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August 07, 2009

Comments

Jolly

Looks like someone read the economist article on Colombia lol

For all brazilians who like to deny any similarity with their latin american nighbors read the economist article:

http://www.economist.com/world/americas/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14140625

and scroll down and click on "View all comments (32)" to read what colombians who can afford a internet connection and write in english think about it. Hint: they are EXACTLY the same things brazilians of privileged background (color included) say.

I think the affirmative action idea in latin america is great. It would force the privileged to work and stufy together with their peers who would be blacks and indians. This would confront them with their prejudice issues.

I am aware it blows the idea of meritocracy since the person's racial background is counted in selection of job or university but in the long term it will be great in breaking the hierarchical divisions. It could be undone after a couple of decades or a generation when prejudice has been dealt with significantly.

Marcio E. Goncalves

Well, you will say I'm just a privileged brazilian (even though half of my family is black...) but I think affirmative action is stupid and very negative in places like Brazil and Colombia

We never had stupid racist laws like the USA - no one EVER had to use a different restroom, table or place in the bus in Brazil just because of his/her skin color. That's IS NOT something that can't be ignored when we discussing racism in our countries.

The economical division between colors (yes, colors, nor race. Because in Latin America we talk about color not race. We don't divide the human race as you people do here in the USA) is much more a reflexion of the stupid economical decision of our governments than a racism thing.

It's very difficult to move from poor to rich in Brazil or Colombia, no matter what color you are - so is no wonder that the blacks, that started as slaves, are still in the bottom.

In places in Brazil where the slaves where relocated to other regions and the lowest class was white, they still are. My city of Curitiba is a pretty good example - most slaves were relocated to Rio and SP, so the lowest kind of jobs were filled by the polish immigrants. What's the result?

Well, if you go to any favela in Curitiba today you will see a bunch of blond and blue eyed people. And a lot of beggars in Curitiba are of Polish (and Ukrainian) ascendency. Because there's little social mobility in Brazil - you started in the bottom you will likely be in the bottom, it doesn't matter your color.

That's the result of lack of free-market and capitalism, not racism.

There is racism in Brazil, no doubt of that, and we should definitely be conscious about and try to get rid of it.

But affirmative action will, if anything, only create a division that never existed in the country,

P.S. I'm one of classic cases, so common in Brazil, where I'm "white" and my brother is "moreno". I don't have any doubt that I would be denied a "quota", while my brother maybe would be able to get one. Would that be fair?

What about my best friend, that is Polish and Native brazilian, but has a very dark skin and grew up having to fight racist jokes? Would he be denied a quota just because he doesn't have african blood?

Rio Gringa

There's a reason I didn't want to compare the US in here. Instead of government sponsored segregation, Brazil had societal, vigilante segregation which the government failed to intervene in until relatively recently; the same is true in Colombia. It doesn't really matter who is doing the segregation if it is happening. Plus, discrimination continues to be a huge problem, despite laws to prevent it.

Jolly

Capitalism and free market are characteristics of societies in which most people believe everyone has equal chances of sucess, where meritocracy is celebrated, in short where the "differents are equals".

Such a nation socially will have a huge diversity of people not only of different races, but different religions, dress styles (such as tatoos and piercings) and most will get along fine, because like i said above, most believe in a equality of the different. In sum, in individualism.

Brazilian society is totally opposite. Capitalism as described above would never come from a society which loves to talk about how perfect it is in theory (hey we sign all international agreements but ignore them in practice, racial harmony, best "fill in the blank" in the world).

In such a society the "equals are different". The upper and middle class would never accept a ton of talented black men running busineses and having to take orders from them as their boss. Thats a 180 degree from the slavery hierarchy. The only wealthy black bazilians ive met worked for multinational companies.

Meritocracy and competition? A threat to the priviledge of the elites! Just look how bat shit insane brazilian middle and upper class went in the first election Lula won (all arguments could be explained by he would be a threat to our social position). Any talent that comes from below is either labeled as a communist or a drug dealer and quickly disposed by the police or private goons.

Free market capitalism is the economy ideology of societies that accept different individuals as equals and Brazil is no such society. (The social ideology would be democratic liberalism btw). Just look how they discriminate any type of religion (the candomble and protestants in the slums), dress style (everyone with a tatoo must be a criminal!) or dark foreign races (black africans or indians or what have you). I see affirmative action as a way for the upper echelons to have to deal with their prejudices in the work place and universities.

And note that there are studies that support that blacks and indians are the most discriminated among the weak. The economist article mentions such a study. The priviledged latin americans usually never talk about these studies and usually reply with anecdotes and the "we are all equally poor" argument. There are dozens of these arguments on the comments section of the economist article.

And finally, like Riogringa mentioned, American racism worked like everything else does in a rule of law society. By laws! so if its racist its in your face with signs and laws. Brazilian society is not a impersonal, rule of law society; Its a "amizade"/"jeitinho", networking, "close proximity to get things done" society. So instead of a luxurious restaurant having a sign saying "no blacks" it will have a security guy whisper to the ear of a black man who walked in" get out your kind is not permited".

carol

I believe that in Brazil the best way is to have quotas for the poor, that went to public schools their entire lives... that way you´ll still benefit many black people, but won´t make it a racial issue! If brazilians don´t like to say they are black, white or whatever, it´s their problem, but there shouldn´t be a quota system which uses color/race as a criteria...

Marcio E. Goncalves

Jolly, would you tell me where in Brazil did you live (or are living)? Because you have such a stereotyped and narrow view of Brazil that I can't help to think that you never really got to know the different regions of the country and the fact that you can't generalize like that.

Such things like saying (in the other post) that any fair skin person is a "gringo" for us (nonsense - most people in my city, Curitiba are fair skinned. Actually, there are more "whites" in Curitiba than here in San Francisco. And the only two nicknamed "gringos" that I knew there were a paraguayan and a colombian,both with darker skin) just gives me the impression that you probably only know Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, or other tourist favorites places like that.

Although you do have some good points (and as I said I do agree that brazilian society is not really capitalist and has a much stronger collectivist way of thinking) you mix those good points with such silly quotes that is difficult to follow your train of thought.

For example:

"Such a nation socially will have a huge diversity of people not only of different races, but different religions, dress styles (such as tatoos and piercings) and most will get along fine, because like i said above, most believe in a equality of the different. In sum, in individualism. Brazilian society is totally opposite."

So...we're not capitalist because we don't like tatoos and piercings? LoL The notion is not just silly (do you really think tatoo and piercing is a good indication of individualism? ), but it's not true. I'mean... c'mon...I think more than half of my female friends in Brazil have a tatoo and/or a piercing.

Have you ever been to Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre or any other big brazilian capital? Well, if you did you will see that people do not dress alike, and you have a lot of different "urban tribes" in any of those cities: metaleiros (heavy metal fans), punk rockers, "funkeiros", rappers, skatters, surfer dudes, even Harekrishnas and Yoga maniacs, each one with their own way to dress and act. And a good number of people that mix all those influences and create there own style.

Ditto for religions...in my city you can find temples of almost everything, from the traditional Catholics, Protestant, Spiritism and Afro-brazilian churches/temples to less mainstream (in Brazil) ones, like (just form the top of my head): Muslim, Jew, Buddhism (lots of different sects and variations), traditional japanese religion (Shinto), HareKrishna, traditional Hindu, Sikh, Neo-Pagan covens (Wicca and more traditional ones), Shamanistic ones, "Santo Daime". Geez, even the Rosicrucian Order has one of its international temples in my city.

And that's just in Curitiba, a very small city in comparison do SP or Rio.

One of the reasons middle class brazilians feel at home in the USA is that we're used to diversity in our country too. I really don't have any idea what the fuck you're talking about when you say we don't have diversity in Brazil.

Apparently my Brazil is different than your Brazil. Our country is as diverse as the USA ( although our media is not and basically only shows white, light "morenos" and some occasional "other". That's a shame, no doubt about it and we should try to change it.)

About academic studies that deal with racism in Brazil: believe me, most of them are crap. I'm a History major from a top Federal University in Brazil and I've read a lot of them. Most of them are stupid because they import american concepts that do not apply to Brazil.

There's not doubt that there is racism in Brazil, but most studies don't really help at all in creating a better understanding about the issue, because they don't really try to understand the brazilian reality and how the racism works in that context. They only try to impose the american view (note that is ALWAYS the american view) on brazilian society.

For example, the crap about more than half of the population being black is so ridiculous that is not even funny, but is repeated in every English speaking media vehicle about Brazil thanks to those studies. As I said in other posts, this a lie (a "pardo" is not black in Brazil and does not suffer the same kind of prejudice, if any, that a black does), prejudicial to the blacks (because hides the facts that they are actually a minority in the country, only 7% of the population) and absurdly racist against the "pardos" that are "caboclos" (white+native-brazilians), the most predominant kind of "pardo" in Brazil, specially in the South, Center-West and North. Those studies simply "erase" the caboclos from Brazil, classifying them as "afro-brazilians" .

Most studies also ignore that when a brazilian classify himself as a white/black/pardo he's talking about COLOR, not RACE/ETHNICITY (and the question in the census is about color, nor race) so any parallel to race statistics from the USA (very common in those kind of studies) is just meaningless.

P.S. Lula was elected with a good deal of votes of the upper and the middle class too, they were the reason for his victory in 2002 - thus you're missing informed and talking nonsense. I voted for him as almost everyone that I know in my high middle class and rich circle of friends in Brazil. We do critize him now because he showed to be as corrupt, or even more, than the people he was supposed to be against.

P.S. Notice that Lula, the poor working class president, is "whiter" than FHC, the rich elite president - FHC has a "moreno claro" skin tone. A very important detail that most people ignore when talking about prejudice against dark skinned people in Brazil.

Jolly

Marcio E. Goncalves -

I was in the southeast and socialized with the upper class. My opinions are based my conversations with them and from reading material on the subject of latin american culture (a hobby!). Of course these are generalizations. Its not like 100% of brazilians think this way. But most do. The ones who dont keep to themselves their heretical views on capitalism, equality, and so on.


The brazilians i met had the concept of gringo as a person who has fair skin. The gringo as a word for foreigner was not their definition. If they met an italian he was refered to as italian, a mexican was refered to as a mexican. But a (white) American? Swede? Canadian? Australian? GRINGO

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"So...we're not capitalist because we don't like tatoos and piercings? LoL The notion is not just silly (do you really think tatoo and piercing is a good indication of individualism? ), but it's not true. I'mean... c'mon...I think more than half of my female friends in Brazil have a tatoo and/or a piercing."

i guess i wasnt clear. Let me repaste here what i wrote:

"Free market capitalism is the economy ideology of societies that accept different individuals as equals and Brazil is no such society. (The social ideology would be democratic liberalism btw)."

And rephrasing: Individual freedom can be split into a economical and social context. Economical - free market capitalism. Social - democratic liberalism.

Its not that "we don't like tatoos and piercings?" its that people who do like, as an example, would face retaliation from the rest such as beating fromt the police assuming they are criminals, not getting good jobs because they look different, etc.

Thats the social side of individual freedom. You agree to the economic side but play down or ignore the social which i explained above.
Different religions also will face retaliation like i mentioned.

The brazilians i met despised people of different religions (they badmouthed jews, muslims many times) and viewed dark people as RACIALLY inferior. Their concept of a sucessful country is one populated by people with fair complexion because they are racially superior and things would just magically work because of that.

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"One of the reasons middle class brazilians feel at home in the USA is that we're used to diversity in our country too. "

WHAT? They complained alot how the US is full of third world people (the irony) and badmouthed mexicans and other latin americans saying they wil create a failed society just like the oens they left. They also said they felt unconfortable with (white) americans who were too cold, to the point and sticked too much to rules. They just stick to their own when they are in the US.

They complained the most about rules. How it is sufocating to always have to follow them. And that they arent "flexible".

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"About academic studies that deal with racism in Brazil: believe me, most of them are crap. I'm a History major from a top Federal University in Brazil and I've read a lot of them. Most of them are stupid because they import american concepts that do not apply to Brazil."

Can you expand on this? As far as i know these studies point out that blacks in schools for example, are bullied by the "whites", called monkey etc and suffer of low self esteem as a result. They also do not get good jobs in brazilian companies who prefer to hire people from the "right" social background even if they are qualified. How is this a load of crap and american concept?

"they import american concepts that do not apply to Brazil."

this is the same crap you wrote about brazil not being racist because the US had racist laws and Brazil doesnt therefore there is no racism in brazil OR its a "different" system so shut your trap and dont butt in our society. Well like it or not all human beings long for material success and freedom to be and when they dont get it they get angry and trying to solve the problem of racism in brazil, from whatever point of view, is better than saying "we are different go away".


"There's not doubt that there is racism in Brazil, but most studies don't really help at all in creating a better understanding about the issue, because they don't really try to understand the brazilian reality and how the racism works in that context. They only try to impose the american view (note that is ALWAYS the american view) on brazilian society."

Well lets hear your point of view then. How do we solve poverty among blacks. And before you respond but its not about blacks. Well in a democratic liberal society each group is free to organize around and work on their own problem. BLacks will organize to solve their problems. If you dont like it too bad, they are free to do so just like you are to do things base on your own point of view.

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Concerning Lula i guess the rich brazilians you know are different than the ones i did. They were very nervous and talked about how he would win and turn Brazil into a narco socialist state and that narco armies would invade from colombia and the MST would take over their property. The brazilian media such as Veja magazine wrote alot of negative articles on him during the election.


Was i clear about capitalism being the economic side of individual freedom? Brazilians has a very unequal access to wealth and even if they were capitalist, being socially reactionaries, they would only "let in" the capitalist system of equality of oportunity those that they consider to be their equals. Which means blacks and indians would be out. Thats why social freedom or "equality of the different" is just as important.

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