
   
^^^^^^^^ Still Sweating ^^^^^^^^

Total Posts: 22 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 9:27 am on Feb. 4, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Adrianerik,

1) I agree completely. As Fanon says, arguing about which kind of inhuman behavior was more inhuman is worthless way to spend one's time.

2) I'm aware of that. Of course, the groups I'm talking about here are very open about their "afrocentricity", as, apparently, are you. I'm talking about the people Chico Cesar is directing his song "Mama Africa" to and their international cheerleading squad. If you think I'm dumping every black activist into the same category, you're mistaken. Finally, if you're talking ethnic identity over national identity, you are talking about ethnic nationalism, whatever label you want to give it.

"This is the site of the Kwanzaa creator Ron Karenga...."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there some controversy over Karenga's US organization's role in the deaths of certain Black Panthers during the COINTELPRO period?

Aside from Karenga's perhaps rather dicey politics, I think the whole idea of a unified Africa giving rise to any sort of cultural form is rather silly. And you accuse me of generalizations?! And no, Karenga didn't personally explain his vision to me, but I'm rather more interested in how its being used by the folks in the street, several of whom HAVE made the claim I've repeated above - that kwanza culturally came from Africa when in fact it was invented, whole cloth, in the 1970s by Black american nationalists. (BTW, if you're worried about potentially ludicrous claims, I certainly wouldn't imply that 70 million blacks celebrate Kwanza - maybe 7 million. E olha lá...) Whether you celebrate Kwanza or whether it's positive is not my point at all. I could really care less if it's traditional or synthetic. And, frankly, I DO think it's slightly had a positive, anti-consumerist effect as you state.

HOWEVER... I would not say that kwanza has African cultural content at all. I think it's simply a boundary marking stone, one more way of dividing the world into "us" and "them", built by black Americans. Insofar as that might be a necessary thing to have, I have no complaints about it.

The only reason I mentioned authenticity in the first place is due to certain Black activists' claims of it. I am not worried about whether something is authentic or not, but I will insist on setting the historical record straight when invented tradition is touted as millenial survival!

RE: Bené, I've translated for her in the U.S. and Brazil. I'm pretty well convinced that she thinks of herself as a Brazilian citizen and I thus very definitely include her in that "we", yes. I've voted for her.  I've heard her give several choice speaches on how American solutions are not always appropriate to Brazil, too.

That she may have been inspired by certain Black Americans is no doubt true and I'm not at all suprised that she chooses to salient this when she's pitching her message to North American audiences. It makes good political and fiscal sense. However, I've also read interview after interview with her in the Brazilian press where she's said her main inspiration came from her family's history. I think her motives are far too complex for any one set of influences to account for.

As for what point you're trying to make by bringing Bené up, I'm at a bit of a loss, because I've never said or implied anywhere that Brazilian anti-racist struggle should isolate itself from its north american counterpart.

"Just as Picts and the Angles and the Saxons of England united into the Anglo-Saxons and took the best of their cultures and the rest disappeared."

Er... sorry. that's a rather romanticist view of British history. What current day phenomena do you see as being founded in these cultures, may I ask? I certainly don't see anything, but perhaps I'm not as well informed. Enlighten me.

"If you think it's due to some Brazilian soul....fine."

Huh? Where did I ever say that? I'm 100 percent against the idea that cultures have  "soul", "spirit", "personality" or whatever sort of pseudo-religious mumbo-jumbo anyone would like to name. I don't think there IS a "Brazilian culture". I don't even think culture can be meaningfully objectified in that sense for ANY group of people.

"It seems that the contention is since a pride in yourself, in your people and your history....the ability to look into your own personal mirror....or the mirror reflected back to you in your grandmothers eyes or the eyes of your black playmates........that since this will get you a job.....then fuck it."

I'm a bit confused about what you're trying to say here. Perhaps you could be more clear.

In any case, I'm not quite sure I share your innocent, black/white, hypodescendant view of who "my people" are or are supposed to be. I was looking through the family album of a very black friend this weekend. It was full of white, mulato and caboclo cousins, aunts and grandparents, all of whom are in contact with one another, living a family life. Who are this woman's "people", then? Should she ignore her Portuguese grandfather because he's not phenotypically like her? And as for playmates, again, she had all colors. Now, none of this reduces the impact that racism has on her life, but if one wants to talk about "either/or" dualities, surely the binary black/white split preached by american hypodescendency is one of the worst!

"...it does not take long to see the affects of the psychic burden of people trying to balance a demonic system with the 'horrivel niggers grasping for them at the bottom' and the 'glorious but never attainable "bem-brancos" at the other end."

Like I said before, presume we manage to get rid of the race cut here. We'll still have a horrible system in which 90 percent of the population is in the hole. Something tells me, then, that race isn't the only - perhaps not even the main - source of our difficulties. Class has a whopping big role to play, too. If you think white skin uncomplicatedly translates into cash and power in Brazil, I know some rural communities in the south you can go visit.

"It's so interesting that the attitudes of many Brazilians parallel that of the Southern white racists who insisted that their idyllic ante-bellum south was a land of racial harmony until the 'outside agitators' arrived.  Because their 'nigras' ain't smart enough to conceive of this black consciousness communist stuff on their own."

Of course, that has been no one's contention anywhere on this post, but I'm not suprised that you bring it up. After all, it's much easier to tar any Brazilian criticism of black American diasporism with this particular slander than it is to look into your soul and discover that yes, you too are capable of reproducing imperialism. I'm worried how international capital may be reinforcing a limited and limiting view of blackness in Brazil and for this I'm implicated of being the worst sort of commie-baiting redneck.  

"For Macunaima, I do have a problem with your use of absolutes and generalizations..."

That's an interesting comment to hear from someone who speaks as if he were an elected representative of Black America. I've given you a couple of very specific instances where I feel that the afro-hype coming out of Bahia has worked to the detriment of black communities. That is certainly not an absolute or a genralization. When you asked about the more general terms I've used, I've immediately given you very crisp, workable definitions. This is in frank contrast toy your use of the royal "we" whenever you've bring up anything up dealing with black north american cultural phenomena. Talk about the pot calling the kettle afro-descendant...!

"You would be slaughtered at any of the academic conferences we have because of such statements.  The question would be "are you led by your academics" or by a worldview of color."

First of all, no I wouldn't, if the academics in question were responsible and not a pack of ridiculous ideologues. My "all" or "never" statements refer to my personal, anecdotal experiences and are perfectly acceptable as such. If I were to say "All Black Brazilians say this", then maybe you'd have a point. When I say "All Black Brazilians I've met say this," it is, asside from being the truth, an acceptable annecdotal statement pertaining to the question at hand.

Secondly, I've gone to several academic conferences and I've published my views. To talk about "a worldview of color" as if such a thing existed independent of the real life networks of power, capital and priviledge is naive. There is no neutral ground upon which one can stand and have this kind of view. You cannot have a "worldview of color" independent from the privledged position you hold as an academic within American empire, just as I cannot have one that can be seperated from the position society affords me as a white man.

Were black brazilianists to analyze their connections to the lived structures of empire, critiquing their use of power and recognizing the multiple power imbalances they teeter upon, I wouldn't find their position so precarious or offensive at times. But I don't see this critique taking place anywhere. To hear people like Angela Gilliam (and I daresay Marqueseazy) talk, a certain quantity of melanin in one's skin is all one needs in order to implicitly understand everything about Brazil. This is ludicrous!

Am I wrong? Again, enlighten me if I am. Point out one black Brazilianist who's taken Paul Gilroy and Stuart Hall's warnings on American exceptionalism to heart. As they have repeatedly pointed out, being oppressed along one identary axis doesn't guarantee that one isn't the oppressor along others.

Yes, black American diaporists have an awful lot to offer brazil, but they need to engage in anti-imperialist self-critique in order to do so. To the degree that they do not, they risk recreating a civilizing mission mind state among themselves. We can see a GREAT example of this right here on this board in the comments od Marqueseazy. Many Brazilian activists and academics, of all colors, who privately agree with me would NEVER risk their funding by criticizing our Big American Brothers to their faces. You can rest assured, however, that the arrogance of imperial power is a topic that's never quite worn to the bone when I talk to black Brazilian activists about their experiences among their anti-racist American counterparts.

I can say what I say because I have little to lose and I feel that someone needs to point out certain aspects of the Emperor's attire that are perhaps unappropriate. The fact that you feel secure enough in your worldview to threaten me with the destruction of my academic reputation for thinking as I do WITHOUT EVEN ENGAGING MY CRITICISM HEAD ON, hiding instead behind a shopworn metaphor from the American south, shows all anyone needs to see about where real power lies along THIS particular axis of interaction.

Re: your commentary on Thomas Jefferson. I haven't a clue as to what your getting at here. If you feel I'm "idolizing white male power" then come right out and tell me how. I have nothing to do with whatever a pack of racist historians in the U.S. may or may not have done around this issue and refuse to be held responsible or connected in any way to their acts. Where I come from, this kind of argument would raise a lot of eyebrows if ever presented at an academic conference in conjunction with what we're talking about.  People would find it superfluous.

"A nigger in Rio is a nigger in Salvador...is a nigger in Rondonia.  Think big...not parochial. "

Really? Given that that's such a provable theorem, perhaps you'd like to translate "nigger" into Portuguese. "Criolo" doesn't even come close in terms of offensivness. And while one needs to think globally, one also needs to realize that every situation is different. Just because you ideologically proclaim something to be the same doesn't make it so.

"Listen to YOUR people first and others second."

Yes, as we can see with the current plans for the war in Iraq, you Americans are very, VERY good at this sort of thing, aren't you? I, on the other hand, try not to be so chauvinistic as I'm not even sure who "my people" are and I certainly don't think that ANY of the human groups I'm associated is unquestionably right about everything.

But then again, maybe that's because I'm just a blue-eyed devil made by the mad scientist Yakub and am thus genetically incapable of grasping these sort of deep human truths.

"Among the gripes of my Brazilian friends in the States is the quickness in  which the Blacks who have made it desert their people."

Which is, of course, something that happens in both countries. This alone should tell you about the power class has to divide your mythopoetic "people".

What's really scary, Adrianerik, is how your romanticized vision of a "people" is something that Adolph Hitler would have recognized as very similar to his own. Adolph would be nodding his head going "Just so. That is why we must remove all the jews from Germany, which is OUR land, made by OUR people." The more I dela with you North American diasporists, the more I'm forced to conclude that Paul Gilroy knows what he's talking about.

-----
Brazil is the country of the future and always will be!

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 10:29 am on Feb. 4, 2003 | IP
Adrianerik


Newbie
   
A correction on point #5

5)  The issue of class versus race.  The European concept of duality....of either/or versus an African concept of parallelism (both/and) can be contrasted here.  It seems that the contention is since a pride in yourself, in your people and your history....the ability to look into your own personal mirror....or the mirror reflected back to you in your grandmothers eyes or the eyes of your black playmates........that since this will get you a job.....then fuck it.

Should read:5)  The issue of class versus race.  The European concept of duality....of either/or versus an African concept of parallelism (both/and) can be contrasted here.  It seems that the contention is since a pride in yourself, in your people and your history....the ability to look into your own personal mirror....or the mirror reflected back to you in your grandmothers eyes or the eyes of your black playmates........that since this will NOT get you a job.....then fuck it.

Peace

(I think someone got lost.  The forum for stupid people is on the old forum)






Total Posts: 50 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 10:43 am on Feb. 4, 2003 | IP
dean


Newbie
   
Have any "black" Brazilians responded?

Total Posts: 4 | Joined Feb. 2003 | Posted on: 11:41 am on Feb. 4, 2003 | IP
Ze


Junior Member
   
Nope, sold out. But we still have some tenacious rabid activists if you like. Just be carefull with their bite, it hurts.

Total Posts: 93 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 11:59 am on Feb. 4, 2003 | IP
 

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