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Full Episode: Brazil: A Racial Paradise?

In Brazil, Professor Gates delves behind the façade of Carnival to discover how this ‘rainbow nation’ is waking up to its legacy as the world’s largest slave economy.

  • Jane

    As Haitian Canadian wow I love everything about this series thank you. I am so sick of people treating blacks last and the worst of all people and they have the nerves to hate us but use our cultures to there advantages. If you hate us then do not use anything black or african stop stealing our beautiful cultures throughtout the world. We blacks are here to stay we will never go away education is the way for our people. Keep making series like this so black all over know what great things our people have done and come together as one.

    Sosa Domingo
    I agree with you 100% it isn’t Taino or Indian in latin america It is BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA
    stop the Taino thing on here people let us blacks shine. I am black and I care about black people and people who are mixed with black and I have a mixed son white and black we will know about black people all over. I also tell his white father about blacks all over and he is shocked and amazed about the great facts and truth.

  • Diogo

    I think most of people comments is not valid, simply because they try to view Brazil with an american background. Americans need’s to get the point: Black people in Brazil see/feel themselves very different them an american black seen/feel themselves. Brazil is said to be 50% Mulato, 20% Black and 30% white, but in reality 90% born children today has some african decedent. The Brazilian Culture was homogenized and cemented with diversity.

  • Mikel Dieppa

    Thanks so much Megan. You just made my day. So glad you found us!

  • Ahmed Muse

    I am Somalian, A black from Africa, I feel sorry about for what is happening in Brazil, Black need to become as one to tackle this problem not only black Brazilians but all blacks in the world.

  • Paulo Victor

    Very nice video but it doensnt finish the question. There are a large number of aspects and cities to be visited with the porpouse of showing how deep is Brazilian racism. It is encrusted to our mentality. Our race problem will not disappear as soon as we hope. But We must to have hope like said Abdias do Nascimento.
    by the end of the video You have left a little big mistake: IT DOENST MATTER OUR DNA COMPOSITION! OUR RACISM IS FUNDAMENTALY A SOCIAL ISSUE. We do are a HIBRID nation. BUT this quality is far from help to solve our brazilian every-day black people genocide.

  • Paul

    I always knew this…even with all the hoopla when White Western countries “find” Brazin.

    So true what Ac another psoter said said:

    “If you look at the economic stats, the majority of Blacks in Brazil are disenfranchised. I was there in 1996 and noticed that all white Brazilians hold over 99.9 percent of the wealth, hold the best jobs, hold the best opportunities, and have the best education. The system is set up so that elementary education has to be paid for and college is free. The disparities are systematic and are not going to change. Segregation is obvious.”

    Its like that in most Latin countries. most of these countries still operate on a COLONIAL SKIN COLOUR STRATA.

    And people who are in the middle of it, or white and part of that system cannot see it at all. While most of them can live in a life better that some many people in the U.S, have important jobs, have house maids, and can go on vacations…while the largest part, barely eke out a living.

    Dina Scherrer says: May 4, 2011 at 9:57 pm
    I am Brazilian and was so disappointed with the show…. Prof Gates had his on agenda and wants the world to believe there is a racial issue in Brazil.
    That is not true. Nobody cares about your color. There is no separation or segregation. There is true that blacks have a social disadvantage due to Brazil’s slave heritage , but the problem is to be solved with education, and not with this racial American mentality

    Yeah Diana, whats the story from White government and the large white wealthy families and companies who own and control most of the wealth.
    The quicker you drop that nonsense and look at the slums the better for everyone in Brazil..
    And easier it would be for Brazil to get a part piece of the new economic pie that’s currently developing.
    Brazil will have to do that if it wants to compete with India, China and other Asian countries

    I hate what I see in latin American countries and the way non white and dark skin latin people are treated AND their place in those society.

    Thats why when socially leaning people like Chavez get into office it always seems like a good thing at the start, as YOU HOPE THEY WOULD TRY AND START SOME SYSTEM AND REDISTRIBUTE THE WEALTH.

    I feel annoyed when I see White Colombians, Mexicans and Latin Americans studying at the colleges here in Canada, or taking taking English classes (I’m sure it’s the same in the States too). Because I know for them to be able to this they have to be rich. I feel that some NON WHITE Latin Americans, should have the same opportunity too.

  • Carlos R.

    As much as I admire Dr. Gates’ work in African American studies, this entire series for each country demonstrates that his expertise is NOT Latin American studies. Dr. Gates perspective in Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Peru and the D.R were seen through the prizm of United States history as if the histories, traditions and ethnic identities of the latter countries were irrelevant or second class. He asks why Brazil has never had a civil rights movement like the US. Well, he assummes that Brazil had to have one like the United States. He failed to recognize that Brazil never had a civil war either, and it certainly would never have had a civil war over slavery. In the Dominican Republic he labeled everyone as black, when most mixed race people there do not consider themselves black per se, because black in the D.R. means very black. He failed to understand that the “one-drop” rule that plagues United States racial history is first of all a lie in the US, and second not applicable in Latin America. In Mexico, he said that the dance steps of the local were the influence of African percussion, when I saw the influence of Spain’s folkloric dances. Professor Gates saw what he wanted to see. Professor Gates had his own agenda.

  • Nikky

    I liked this series. 2 things I wanted to point out: First, with hair straigtening, something similar occurs in black Africa. The curly hair is often seen as difficult to manage and it is. Straigtening obviously makes one’s life easier. In Africa, it might not be equated to low self esteem as here.
    Second, Africa is a large continent. True, it has the largest population of black people. HOWEVER, Africa is NOT ALL BLACK. There are many Arabs and people of other descent living on the continent who are NOT black. Using Africa as a synonym for Black Africa really ignores the other peoples who live on our wonderful continent. It is my sincerest hope that we do not forget the other peoples who live on our continent when making movies about Africa. They are Africans. Remember that.

  • Ahmed Muse

    I would like to specify little more of what I have written above, what is happening here is a silent apartheid, the ciity where blacks are 90% out those who get hgher education are only10%, poverty among them are almost all,Blacks need revolution in which will free them from current situation, they must unite as one.

  • Ana

    It is sad that people don’t want to see the obvious. There is no racial democracy in Brasil. Most people are VERY racist, including the blacks who deny that they are black. The so many shades of black and brazilians want to hide on the skin they are in. If you are light skinned -Lucky you- Otherwise is a daily struggle to survive, without being arrested or killed. That’s the reality.
    It is so fake, that even the so called leader for blacks’ rights Abdias Nascimento, neglected a woman that he got pregnant in the 60’s and refused to accept responsibility over the black child he fathered. when my grandfather confronted him, he simply said NO to my mother and I.

  • Judith

    I am so very glad this series is repeating in Feb. 2012. I missed it last year. The Brazil entry is my first
    but I want view the entire series! Thanks to Dr. Gates and PBS for this enlightening experience.!!

  • Valerie

    I am late on this series but I’m glad it’s repeating on PBS now. I’ve always been a little infatuated with the history of Brazil since I’ve learned that more Africans were transported there during the slave trade than to America. From the outside looking in, you would think a country with such a beautiful array of colors in their people would not see race but I know better. I know many Brazilian people and they have informed me that Brazilians are more concern with class than race. Unfortunately the skin color issue and class issue go hand and hand.

  • Nicky Francis

    Firstly, As a black Uk born citizen living in Rio, I think Dr Gates did an excellent job of capturing the feelings & inequalities of being BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA. Brasil’s problems are complex. But one thing you can be sure of there is a strong elite/ One of us Culture. This means that you will get more dinner invites/ I’ll introduce you to my bank manager if your white or even better white Italian living in Brasil.
    On many ocassions I have been in meetings or situations where I am not treated the same as my counterparts, one example is someone talking down to you, as if you were a child.
    I suffered Racism in England growing up, & lived to see things slowly improving. The difference in Brazil is that because the colour mixture can range from being subtle, to opposite sides of the spectrum & they have lived side by side for so long, the hatred isn’t as harsh as it was as in England, where the ancestry of the country was white, & then, Black people landed & there was no way they could easily pass for white.So to feel the differences of being Black in Brazil , you would really need a month of being dark skinned & not just a day of being coffee coloured to feel 2nd class.
    As for the No.1 desireable woman in Brasil, I don’t know which state of Brasil some people are living in, but you only need to do a quick test here in Rio & take one ‘Morena’ & one real ‘Loira’ (blonde) onto the streets or club atmosphere & see who the Brasilian hits on & wants to marry ( not just fornicate) & the results will speak for themselves.
    Being black gains you very few advantages in Brazil, And its only sad that some Brasilians are still in denial.
    Slaves grafted their lives away in Latin America & people are quick to criticise affirmative action as a poor way to readdress the inbalances, but not so quick to offer a better alternative.
    If left to them they would simply say let bygones be bygones. I think If I was a slavemaster or brainwashed i’d say the same thing!

  • Simone

    As a Brazilian, I think this video is valuable to the extent that it shows partially the reality of race relations in Brazil, especially for Americans. However, it’s important to make it clear that elementary school and high school in Brazil is free, although the quality is questionable (it varies from state to state, city to city). There are public schools in some cities which make a difference, while many others are bad, the teachers are badly paid, and violence is the norm, pretty much the same as in the US. There are private schools which prepare better for the entrance exam for the public universities (which are not paid). However, now, students of African and indigenous descent, or coming from public schools, have quotas at the public universities, and at private ones too, through government programs that finance their studies.
    Concerning the beauty salons there are no separate ones for blacks, salons are a free space for every woman or man who wants to take care of their appearance (Brazilians love to look beautiful!). In this aspect, the whole population has much more access to these services than Americans do, because prices are not expensive as in the US. Brazilian women of low, middle, and upper classes go to the salon every week for manicure, pedicure, and have their hair done (for whatever service they want, not only to straighten hair).
    What happens is that almost every woman (not me!) does want to straigthen their hair, adhering to a fashion imported from the US. Even white women now go to salons to straight their hairs. It is true that there is a pervasive racism in Brazil, but we don’t see the tensions and separation as I see in the US, that claims to have resolved the race issues. At the university I go to as a grad student, for example, a few months ago, there was a painting on a tree displaying the KKK symbol… As a light-skinned black Brazilian, I was in fear for the first time because of my skin color and nationality.

  • Miguelina Giambastiani

    I am happy to have had the opportunity to watch this video produced by Dr. Gates and published by PBS. The learning experience in this video was both educational and helpful. Learning about the root of the African people that came to Brazil and later to the United States as slaves helped me to understand more the African American and Blacks in Latin America.

  • Laura Kimmick

    Excellent documentary! Please produce sequels of Black In Latin America. My friends watch the documentary with me on DVD. When my family and I were in Quito, Ecuador, I donated a non Blu-Ray DVD to the organization South American Explorers.

  • Brasilia

    Hello, anybody there lives here in Brazil? I dont mean Rio or Salvador, Brazil is more. There are not black or white there are poor and rich people. Come on awake!

  • Zuleide R Leonardo

    While watching this awesome video today, my computer has encountered technical difficulties.
    The same type of difficulties blacks in Latin America have been facing via despicable status quo Casa Grande, Sensala attitudes. I will not give up on watching the entire video. Every black latino need to make an effort to buy the video. How often black latin and south americans are ever on the tv spotlight?
    Although due to “technical difficulties” found on my view of this video today, the part I was able to watch was satisfiying….Finally! I now have a film reflecting how black brazilians and black latin americans have been treated all these years! Blacks in South and Latin Americans need to be united to be valued.
    When opportunities are open! The Status Quo only see the most black part of our faces and features.
    If you do not know about the Jim Crow laws in the US? Brazil has been adopting for so long on the TV and Media!
    Do not accept to be forced to see only one side of God’s Creation Types! If really God’s Creation!

  • André Kenji De Sousa

    “Most people are VERY racist, including the blacks who deny that they are black.”

    No, it´s not. Brazilians do not like to be classified by race, like Americans do. I´m a descendant of Japanese immigrants, but I hate to be called by names associated to Japanese or Asians because I´m a Brazilian. My friends that have Black African Ancestry have the same right than I do to say that they are Brazilians, not Black, African-whatever or what else.

    Besides that, Brazil is not a racial democracy, but AMericans are hardly the best people to say about what Brazilians should do about race.

  • Rosangela

    I am Brazilian! I was born there and lived there most of my life. To have this man , who in recent past, tried to transform a simple Police action into a racist action, go to my country and claim that we are racists is a disparage. This man is nothing but a junk intellectual. His over inflated pride on his alleged “intelligence” is laughable. We in Brazil, are not racist. I can can a black man nego, and the black man is not angry at me, no white man in USA can do what I do in Brazil. You will be eaten alive. In BRazil, we are not white or black. We are all mixed. Contrary to Americans, we believe that race is for dogs. You are no better than me because you have blue eyes. Unfortunately , in TV and movies, all the “good guys” were always white, all the magazines shows whites. That , of course, made the people who do not have straight hair think that something was wrong with their hair. But , today, we all know that the media lies to no end. And that , too, is a lie. How many beautiful curly hair I see in Brazil, and I am seeing here in the USA. What is not right , is that here in the USA, there is an exacerbation about being black. You guys have to learn to see a person by its heart and personality. Today, calling a black guy as black in USA is invitation for PC police to destroy you and this, my friend: IS RACISM against white. SO, learn with us, leave breed for dogs, where it belongs.

  • Rainor

    “One drop” rule is the most racist thing ever. If a guy has 1% of african blood (whatever that it means) he is considered “black”, even if his skinn are pale. And he can’t consider himself white ou european couse the “racist brigades” will call him a racist. That rule is the most pure nazism.

  • Fernando

    Good series, containing some inaccuracies though. The chapters on Cuba, Santo Domingo & Haiti and Brazil are great, but there should have been a chapter devoted to Colombia & Venezuela (both 20% of Blacks) and Uruguay (8%). Anyway, thanks for sharing with us such an interesting and dramatic history.

  • Marlon

    No matter what genes you have, what matters is whether you really looks black or white in Brazil or anywhere in the world, because nobody asks you if you black or white. Here in Brazil all live in peace, but with a lot of racism

  • Rodrigo

    I am Brazilian, and has a beauty salon for blacks or whites. In Brazil all are equal, and have the same rights.

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