sexta-feira, 17 de agosto de 2012

Brazil, a Racial Paradise

Years back during my visit to Brazil I received a warm red-carpet welcome, and it happened repeatedly. Well, I come from one of the most racial countries in the world with foundations laid rigidly on religion and castes. In Brazil, I am being well respected, admired, guided and entertained by people around me, essential ingredients for surfing around. People easily recognize me with my bizarre Portuguese accent or the Vibhuthi (the sacred ash) on my forehead. Brazil is a country which embraces foreigners with open hands, which is evident from the Christ the Redeemer.  
Brazil is a truly multicultural (hybrid) country in the world. It has 3 major racial stocks - the American Indian, Negro and European white. An ideal recipe for harmony, a society with mixed heritage and diversity. Racism is less visible or rather a petty topic for discussion. It turns out to be a perfect place for humanity to survive and share.

I have been observing recently!  Most of the Brazilian magazines or the TV programs whether it is a news channel or Novelas  ( serials) are packed with white skinned models . If you switch on TV one will notice what I am talking about, a display limited to white skins and Brazilian Prados (Brown). I also noticed the limited presence of blacks at work environment. These findings need to be seriously considered and evaluated.   

Is Brazil a racial Paradise or racial haven?

Brazil was the last country to abolish slavery in the new world (1888). It is home to the 2nd largest black community in the world after Nigeria. Brazil has more blacks than in USA. During the slavery period about 8 million Africans were brought into Brazil to work in the plantations (Sugarcane and later to coffee) and mines. The slaves were treated heinously and indifferently, but unlike USA they were later freed or had the right to buy lands or save the other slaves. Also, the Portuguese men mingled easily with African women and they openly accepted the fatherhood. 
A renowned scholar of 20th century Gilberto Freyre in his book, says " with respect to race relations the Brazilian situation is probably the nearest approach to paradise to be found anywhere in the world"

After the abolishing of slavery, the government administered a "whitening" policy by immigrating millions of Europeans. A catalyst to an overwhelming exchange of colors and resulted in mixed heritage. As on 2008, PNAD (Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios) provides the following findings: 48.43% (white), 6.84% (Black), 43.80 %(Pardos/Brown), 0.58% (Asian), 0.28%(Indigenous) and 0.07% (Undeclared)
In the documentary "Brazil a racial paradise”  by Afro-American Professor Henry Louis Jr takes a one-step deeper observation on the racial discrimination in Latin America. His excellent research brought explicit information’s curtailing the racism in Brazil. He interviews famous artists, activists and receives their version of criticism. Zezé Motta, the actor of the famous 1976 Brazilian film "Xica da Silva", scorns "Her producer did not wanted to cast her in this film, because the producer felt she was very ugly".  She adds "until recently blacks were considered ugly". Abdias Nascimento, a civil rights legend condemns that the governments propagated the message that blacks are treated equal, which he thinks is a huge lie.

However, the changing governments has seriously considered the situation and taken actions. Since 2001 more than 70 public universities have installed racial admission quotas.

On the flip side the historians claims that racial discrimination is relatively mild compared to the Brazilian epidemic called social classes.  Social Classes are defined by social status, money, influence and so on. Brazil community basically forms a pyramid structure, which is typically divided by segments (class A, B, C, D, E, F).  Bottom of the pyramid is largely constituted by the black community mostly spread across the shanty towns or inconvenient neighborhoods.  

Brazil is eventually changing and is standing proud as the most influential countries for all types of cultural communities. Tremendous campaigns have been initiated and promoted to nail down racism. Thanks to the institutionalization of affirmative action. Brazil is truly a global center of cultural harmony, diversified spiritual practices and magnetism of tourist attractions.

Interesting articles

terça-feira, 14 de agosto de 2012

Uncovering Brazil Rio beaches

Uncovering the hidden beach treasures of Rio de Janeiro. The Atlantic forest descends into vast coastal region, mostly clean and different soil types. These coast lines are enormous, spectacularly craved rocks and yet some are hostile because of the rough waves.

During my journey, I had the privilege to visit many beaches, experiment delicious beach foods, met different sects of people, music, dance and lots of nature. Each stop in Brazil gave me surprises and memories. Here are some of the captures during my recent trip from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro