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LETTERS

LETTERS

Rich and powerful to the point of arrogance, when it cannot beat the
competition, Globo simply buys it. It has happened time and again. Besides that, Roberto
Marinho, the nonagenarian owner of the conglomerate Globo media empire has become a
kingmaker. Marinho’s backing was instrumental in the victory of Fernando Collor de Mello
for the presidency in 1989 and again in the election of sitting President Fernando
Henrique Cardoso.
By Brazzil Magazine

I am a black American woman who happens to be very light skinned. My father has an
African and indigenous background, and my mother is Okinawan Japanese. Many Brazilians
also share this background. I think that racism is as much as a problem in America as it
is in Brazil. My experience hasn’t been with obvious racism. Whites think of me as exotic,
and trendy while other blacks resent my paleness and are rather unfriendly. In any case,
my skin color is always an issue.

I was shocked by the mother in the article ("Black Hole," November 1999) who
claimed that she wanted to purify the family blood line. That was when I was forced to
confront my own issues of racism. Whenever I pictured myself marrying, it was never with a
dark black man, it was always someone at least as pale as myself. I won’t even walk out of
the house without applying sunscreen, as if to protect my precious pale skin. I had always
denied my own prejudices, so this article was like a slap in the face. Thank you for that.
I deserved it.

Mia Hunter
in Colorado

Broken Myth

I have read your article concerning the racial democracy myth. It was a fascinating
read. I am a Black British male who like many others (black or white) living in Britain
have always been given the impression that Brazil was the one through racial melting pot
in the world. I have sometimes suspected this not to be the case or even being too good to
be true.

For example, I remember a friend of mine who came back from the Carnaval in Brazil last
year and showed me a video he bought of the event. I remember thinking: where were all the
black people? My friend told me that there were blacks everywhere at the Carnaval. It
seemed that the video was edited to such an extent as to omit the Afro-Brazilians This I
found disturbing.

It’s quite ironic that in Britain—and pretty much the rest of Europe—when one
thinks of Brazil, the first impressions that come to mind are the joyous Carnavals that
seem to be celebrating racial harmony and Pelé, one of the great icons of the century. I
have always been drawn to Brazil as a land of exotic splendor, but I feel that like in
most societies in the world once you scratch beneath the surface you need to brace
yourself for certain eventualities that are not always pleasant.

It’s ironic to see that the multiracial heritage—African being a fundamental
ingredient—that infuses Brazil with its worldwide reputation is the very thing that
has been seen as a "stigma" and is swept under the carpet like an ugly stain.

Ike Ikwuemesi
Great Britain

Where Are the Blacks?

I am not surprised by Kathleen Bond’s "Black Hole" article. I visited
Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro in June 1998 with a group of about 60 Afro-Americans.
We were in Salvador da Bahia for four days and in Rio for seven days. Even during such a
short visit in Salvador, we were surprised to note how the blacks in that city were
marginalized. We did not see blacks occupying other than jobs in the lower level of the
service industries, i.e., waiters, bellboys, and restaurant workers.

During our stay at the Bahia Othon Hotel, we observed a large conference being
conducted there of many professionals (I forget which field) and saw no blacks in
attendance. There was probably only one or two people of mixed heritage. All of the street
children were either black or mixed, none white. All of the restaurants and other
businesses we visited were owned by whites with blacks or mixed persons as employees in
lower level occupations. In Rio, we saw even fewer blacks as employees, even in lower
level jobs. One wonders how blacks manage to even subsist in Brazil.

Via Internet

Having a Dream

Here’s my check for a two-year renewal of my subscription to Brazzil. I hope
this is in time for the next issue. I can’t go even one month without Brazzil. I’m
so impressed by the variety of articles, especially ones on racial issues. I’ve always
been interested in Brazilian society regarding race. After all, Brazil has the same racial
heritage as the US with indigenous, European and African peoples.

It’s fascinating how both societies have developed with the same racial ingredients.
There are many similarities yet there are also distinct differences. Both good and bad.
There’s a lot that both countries can learn from each other. If we could take the best
from both, imagine what a society that could be!

Greg Miller
San Francisco, California

That’ll Be the Day

I want to thank Brian P. Costigan for the beautiful letter, which he wrote about the
Brazilian people. I am a Brazilian and I feel the same way, but I will admit, he expressed
it better than I could. This is why life is so hard for me here. I miss my family and
close friends very much. I miss all the get-togethers: birthdays, christenings,
graduations, weddings and yes, funerals.

I miss our music, our way of life, our jeitinho, even the beautiful countryside
where I was born. The best thing for me now is that I am already counting the months until
I can return for good. Unfortunately, I missed so much… There is so much here in the
US, yet it lacks so much for me. I wish Brian the best and that all his dreams may come
true. However, I have noticed that Brazilian children growing here or children of
Brazilians born here become Americanized.

Geoniora G. Oliveira
Fountain Valley, California

British Tropicália

I’ve just been reading Bruce Gilman’s excellent article on the Tropicália movement. I
don’t know if you’re aware of the current interest the movement is generating in the UK: a
big box set anthology has just been released to great reviews, and bands like Stereolab
and the High Llamas are referring to Gil, Costa and Os Mutantes. So I was considering
writing an article on the movement for a fanzine I publish, but when I read your exemplary
article I realized how inadequate my knowledge was.

So I was wondering if you would consider allowing us to reprint a condensed version of
the piece? I’m afraid we don’t have vast amounts of money to pay for rights… it’s just a
small mag with a circulation of about 1000 that is read by fans of independent music in
the UK, but we could fully credit the original publication and direct people towards your
website. Thanks for your consideration and best wishes

Stevie Troussé
Editor, Papercuts
Great Britain

From the Off-Line Crowd

It would be nice to have mail addresses if we want to order books, etc. We,
illiterates, can’t order anything. There are a lot of cabras da peste (like me) who
don’t have or don’t want a computer. I’d rather go hunting or fishing than sitting all day
in front of a computer. But I do like everything in your magazine.

Manuel Costa
Andrews Indiana

Info, Please

I have read some of your back issues posted on your website. The articles are
interesting, well written, informative, and educational. I would like to subscribe to your
magazine. Could you please tell me how much a subscription in New York would cost? In
addition, could you also give me the address to where I should mail my payment?

Marjorie
New York, New York

Just Guessing

I am a high-school student in need of info on the country of Brazil. Since your
magazine is called Brazzil you must know something about the country

Portia Owens
Marina, California

FanZine

I’d like to see this magazine. It’s nice to know that we lovers of Brazil can read a
little about our favorite country even here in the USA!

Rodolfo Maldonado Castillo
Lindale, Texas

Business Help

I have recently met two Brazilian women who are sisters. They do not have access to the
Internet other than through me. They are interested in finding a Brazilian company with an
office in the Atlanta area. Perhaps your publication could help.

Michael Maloy
Marietta, Georgia

Brazilian Adventure

I used to subscribe to this publication back in 1996, and to a great degree it was
instrumental in the planning of my one-year sabbatical in Brazil as it inspired me and
kept me informed with Brazilian issues. In fact, I wrote a small letter which you printed
in 1995. I can’t remember the issue; I should have saved it. If I recall, it was entitled
"Moving to Marataízes".

I am American, married to a Brazilian wife. I have three beautiful children: Justin,
12; Jessica, 9; and Meagan, 6 months. We live in Castro Valley, California. My beautiful
wife Laudicéia was born in Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, state of Espírito Santo, the same
town where Roberto Carlos was born. We have been happily married now for 12 wonderful
years.

Back in 1996, to celebrate our 10th anniversary and expose our children to Brazilian
culture, we moved to the town of Marataízes, Espírito Santo where my wife was raised. It
was a family adventure that left my heart in Brazil. Most people hear about Rio or the
Amazon when they hear about Brazil. Not too many know of the "interior," the
smaller places. The state of Espírito Santo is so beautiful with its beautiful coastline
and picturesque rolling green hills. The Capixabas are fine people too.

I met so many good down-to-earth, simple, hard-working agricultural people. The list of
wonderful things goes on…and I would like to share it with your publication. I would
like to encourage others to take a chance in life to pursue such an adventure. It was very
affordable and I have great tips for anyone interested.

Ted Nieto
Castro Valley, California
Nietted@hotmail.com

Rechecking It Out

We used to sign your magazine some years ago, and we liked the interviews a lot. We
would like to receive a free sample to see if it is still very good, and then maybe sign
it again.

Michel and Marcia Tansey
Davis, California

We Are Sure Interested

I am an American who has just returned from a year in Brazil. I was working and living
in various parts of the country and had a few chances to do some vacationing, also. Just
last night I have seen your magazine, which I enjoyed very much, and I would be very
interested in doing some writing for you. I mainly do writing in a fiction style, based on
my own travels. If there would be interest in this sort of thing, I would love to talk
with someone, perhaps bounce around some ideas.

Dean "Gringo" Shibley
Via Internet

Can’t you
find Brazzil at your Brazilian consulate? Don’t ask us why, ask the consulate.

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