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Macunaima


Member
   
Krista,

The Brazilian example you bring up is very good. It seems to me, however, that one can become Brazilian – at least conditionally and contextually – in the same way one can become U.S. American: by learning the language and culture(s) and applying for citizenship. One will never “really” be Brazilian to everyone, but one will be to one’s friends and relatives. This is sort of the position I’m in. When I went up to the States to study, I was emplaced as one of the vice-presidents of the local Brazilian Students’ Association. Nobody objected, because all the local Brazilians knew me, knew who I was, knew I was working in the community, married to a Brazilian, speaking Portuguese at home, etc. e tal. But when Brazilians came to visit us from out of state, they were shocked: “You mean a gringo is the VP of your organization...?”

So I think identity changes ARE possible, at least contextually and conditionally, but you need to put a lot of work into them. One certainly doesn’t “become” anything simply by stating that one is that thing. Other peoples’ opinions are always the hitch.

I understand what you mean by “traditional” and that term is, of course, one the Indians themselves tend to use both in North and South America. It’s just a term that you need to use with uranium tongs, as I’m sure you are aware, as it can rapidly spiral into the kind of definition that ELEGANTGENT was seeing, i.e. Indians with no contacts to modern life.

Re: criterion for being “traditional”, I think one needs multiple criterions and one needs to be flexible as there are SO MANY different Indian groups on these continents. As a general guideline, I’d say land, language and culture are the keys, with the understanding that none of these three are necessarily he same as when white folks showed up and that not all three may be present in any one situation. Certainly ELEGANTGENT’S idea that one is an Indian simply because one has a vague “heritage” that has been genetically passed down from some far removed grandparent needs to be taken out. With all due respect to him, as I’ve stated many times before, there is no Indian “race”. There are Indian NATIONS.

“ps: and really, I guess completely unofficially/unscientifically, just for emotinal reasons...among their friends anyone can call themselves whatever they want as long as they themselves are happy.”

And really that’s what I feel, too. Far be it for me to trash someone else’s social identity seeing as how mine is so confused. I think it’s great that GENT knows enough about his family tree that he realizes that there’s some Indians back in there. That probably makes him more sympathetic to Indian issues, which is a general good, I think. What I do NOT like is MARQUES MULATINHO’S reductionist dogmas as they frankly remind me of those written in “Mein Kampf”.

Re: identity in general... After doing a lot of thinking about it, I’m convinced that there are really only three basic components: 1) what you say you are 2) what the state says you are and 3) what others say you are. The first two are to a very great degree manipulable by yourself. The last one involves performance for others. This generally means that one needs to demonstrate a certain degree of competence in manipulating cultural categories (language, religion, food, dress, etc.) that others recognize as “belonging” to the group in question. If you can do this consistently, you have a good chance of “passing”. However, your origins are likely to be remembered at a drop of a hat, particularly whenever you enter into conflict with someone else.


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

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:11 am on Feb. 17, 2003 | IP
krista



Junior Member
   
dito.
yes. I agree. got nothing more to add here.


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Radio Do Mar: http://www.live365.com/stations/226288

Total Posts: 97 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 11:40 am on Feb. 17, 2003 | IP
Ze


Junior Member
   
There is also deception, Carmen Miranda was portuguese, yet no one here called her a gringo, you showed yourself to be a foreigner since the very first post, and it took some time for me to considr you as kin.

Total Posts: 93 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 7:03 pm on Feb. 17, 2003 | IP
krista



Junior Member
   
oh, but that's exactly what Macunaima talked about - if you can become a part of your new environment and perform in your new identity well enough, you'll be accepted. I mean, Carmen Miranda definitely had quite a bit of Brasilian element in her identity (ahh..all those over-stylized outfits inspired by the dresses of the baianas)... She didn't start out as a Brasilian, but she sure ended up as one.
And applying Macu's theory of the three components of an identity...1) the brasilians saw her as a brasilian, right? 2)she had brasilian citizenship too, so the government also accepted her as a brasilian 3)did she think she was brasilian? i don't really know...

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ps: about Macunaima's identity - ok, you have managed to confuse me completely now - so who are you???

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Radio Do Mar: http://www.live365.com/stations/226288

Total Posts: 97 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 10:06 pm on Feb. 17, 2003 | IP
Ze


Junior Member
   
... those absurd costumes where considered an insult to our culture by that time, and where one of the motives of her downfall.

(Edited by Ze at 10:46 pm on Feb. 17, 2003)

Total Posts: 93 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 10:38 pm on Feb. 17, 2003 | IP
krista



Junior Member
   
haha..I'm not surprised at all.

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Radio Do Mar: http://www.live365.com/stations/226288

Total Posts: 97 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 12:12 am on Feb. 18, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Carmen Miranda is an interesting example for several reasons...

First of all, if there's on group of foreigners who tend to escape the "gringo" label, it's the Portuguese. They tend to be seen as sort of distaff Brazilians and the label "Portuguese" encompasses a lot of the gringo stereotypes, anyhow (i.e. burro, gosta de mulatas, rude, etc.)

Furthermore, if one becomes famous and reflects glory back upon Brazil, then one is NEVER a gringo, at least in retrospect. Brazilians are proud to claim you as their own if the rest of the world admires you. A shining example of this is Charles Miller, the founder of Brazilian football. Almost as gringo as they come, his dad was Scottish, his mom Anglo-Brazilian, he was raised in the English colony in São Paulo and educated in England. During his life, he was almost always seen as a gringo. Now that football is Brazil's signature sport, however, you'll never find that term applied to him today. Today, according to most football historians, he's a "paulista com sobrenome anglosaxão" or "um brasileiro de descendência inglêsa".

Carmen publically assumed a Brazilian identity on several occasions, Krista. as to what she REALLY thought, I'm sure there was a part of her that was portuguese.

That's the kicker of identity: identities are rarely confused for those people who live them. I know EXACTLY how I got to be an anglo-american-brazilian and have a very good idea of what parts of my personality were shaped here and what parts elsewhere. I make perfect sense to me. The confusion lies in other peoples' minds, as most human beings on this planet believe that identity is an exclusive thing. One just naturally CAN'T be Canadian, say, and Brazilian.

Carmen probably felt the same way I did, though I doubt she bothered her banana-hatted little head about it very much. Most immigrants I've met feel the way I do. It's one of the greatest things to be able to sit at a table and talk with immigrants because we automatically have this experience in common, no matter where we came from or are. We are HERE but we're not FROM HERE and that, in the final analysis, is what the definition of a gringo is.

BTW, the term "gringo" comes from the 18th century (at least). It does not mean "green go" as many people think. The earliest recorded example of it that I've found is in a Spanish dictionary compiled in 1788, where "gringo" is defined as "those people whose accent prohibits their fluent speaking of castelhano." So in its origin, "gringo" means "funny speaking foreigner". It has absolutely nothing to do with Brits and Americans or even white foreiginers for that matter.

RE: Carmen's downfall. I thought it was because she did a high-kick while dancing in Havana with no underwear on and photographers present....?

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

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:15 am on Feb. 18, 2003 | IP
MARQUESEAZY


Junior Member
   
CARMEN MIRANDA IS PORTUGUESE YET HOLLYWOOD ALWAYS SAID SHE WAS BRAZILIAN SO WHAT IF THE TRUTH LEAKED OUT WOULD THAT HAVE MADE HER LESS MARKETABLE.IS PORTUGUESE CONSIDERED TO BE LESS EXOTIC THEN BEING BRAZILIAN IS THAT WHY THEY ALWAYS BILLED HER AS BEING ONE.I NEVER FOUND MIRANDA TO BE ATTRACTIVE BUT I WAS MORE INTO SONIA BRAGA WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HER.ANYWAYS SPEAKING OF SOCCER I NOTICED THAT BRAZIL ALWAYS HAS THE SHORT END OF THE STICK EVERYTIME THEY FACE NIGERIA I HAVE SEEN THEM SQUARE OFF A COUPLE OF TIMES ONE AND NIGERIA ALWAYS COMES OUT WITH THE VICTORY LIKE IN THE 96 OLYMPICS.NIGERIA PROBABLY HAS THE BEST CHANCE OF ONE DAY BEING THE FIRST AFRICAN NATION TO WIN A WORLD CUP CAUSE ITS ABOUT TIME

Total Posts: 88 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 4:02 am on Feb. 18, 2003 | IP
Pedro


Newbie
   
Carmen did have quite a bit of brazilian element in her      identity, but the Carmen who left Brazil was not the same Carmen who arrived to US. She became an icon intended to represent a generic "latina", in the way americans expected latinas should be. Everything she dressed, acted and sang in US had NOTHING to do with brazilian popular culture. Real-life bahianas are black, fat, dress in white and do not sell fruit in the streets (but a latina could only be conceived in Hollywood if related to nature, "pure" and primary products, like fruit. She shoud be naive).

Carmen never had brazilian citizenship. She once requested a brazilian passport, but was refused. The government accused her of ridiculing Brazil to delight american audiences.

Carmen is still admired in Brazil, not because of what she played in US, but because of what she played in her early years -  when she was known as "A Pequena Notável", sang sambas and was for sure inserted in brazilian culture.



Total Posts: 17 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 6:40 am on Feb. 18, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
She also played the yanks for a pretty good run. At one point she was the most well paid actress in Hollywood. Not bad for a woman who couldn't act her way out of a paper bag and wasn't even very cute...

Many Brazilians I've talked to also admire her for the enormous shuck they feel she pulled on the U.S. and for getting paid very well to do it.

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

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 9:55 am on Feb. 18, 2003 | IP
krista



Junior Member
   
so...if she couldn't act and wasn't cute, what got her to the top of hollywood?

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Radio Do Mar: http://www.live365.com/stations/226288

Total Posts: 97 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 10:04 am on Feb. 18, 2003 | IP
Ze


Junior Member
   
She was cute, without those criminous hats.

Total Posts: 93 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 10:39 pm on Feb. 18, 2003 | IP
Boricua


Newbie
   
Yes she sure did dupe America, but in my opinion she also did a grave injustice to and for Brazilians. But that's just me. I know some like to make us Americans look oh so silly, but in all honesty we acepted her at face value, and she only really solidified certain stereotypes of all women Latin and Portuguese, and that includes Brazil. Just my humble opinion though.

Total Posts: 25 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 11:12 pm on Feb. 18, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
Shrug. I can take her or leave her, myself. Mostly, it pisses me off that Americans think she's an accurate reflection of Brazil.

But I do understand what Caetano had in mind when he wrote "Carmen Miranda Dada". He said the photo that ruined her career was really a great metaphor for Brazil. She innocently did a high kick, figuring her dress would cover everything, and the media snapped away. Caetano sez "That's Brazil. It's not that we're more sexy, but that our sex is innocently exposed to the rest of the world and the rest of the world, perversely obsessed with matters sexual, takes an innocent gesture and reads their preversity into it."

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

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 4:11 am on Feb. 19, 2003 | IP
Pedro


Newbie
   
Carmen did enforce certain sterotypes of latin women, but did not create those stereotypes. She was just an actress paid to play scripts written by americans and destinated to an american audience - and the average american had a precise idea on how a "latina" should look like.

I read an excellent biography of Carmen (ironically written by an argentinian woman), and she revealed what really went on that often-commented epsode when she showed up with no panties. It was an accident. Carmen was undressing after a show and had already taken her panties off when the photographers came. She emerged from the door, a friend grabbed her in his arms, she did a kick, and... CLICK! However, the version that was published was that Carmen ALWAYS had "nothing underneath" while playing...

Total Posts: 17 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 6:41 am on Feb. 19, 2003 | IP
Boricua


Newbie
   
I honestly have no sympathy for anyone in the entertainment field that allows themselves to be "pimped" and that allow the continual perpetuation of image that they know in the long run will hurt.  I don't believe "oh I had to, what was I to do" .  . . they didn't hold a gun to her head. You wanted fame, fortune, it was your love, and you allowed them to pimp you to be the whore you became. And this goes for the old whores and news ones lol. Ok a bit harsh, but it goes for all entertainers no matter race, color, creed.

If I'm not mistaken (based on her E-Hollywood True Story episode) not all the screenwriters and movie producers were American, so that blame doesn't just lie with American filmmakers.

I believe people should be held accountable for their actions. I'm not damning her, not by a long shot. But she is just as responsible in my opinion for how she was portrayed and how that eventually hurt other women who tried to get out of those stereotypes of the "hot blooded", "fruit wearing", "primitive" Latina. She even allowed herself to be pimped as a Brazilian, so to me it's not just Hollywood my dears, I hold her, any agents, etc accountable for what became of her. And just because you didn't create a stereotype doesn't mean you have to enforce it, or get upset when what you've contributed is pushed back at you.

So while I may feel for her, because to me it was sad. I still feel she had a choice, everyone does, it's what they choose that (to me) speaks to their character.

Oh and that accurate example is to be blamed on whom? I mean did Brazil ever protest this woman portraying them in such a way? If they didn't perhaps it wasn't a big deal for them at the time?

Total Posts: 25 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 11:52 pm on Feb. 19, 2003 | IP
krista



Junior Member
   
Boricua:"I mean did Brazil ever protest this woman portraying them in such a way? If they didn't perhaps it wasn't a big deal for them at the time?"

-Well, Brazil as a state...it wasn't their business to say what they like and what they don't... Brasilians as people - while there were many who admired, there were also many who criticized. Trust me, enough. But tell me what kind of difference does that make? If Carmen Miranda had wanted to, perhaps she could have quit all the acting parts that conveyed the wrong impression. However, that would have had two really useless consequences: 1) She probably would have been out of entertainment business comletely (u kno - once you step out, it's hard to get back in) 2)they would have just hired someone else and the stereotyping would have continued. So the ideas of the brasilian people were the most irrelevant part of the whole story.
But criticism, she got that; and it made her unhappy.

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Radio Do Mar: http://www.live365.com/stations/226288

Total Posts: 97 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 12:25 am on Feb. 20, 2003 | IP
Macunaima


Member
   
IIRC, Brazilians weren't that happy with Carmen's portrayal of them, no. She was quite often confused of being americanized.

But if you want to see how deeply her image bit, giving us fodder for self-parody, yesterday at the padaria I got to watch Xuxa do a Carmen Miranda like skit, dressed up as some sort of hula girl or whatever. So we're force-feeding our children this same damn image.

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

Total Posts: 147 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 3:37 am on Feb. 20, 2003 | IP
Pedro


Newbie
   
Carmen did try to step out of the stereotype at least once. She suggested the inclusion of some genuine sambas in her songs, but heard the following:

"Carmen, you have to sing what pleases both brazilians, americans and europeans. If you sang what pleases only brazilians, you would be gone long ago!"

In fact, despite of her "exuberant" manners, Carmen was a timid character, and was unable to fight the showbiz. But she suffered from the rejection of the brazilians. Ary Barroso (or Tom Jobim?) put things this way: "Carmen´s success is an insult to all brazilians". Other musicians felt the same, but said nothing for politeness and for considering what Carmen had represented for Brazil´s popular music in the past.

Total Posts: 17 | Joined Jan. 2003 | Posted on: 7:37 am on Feb. 20, 2003 | IP
 

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