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August 29th, 2006
Ransom City
Photo Essay: The many shades of Brazil

Characterizing the racial breakdown of Brazil is even more complex than characterizing that of America. For more than 500 years, the intermarriage of indigenous Indians, Europeans, and Africans has produced a Brazilian culture of uniquely blended ethnicities, where almost 40 percent of the population is mulatto (mixed white and black). Despite a wide range of complexions, religions, and histories, and some racial discrimination and tensions throughout history, Brazilian society remains for the most part unified. However, recent bills proposing job-preferment quotas for people of African ancestry, akin to Affirmative Action policies in the U.S., may introduce new racial dividing lines. WIDE ANGLE presents a photo essay of the faces, the identities, and the shades of modern Brazil.

  • gowithGod

    “Characterizing the racial breakdown of Brazil is even more complex than characterizing that of America.”
    I don’t think this statement is true. There are many “Blacks” in America who a “racially”(if that’s even a real term, since there is only one race). It’s just that “Blacks” in America are proud of the endeavors of the Black in America, thus we hold on even though our hair colors are red, blond, and brunette. Blacks in America have varying skin tones, eye-colors, BUT is that what determined race these days? I think the people of Brazil need to have a biology and genetics lesson to clarify how things work. As a fair-skinned, redheaded “Black” in America who has a German great-grandfather, I am here to say that American “Blacks” are not just stereotyped ideas of what people think is Black.

  • Adrian MD

    To comment on the passage and the first commenter. I am American black, and It amuses me how American blacks (such as the first commenter) make issues pertaining to “Black ethnicity” about themselves; then glorify themselves as being “other than black” (FYI: your DNA isn’t traced from the female).THIS IS ABOUT THE BRAZILIANS! However, their is some truth in the first commenter’s path before they strayed…If the Affirmative Action law is now in place, a simple genetics test can be performed for accuracy for those interested. Affirmative Action is only implemented to establish equality…because it’s a known factor that Black people of African descent are still viewed as dirty, illiterate, undeserving, SLAVES, by all nationalities even including some of their own (i.e. the lighter skinned, or land-inherited blacks). SINCERELY

  • george

    we are all one people black or whites, God created all mankind in His likeness. I don’t see any reason for racism in our mode of thing, be true to ourselves.

  • Robert

    I am in love with this country!!! Next Year I am planning on seeing Sao Paulo. I cannot Wait!!!

  • sydney

    I love Brazil! Brazil is FAR MORE diverse than the United States & I love how the Brazilian people celebrate their diversity. Unfortunately, here in America a lot of people try to push biracial people, like myself, to choose one “side” of their multiracial heritage. As time grows on, the American society is starting to accept multiracials identifying ourselves as “multiracials”. We are beautiful people, and it’s about time people stop forcing us to choose a side, but even our first biracial President, Barack Obama, is still labeled a black man when he is clearly not a full blood black person.
    Brazilians, thank you for acknowledging the blended beauties of your country. It’s nice to see a nation that celebrates the multiracial heritage of there people!

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