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Old 09-08-2011, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
2,810 posts, read 4,831,655 times
Reputation: 1607

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As a Brazilian pardo, let me explain some aspects of race in Brazil:

- Almost EVERYONE is mixed race in Brazil. Only a small fraction of the descendants of Germans in the three states of the South (Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul) are "pure white". Many people in São Paulo are descendants of Italians, but most Italian immigrants have mixed with the descendants of the Portuguese, and all the descendants of the Portuguese are mixed race. The Portuguese colonizers had a culture of mixing, they were never concerned about "purity of the race" (and this is one thing I thank the Portuguese everyday, their complete disdain for "purity of the race"). The Portuguese mixed with the indigenous people (amerindians), and mixed with the blacks. So, when the Italians arrived in Southeast Brazil in the end of the 19th century, they mixed with Brazilians that "looked white", but that were in fact mixed race (Portuguese + Indigenous + Black). Today, many white people in São Paulo with blonde hair and Italian surname have at least 5% of Black DNA and 5% of indigenous (amerindian) DNA.

- It's not true that "Pardo" is just a term created for Brazilians who don't want to acknowledge their African ancestry. This is wrong, completely wrong. Because the indigenous people were pardos! The amerindians in Brazil were never white, they were brown ("pardo"). Just take a look at the few remaining "pure" indigenous tribes in isolated parts of the Amazon. They are all pardos. (brown). Many Brazilians, specially in the Northeast and in the North, have far more indigenous DNA than African DNA, thus their brown skin is much more a heritage from their indigenous ancestors than from their African ancestors. I include myself in this category. I'm pardo, and I'm pretty sure my "pardness" comes much more from my indigenous ancestors than from my African ancestors (I have Portuguese, African and indigenous ancestry).

- Most Brazilians don't care about race. They don't even think about it. It's very usual to see couples formed by a white blonde guy and a black woman, or vice versa. It doesn't mean that there is no racism in Brazil at all, but "racism" here is much more "elitism" than real racism: some people discriminate the poor, regardless of race.

Last edited by MalaMan; 09-08-2011 at 01:26 PM..

 
Old 09-08-2011, 08:00 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
31 posts, read 66,582 times
Reputation: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalaMan View Post
As a Brazilian pardo, let me explain some aspects of race in Brazil:

- Almost EVERYONE is mixed race in Brazil. Only a small fraction of the descendants of Germans in the three states of the South (Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul) are "pure white". Many people in São Paulo are descendants of Italians, but most Italian immigrants have mixed with the descendants of the Portuguese, and all the descendants of the Portuguese are mixed race. The Portuguese colonizers had a culture of mixing, they were never concerned about "purity of the race" (and this is one thing I thank the Portuguese everyday, their complete disdain for "purity of the race"). The Portuguese mixed with the indigenous people (amerindians), and mixed with the blacks. So, when the Italians arrived in Southeast Brazil in the end of the 19th century, they mixed with Brazilians that "looked white", but that were in fact mixed race (Portuguese + Indigenous + Black). Today, many white people in São Paulo with blonde hair and Italian surname have at least 5% of Black DNA and 5% of indigenous (amerindian) DNA.

- It's not true that "Pardo" is just a term created for Brazilians who don't want to acknowledge their African ancestry. This is wrong, completely wrong. Because the indigenous people were pardos! The amerindians in Brazil were never white, they were brown ("pardo"). Just take a look at the few remaining "pure" indigenous tribes in isolated parts of the Amazon. They are all pardos. (brown). Many Brazilians, specially in the Northeast and in the North, have far more indigenous DNA than African DNA, thus their brown skin is much more a heritage from their indigenous ancestors than from their African ancestors. I include myself in this category. I'm pardo, and I'm pretty sure my "pardness" comes much more from my indigenous ancestors than from my African ancestors (I have Portuguese, African and indigenous ancestry).

- Most Brazilians don't care about race. They don't even think about it. It's very usual to see couples formed by a white blonde guy and a black woman, or vice versa. It doesn't mean that there is no racism in Brazil at all, but "racism" here is much more "elitism" than real racism: some people discriminate the poor, regardless of race.
Very well said!

I am first generation American (my father came to the US in 1974). He is from Fortaleza...and has indigenous, african, and european (he believes from Denmark if you go back far enough) ancestry, while my mother is white (Polish and Russian a few generations back). I never know where to "classify" myself here.

My mom says my brothers and I are are considered "white Hispanic", but I don't know. We all have dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. We can easily pass as Italian. How do you think we should be categorized? In case you weren't aware, this question is asked quite frequently...when applying for a job....a mortgage...a drivers license... registering to vote...
 
Old 09-09-2011, 12:24 AM
 
Location: Vineland, NJ
8,510 posts, read 10,754,523 times
Reputation: 5430
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalaMan View Post
- It's not true that "Pardo" is just a term created for Brazilians who don't want to acknowledge their African ancestry. This is wrong, completely wrong. Because the indigenous people were pardos! The amerindians in Brazil were never white, they were brown ("pardo"). Just take a look at the few remaining "pure" indigenous tribes in isolated parts of the Amazon. They are all pardos. (brown). Many Brazilians, specially in the Northeast and in the North, have far more indigenous DNA than African DNA, thus their brown skin is much more a heritage from their indigenous ancestors than from their African ancestors. I include myself in this category. I'm pardo, and I'm pretty sure my "pardness" comes much more from my indigenous ancestors than from my African ancestors (I have Portuguese, African and indigenous ancestry).
I get what your trying to say and by all means you proven a point but you can't deny that many Afro-Brazilians choose "pardo" as a way to not be identified as black. In Brazil blacks are generally at the bottom of the social class and whiteness is held up to a higher standard. Brazil like the U.S., has been a racist country and in some ways even worse than the United States. With Brazil's elite social class being largely European-descended its only natural in Brazilian society for those who have any African ancestry to not want to be associated with anything black.

The term "Pardo" itself seems to be to broad as it includes Indigenous Amerindians tribes to anyone who looks brown or mixed. I find that odd that Brazil would create a racial category just solely base on skin color and appearance.
 
Old 09-09-2011, 01:17 AM
 
114 posts, read 504,238 times
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A lot of Brazilians live in my area and most of them are varying degrees of European-African mixture, some including Amerindian.
 
Old 09-09-2011, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
2,810 posts, read 4,831,655 times
Reputation: 1607
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwillyfromphilly View Post
You can't deny that many Afro-Brazilians choose "pardo" as a way to not be identified as black. In Brazil blacks are generally at the bottom of the social class and whiteness is held up to a higher standard. Brazil like the U.S., has been a racist country and in some ways even worse than the United States. With Brazil's elite social class being largely European-descended its only natural in Brazilian society for those who have any African ancestry to not want to be associated with anything black.

The term "Pardo" itself seems to be to broad as it includes Indigenous Amerindians tribes to anyone who looks brown or mixed. I find that odd that Brazil would create a racial category just solely base on skin color and appearance.
Well, you are right that *SOME* blacks choose "pardo" because they don't want to identify as blacks. But there are lots of questions about this fact. Is it legitimate to impose the label of "black" on someone? If the person don't feel he is black, is it right to impose this label? There are no "pure" blacks in Brazil. ALL blacks in Brazil are mixed, and none is "pure African blood". Racial mixing was the foundation of the Brazilian society. Many fugitive slaves created the "quilombos". The quilombos were villages in the hinterlands where fugitive slaves gathered and created their own society. Most of those quilombos integrated with amerindian (indigenous) tribes. There were numerous cases of mixing between African fugitive slaves and indigenous (amerindian) people.


You say: "With Brazil's elite social class being largely European-descended". Well, those same individuals of the elites who are European-descended, are Afro-descended and Amerindian-descended too. The fact a person has a white skin color doesn't mean this person has no African and/or Amerindian ancestry. And everyone in Brazil knows it. Even the more snobbish member of the elites of São Paulo know that he has at least a little bit of Amerindian "blood" and probably some African "blood" too, even if in a very diluted proportion.

If you ask me if is it true that the riches and upper middle classes in Brazil tend to be more "light skinned" than the poor, I will confirm: it's true.

Brazil freed its slaves only in 1889. The slaves were left on their own, wandering the rural roads, without a penny. Most of them migrated to the cities, and formed the first "favelas" (shanty towns). Of course they were very poor. They had nothing. Most were illiterate (obviously, cuz the slave masters never had any interest in teaching the slaves how to read). And for much time, the government gave nothing to them, not because they were mostly black, but because the Brazilian government during most of our history, did nothing, or very little, for the poor. Not even schools the government built in the favelas. They had very little access to Education.

With time, other poor people, pardos and even whites, joined the favelas, as an option of cheap housing. But the poor population of the favelas is still more "dark skinned" than the population of the middle class neighborhoods, because they were founded by ex-slaves. There are many many pardos in the favelas too, most of them migrants from the rural areas of the Northeast, a region castigated by frequent droughts (and these pardos are more Amerindian-descendant than African descendant). And there are whites in the favelas too, although in a smaller number.

So, you can say that the elites are more "light skinned" than the poor, but you can't say the elites are "white", and the poor are "black". The "light skinned" people in the elites have African and Amerindian "blood", and the "dark skinned" people in the "bottom" of the society also have European "blood", even if only a small proportion of European "blood".
 
Old 09-09-2011, 09:33 AM
 
230 posts, read 800,492 times
Reputation: 223
I don't think you can say the poor are all black that is for sure, but I think you can say with some exceptions the elites are overwhelmingly white, even if the have some Indian or Black blood. But having a little black or Indian blood does not make you not white. Even in the US this idea of one drop rule was never applied to people with Indian blood and was not consistently applied to people with black blood in every state thoughout history. This is why when DNA tests have been done in the US many whites (but still a minority) have some black or Indian blood. That doesn't make them all the sudden not white.
 
Old 09-09-2011, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
2,810 posts, read 4,831,655 times
Reputation: 1607
Quote:
Originally Posted by angiec1079 View Post
Very well said!

I am first generation American (my father came to the US in 1974). He is from Fortaleza...and has indigenous, african, and european (he believes from Denmark if you go back far enough) ancestry, while my mother is white (Polish and Russian a few generations back). I never know where to "classify" myself here.

My mom says my brothers and I are are considered "white Hispanic", but I don't know. We all have dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. We can easily pass as Italian. How do you think we should be categorized? In case you weren't aware, this question is asked quite frequently...when applying for a job....a mortgage...a drivers license... registering to vote...

Is your father from Fortaleza? Cool! I live in Fortaleza! Some people here have a very far away and diluted Dutch ancestry, because this territory was dominated by the Dutch for some decades in the 17th century (the village of Fortaleza was founded around a fortress built by the Dutch).

This thing of "classification" sucks. Here in Brazil, nobody is obsessed about this. The only situation when we have to "classify" our "race" (we prefer to say "skin color") in Brazil is during the Census, when the Census worker asks you to choose an option. I always choose "pardo", a category that may mean a wide range of skin tones, from "olive" (my case) to "brown".

I don't think you should be classified as "Hispanic" in the US, because your father is Brazilian, and Brazilians don't speak Spanish. I think that "Latino" is a better classification to Brazilians in the US than "Hispanic".
 
Old 09-09-2011, 12:31 PM
 
Location: West Coast
1,190 posts, read 2,240,653 times
Reputation: 2100
I always thought Brazilians just considered themselves Brazilians. They seem to identify themselves nationally instead of racially. Brazil is made up of people of various skin shades and phenotypes. Pretty much like the U.S. in that regard.
 
Old 09-09-2011, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
2,810 posts, read 4,831,655 times
Reputation: 1607
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joy74 View Post
I always thought Brazilians just considered themselves Brazilians. They seem to identify themselves nationally instead of racially. Brazil is made up of people of various skin shades and phenotypes. Pretty much like the U.S. in that regard.

Yes. Brazilians identify themselves nationally, and also by state. A Brazilian born in the state of Sao Paulo identify himself as "paulista", a Brazilian born in the state of Minas Gerais identify himself as "mineiro", a Brazilian born in the state of Ceará identify himself as "cearense", a Brazilian born in the state of Bahia identify himself as "baiano", etcetera. This regional identity by state is far more important than any racial identity.
 
Old 09-09-2011, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,988 posts, read 36,999,818 times
Reputation: 9574
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalaMan View Post
- Most Brazilians don't care about race. They don't even think about it. It's very usual to see couples formed by a white blonde guy and a black woman, or vice versa. It doesn't mean that there is no racism in Brazil at all, but "racism" here is much more "elitism" than real racism: some people discriminate the poor, regardless of race.
Which is exactly what I loved about Brazil.

I noticed the same thing...on a social level, you could hang with ANYONE...very common to see mixed racial friends.

It is quite unusual to see that in the U.S., usually you see a group of all black or a group of all white. If you see they are mixed, it is usually for some very specific function - a basketball game or some other one-off thing to bring them together.

I'd MUCH prefer the Brazilian way of everyone just hanging with everyone else without any kind of racial dividing line.
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