Archive for May, 2007

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Traveling While Black :: Brazil Is For Everyone!

May 3, 2007

After having traveled a little bit through other countries in SA, I must say that Brazil is a very easy country for a Black girl such as myself to be in. Which is probably why I have run into more Black Americans while here than White Americans (which never fucking happens to me I must say. If I see one I do such a happy dance you would think I never saw melanin in my life). You aren´t hassled as if you are a tourist (therefore rich) and people don´t automatically assume that you are poor and a thief or just the scum of the fucking earth in general. As long as you don´t open your mouth noone assumes that you are anything other than an ordinary Brazilian. So I can walk the streets here and people don´t pay any attention to me. In Argentina women would look at me and clutch their bags tighter after making comments about thieving Brazilians (I do in fact speak a little Spanish and I understand much more than you could imagine tiny Argentinian lady!) and in Chile all conversation would stop as they stared me down the street. Brazil is such a relief after feeling like a leper for the past couple of months.

Having said that, that could be said about any race of people in Brazil just about. There are locals that look like they just got off the plane from Norway, Nigeria, Japan, Mexico, Germany, and every other country that you could imagine, not to mention everyone who falls in that infamous Brazilian “in between” (i.e. mulatto) category. Brazil for everyone! Come have a caipirinha!

I must say this is the easiest country I´ve traveled to so far, and they are pretty used to seeing us as well. I swear if one more doorman asked me if I was working for the students upstairs (that I was in fact living with because I too was a student) I was gonna lose my damn mind. I love Brazil. If only they didn´t speak this weird ass Portuguese I´d move to this wonderland.

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The Myth of the Beautiful Mulatto :: A True Melting Pot Experiment

May 3, 2007

So there is alot of hype surrounding how beautiful Brazilian women are. Almost as if it´s a country full of these beautiful mystical magical temptresses, all with defined legs and abs and just the right amount of lusciousness in the butt and the chest. Seems like its damn near every mans dream to get to Brazil and have a freak fest at some point in his life. Now mind you Brazil is a VERY large country and it´s as different geographically and culturally from one coast to the next as America is. Some regions its hard to find a “White” person, others you won´t find “Blacks” at all. However, having traveled on the Northeastern Side down to Rio in the South, I must say that the myth of the Brazilian woman just isn´t true. But how could it? No country of women could live up to the reputation that Brazilian women have developed. Are there good looking women here? yes. More than anywhere else? Well now that depends on your definition of beauty…..

From what I have been told about 40% of Brazilians identify themselves as mulatto. I´ve been in the country for over a week now and I am still very unclear about what exactly constitutes a mulatto, because its a very different definition than what we consider mixed in the States. For example, someone who would be considered a bona-fide- no-questions-asked Black person in the US, would usually be considered mixed here. For Blacks in the US, if you have an ounce of Black blood in you…. you are Black, no if ands or buts about it regardless of what you call yourself. Though this is changing with each new generation of brown children, as it currently stands at the end of the day you are Black if anyone can find it anywhere in your face, body, or hairline. As far as I can tell, the way it works here is that if you do not look first generation West African yet you aren´t Anglo enough to pass for white than you are mulatto. What is considered White here is also a very foreign concept as well seeing how some who call themselves White, who feel they are light enough to ¨pass¨ would be laughed at and called traders in the States. A funny funny very tricky thing race is. So ever present and real, and yet it is a completely abstract category for identification. It hurts my heart to see so many people people who will do anything to get out of being identified as Black in most places in the world, but in truth we only abandoned this notion in the States rather recently (circa the Black Power Movement).

There are so many people here who are are mixed racially, that categories are very difficult to define. Noone has yet been able to give a definitive answer on what group I would belong to here because so much of it is tied to socioeconomic class as well.

So I´ve decided that all the hype about beautiful Brazilian women is really about this being a country populated with people who fulfill the “O aren´t mixed kids just so cute! It´s like the best of both worlds!” notion. Fucking disgusting. So what makes the women here so special as compared to any others? The “exoticness” that comes when you mix races. One doesn´t even need to come to Brazil to witness this. The Brazilian women that are considered the most beautiful (such as those represented in the media) are not the ones that represent the masses of the country, but rather those who have achieved that “special blend” of mulatto, meaning they have preserved Anglo features while sporting naturally tawny tan skin and curviness that can only be achieved with a bit of Negro in your blood. The Portuguese people came here with the intent of mixing with the indigenous Indians and the African slaves to create their own new race of people to inhabit this land and from looking around I will say that they have just about achieved that. Taking into account all of the skin tone issues that Blacks still deal with in the States it is hard for me to be enchanted by the all of these so-called beautiful people. Frankly, it just makes me sad because it is yet another reminder that what is naturally of African descent/Black is far from ever fulfilling the aesthetic of what is beautiful, not just in the US but all over the world. How depressing.