THE POSITION OF BLACKS
IN BRAZILIAN SOCIETY
"another important contribution...from this increasingly important group '
mrg Report No. 7
The MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP is an international research
and information unit registered in Britain as an educational
trust under the ChannuIes Act of 1960. Its principal aims are -
To secure justice for minority or majorityy groups suffering discrimination, by
investigating their situation and publicising the facts as widely as possible, to
educate and alert public opinion throughout the world.
To help prevent, through publicity about violations of human rights, such problems
from de'elopiLng into dangerous and destructive conflicts which. when polarised, are
very difficult to resolve: and
To foster, by its research 'indinris international understanding o-i the factors
which create pr.,-iudic..d treatment and er.'t"r tensions, thus 1 pir.' to promote
the growth of a world conscience regarding human rights.
The Minority Rights Group urgently needs further funds for its work. Please contribute
what you can. MRG is eligible to receive a covenant if you prefer.
A SPONSORS Lady Butler
:mrr Erwin D. Canham
-' Milovan Djilas
Dr Robert Gardiner
Dr Joseph Needham
COUNCIL Rt Hon Jo Grimond. MP Chairman
Professor Sir Robert Birley
George W. Cadbury
George Go,. d:r
Professor Roland Oliver
Rev Michael Scott
Prof'--:'r Hugh Tinker
Canon M.A.C. Warren
DIRECTOR Ben Whitaker
OFFICE Benjamin Franklin House
36 Craven Street
London \\C\ 5NG
The report that f/ll.ni has been commissioned, and is published, by the .fi,.,'riy Rights Group as a
contribution to public understanding of the problem which forms its subject. It does not necessarily
represent, in every detail and in all its aspects, the collective view of the Group.
For details of the other reports published by the
Minority Rights Group. please see the back cover.
THE POSITION OF BLACKS
IN BRAZILIAN SOCIETY
by Anani Dzidzienyo
The Position of Blacks
in Brazilian Society
Notes and References
From the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, adopted by the
General Assembly of the United
Nations on 10th December 1948:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act
towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth
in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as
race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion,
national or social origin, property, birth or other status ..
In 1500, Pedro Alves Cabral of Portugal landed in Porto Seguro, near Salvador,
the capital of the state of Bahia. But it was not until 1530 that the first Portuguese
colonists arrived. Two years later the Portuguese founded Sao Vicente (near Santos,
the port of Sao Paulo) later destined to become an important sugar cane centre. In
1548 a government for the new possession was created in Salvador Bahia, which became
the first capital of Brazil in 1549 and was to remain so until 1763.
African slaves were imported into Brazil by the colonists to work in the sugar
cane plantations, just as they were brought to other parts of the New World. Slavery
was to continue in Brazil until 1888, sixty-six years after Brazil had attained indepen-
dence from Portugal and one year before it became a republic. During the course of
the transatlantic slave trade it is estimated that about 3, 647, 000 men, women and
children were imported into Brazil, of whom about 1,200, 200 went to Bahia alone.
Salvador Bahia was thus to become the most African of Brazilian cities, and even today
aspects of African culture and customs (Afro-Brazilian religious cult-houses, folklore,
dietary habits, etc.) are very visible in everyday life.
Close connections were maintained between Brazil and the West coast of Africa,
and some ex-Bahians (Baianos, Baianas) who returned to West Africa became master
craftsmen, traders, and so on. Brazilian influence is especially noticeable in Lagos,
which has a Brazilian quarter where Bahian customs are observed and where buildings
have a distinctive Bahian flavour. A similar situation exists in Dahomey, while in
Nigeria, Ghana and Togo there are families which descend from the Bazilians who re-
turned to West Africa in the last century.
Other parts of Brazil which had received sizeable numbers of African slaves
are Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul and
Parand. In the early 1870's Brazil's population was estimated to be about ten million,
of which the following were slaves:
BRAZIL'S SLAVE POPULATION IN THE EARLY 1870's
State or Province Number of Slaves
Rio de Janeiro 304, 744
Minas Gerais 235,155
Sao Paulo 169,964
Rio Grande do Sul 69,366
According to the 1872 census, which was the first general census taken in Brazil,
the population consisted of 3, 787,289 (38.14%) whites, 1, 954,543 (19. 68%) blacks, and
4,188, 737 (42. 18%) of mixed blood.
In 1890 the figures were 6, 308, 198 (43. 97%) whites, 2, 097, 426 (14. 63%) blacks,
and 5, 934, 291 (41.40%) of mixed blood.
By 1940 the figures were: 26,171, 778 (63.47%) whites, 6, 035,869 (14. 64%) blacks
and 8, 744,365 (21.20%) of mixed blood. In 1950, when it was estimated that the Brazilian
population had risen to 51, 944, 397, there were 32,027, 661 (61. 66%) whites, 5, 692,657
(10. 96%) blacks and 13, 786, 742 (26. 52%) of mixed blood. 1
At this time, in terms of geographical regions the East had 15.6% blacks in a popu-
lation of over eighteen million, the North East had 11% out of more than twelve million,
the South 6.5% out of nearly seventeen million, and the Central West 10% out of almost
In 1960 the Brazilian population was estimated at 70, 967, 185 and the projected
figure for the 1970 census is 96, 000, 000. 2 With this number of people and an area of
8,515, 965 square kilometres, Brazil ranks as one of the largest countries in the world,
and as a potentially major power.
It is said that the black or 'blacker' proportion of the Brazilian population has been
decreasing as a result of branqueamento (whitening), or the tendency for marriages and
unions to involve greater racial and colour mixing, which results in more people of
mixed blood, or of generally whiter complexion. There has also been a significant
European migration. In the case of Sao Paulo, for example, it is estimated that in 1854
foreign immigrants constituted only 3% of its population (922 people); by 1886, however,
the figure had increased to 25% (12, 985 people). The period between 1872 and 1886 con-
tinued to show a rapid rise in the city's white population. The proportion of foreigners
in the national population as a whole reached its peak in the 1900 census when it had
grown to 6.16%. Thereafter, however, the figures showed this downward progression:
One factor in this decrease is the large number of those, originally classed as
foreigners, who have chosen to take on Brazilian nationality. Portuguese, Italians,
Spaniards and Germans form the largest immigrant groups who have done so. There is
also a large Japanese community, centred mainly in Slo Paulo (both the city and state).
It may be said that there has been no significant black migration to Brazil since the days
of slavery and that blacks in the population today are descendants of the slaves.
The terms 'black' and 'dark' are used throughout to refer to those who are
recognisably black, and is more accurate than the expression 'people of colour' which
is the umbrella expression commonly used in Brazil to describe all non-white people,
with perhaps the exception of Chinese or Japanese.
1 For footnotes, see page 20
THE POSITION OF BLACKS IN BRAZILIAN SOCIETY
"In Brazil, there is no racism: the Negro knows his place. "
(A popular Brazilian saying)
The view of Brazil as the one country in the world where people of different races
live together in harmony and where opportunities are open to all irrespective of racial
background is definitely a misleading, if not a completely inaccurate description of the
Brazilian racial situation. The most effective way of ascertaining the reality is to look
at the socio-economic and political positions of black or dark Brazilians in their society.
But before doing this it is necessary to question the validity of another widely-held
opinion about the Brazilian racial situation, which is, that the successful intermingling
of the races has gone on for so long that it is now impossible to say with any degree of
certainty who is black and who is white in Brazil. In fact, a sizeable proportion of the
Brazilian population approximately ten per cent out of 96 million people are recog-
nisably black or distinctly dark. Their presence does not belie the extent to which racial
intermingling has taken place, but it does bring out the bias which has been a hallmark
of the munch-vaunted Brazilian 'racial democracy' the bias that white is best and black
is worst and therefore the nearer one is to white, the better.
The hold which this view has on Brazilian society is all-pervasive and embraces
a whole range of stereotypes, role-playing, job opportunities, life-styles, and, what is
even more important, it serves as the cornerstone of the closely-observed 'etiquette'
of race relations in Brazil.
This etiquette dictates strongly against any discussion, especially in a controversial
manner, of the racial situation, and thus it effectively helps to perpetuate the pattern of
relationships which has been in existence since the days of slavery. Traditionally the
blacks are expected to be grateful to the whites for the kindnesses shown to them and to
continue to depend on the whites acting as patrons and benefactors to them; it is also
expected that the blacks will continue to accept the whites as the nation's official mouth-
piece, explaining to outsiders the 'unique' nature of Brazilian race relations. The
etiquette also decrees that official platitudes used to describe the Brazilian situation, like
'racial democracy', are to be accepted without question, while critical analysis or open
discussion of this delicate subject are strongly discouraged.
Until the Brazilian society frees itself from this self-imposed prohibition against
open discussion, the present idyllic picture of Brazilian race relations will continue to
predominate. Until then, the black Brazilian's position will indeed continue to be unique
among New World blacks, in that he alone will appear not to have profited from the new
consciousness which Africans and other blacks throughout the world are experiencing,
nor will he seem to have attained a greater consciousness of his position in relation to
the overall society in which he lives. The growth of black consciousness is discouraged
by the society's refusal to grant the black citizen the opportunity to realise his whole
identity including his black self by denying the significance which black development
(political, social and cultural) holds for him in particular and for Brazil in general.
At present the black man's position in Brazil can only be described as being
virtually outside the main stream of society. He is almost completely unrepresented
in any area involving decision-making; with relatively few exceptions he is not to be seen
in government, administration, business, or commerce, except at the lowest levels
where manual labour is required. The only areas where he plays a significant, rather
than menial, role are in football and entertainment; the reasons for his prominence here
will be explored later. It is enough to note here that the availability of these two particu-
lar avenues to blacks who wish to have a successful career and thereby benefit socially
and economically is not peculiar to Brazil; nor is this a new phenomenon. The implica-
tion here is that there are more parallels between the racial situation in Brazil and that
in other multi-racial countries than is generally acknowledged. Until there is an opportu-
nity for blacks to assert themselves in all sectors of the society, any claim that as a
group they possess equal rights must remain highly questionable; the voice of a solitary
Pele in a white wilderness or that of the exceptional musician or entertainer who has
'made it' through his exceptional ability or good fortune is not enough to validate such a
Until Brazilians stop reacting, both officially and unofficially, with 'hurt pride'
and dismay when questions are asked about the position of black citizens, Brazil will
continue undisturbed in its present ostrich-like posture, making any real improvement
in its racial situation unlikely, if not impossible. 4 There does exist a real opportunity
to create a more egalitarian society, but the way to achieve this is not by reiterating
often meaningless and misleading statements about the absence of overt racist practices
in Brazil, the existence of a twenty-year old anti-discrimination law, 5 the greater inter-
racial friendliness and mingling to be seen on the streets, particularly at carnival-time. 6
Even if all this were true, such things are not in themselves conclusive proof that racial
discrimination does not exist in Brazil, particularly in its more subtle manifestations.
In a society where social control mechanisms have traditionally been used with great
effect to ensure that one group remains dominant and the other dominated, it has not been
found necessary to enact rigid rules in order to ensure the continuance of the dominant-
dominated relationship. Were legal precepts alone proof that racial justice and harmony
exist, it would be a completely different story. The distinction between theory and practice
is very important in an assessment of the black Brazilian's position, because there are
no legal provisions which force him to remain in a disadvantaged position; there is, in
fact, no need for them because the economic, social and political structures of Brazil
are such that, by their very nature, they operate against the interests of the blacks. This'
kind of politico-socio-economic structure can effectively handle the rare black person
who manages to succeed despite all the odds against him, because his example does not
threaten to upset the fixed nature of existing unequal relationships. If anything, because
he has managed to 'make it', he will be used by the society as a 'pin-up' to support
the contention that Brazil is indeed a racial democracy. In fact a roll of honour exists
from which names are often cited to show that some 'people of colour' have been success-
ful the implication being of course that the rest could follow suit if they would only
try harder. Ignored here is the fact that had these few black Brazilians not been
exceptionally gifted or fortunate, they would not have attained success. 7
The term 'people of colour' is itself probably the greatest single factor contribu-
ting to the myth of the 'racial democracy' 8 for it is used to describe all non-white people
or 'mixed-bloods' a group which ranges from those completely black to those almost
white. What must be noted here is that, in practice, Brazilians make extremely fine
distinctions between subtle variations in skin tone, and that lighter-skinned Brazilians
do not consider it a compliment to be classified with dark or black people. So to group
all of them together under a blanket term is to distort the real situation. 9 In theory a
third category is recognized that of the mulato, which embraces those neither blacknor
white. This middle category, however, is further broken down into light and dark
mulatos, with the lightest-skinned passing over to the 'white' category, and the darkest
being included among the 'blacks'. Further, it must be noted that even this tripartite
classification does not mean that the dark-skinned mulato would consider himself to be
black; quite the contrary in fact. Moreover, because of this Brazilian obsession with
whiteness and blackness and the shades in between, with a concomitant emphasis on
features such as people's hair texture, nose shape and size of lips, there exist further
race and colour break-downs to the point where Brazilians have more than twenty different
expressions to distinguish colour variations between the two extremes of black and
Therefore, when the claim is made that Brazil has always offered the 'person of
colour' 11 or mixed blood equal opportunities, there is an ostensible lumping together
of all these people who are not in fact generally considered to be in the same racial/
colour category and who are not therefore accorded the same treatment. Hence, the
claim that 'people of colour' are to be found at all levels of society is inaccurate if black
or dark people are included in the term.
Another factor which has contributed to creating a false impression about the
Brazilian situation is the practice of denying the existence of significant racial simi-
larities between Brazil and the United States. This is done on the one hand by choosing
to emphasise certain points about the Brazilian racial scene which invariably bring out
its better aspects, while on the other hand stressing the worst aspects of the racial
situation in the USA. It is argued that what distinguishes Brazil from the United States
is the fact that in Brazil there is 'prejudice against appearance', while in the United
States one finds 'prejudice against origins'. The validity of this claim can best be
tested if we apply it to the Brazilians who look black; in their case, appearance and
origin cannot meaningfully be separated and the distinction is therefore found to be false.
There is a further element involved in this distinction: the existence of 'prejudice'
may be admitted, but not the action to which it leads that is, 'discrimination'.
' Prejudice is a state of mind while 'discrimination' involves prejudical action, so
that prejudice need not necessarily be followed by discrimination nor be concomitant
with it. People can thus be prejudiced without translating their prejudices into discrimi-
tory action, i. e. making distinctions in one's treatment of others that are not based on
fair and objective criteria equally applicable to everyone. 12 In a situation where it is
considered inadvisable to indulge in overt discrimination, refuge may-be taken in the
explanation that it is prejudice, not discrimination, which exists. In the Brazilian case
in particular, although it is often admitted that a certain amount of prejudice is felt against
dark persons, it is claimed that such prejudice does not involve actual discrimination.
It is argued further that this prejudice is not really directed against darker people
as such (that is, not on the basis of their colour), but rather against their low position
in society (that is, their socio-economic standing). The blacks, having originally been
brought to Brazil as slaves, were of course at the very bottom of the socio-economic
and, by implication, political pyramid; and with the abolition of slavery in 1888, they
were immediately thrown into a competitive socio-economic situation for which they
were quite unprepared and. hence, they were handicapped even before they could begin. 13
Thanks to the system of valorizing individuals as they begin to move up economically, it
would be assumed that those blacks and dark people who began to acquire technical and
professional skills could gradually move away from the base and edge upwards in the
socio-economic pyramid. If, then, the majority of blacks and dark-skinned people
remained at the very base as has happened this would not necessarily be regarded as
having a connection with their appearance and racial origins; instead the assumption
would be that they were suffering because they were poor. The expression generally
used in Brazil to characterise this phenomenon is 'money whitens', meaning that once
an individual of dark colour acquires money, he can literally buy himself out of the
black category and into the white category; because, the argument goes, along with
money come all the social benefits which are commonly associated with whiteness and
success in Brazil.
The reality, once again, is more complex. For example, the experience of one
black professional in Salvador, Bahia (the city with the largest recognisably black
population in Brazil) attests to the fact that for blacks professional qualifications and
economic status are not always synonymous with social success as is normally the case
with near-white and light-skinned people: The truth is, of course, that an individual's
blackness does not suddenly become invisible simply because he has acquired some
Of course it is unlikely that many blacks will be able to accumulate wealth, and
therefore some of the exceptional few who do may be accepted within the fold. Because
of their small numbers and because they have achieved a certain measure of success
within the existing system, such people are not likely to upset the overall pattern of
relationships between whites and blacks. Indeed, if anything, these people are more
likely to conform to than to challenge the patterns of the group to which they have been
admitted: firstly, because their success and inclusion in 'white' society is proof of
their personal abilities; and secondly, because it is unlikely that they will criticise the
system which has just accorded them so signal an honour. They thus become captives
of the situation and are often called upon to testify to the efficacy of the 'racial
democracy' which has enabled them to reach their relatively high positions.
This is one example of how most observers of the Brazilian racial scene can be,
and have been seduced by outward appearances. Also contributing to the image of racial
equality is the mingling of the races in the streets and public places where people of the
most beautiful colour combinations are to be seen, and in the shanty-towns (favelas).
There also seems to be a general acceptance of the myth that the Portuguese somehow
managed to initiate good race relations in Brazil, in spite of their own history as
slavetraders and the inegalitarian nature of their own society.
The Portuguese are said to have been much less bigoted than their Anglo-Saxon
counterparts in North America about mingling their blood with that of Indian and African
slave-women. Furthermore, the Catholic religion is thought to have had a humanising
influence on the slave-masters, in that it recognized the humanity of the slave and the
possibility that he had a soul which could be saved. Along with this ecclesiastical
recognition that the slave was not wholly without human rights, in the secular sphere
his rights were acknowledged in law. Thus, in theory and in law, the slave was allowed
the right to buy himself out of bondage, to get another slave to take his place (presuma-
bly by coercion or persuasion), and even to lodge complaints against his master.
Because these legal rights were known to exist, the position of black Brazilians has often
been described in a way which makes no distinction between theory and practice; in
reality the two have not been identical. 15 For example, legal rights notwithstanding,
in practice a slave could not lodge a complaint against his master, could not testify in
court, and, even if he were freed, his freedom was subject to revocation at his ex-
master's discretion. Furthermore, since Brazilian society was governed and led by
slave-owners themselves for the greater part of the period during which slavery was
legal in Brazil (it was not abolished until 1888), it would be naive to expect that these
slave-owners would be concerned about the legal rights of slaves when such concern
would not only damage their own economic interests but would also undermine the very
system upon which their power had been built.
The sexual relationship between the slave-master and his slaves was, moreover,
intrinsically unequal. With few, if any, Portuguese women in the colonies, it is not
surprising that the male colonists should have had sexual relations with their slave
women who, of course, were in no position to repulse their master's advances. Such
behaviour would be common even in the case of slave-masters who did have European
wives. A slave-woman, being in a weak, unprotected and 'inferior' position, was
considered by white males to be easy prey; this view of her has lasted, through succeed-
ing generations, to include her descendants even today. The mulata, who is the subject
of many popular Brazilian songs, is the living example of this: despite the contention
that she is the symbol of Brazil, she is in fact commonly spoken of and treated as being
sexually approachable and promiscuous; these attributed qualities are thought to make
her desirable as a sexual partner, but unsuitable as a wife. The term mulata is now
used so loosely that it means any non-white woman who is relatively dark; it is even
used to describe a near-black woman and is a polite way of avoiding the term 'black'
(prta or negra), which is considered uncomplimentary. For this reason, in a
magazine claiming to present the 'hottest mulatas in Brazil', some of the womenphoto-
graphed were obviously black but had been called 'mulata'. In 1960 when a 'people of
colour' club in Rio de Janeiro decided to enter a girl for the 'Miss Rio de Janeiro'
contest a preliminary round for the 'Miss Brazil' contest some other clubs threatened
to withdraw from the competition. They seemed to fear that if a mulata was allowed to
enter the contest that year, then before long really black girls might join as well. 16
It is clear from this that while mulatas may be considered suitable as dancers during
carnival-time, they are not thought to be proper representatives of Brazilian beauty,
whose epitome is generally considered to be morena (sunburnt in appearance but not
actually black or very dark).
The praises sung to the mulata in many Brazilian songs do not, either, reflect the
position of the majority of dark and black women in Brazil. Most mulatas have to work
as housemaids and cooks in a clearly-defined role which remains essentially unchanged
despite the acts of friendliness on the part of their employers. Here to, a historical
antecedent is cited in an attempt to show how warm and friendly master-slave relations
have been in Brazil: the mae preta (black mother), who nursed her master's children,
is still spoken of sentimentally by many who were brought up by her and who claim, for
that reason, to be free from racial prejudice. What appears to have been forgotten here
is the fact that the mae prAta was looked upon with affection because of her fidelity and
service to her master and his family, regardless of her own wants or comfort; her
counterpart was to be found in the Southern United States as the 'black mammy' or
'Aunt Jemimah'. And although mutual affection might have existed, her role was firmly
fixed and there was no question of her ever improving the unequal basis of her relation-
ship with her master and his peers. The existence of the mae preta cannot, therefore,
be said to confirm the absence of racial discrimination in Brazil particularly when one
remembers that, in this role, her instincts and feelings as mother to her own children,
and to her own family life, were deliberately stifled.
All this, however, is not to dispute the existence of a few Brazilians who have
publicly expounded views contrary to the accepted traditional, official and popular con-
cept of Brazilian race relations. The works of people like Florestan Fernandes, who
carried out a pioneer study of the Relationship between Blacks and Whites in Sao Paulo
(the industrial capital of Brazil) in conjunction with the French scholar, Roger Bastide,
have examined in a new and critical way the Brazilian 'racial democracy'. In his sub-
18 & 19
sequent works, including A Integrag~o do Negro na Sociedade de Classes 18 & 19 and
The Weight of the Past20, Florestan Fernandes has raised serious questions about
racialism in Brazilian society. Following in his footsteps, Otavio lanni and Fernando
Henrique Cardoso have studied Colour and Social Mobility in Florianopolis, and
Costa Pinto has examined the conditions of the Negro in Rio de Janeiro. z
All these works share a recognition of the marginal position of the black in
Brazilian society as a result of several major factors. The most important of these is
the fact that abolition of slavery was not accompanied by any measures which would
enable the ex-slave to take his place on equal terms in a highly competitive and rapidly
expanding economy; and thus he was left handicapped and unable to compete with even
the newly-arrived immigrants from Europe. This has been especially true of Sao Paulo.
Through the work of Florestan Fernandes and others, as well as recent historical
research on Brazilian slavery (Vioti Costa, Stein, Degler, Graham), enough evidence
has been presented to show the true nature of Brazilian race relations, both in the past
and today; yet the old myths are still believed by Brazilians as well as foreigners. For
instance, it is often said in Bahian intellectual circles that the analyses and conclusions
of Fernandes and the 'SIo Paulo group' are applicable only to the southern part of
Brazil, where it is said relations are much worse than in the north-east (i. e. Bahia
itself); the difference is attributed to the greater number of new European immigrants
in the south, who are thought to have brought their prejudices with them.
RACIAL OR SOCIO-ECONOMIC PREJUDICE?
The work of Donald Pierson, the American sociologist who wrote Negroes in
Brazil: the history of race contact in Brazil, and that of the well-known Bahian social
scientist Thales de Azevedo, 23 may be said to represent the Bahian school of thought
which holds that, slavery having ended, relations between whites and blacks and (in
Bahia) all those in the mulato (mixed) group, have been determined primarily by social
and economic factors and that therefore it is not so much a question of racism as of
social prejudice. It would follow that as soon as the blacks and dark Brazilians improve
their low socio-economic status they will have no further problem in integrating fully
into society. This school of thought agrees that there are rich and poor people and that
the overwhelming majority of rich people are white, while most of the blacks are poor,
so that a rich black man becomes an 'honorary white' and a poor white man is con-
sidered to be 'black'.
Two important points are to be noted here. The first is the acceptance of the view
prevalent in Brazil that to be white is desirable and that 'whiteness' should be the
eventual goal of all those unfortunate enough to be born black or dark. The second point
about this school of thought is its view that the root of the problem is personal or social
prejudice against low socio-economic status, which happens to be identified with being
black but which, nevertheless, involves no racism or racial discrimination. Adopting
this point of view means that any prejudice against, and negative stereotypes about,
blacks and their lack of participation at levels other than the lowest in Brazilian society -
can be explained away with a minimum of discomfort to everyone.
As recently as August 1971, a leading Bahian newspaper carried an article entitled:
'Where is Prejudice in colour or in social position?' thus putting the emphasis on
prejudice, and not discrimination. In this article the existence of prejudice was admitted,
even in the form of racial prejudice; however, it was added as usual that such prejudice
has much more to do with class than with race. The article further admitted that some
racism did exist, along with common racist expressions like 'He is black but intelligent';
'A black man with a white soul'; and, of course, the ubiquitous question 'Would you let
your daughter marry a black man?' A black maid was then quoted as saying: 'My white
bosses treat me well but I know my place.' The article also quoted Professor Thales de
Azevedo who referred to the greater number of inter-racial marriages taking place and
said that he himself believes racial prejudice is on the decrease; that is, there are now
fewer obstacles in the way of 'people of colour' who wish to move towards integration
into the white, class-based society, and that there is even a greater tendency towards
such integration. 'Racial prejudice is something children learn from their elders; so, if
it can be learned, it can also be unlearned', the writer of this newspaper article affirmed,
concluding: 'The contribution of people of colour in various fields of art, popular music,
theatre, the arts, and especially in football, where they have become idols, will permit
greater racial integration with less sensation', 24 (My emphasis throughout.) The
limitations imposed on black people will be evident from the fact that their 'contribution'
is confined to the worlds of entertainment and football, which are quite remote from the
decision-making areas of the Brazilian socio-economic and political structures.
The process of 'whitening' is, of course, occurring in a more literal sense through
more frequent inter-marriage and miscegenation which in time will make it increasingly
difficult to distinguish with certainty those who have black origins. This tendency towards
'whitening' is embodied in the Bazilian policy of branqueamento (whitening), by which
it is hoped that continued miscegenation will eventually produce a new Brazilian all-white
prototype; certainly the encouragement given to European immigration will contribute to
In a society which officially denies all existence of discrimination, accusations of
racially discriminatory acts can be countered by the offender in two ways. If black or
dark people complain that they are experiencing racial discrimination with regard to
educational and employment opportunities, or housing, reasons other than the most
obvious are advanced in explanation. For example, one finds that the expression boa
aparencia (good appearance) recurs in advertisements for salesmen, shop assistants,
secretaries and other positions which involve contact with the public. It is commonly
accepted that this expression means that the applicant is more likely to be successful if
he is white or near-white. There is nothing actually illegal about including the require-
ment boa aparencia. and the employer can always say that discrimination on the basis
of race or colour was far from his mind. In one instance, the owner of a boarding house
in Salvador, Bahia who was advertising for lodgers stipulated that people who were un-
employed or dark-skinned need not apply; this restriction, he explained, arose simply
from his concern for the well-being of his other lodgers who, in the past, had had
occasion to complain about the behaviour of blacks in his boarding house. He agreed,
however, to accept as a lodger any black applicant who could prove his ability to pay the
rent. 'Rich blacks' were therefore eligible, but whites or near-white applicants would
not need to undergo any such means test. 25
A second type of reaction often elicited by accusations of discrimination is one of
great shock at the discovery of unfair practices; and it is pointed out that such behaviour
is completely contrary to the Brazilian tradition of race relations: 'How could any
Brazilian do such an inhuman thing which goes against the very grain of our racial
democracy?' or 'The guilty person should bear the full force of the anti-discrimination
The case of Jorge Fuad, the caretaker of a block of flats in Salvador, is worth
noting here. In May 1971 when a black schoolteacher occupying one of the flats com-
plained that Fuad had refused to let her use the residents' lift and had made racist
comments about her, press reports stressed that he was a foreigner (of Arab descent)
and therefore subject to deportation for his offence. Fuad later filed a suit against the
schoolteacher for alleged defamation of his character, and produced evidence to show
that he had been born in Brazil. An interesting aspect of this case was the fact that
some fifty-four residents of the building, none of whom had witnessed the incident,
signed a document testifying to the reliability and efficiency of Fuad; the document was
meant to indicate that Fuad, being a responsible caretaker, could not possibly be a
racist. Both the local and national press made much of the case, all of them condemning
'racism' and expressing the pious hope that the law would take its full course and that
the offender would be punished. 27 Up to the end of August 1971 the only development
had been that a police enquiry was being conducted.
Shortly afterwards a further incident occurred in Bahia in which a resident com-
plained that another resident in the same building had usurped her car-parking rights
and had racially insulted her. She also stated that since it was usual practice for
the authorities to put complaints about racism in limbo on the pretext of overwork and
the need to deal with more important issues, she intended to take the matter further her-
self if she did not immediately receive a reply from the authorities. 28 The newspapers
gave no indication of the nature of the action the complainant proposed to take.
In 1970 the BBC televised a documentary 'Panorama' programme on race rela-
tions in Brazil which submitted that racial discrimination did exist. Following this an
official protest was made to the BBC by the Brazilian government, and the Brazilian
press was aroused. 29 Great exception was taken to the fact that no black Brazilian had
been interviewed on the programme, and that it was a black American girl (i. e. a
foreigner) who had talked about discrimination. A columnist for the magazine
O Cruzeiro wrote: 'It is unfair of the BBC to accuse us of racial discrimination when
we have the pride of being the only truly multi-racial society created in the tropics by
the white man'.
Two important points emerged from the protest. The first was that no black
Brazilian had been interviewed. In this regard it should be noted that in Brazil today,
when even white political dissenters are forced to go underground, it would be difficult
to find black Brazilians willing to risk making public statements on television about
their actual position in society for fear of possible reprisals against them. Two notable
exceptions are Abdias do Nascimento and Gurreiro Ramos, who, apart from voicing
their critical opinions on the Brazilian racial situation, also hold political views which
have caused them (like certain other Brazilian intellectuals) to live outside Brazil since
the military takeover of 1964. Abdias do Nascimento is a playwright, author and founder
of the Experimental Black Theatre in Rio de Janeiro (which he organised in 1944). He
has been uncompromising in his denunciations of what he calls the 'Kafkaesque nature'
of the racial situation, and is now lecturing at the State University of New York at
Buffalo in the United States. Gurreiro Ramos is a social scientist who has denounced
with similar vigour and courage the insidiousness of race relations in Brazil.
Another interesting point was raised during the protest directed against the BBC:
the claim that the white man had created a 'world in the tropics'. This is, in fact,
the dominant and most popular concept of Brazilian race relations, as orchestrated by
the establishment sociologist Gilberto Freyre (The Masters and the Slaves; New World
in the Tropics). Freyre's vivid descriptions of life in the slave-master's house, and the
affectionate relations between master and slave, have been highly effective in establishing
Brazil's 'reputation' as a multi-racial society free from racism. The Portuguese are
alleged not to consider dark people their inferiors, as a result of having themselves been
ruled at one time by the Moors. Proof of Portuguese open-mindedness is supposed to
be their favourable attitude towards miscegenation: They mated freely with their slaves,
producing the mulata symbol of Brazil. No one can discuss race relations in Brazil
without paying due attention to Freyre's views but his approach, limited as it is, is
adopted without question by the majority of Brazilians. 30 It must be added, however,
that even in Brazil itself the Freyre approach is questioned by some historians and socio-
logists; but so pervasive are his views generally and so convenient to supporters of
the status quo that both Brazilians and foreigners tend to accept this as a quasi-
official description of Brazilian race relations. Recently, in June 1971, Freyre was
quoted as saying that 'Negritude' (i. e. black consciousness among Africans and people
of African descent) is, no matter how it is defined, 'a mysticism which has no place
in Brazil'. This is an effective way of reasserting the traditional explanation of the
'racial democracy' theory and firmly shutting the door on possible 'deviations' from
it. Negritude, according to Freyre, may be relevant for the people of Africa who as a
result of 'tribal' divisions over the years could use it to strengthen national con-
sciousness and encourage political integration; it might even be beneficial to black
Americans who are seeking a new identity. As far as the black Brazilian is concerned.
however, he thinks this movement has no relevance at all. To Freyre, Brazil is a
land made up principally of mixed racial and ethnic groups, who live together on equal
terms in hybrid culture. 31
The black Brazilian's position in white-dominated Brazil differs from that of
blacks in similar societies elsewhere only to the extent that the official Brazilian ideo-
logy of non-discrimination by not reflecting the reality and, indeed, by camouflaging
it achieves without tension the same results as do overtly racist societies. As for
the reaction of the black Brazilian himself to a critical assessment of his position, it
must be remembered that black and dark Brazilians have been colonized and brought up
to accept the 'new world in the tropics' myth, so that they show signs of discomfort at
any open and controversial discussion of the subject. More importantly, they have
been encouraged to believe that they are the most fortunate blacks in the New World -
especially in comparison with the 'poor black North American' and, perhaps for that
reason, they faithfully observe the 'etiquette' of race relations and will readily point
out the brotherly feelings which exist between them and white Brazilians. Of course,
an essential element in this attitude is the black's long-term subjectance to racial
stereotypes promulgated by the whites. Having been imposed upon the black man for
so long, these negative images of himself have come to be accepted by him as being true.
Those blacks and dark people who have been successful are regularly cited as
evidencing the equality of opportunity which is said to exist in Brazil. Thus, because of
his acceptance of the orthodox line, Pele, the 'King of Football', is an invaluable ally
of the Brazilian authorities and he is constantly used to demonstrate the validity of
their 'racial democracy' propaganda. He himself claims that there is no racism in
Brazil and that he personally has never experienced any acts against himself which could
be construed as racist. Pele happens to be the best known of these tokenist 'honourable
exceptions', but he is by no means the only one. There are others in the world of foot-
ball and entertainment who, having themselves succeeded, avoid making any controver-
sial pronouncements about the racial situation. It is not that these people lack racial
consciousness; it is just that they prefer not to put themselves in the firing line. Thus
Pele can talk about racism in the United States and declare his agreement with the
politics of Muhammad Ali, yet at the same time he cannot see that similar tactics might
be equally applicable in Brazil, because, after all, racism does not exist in his country.
Therefore he has no special message for his 'brothers' fighting in the States for fairer
It has been said of Pele that 'No black person in the whole world has done more to
break racial barriers. He who claps hands for Pele claps hands for black people.'33
It is difficult to see how this statement could be justified: applause for a football player
is in no way a denial of racist or discriminatory practices in society. In fact a black
sportsman or musician may be required to play for audiences from which blacks have
been deliberately excluded; the players themselves are present to provide entertain-
ment for the white audience who, in return, may deign to admit the black players to their
club-house and might even fete them as 'symbols'. None of this, however, will upset
the basic relationship between the white and black races. 34
What however about the plack person who, although relatively successful, begins
openly to question the assumptions of 'racial democracy' in Brazil? How does the
society respond? The following appeared in A Tarde, a Bahian afternoon paper:3
Frentes Negras (Black Fronts) A new problem Why?
Men of colour and Brazil Bahia and artificial problems -
Anachronic Impertinence ... The problem does not exist.
It is new, it is imagined, it is not real.
The article further maintained that it had always been a cause of surprise and admira-
tion to foreigners visiting Brazil that any differentiation (discrimination) based on race
(colour) was absent and that the black person, by virtue of his intelligence and ability,
could freely reach any position including the highest offices in the political hierarchy,
administration and commerce; and that this had been the case even before the abolition
of slavery. There was therefore no need for 'black fronts' in Brazil. The idea was
an artificial one, foreign-inspired, and it would only serve to upset the harmony of
Brazilian (and Bahian) race relations.
This article was written in response to the launching in the 1930's of A Frente
Negra Brasileira (The Black Brazilian Front) in Sao Paulo. This group proposed to
unite 'people of colour' blacks and mulatos in order to secure better political,
social and economic treatment for them all. The Front gained considerable support and
was registered with the supreme Electoral Tribunal as a political party. But its
political activities were suspended following a coup d'etat and when the ban was eventu-
ally lifted, it re-emerged without its political programme; the emphasis was placed
instead on organising cultural and recreational activities. However, in its original
announcement about the opening of a branch in Bahia, a spokesman had said that the
Front was an 'organisation with the principal objective of educating and socializing
the race' and that 'in the field of political action, we will vote for black candidates'.
Jorge Amado, himself a Bahian and a leading Brazilian author, now world-famous
for his vivid accounts of Bahian life, wrote in Past6res da Noite (Shepherds of the
'Any child could have blue eyes, even when its father is black,
because it is impossible to separate and classify the various
bloods in a child born in Bahia. A blond appears amongst
mulatos and a little black among whites. This is how we are.'36
Despite the extensive racial mixing which characterises Bahia, it is nevertheless true
that there is so great an obsession with whiteness or near-whiteness among Bahians
that a term exists branco da Bahia (Bahian white) to describe a near-white person
who would be offended if he were referred to as a mulato, although strictly speaking the
latter might be a truer description. 37 Similarly, in the streets of Bahia the unusual
sight of a couple drawn from opposite poles of the race/colour spectrum will cause
passers-by to stare and make disapproving comments. Yet even such occurrences can
be explained away, if rather illogically: 'Bahia is too traditional; patterns of relation-
ships, ideas and behaviour have not responded to changes of the times'.
Even in the streets of Sao Paulo, however a sophisticated metropolis and the
economic capital of Brazil identical reactions to the sight of such racially-mixed
couples are noticeable; indeed a Bahian would comment, 'In Sao Paulo and in the South
there is more racism generally'. It would be more accurate to say that here, unlike
Bahia, relationships have been challenged by changing economic patterns (e. g. blacks
competing with whites on a large scale for skilled jobs). Because of this increased
competition with whites some of the subtler racist practices have given way to more
overt manifestations of racism.
These more pronounced racist practices in the South are commonly attributed to
the presence there of large numbers of non-Iberian European immigrants (Germans,
Italians and East Europeans) and their descendants, who are thought to have imported
their racist ideas. However, Florestan Fernandes has demonstrated that, far from
this being so, the immigrant who comes to Sao Paulo is much more likely to be influ-
enced by the existing patterns of inter -racial relationships which he finds there. In
Sao Paulo, for instance, there have been different stages in the white immigrant's
relationship with blacks. Initially, there has been some feeling of solidarity between
them since both were, in different senses, outsiders in Brazilian society. In time,
however, as the immigrant raised himself from his initially low socio-economic position,
he realized that continued association with blacks retarded his own upward mobility. At
this point he tended to seek out new white and near-white friends as being more compati-
ble with his improved circumstances. 38
From the point of view of the blacks the upward mobility of the white immigrant is,
on the one hand, a source of encouragement and inspiration, for he is known to have
arrived only recently and with nothing and yet, in a comparatively short period, has
managed to better his situation. On the other hand, the white immigrant's success rein-
forces the blacks' existing suspicions and doubts: why can the white immigrant advance
so quickly when they, as Brazilians, have not succeeded in doing so despite all their
efforts; is not this proof of the prejudice and discrimination against them as blacks?39
To say that they are victims of a competitive class society which places the highest pre-
mium of saleable skills is true. But this overlooks the fact that the vast majority of
blacks were handicapped before they could even begin to compete with their fellow
Brazilians in the private enterprise economy and that they continue in this position be-
cause of their colour. Simply to group them with other poor members of society (though
undoubtedly they do share most of their problems) is merely to avoid acknowledging the
special problems experienced by the blacks today in an environment of confirmed racism.
Brazil, of course, is a rigidly-stratified society within which upward mobility is
quite difficult for all members of the proletariat. Decision-making and effective power
remains the prerogative of a tiny elite; this was traditionally composed of the large
land-owners but now includes new members drawn from industry, the armed forces,
the church and intellectuals on the faculties of universities, colleges and secondary
schools. About fifty per cent of the adult population is illiterate, and with a literacy bar
most adults excluded from the ruling class are not even permitted to vote during elections.
Furthermore, since April 1964 the country has been ruled by a military elite and there
has been no open, free and direct election at either federal or state level. State governors
are nominated by the 'ruling' party (ARENA) and there is an 'official' opposition party
(MDB); but both parties operate strictly within a framework dictated by the armed forces.
Many of the people who were actively involved in politics and in administrative and
economic planning between 1960-1964 have been deprived of their political rights as have
others who were though to have 'leftist, demagogic' leanings. Those suspected either of
actively opposing the regime or of endangering the 'honour' of Brazil are greatly
harassed, and most of this group have been forced to go into exile in Europe or elsewhere
on the American continent.
There has been a consistent if perhaps not entirely intentional alliance of politicians,
administrators, the aristocracy, academics, workers, artists and others politically
and ideologically at variance though they might be vis vis the plight of the black
Brazilian: for their own reasons they all refuse to recognize that the special problems
a black person encounters as a result of his colour and his heritage require special solu-
tions. Those who support the status quo because they remain the chief beneficiaries
of the inegalitarian socio-political and economic systems and are concerned about Brazil's
image abroad find it highly desirable that no challenge is made to the status quo. The
attitude of such people is that 'Brazil is a racial democracy and the subject is not open
On their part politically and socially conscious intellectuals, students, progressive
sections of the church and workers recognize the gross inequalities in the socio-economic
and political structures, and want a just and egalitarian society with benefits and opportu-
nities available to all. They are concerned primarily with the poor, the unemployed and
the illiterate, but believe that to single out the black Brazilians for special (i. e. prefer-
ential) treatment would be to deviate from the main course of reform. They certainly
are not among those who believe that Brazil is a racial democracy, and they would agree
that there is great prejudice as well as discrimination directed against the blacks; but
they believe that society as a whole must be seen and analysed in class terms. For this
reason they regard blacks as part of the large sub-proletariat and not as a separate
group meriting special treatment.
There is a third group in Brazil and these people are in the majority who
accept without question the premise that racial prejudice and discrimination are not
present. They feel that any problems experienced by blacks are a function of social and
economic status alone. Such people believe in the 'money whitens' phenomenon, but
unlike the second group, they do not see their society in terms of class and consequently
do not think in terms of restructuring it as a whole in a more egalitarian way.
And the blacks themselves ? Those who have attained some upward economic and
social mobility would divide among the above three categories probably with the
majority in the third, simply because continued personal advancement is not possible
unless one avoids controversy. Those who have not attained comfortable economic and
social positions and the vast majority come into this category range between those
who are hopeful, trusting that the future will bring an improvement in their position, or
more probably in that of their children and grandchildren; those who are convinced that
racism exists and is responsible for their continued low position in society; and those
who regard these questions is irrelevant to their daily lives.
Recently the following statement appeared in a Brazilian weekly magazine:
'The black person in Brazil has to learn to live like a black person. We have to spend
less than we earn; we have to stop being workers and become employers'. These are
the words of Raul Santos, a well-to-do black accountant in Sao Paulo who is involved
in a movement aimed at uniting blacks; this organisation has managed to have elected
to the Federal Chamber of Deputies on an MBD (opposition party) ticket both Adalberto
Camargo and Theodosina Ribeiro (as a State Deputy). Questioned about the movement.
Raul Santos has said: 'We are black and we have to rear children to understand they
are black. It is only in this way that we can live without illusions and move towards
greater integration in a society of whites'. 40 His is a call for black economic unity.
as the magazine pointed out when it described the movement as working towards 'a
form of "black capitalism" which does not accept the violence of Black Power'. But
when the vast majority of blacks are still deprived of a strong economic base from which
to work, how soon will it be possible for them to achieve and assert organised economic
In as much as black Brazilians as a group are part of that huge mass of the poor
and disadvantaged which makes up the bulk of the Brazilian population, any solution to
the problems of blacks has to be worked out within this general context. This recogni-
tion, however, does not detract from the reality of blacks being victims of a particular
The position of black Brazilians and their response becomes meaningful only in
comparison with the position of blacks elsewhere. The comparative situation which
comes readily to mind is that of black Americans. On the surface, there would appear
to be a great difference between the situations in the United States and Brazil because
of the more open nature of racism in the United States. But as the American historian
Carl Degler has demonstrated in his recent book Neither Black Nor White, there is much
more to be compared about the two situations than is suggested by posing them as
Any black reaction to the Brazilian situation would appear to face two potent draw-
backs: an official view which would consider 'racial activity' as subversive, and the
overall attitude of society which would consider it divisive.
The Brazilian racial situation has been characterized by the openings offered to
individuals to pull themselves out of the black or near-black category through marrying
whites, becoming better educated, or improving their socio-economic status. But the
individual path to escaping the black predicament (as in Brazil) certainly does not
appear to improve the overall standing of blacks in society. It offers no meaningful way
out for the masses who are in a deprived position. Racism, open or veiled, is not just
an individual problem. The attainment of education, wealth and prestige, though miti-
gating some of the effects of racism on the individual who attains them, do not completely
free him from his position in society as a black.
With the existence of mass communication and instant coverage of world events,
the changing life and times of blacks in other parts of the world cannot escape the atten-
tion of black Brazilians. It will be to the credit of Brazil if it recognizes the possibilities
of black Brazilians becoming more conscious of what is happening in the United States and
Black Africa, and their desire to become identified with these movements without in any
way compromising or negating their Brazilianness.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. do Nascimento, Abdias, O Negro Revoltado (Ediqoes GRD, Rio de Janeiro,
1968), p. 31.
2. Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics 1970 Census, Perspectives
(Rio de Janeiro, 1970).
3. Diario de Notfcias (daily newspaper), Salvador, Bahia, 11 October 1970.
4. O Cruzeiro (weekly magazine), Rio de Janeiro, 8 September 1970.
Article by Theophilo de Andrade.
5. The Afonso Arinos Law, passed in 1951 (Lei no. 1. 390, 3 July 1951).
This law makes discrimination based on race or colour in public establishments,
education and employment a criminal offence punishable by jail term or fine.
6. Edwards, Franklin, ed., Franklin Frazier on Race Relations
(The University of Chicago Press, 1968), pp. 98-99.
7. A Tarde (daily newspaper), Salvador, Bahia, 6 December 1932.
8. Pereira, Joao Baptista Borges, Cor Profissao e Mobilidade:
O Negro e o Radio em Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo, 1967).
Between pages 17 and 35 the terms 'negro' (black), 'preto' and 'de cbr'
(coloured) are used 45 times: negro 27 times, de c6r 12 times, preto -
6 times. (These terms are used interchangeably).
9. Harris, Marvin, Pattern of Race in the Americas (Walker & Co., New York,
10. Ianni, Octavio & Fernando Henrique Cardoso, C6r e Mobilidade em
Floriandpolis (Sao Paulo, 1960).
Florian6polis is the capital of the state of Santa Catarina, in the South, and has
a large European element in its population.
11. In Brazil the term 'black' is rarely used to mean 'Negro'. Hence the resort
to words and terms denoting non-whiteness or darkness. 'Pessoas' or 'gente
de c6r' (people of colour, coloured people) is thus very convenient as a des-
12. Pierson, Donald, Negroes in Brazil (Southern Illinois University Press, 1967
and Feffer & Simons Inc, London and Amsterdam, 1967).
13. Fernandes, Florestan, A Integracao do Negro na Sociedade de Classes
(Sao Paulo, 1965).
lanni, Octavio, As Metamorfoses do Escravo (Sao Paulo, 1962).
14. Pierson, op. cit.
He observes that the indelible character of colour makes it somewhat different
from other criteria of rank.
15. (a) Freyre, Gilberto, The Masters and the Slaves: A Study in the Development
of Brazilian Civilisation (Alfred Knopf, New York, 1946) and New World in the
Tropics: the Culture of Modern Brazil (New York, 1959).
(b) Tannenbaum, Frank, Slave and Citizen: the Negro in the Americas
(New York, 1946).
16. Cadernos Brasileiros (special edition entitled '80 Anos de Aboligco', Instituto
Latino Americano de Relaqces Internacionais, 1968). Contribution by
17. Bastide, Roger & Florestan Fernandes, Relac5es Raciais entire Negros e
Brancos em Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo, 1955).
18. Fernandes, op. cit.
19. Ibid. The English edition is: The Negro in Brazilian Society
(Columbia University Press, New York, 1969).
20. Daedalus (special issued entitled 'Colour and Race', American Academy of the
Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, Spring 1967). Article entitled 'The
Weight of the Past' by Fernandes.
21. Ianni & Cardoso, op. cit.
22. Costa Pinto, L., O Negro no Rio de Janeiro (Compania Edit6ra Nacional,
Sao Paulo, 1952).
23. de Azevedo, Thales, As Elites de Cor: Um Estudo de Ascensgo Social
(Sao Paulo, 1953).
The socio-economic factor is the decisive one according to de Azevedo. There
is an elite of coloured people in Bahia at the highest socio-economic and
political levels. He also contends that in Bahia there is a two-fold division,
rich and poor. White was identified with the rich and black with the poor.
24. Jornal da Bahia (daily newspaper), 1 and 2 August 1971.
(Since the paper does not appear on Mondays, the Sunday issue is marked for
Sunday and Monday: hence 1 and 2 August).
25. Journal da Bahia, 20 May 1970.
26. Jornal da Bahia, 28 May 1971.
Fatos e Fotos (weekly magazine), 17 June 1971.
27. Jornal da Bahia, 28 May 1971.
28. Jornal da Bahia, 3 June 1971.
29. Jornal do Brasil (daily newspaper), 18 August 1970.
Ref: An official protest delivered to the BBC by the Brazilian Ambassador in
30. Freyre, op. cit.
(NB. Carl Degler rightly points out, in an article entitled 'Slavery in Brazil
and the United States: an Essay in Comparative History', published in the
American Historical Review, no. 4, April 1970, that Freyre's views constitute
a highly conservative explanation of the Brazilian situation).
31. O Estado de Sao Paulo (daily newspaper), 30 May 1971. Article by Freyre.
32. O Estado de Sao Paulo, 16 April 1971.
Manchete (weekly magazine), 9 September 1971.
33. Freyre, op. cit. (footnote 31).
34. This is relevant not only to the Brazilian situation but also to those in the
USA, Britain and France.
35. A Tarde, 6 December 1932.
The Frente Negra Brasileira was launched by Arlindo and Isaltino Veiga Santos,
Jose Correira Leite, Gevasio Morais and Alberto Orland.
Fernandes, op. cit. (footnote 13) has written at length on black movements of
that era in Sao Paulo.
36. Amado, Jorge, Os Pastores da Noite (Livraria Martins Editora, Sao Paulo,
37. Pierson, op. cit.
38. Morner, Magnus, ed., Race and Class in Latin America (Columbia University
Press, New York, 1970). Article entitled 'Immigration and Race Relations in
Sao Paulo' by Fernandes.
39. (a) Ibid.
(b) Bastide & Fernandes, op. cit.
40. Veja (weekly magazine), 13 January 1971.
41. Degler, Carl, Neither Black Nor White (Collier-MacMillan, New York &
Anani Dzidzienyo was born in Ghana in 1941, and
after studying in Ghana, the United States, and the
United Kingdom, did research in Brazil in 1970-71.
He is currently a research fellow at the Institute of
Race Relations in London.
This report was first published in December 1971.
The Reports already published by the Minority Rights Group are:
*No. 1 Religious Minorities in the Soviet Union (Revised 1973 Edition)
'systematically documented and unemotionally analysed'' ;'telling'2; 'outstandingly good and fairminded'3.
*No. 2 The two Irelands; the double minority a study of inter-group tensions (Revised 1972 Edition)
'a rare accuracy and insight ; 'lucid .. without bias's; 'pithy, well-informed the best 24 pages on Ireland's
contemporary political problems that have found their way into the permanent literature .. excellentt.
eNo. 3 Japan's outcastes the problem of the Burakumin
'sad and strange story... a frightening picture'7; 'expertly diagnosed'3.
eNo. 4 The Asian minorities of East and Central Africa (up to 1971)
'brilliantly sketched'2 ; 'admirably clear, humane and yet dispassionate' .
*No. 5 The Southern Sudan and Eritrea: aspects of wider African problems (Revised 1973 Edition)
'clear, concise and balanced'9;'the study is the first independent examination of two rarely-reported
conflicts and certainly the most comprehensive'"; 'an exemplary account'.
*No. 6 The Crimean Tatars, Volga Germans and Meskhetians: Soviet treatment of some national minorities (Revised
'brilliant'"; 'great accuracy and detail"2.
eNo. 7 The position of Blacks in Brazilian society
'another important contribution ... from this increasingly important group''
*No. 8 The Africans' predicament in Rhodesia (Revised 1973 Edition)
'Important and topical'3 ; 'Outstandingly good and fairminded'3.
*No. 9 The Basques
'This is only the lull before the next storm and therefore a good moment for the Minority Rights Group
to produce its report on the Basques'4; 'Very valuable"5.
*No. 10 The Chinese in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia (price 45p)
'A well-documented and sensible plea'4.
*No. 11 The Biharis in Bangladesh (price 45p)
'It is to be hoped that the British Government will study the report and act quickly'6; 'A significant fusion
of humane interest and objective clear-headed analysis'"7.
eNo. 12 Israel's Oriental Immigrants and Druzes (price 45p)
*No. 13 East Indians of Trinidad and Guyana (price 45p)
*No. 14 The Rom: the Gypsies of Europe (price 45p)
'The first comprehensive description and analysis of the plight'8; 'One of the worst skeletons in Europe's
eNo. 15 What future for the Amerindians of South America? (price 45p)
'The outlook for the survival of these people is still bleak'8; 'A horrifying indictment ... deserves a very
wide readership'2; 'Excellent".
eNo. 16 Problems of a displaced minority: the new position of East Africa's Asians (price 45p)
'A comprehensive analysis'9.
*No. 17 India and the Nagas (price 45p)
'India has still not learned for itself the lesson it taught Britain'6.
*No. 18 The Montagnards of South Vietnam (price 45p)
'The Internationalist; 2 New Society; 3Times Lit. Supplement; 4 Belfast Newsletter; s Irish Post; 6 International Affairs;
7Sunday Independent; "S. Asian Review; 9The Friend; '"The Guardian Weekly; E. African Standard; 12Sunday Times;
3 New Community; '4The Times; s Information; "The Observer; "Irving Horowitz; The Guardian; "Peace News;
Copies, price 30p each, except where otherwise stated, plus postage and packing (6p by surface mail), are obtainable from
M.R.G., 36 Craven Street, London WC2N 5NG, or good bookshops. A 33%, discount is available for bulk orders of 12 or
Please also inform MRG if you would like to make a standing order for its future reports.
Subscription rates: 2.50 (US $7) for the next five reports, post free.
Expedite Multiprint Ltd., 51 Tothill Street. London S.W.1 England