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2012/12/17 George Corley <[log in to unmask]>:
> On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 2:11 PM, Leonardo Castro <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> It's used by most Brazilians. I think it's only avoided by more
>> "cultured", "refined" people. Brazilians are very mixed racially, and
>> "consciência racial" is a concept that just very recently is becoming
>> spread here. Among lower classes, people can talk about "bad hair"
>> when referring to "kinky hair" and never even think that there's
>> something "racial" behind it. Actually, there are black people here
>> who *don't* know that they are black.
>
> For some reason, this makes me think to my adult reaction to _The Three
> Caballeros_, which has an incredibly white-washed depiction of Brazil and
> Mexico.  I suppose when I was a kid I didn't know better, but once I saw it
> after having studied as a Spanish major I was quite surprised to see a
> Brazil with no black people

Indeed. In the part below, they cite many elements of the
Afro-Brazilian culture, such as dishes of Yoruba origin (vatapá,
caruru) and the word "iaiá" (grandmother in yoruba) that is repeated
many times, but there is not even one black person in the video (maybe
only some non-evident mixed-race people).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFJEXH3MVAc

BTW, Carmen Miranda, a major symbol of Brazilian culture, was not even
Brazilian, she was Portuguese. Just like the USA needed Elvis Presley
as the greatest symbol of Rock music and Frank Sinatra as a
popularizer of many Jazz songs, Brazil also needed white people as the
symbol of cultural elements that were mostly related to black people
before.

The most internationally recorded Brazilian song is "Mas que nada",
which most non-Brazilians think to have been composed by Sérgio
Mendes. And I myself thought that Tom Jobim created the Bossa Nova
genre from scratch (inspired in Jazz and Samba) but only recently I
knew that there was a black guy in its beginning, Johnny Alf, who were
admired by Tom Jobim who called him "Genialf".

> and a Mexico with no obvious mestizos or
> American Indians.

Mexican soap operas are popular in Brazil. Most famous actors there
are very white-looking compared to most of Mexican people. BTW, here's
an interesting street interview video about Mexican people racial
self-identification:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e6ChgL1EC4

>  The US itself has had a lot of different classifications in the past.
>  I've heard that at one point Irish and Italians were not considered
> "white".  There also used to be a rule on the books that one drop of black
> blood made you black -- which leads to a situation where there are quite a
> few people who look totally Caucasian but still self identify as black.
>  And I believe some American Indian tribal governments may still require
> people to prove they are at least 1/4 American Indian.

I have once said in a anglophone forum that I would found a white
pride movement because I'm at least 1/4 white, just to see the
reactions... I should add that this fraction is mainly Portuguese,
which some Nordic people don't consider as white.

BTW, it seems that there is some chromatic relativism in this kind of
definition. In an interview of the National Geographic magazine, a
Khoisan man referred to Bantu people as "black" in opposition to their
own skin color. He said something like this: "First we were dominated
by the black people, then by the white people...".

The black-white contrast might have been applied to Egyptian-Greek,
Bantu-Khoisan, Thai-Chinese, etc. Arabic people is special because
they are considered as obviously white by some people and as obviously
non-white by others.

In Brazil, the "Mediterranean race" (either from South and from North)
is usually considered white, and the "Nordic race" is sometimes
distinguished from them with the expression "galego" (lit.
"Galician"). But what are "branco" and "galego" to some people are
"moreno" and "branco" to others. I myself always thought that
Nordic-like people looks more pink than white, while Japanese people
skin looks much more chromatically white to my eyes.