Tragicmulattoes's Blog

August 27, 2010

Brazil, Eu sou orgulhoso

Filed under: Uncategorized — tragicmulattos @ 1:23 am

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This summer has been overwhelming (in a good way, for the most part). I traveled. I formed new friendships. I let go of bad ones. I took time to really look at myself. Not to get sappy, but change really IS beautiful. Even if you haven’t reached your goal, there is beauty in the movement.

I’ve met several AfroBrazilians over the years and they’ve always taught me so much. I must admit, I’ve embarrassed myself with sweeping assumptions about Latin America that they’ve politely corrected. They make me really proud of the work that has been done internationally for civil rights, but also for the transformation of the Black identity in Brazil. I get a sense of ferment there-EXCITEMENT about who they are and what they’re claiming to be. This article really drove that home.  Isn’t it funny how, as Brazil makes overt strides towards racial equality, people are choosing to simply identify as Black rather than the 900 label variations for non-White they’ve created to keep a solid racial hierarchy? It’s like people are realizing “the jig is up”.

Just as descendents of Brazil’s runaway slaves are finding their voice – and telling the census takers about it – so too are Brazil’s officially black and indigenous communities swelling as a growing number of Brazilians label themselves “black” or “indigenous” rather than “mulatto” when the census takers come knocking.

“People are no longer scared of identifying themselves or insecure about saying: ‘I’m black, and black is beautiful,’ ” Brazil’s minister for racial equality, Elio Ferreira de Araujo, told the Guardian.

For the first time in Brazilian history, this year’s census will map out the different indigenous languages spoken in Brazil and register the number of same-sex relationships. It will also ask people their “ethnicity” – a thorny issue in a country that has long regarded itself as a racial melting pot and the rainbow nation of the Americas.

Read more here: Brazil’s Census Offers Recognition at Last to Descendants of Runaway Slaves