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February 19, 2009


Ray Adkins


Another Great Post!
We absolutely witnessed what you are describing in Sao Paulo and we do observe it today in the Boston area as well.
Rhodies have that exact same attitude...but again, remembering my Berkeley days, Californians also thought they were the hottest thing on earth...people actually said they thought they had more sex and better sex than anyone one in the US, that they were smarter etc...
We also lived in Dallas, Texas and they thought they were the BEST, the BIGGEST, the wealthier.
Living in all the different areas we learned observe the regional differences and this is a very real observation, people in certain areas do think and behave as if they are BETTER than others.



Very insightful post. I observed the same thing between the Hopis and Navajos, when I worked in Arizona. The Hopi Reservation is located inside the Navajo Nation (Native American Jurisdiction). I was twenty at the time, and quite shocked. I'm sure you've run across--at some point--Saul Steinberg's famous New Yorker cover, "View of the World from 9th Avenue." That's easy to Google.


That is one of the best put insights on the flaw all we humans suffer from birth: prejudice. Which is unfortunately not perceived to be as bad as other flaws, until someone else use it against us. There's lot of it even between gay people! Let's all try to conquer ourselves and leave any kind of prejudice behind, once for all!

Luiza Athayde

This was an amazing post. Your observations were pretty accurate, as far as I can tell, and I actually laughed out load with the "São Paulo > Everyone" and the "Rio Grande do Sul ≠ Brasil".

Being a Paulistana myself, I know that it's very much true, when it comes to most people that come from São Paulo. Unfortunately, sometimes I have to include myself in that group, because eventually I say absurd things without even thinking. I guess that I'm still learning, like you with NY, that São Paulo is no better than any other place in Brasil.


Good post. These rivalries can be very annoying. I encountered the flip side of it when I lived in Recife. People in Recife see themselves as the centre of the Northeast but they are aware that people from the south (which to them include anything south of Bahia) look down upon them as "nordestinos". In reaction to that, they spent the whole time complaining about the south. The funniest thing was when some of the people I met would say they'd never go to Rio because it was too violent. At the time (1994-7) Rio wasn't so bad, the violence was still restricted to certain parts of the city. I took the bus all over the place without ever even seeing anything wrong while Recife was incredibly violent. In Rio, we would use fake jewelry and knock out watches to avoid being robbed (although I didn't, at the time I still wore gold jewelry without problems). In Recife I was told by a friend to keep my $10 watch in my bag or I could be robbed. I protested it was obviously a cheap watch but she explained that it didnt matter. My dad had to come and get me on campus in the evenings because it wasn't considered safe to take public transit at night. And yet I had to listen to them say how unbelievably violent Rio was! They would also tell me to my face they hated the carioca accent. I never knew what to say to that - should I have apologized? It was the first time I felt object of antagonism for coming from a certain place...

Here in Canada the rivalry is between Montreal and Toronto (more on the Montreal side; Montrealers have a very skewed idea of Toronto, much like cariocas' view of SP) with people across the country hating Toronto. The more open minded ones fall in love with the city once they move here while the others just keep complaining about it.

The same can be said between Barcelona and Madrid... or between northeastern spain and the south.

Like you, the more I travel, the more I realize how these distinctions are meaningless and how we are all in this together.


Great post. I am a Manhattan native and I do feel a certain pride and love for my City. I can see the same pride and love in the Cariocas and Paulistas that I know. And their pride and love is well founded,,,they are both incredible cities. I would stop short of snobbery, however. I don't think I'm better than anyone else because I live in NY (except those from NJ, of course), and I must admit that I don't believe that anyone from a NY suburb is a New Yorker. Their is too big of a difference between growing up in the City and growing up in the suburbs.

Carl J

Of course you gotta overcome your New Yorker snobbery: if you grew up in Westchester, a suburb, you can't be considered a New Yorker.

Don't take me wrong: no snobbery on my part here - I just don't understand why you try to label yourself as a New Yorker so desperately. It's very contradictory, given the content of your own post.

Plus, I totally agree with Neil: there is a HUGE difference between growing up in nyc and growing up in the suburbs,.

New York City > Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx > Hoboken > Suburbs (Westchester goes here) > Staten Island > The rest of the world > New Jersey


OMG, that was a great post!!!

I was born and raised in Texas where most people take an enormous amount of pride in the state, but generally don't think that it is the center of the universe (people just wonder why you'd ever want to leave it though). I went to college on the East Coast and found the New Yorkers and New Englanders to be amongst the most city/state centric people I've ever encountered. Their non subtle belief that civilization only exists from NYC to Boston was so prevalent in their thinking that it was quite comical at times.

While I haven't spent enough time in Brazil yet to consider myself aptly qualified to make assertions that carry any weight, I'd say from my own personal observations thus far that the Paulistas have much more of a sense of "area superiority" than the folks in Rio do. Not to say that it doesn't exist in Rio, it's just that to me it is much more stronger in Sao Paulo. In general, I get a feeling that due to the sheer size of their city and its status at the financial and business center of Brazil (similar to NYC) Paulistas believe that people from other cities and states just are not as important at they are. I think the feel like Rio is just a secondary city for people who don't want to work as hard as Paulistas and want to party by the beach all of the time.

I know this may be way oversimplifying things but it's kinda the vibe I've gotten thus far. So many of the comments I've heard from Paulistas about Rio, and the rest of Brazil for that matter, remind me so much of the things I used to hear my friends from NY say about the rest of the US.


Hi Rachel,
It's the first time I read your blog. I couldn't help adding my comment here. (please, forgive my english)

I'm form Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul. I tottaly agree with your post, and I belive that no one is better than others.

The problem is that the biggests centers of press are concentrate only in São Paulo and Rio. It's much cheaper to them to produce local products. So, they always forget the rest of Brasil. The press usually abuse of "steriotyping" about other regions. It's revolting, because inner regions has a lot of culture! Not only southern, but northern too. I fell very annoyed when my region is distorced in television programs.

I know people from a lot of regions and respect them. I don't think Rio Grande do Sul is superior. But there is no doubt it's not alike other regions. I think people in Brasil showld have more information about their own country.


You're serious overstating when you write, "the prejudice and disgust some Americans feel about international immigrants." International is a broad term.

What I've observed is a specific dislike of Mexican illegal immigrants alone, which make up 57% of the illegal population.

Ray Adkins


You wrote:
"I went to college on the East Coast and found the New Yorkers and New Englanders to be amongst the most city/state centric people I've ever encountered. Their non subtle belief that civilization only exists from NYC to Boston was so prevalent in their thinking that it was quite comical at times."
There is nothing comical about our non subtle belief that Civilization ONLY exists between New York City and Boston, when people like me ( Rhode Islander ) watch the news and hear that in Texas ( 1998 ) "A Black man was tied up to the back of a pickup truck and dragged on a dirt road until his eye sockets popped out of his skull or we hear of a young and fragile gay men being tied up to a fence in Wyoming during the winter and beaten to death or even the crazy Baptist Church from Kansas protesting in young soldiers funerals because their country condones gay life styles...
We can't help but develop a non subtle feeling that we are indeed in the only stretch of Civilization in this country, we are safer here and some of us better be careful when they dare to venture into the old wild west.

PS1: California has been placed on PROBATION since the Mormon Church takeover of the state's politics and the passing of the infamous PROPOSITION 8.

PS2: No snobbery feelings of superiority here. I don't think I am better than anyone in the US I just think I live in a more civilized, safer and fair part society.

PS3: You won't find any MEGACHURCH between NYC and Boston or anywhere in Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont for that matter.



Hi Rachel,

I think very interesting the look of a "gringa" over brazilian society. Altough, as a brazilian (from Sao Paulo) from an imigrant and migrant family, i believe there are other things that must be seen...

Of course nobody is better and all of us are brazilians, but what explain this behaviour from SOME brazilian? What kind of differences are between brazilian regions? I believe that is not only the place of birth, but the economical position of a person inside her comunity. I mean, if you look close to a city in the North of Brazil, you will see that the rich guy feels that he is more important than the poor one. And if we think at national level, you will have the rich South and the "poor" North... It`s sad, i know, but yeah there are people like this...

If you travelling trhough Brazil you are probably realising that we are many countries in just one and that being rich in Brazil means real rich and being poor means very poor.

Congrats for the blog.


PS: For me it is very interesting read your opinion about Brazil at this momento cause i´m not living in Brazil now.. So, there is a gring with an inside look over Brazil while i see my country from outside!

Robyn Fidler

Great post Rachael!
(lol New yorkers >>>>>>> the rest of the world!)

I"m glad you wrote about this, because I have been trying to get my head around issues of race in Brazil and things that I as an American living here find racially offensive. But what keeps coming back to me is that race isn't the issue, it's the economics. I don't think Brazil is as much of a racial democracy as it would like to be. Instead I think people often hide racial prejudices inside of economic issues.

I think you could also expand this theory to encompass a global perspective. (I'd love to see your equations of the US or Europe vs the rest of the world!) The truth is that we are all in this together. What the US has spent per week on the Iraq war could educated vaccinate and feed all of Brazil's children. We're all in the same boat all over the world and honestly, in the famous words of Roy Schneider (Chief Brody)"We're going to need a bigger boat!"

Jan K.


No snobbery feelings of superiority? You should re-read your comment... Again and again, until you finally get it: you are being snob and full of misconceptions and prejudice!


I think there is a difference between being proud of where you are from, and being a racist/prejudice person. It is endearing to hear, 'I live in Newfoundland, and it is the best place in the world'. Of course, that may not be true, but it's good to have some 'root'.
So if anyone wants to immigrate to my corner of the world (regardless of race, culture, religion, or wealth) you are welcome. Anyone willing to settle on this rock is, as we say here, best kind.

Ray Adkins

Dear Jan K.,

Relax! I have lived in Texas and I do love and respect Texas and Texans very much.
I have lived in Oklahoma which is where I have found the kindest people on the face of the earth, also the most intolerant at times.
I have lived in California where I went to school and loved the San Francisco Bay area more than any other place I have ever lived. I think if it wasn't for the 1989 earthquake experience in San Francisco we would still be living there and last but not least Florida, where we made the most amount of friends.
I truly do love all these places, I have dear friends and even family members in all these states, the dearest ones in Florida, a state that I tried really hard to like and get adapted to the climate, but couldn't, just to darn hot and full of bugs and reptiles.
I don't think or feel superior to any one from any other state or city.
I am still super proud to be from New England, Rhode Island, a state born from Roger William's struggle to defend the ideals of separation of state and church from the crazy Boston Puritans of his time.
When Roger Williams ran away from Boston, 38 miles to the south, the Narragansett Indians protected him and his family from being killed by the Puritans, mainly because he preached separation of state and church.
Other persecuted people of the time also ran away to seek protection in the city of Providence, some of them, believe it or not, a minority group at the time were the Baptists ( first Baptist Church in the USA still stands in downtown Providence ), the Jews and the Catholics were also a persecuted minority who went to Providence to protect themselves from the crazy Boston Puritans, you can say Boston was the Salt Lake City of that time, religion wise I mean.
So, separation of religion and state is SACRED matter around here.
I hope you are not an offended Mormon, I didn't mean to offend anyone, it is still sickening to see CHURCHES putting BIG MONEY to interfere with politics and preach and disseminate hate.
I am just stating facts and perceptions regarding feelings of superiority.


Jan K.

No, I'm not a mormon. I'm an atheist. I was talking about you pointing out examples of "savage behavior" from other areas of the country, when we know well that crime (even unspeakable ones)happen in you neck of the wood, too. There are a lot of registered cases of people going postal and killing their whole household or co-workers, just to mention something... Also, let's not forget that a lot of little towns in New England are plagued with corruption, too, from politics to law enforcement... And what about the cases of spouse abuse and rape?

Ray Adkins

Jan K,

I am agnostic, so, we are not that different religion wise, we might have something in common.
You are totally correct, there is a ton crime up here! Not specifically in my little town, but yes, there is crime all over the place just like anywhere else.
We have a lot of crime in between NYC and Boston, corruption is really bad too, here is an article about the most popular Providence major ever: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-05-30-cianci-prison_N.htm
Yes, he just left a New Jersey federal prison after 4 years...
Did you watch "The Departed", it is really not that far from reality, it shows corruption in the Massachusetts and Boston Police force and FBI.
Don't forget, we have our notorious world famous MAFIA, yes, from Philly to Boston, Providence is actually very famous to house notorious mafia families.
However, I wasn't talking about crime rates or quality of life, I was talking about civil rights, racism, tolerance and religion influence over a certain area.
My two examples were extreme and were meant to make a point, one example, the Texas one, was to point out blant and open racism that is widely acepted in parts of our country.
The second example was the Mathew Shepard case, which is an extreme case of intolerance and violence against gays.
The third is the crazy Kansas church that goes around the country protesting on soldiers funeral around the country which shows a great deal of intolerance as well.
What do I need to tell you, to prove I don't feel or think anyone up north is superior to anyone else?
My thread is an attempt to discuss perceptions, not the Universal truth by any means...and with a great deal of personal opinion.


Marcio E. Goncalves

Well, I'm a "sulista" from Curitiba and I never found people more full of themselves than Cariocas (by the way, Rio is not part of the "South" in Brazil). They have the inverse problem of Gauchos.

Some Gauchos (not all of them, trust me) think that Rio Grande do Sul should be another country.
But Cariocas think that Rio de Janeiro IS BRAZIL, and everyone else is not really Brazil. The "Sul" is a foreigner land for them.

A good example of that is the imposition of "samba" as the "national music" - something that is not true. Samba is "national" as "Musica Gaucha" is - I mean, it is not, it's a regional musc style from SP/Rio.

The diference between the two is that Samba had a dictator to impose it as the "national music". Ironically, the Dictator was a "Gaucho"...

(if there is something closer to a "national music" in Brazil that would be "musica caipira". And even that wouldn't apply to every region).

There is a two way street in the way that the "Sul" thinks that they are "Europe" - when the rest of the Country thinks that we are "different" is normal that people will have a reaction to that.

Any "sulista" (it could be from Parana or Santa Catarina other than Rio Grande do Sul) that goes out of his region is automatically nicknamed "gaucho".

"It bugs me that some people talk about violence in other cities like it was another planet."

Rachel, do you realize that the violence that exist in Rio DOES NOT exist in whole country, right?

For a "Curitibano" the violence from Rio is something totally absurd. It's no wonder that we think Rio is "another planet" as you say.


Mas,em São Paulo a maioria da população tb é branca.
Acontece que nós paulistanos recebemos muitos emigrantes nordestinos e com o tempo eles mudam acomposição ética da nossa população.



A mormom

to Ray A.,

It wasn't the LDS church that gave money, but the members of the lds church. Last I check this is a free country and people can support whatever causes they want. Some support abortions, other support gay marriage, other support neither. California just showed that our country is not free by releasing the names and address of people that gave money to prop 8 so they can be harassed, murdered, or whatever people might do to them. It is a shame.

A mormom

Ray A.

Also, most of the people that voted for prop 8 were not Mormons. I am sick and tired of people trying to manipulate the system and trying to invalidate/overturn things decided by majority vote. Also, it is easy to blame others and finger point when something doesn't go according to what they want. I didn't vote for Obama, but now he is the president and I have to accept that.

It would be nice if people would just back off the LDS Church and accept the decision as it is. People just voted against gay marriage. That's it. Maybe in the future things will change, but for now that's what the majority decided.

Ray Adkins

Dear A Mormon,

The AMERICAN PEOPLE should NEVER back up from your corrupted Church full of dirty little secrets, not that your church is more corrupted than others, don't even get me started with the Catholics, but WE will KEEP watching YOU.
Yes, FREE country, you are clearly free to SUPPORT HATE, you clearly have a lot of followers in UTAH and other parts of the west!!!
You really didn't have to mention the fact that you didn't vote for Obama, that would go without saying.
The LDS Church PREACHES HATE and you have to live with that, you are a part of a group of people that support and tolerates hate and intolerance, I don't believe in Jesus, but the ones who do, would disagree with your little group of intolerant haters.
If our democracy had allowed people like you to vote on civil rights, BLACK people would still be riding in the back of the buses and using different restrooms and maybe not even being able to vote.
Opposite to what your LDS CHURCH and brain washed followers think, DEMOCRACY is supposed to protect and defend the minorities, being that Mexican, Blacks or Gays, not allow the wishes of a crazed mob upon a defenseless minority.
You don't live in IRAN so you better get used to CIVILIZATION!
A Black man is your president, Gays are being allowed to marry, Mexicans are being integrated into the American culture and there is nothing your LDS CHURCH HATE MONGERS can do about it, it will happen, with or without your millions of dollars poured into false and misleading TV ADs!
Why don't you start a movement to get all the MORMONS out of the US and form a new country somewhere far away from here, or maybe you should just try and declare UTAH a free country where Blacks, Gays and Hispanics are not allowed, just older man and lots and lots of wives, many of them younger than we would like to remember!!!
How hypocritical of you, Mormons have supported POLIGAMY, many have been accused of kicking young man out of communities and marrying very young little girls.
Shame on you! You should go hide in the desert somewhere and hope we forget the absurds your people have committed over the years, and you are arrogant to the point to write here all righteous like you are entitled to dictate how other people should live.
Your bunch wouldn't be missed! Trust me.
You say your MORMON CHURCH members are being killed, tortured ( did you read that on a Bible? Did you dream it? Are there TV ADs in UTAH showing murdered MORMONS? Are Mormons sponsoring more FALSE TV Ads in CA?
Whatever illusions your corrupted Church shows on TV ADs, believe me, it is not the TRUTH, it is the furthest thing from REALITY.
You PREACH HATE, your Church preaches intolerance and hate, what do you expect?
Flowers delivered to your front steps?
There is a lot of people really angry at the MORMON church and it is easy to understand why.
You DISSEMINATE HATE, Good luck dealing with all the crazies you and your fellow MORMONS will be attracting to yourselves!!!
For now, I am having a blast watching BIG LOVE and learning more dirty little secrets about the Mormons.

Ray A.

Ray Adkins

A mormon,

This is what your people do to your own kind, read a little bit about this member of your Church!
Dustin Lance Black, writter and co-producer of Big Love.

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