Black Relaions in Brazil Essay

Submitted By elmgrent
Words: 807
Pages: 4

Black In Latin America / Brazil: A Racial Paradise?
In Brazil, Professor Gates explores how this “rainbow nation” is waking up to it's legacy as the world's largest slave economy. An estimated 4.8 million African slaves were brought to Brazil over 500 years ago when Portuguese slave trades were high with the country and sugar farming was the countries number one resource. The slaves brought with them their religion, culture, and music. Approximately 75 million people remain in Brazil with ties to African descent and Brazil is the second largest black population in the world next to Nigeria. Brazil was the last country in the western hemisphere to abolish slavery in 1888. However, they were the first to claim that they were free of racism a declare there nation a racial democracy. Many of the countries African descendents believe this is a myth and believe that racism does exist within Brazil. The Brazilian people themselves do not distinguish race as we do here in the United States, the refer to racial categories as colors such as “Moreno” or “Negro” but in different shades, but never distinguish anyone differently based merely on the appearance of their skin tone. According to Joao Reis professor of history at the Federal University of Bahia, their were ten times as many slaves brought to Brazil as to the United States during the history of the slave trades because the Portuguese controlled many of the ports in the Caribbean and Africa during the time period of 1502-1867 which gave them easier access to transport slaves the shorter distances to Brazil. Also, slavery was much more barbaric in Brazil because the slaves were easily replaced. Plantation owners did not allow slaves to be armed, so the slaves found a way to organize and learned how to defend themselves through learning Capoeira. The art form is known by quick and complex moves, using mainly power kicks, leg sweeps, knee strikes, take downs, elbow strikes, punches, and head butts. It was a form of training used by the slaves and disguised as a dance when the Calvary came in case they had to defend themselves. This art form is still practiced today in Brazil. The film also gave some information about Candomblé wich is an African religion with oral tradition, mainly practiced in Brazil by the “povo de santo.” It is based on the soul of nature.
The film also described Chica da Silva who was a woman born into slavery, that became one of the most powerful women in colonial Brazil when she started a romance with her very wealthy owner Joao Fernandes de Oliviera who was a diamond mine owner and one of the richest men in colonial Brazil who fell in love with her and set her free. When the churches condemned his actions, he built his own church and went against them for her. Together they had 13 children; raising them in white society and refusing to be treated as colored. Professor gates also spoke with Dora Alves (a black activist and hair stylist) who believes