1 TROPICAL BRAZUCAS: BRAZILIANS IN SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE IMAGINARY OF NATIONAL IDENTITY By ROSANA DOMINGUES RESENDE A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Rosana Resende
3 To Paulinho Wherever life takes you, may your dreams find fertile grou nd, for this I know: you may not always be where you belong, but you always belong to where you are. Mame te ama!
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS In the course of my academic career, I have come realize that producing a dissertation and raising a child are quite similar endeavors. The time and dedication required, the lack of sleep, the self doubt and uncertainty, interspersed with moments of absolute authority and clarity of thought that occasionally blow up in my face, the steep learning curve Most clearly, I h ave learned that neither endeavor is successful without the constant aid and support of others. I take this chance to clarify that I consider only my achievements to be shared by those who have supported me along the way; mistakes, on the other hand, are entirely my own. When push comes to shove, I know that I ultimately neglected great advice as often as I took it. So to those whose warnings and suggestions went unheeded, I offer this mea culpa: I should have listened, you gave great advice, and I promise to be less defensive the next time. Theres always the book I must begin these acknowledgments in earnest by thanking first and foremost the people who shared their stories with me, the Brazilians of South Florida. For those of you whom I had previously known superficially, I know that this became a turning point in our relationship. Others had no such previous connection, yet nevertheless opened up their homes and hearts (and time in their busy South Florida lives) to share, over cafezinho and po-de -que ijo their stories, their dreams, and their struggles. You encouraged me to tell your stories. Together we mourned our saudade of Brazil and vented frustrations South Florida life and its inhabitants. You allowed me to cry with you, laugh with you, dance w ith you, watch Globo with you, celebrate with you. I count many of you as friends to this day. You taught me that despite all the changes that migration engenders, good oldfashioned Brazilian hospitality and simpatia remain enduring traits of our communit y. Obrigada! In the same vein, I here acknowledge someone else who left her mark on my fieldwork: Valria Barbosa de Magalhes: obrigada colega, amiga, e parceira.
5 My dissertation would not have been possible without the orientation, support, and patience (lots of patience, with occasional doses of impatience, to be exact!) of my committee. Dr. Maxine Margolis, my chair and pioneer in studying Brazilians abroad I would not have come to University of Florida were it not for you. Thank you for taking me on an d for never giving up entirely on me. Dr. Milagros Pea, thank you for being there from the very beginning and for all of your positive encouragement over the years. Your direct approach is one I respect and emulate, especially as it is backed by such soli d scholarship. Drs. Jeffrey Needell and Maria Stoilkova, thanks for agreeing to serve on my committee as it morphed over the years. I had needed you as members to fulfill a bureaucratic requirement, but I was blessed with caring, diligent readers whose com ments only made this work stronger, and I am certain you will see your mark in subsequent publications. I must also thank here Michael Heckenberger and Manuel Vasquez for all of the time and effort you put into the earlier stages of this dissertation. And Mike, I also thank you in advance for the work that you will put into the latter stages as this work gets published. There have been other professors who have left their indelible mark on my scholarship and whom I also thank here. Anne Hocutt and Beth Harr y, at the University of Miami, for encouraging me to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology. Steve Butterman, also at UM, who always treated me as a legitimate scholar and Brazilianist until I began to believe it so. At University of Florida, I have had access to exceptional faculty. Kesha Fikes, Joe Feagin, and Tony Oliver Smith: I remain in awe of your scholarship and your accessibility. I know this dissertation is better as a result of your seminars and our conversations; Tony, I am particularly pleased to stil l have access to you here in Gainesville, and hope you can squeeze me and Antonio in for an occasional coffee break.
6 Beyond the academic component, I must thank others who have been an integral part of my life at UF. Pat King and Karen Jones, from the anth ro office I have always thanked you for all that you do and could not leave you out here! So many times I would have been lost without you, and you never left me out in the cold. As busy as you are, you always had time to listen and, occasionally, pull str ings to make the wheels spin once more. Who knows where Id be without you. Probably not here. Not yet, anyway. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And thanks to Ken Sassaman for being a terrific department chair, for your open door policy, your accessibility and easy manner, and for prodding me along in your own way. Im glad I finished this on your beat. Graduate school can be a lonely and alienating experience. Luckily, I never experienced that. I have made friendships here that will last a lifetime, for wh ich I am grateful. From my closest circle of friends to the extended cohorts, my life has been forever enriched by their presence. So thank you, first off, Ali, for beginning with me, and finishing with me, and going through it all with me. Mari, you came a little late (typical), but the brujas is and will always be a three -way coven. La famlia I love you like blood. Renzo haces mucha falta! Meus amigos brasileiros, que saudade eu vou sentir dos nos cafs que viravam almoose as vezes jantares. Valeu a pe na passer tantos anos em Gainesville pra ver a comunidade de Gators Brazucas crescerem e aparecerem. Amei poder presenciar essa invaso brasileira, e viver os forr years de Gatorlandia. A mis amigos latinos, gracias por no dejar que mi espaol se murier a saliendo de Miami, y por vivir, tan lindamente, el sueo Bolivariano conmigo, como lo hicismos y seguramente lo seguiremos haciendo. Estoy consciente que nuestra existencia ac ha sido medio surreal, pero no por eso vale menos. Mis amigos Mexicanos, principalmente las madres y mis compadres, Luis y Velia, les agradezco por aceptarme a mi y a mi hijo como parte de uds. A nd to all of those who would hang around us in hope of absorbing our Latin American cool (okay,
7 maybe bringin on some coolness yourselves ) thanks for proving that intellectuals do not have to be boring. It is a testament to the power of real human connection that I have so many friends whose dissertation topics I am unaware of we have always had other things to talk about! On the other ha nd, it has been incredibly rewarding to have dear friends who have cared about this dissertation, pushing me forward, supporting me in ways both intellectual and pragmatic, and keeping me on task. At the very beginning I was blessed to make part of an incr edible cohort of newbie Anthro students some have finished and moved on. Others have simply moved on. But many have matched my pace and Ive been so lucky to have you still here to share the journey, like Rose and Mussa to name but two. It was great to bum p into you and remember that I was not the only one still left. Thank you also to Amanda and Jennifer for all of your feedback (and Dawn, too, way back in the day!) Ermitte and Debra, my co-advisees and fellow Miamian migration scholars what can I say? So nice to have people who speak your language! And thank you Yolanda and Marco, Cynthia, and Alicia, for opening up your homes as places of refuge so I could retreat with my books and my laptop for days at a time in the final stages of this dissertation Thi s work would not have be en done otherwise. A very special thank you to the friends who crossed the bridge into motherhood with me. Yole, Tracy, Tita, and Christine it has been so important to have mommy friends who knew me before I was a mommy, who know t he challenges of balancing academia with parenting (oh, okay, and a social life, too) and who can have serious debates in the midst of countless kiddie interruptions without missing a beat. Well, maybe we missed a couple of beats, but one day well finish those sentences No one else can truly get me the same way. I love having you and your children in my life. Having Paulo, of course, brought me into contact with other scholar parents whom I had not known previouslyto the parents of Amelia, C Max, and Wil la, thank
8 you for showing me how its done! I know we all feel lucky that we like each other and our kids like each other (most of the time) but I still cant help feeling that Im the one who got the most from this relationship! All this mommy talk bring s me to my own family. I will forever be grateful to my parents, Eduardo Resende and Maria Piedade Resende, for raising me the best way they knew how with much love and encouragement I hope you feel it has paid off! You each, in your own way, made incredi ble sacrifices so that Ricardo and I could have more privilege and advantage than either of you could have imagined in your own childhoods. Of course I took much of it for granted, but here I am thanking you, so know that I know, I am better for it, and I thank you, and love you, immensely. I am, and this dissertation is as well, a product of your efforts, your love, and, of course, your own migrations and travels. In some ways, this is a continuation of your stories even as it tells the stories of others. Here I also thank my brother, Ricardo, and his family, Becky, Evan, and William, for being there. Rick, your left -handed support never masked that you were, indeed, proud of your little sis. Last but positively not least, a special thanks to my family, Ant onio, Serena, and Paulinho. You all had to be very patient with my absences, my mood swings, my lack of sleep, my lack of housekeeping Serena, Im not a wicked stepmother, nor am I forgetful: I know I still owe you that weekend cruise to the Bahamas, and well do it, soon (really soon, I dont want you to grow anymore before Im left alone in charge of you!) Paulinho, Mommy knows this has been really hard on you, missing out on being with you as much as I would have liked, but I knew Pap ai was taking good care of you. I am thinking of you always, in everything that I do. I think its so wonderful that God gave me the cool est boy in the entire world (dont tell the other moms) I know if I had met you as some random adult, wed be friends sometimes its so h ard to be your
9 mom, because I just want to raise hell with you Its been a privilege to watch you grow up into all of your 5 year -old wisdom and I cant wait to see what else is in store. I know you think that it is you who wins whenever we argue over w ho loves whom more, but even if you love me all the way to Rhode Island, Mexico, Brazil, the sky, the moon, and outer space, forcing me to admit that you love me more, when you claim your victory, it is really I the one who wins. (But I have to take the opportunity here: Eu te amo TANTO e EU te amo mais ) Finally, Antonio, mi P epit n, mil gracias. You know how grateful I am, because I have said so often, but I am still in awe of how we both hit that wonderfully synchronized groove and busted this dissert ation out! I say we because I could not have done it without you, and I know how hard it was on you to drop everything to second plane, to keep me on task, keep me focused, fed, and rested (and in clean clothes) for several months without much support f rom me (in fact, with a lot of whining from me,) all while practically being a single parent and still working your full -time job. Youve been great, and I know that, because of your example, I am poised to be a better wife when your time comes. Te amo, Pe pito.
10 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF FIGURES ..............................................................................................................12 ABSTRACT .........................................................................................................................13 CHAPTER 1 FROM BRAZIL TO SOUTH FLORIDA: INTERSECTION AND CONVERGENCE IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD .......................................................................................15 Locations and Dislocations .............................................................................................17 One World .....................................................................................................................19 Of Nations and Belonging ...............................................................................................22 Brazilian Emigration: God is Brazilian, the Land of the Future, and Other Failed Narratives ...................................................................................................................26 Travel Guide ..................................................................................................................29 2 THE MINES IN MY BACKYARD: PRELIMINARY FIELDWORK ...............................33 The Self in Context: Situating the Ethnographer ...............................................................33 Why South Florida? Arriving in the Field ........................................................................36 Take One: Conducting the Pilot .......................................................................................41 Looking for Darkness, Blinded by Light: Findings ...........................................................43 Observations ...........................................................................................................44 Informal Interviews ................................................................................................. 47 Questionnaires .........................................................................................................48 A New Path: Recasting t he Study ....................................................................................51 The Self Recontextualized: Exploring the Meaning of Native Ethnographer ...................53 3 CONDUCTING THE STUDY: NEW CONSIDERATI ONS FOR OLD METHODS .........62 The Researcher Finds The Study: Research Questions And Design ...................................62 Defining the Field: A Continuum of Two C ountiesand a Bit More ................................63 The Anthropologist as Commuter ....................................................................................67 Translating the Quotidian: Participant Observation ...........................................................69 Sampling: Whose Story Gets Told ...................................................................................72 Getting the Story: The Interview Process .........................................................................75 Extra! Extra! The Ethnic Press as Data ............................................................................78 Seeing The Forest and the Trees: Sorting It Out ...............................................................80 4 TROPICAL BRAZUCAS: A NEW CAST FO R THE AMERICAN DREAM ...................81 The Imaginary of National Identity ..................................................................................81
11 Of Love and Loathing: Brazilians on Brazil .....................................................................86 Brazil as a Country ..................................................................................................87 Brazil as a Nation ....................................................................................................88 Brazil as a Society ...................................................................................................93 Between Pride and Prejudice: Brazilian Perspectives on Brazilians ................................. 107 Personality ............................................................................................................ 108 Family ................................................................................................................... 110 5 GENDERED NATIONALITY ..................................................................................... 119 Of Beauty, Bodies, and Sex ........................................................................................... 122 Courtship ..................................................................................................................... 133 Marriage ...................................................................................................................... 140 Living in the United States ............................................................................................ 143 Gendered Exports ......................................................................................................... 148 7 EXTRA! EXTRA! BRAZUCAS IN PRINT .................................................................. 151 Ethnic Journalism ......................................................................................................... 151 The South Florida Brazuca Press ................................................................................... 153 The Florida Review ............................................................................................... 154 Gazeta Brazilian News ........................................................................................... 154 A Tale of Two Countries .............................................................................................. 155 Visions of Brazil and the United States ................................................................... 155 Imagining Co mmunity ........................................................................................... 160 8 (RE)CONSTRUCTING THE SELF: BECOMING AN IMMIGRANT ........................... 16 5 Of Difference and Belonging: The InBetweeness of Tropical Br azucas .......................... 165 Becoming an Immigrant ............................................................................................... 168 Ties that Bind: Toward an Ethnic Understanding ........................................................... 171 The Nation Reinterpreted: Performing Self and Other for Global Publics ........................ 175 Future Directions .......................................................................................................... 177 LIST OF REFERENCES ..................................................................................................... 181 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................................................... 192
12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 -1 Mercado Br asil, East Kendall, Miami -Dade ................................................................. 56 2 -2 Bulletin board with announcements, Central do Brasil, Pompano Beach, Broward ........56 2 -3 Counte r of a Brazilian market (Brasil Mania) in Coconut Grove, Miami -Dade ..............57 2 -4 Sign for Brazilian businesses, Pompano Beach, Broward .............................................57 2 -5 Pompano Beach lanchonete a typical Brazilian snack bar, Broward .............................58 2 -6 Brazilian coffee for sale at Brazilian supermarket, Pompano Beach, Broward ...............58 2 -7 Fashions at Central do Brasil II, Pompano Beach, Broward ..........................................59 2 -8 Despachante and Brazilian realtor, Pompano Beach, Broward ......................................59 2 -9 Brazilian Touch Salon, Pompano Beach, Broward (taken during Carnaval) ...................60 2 -10 Photo of Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais atop bulletin board in Deerfield Be ach bakery .......................................................................................................................60 2 -11 Panorama Restaurant, Pompano Beach. Mural depicting various sites from Brazil (l r:) Iguassu Falls, Amazonia, Brasilia ...........................................................................61 2 -12 Seu Moacir, a former seasonal worker and now immigrant, selling Brazilian products and remittances at the Brazilian Supermarket in Pompano ............................................61 4 -1 Perceptions of Brazilians ab out Brazil as a nation, a society ....................................... 115 4 -2 Perceptions of Brazilians about Brazilians as a people ................................................ 116 4 -3 Perceptions of Brazilia ns about the U.S. as a society, as a nation ................................ 117 4 -4 Perception of Brazilians about Americans as a people ................................................ 118
13 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy TROPICAL BRAZUCAS: BRAZILIANS IN SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE IMAGINARY OF NATIONAL IDENTITY By Rosana Domingues Resende August 2009 Chair: Maxine L. Margolis Major: Anthropology This dissertation concentrates on the Brazilian community in South Florida focusing on the imaginary of national identity as a concept that remain s viable and essen tial in notions of belonging and the articulation of the self. Despite the increasingly globalized world, nationality is still the primary way of identifying people who leave their country of origin. At this moment of unprecedented migration, how communiti es organize themselves around labels indeed, how they employ these labels to promote, deride, rank, and otherwise classifyaffects their insertion into the multicultural societies they now inhabit. Despite alleged cultural homogenization and an ideology o f a global village, discourse about national identities is still expressed in remarkably stable and fixed ways, made explicit and particularly relevant through migration. I examine how Brazilians in South Florida, faced with an American system of compulsor y categorization that hierarchically ordains peoples and groups, interpret their new social location. In showing how these immigrants articulate both Brazil as a nation and Brazilians as a people, I seek to counter notions that national identities are only expressed in nationalist terms or as patriotic pride. Rather, I argue that these identities emerge in nuanced statements that define Brazilians both as others who embody undesirable traits and as an idealized Brazilian self. Through interviews designed to elicit ideas about identity, nation and
14 belonging, I contrast the presentation of self and others and of Brazil and the United States across multiple domains, finding that Brazilian and American are consistently presented as opposite descriptors. This d iscourse of difference that permeates both discussions of other Brazilians and of Americans generates a need for a third space or identity, at times embracing hybridity but at others rejecting both identities in favor of an individualistic self understandi ng. Through an approach that embraces native ethnography methodology, I employ the narratives of participants to demonstrate how national identities within the migration context are imagined in ways that interpret the self in relation to others. These narr atives, in turn, converge in the hybrid space that is South Florida, engaging issues of identity, social class and space in South Floridas Dade and Broward counties. Given its diverse environment and overwhelming immigrant presence, South Florida serves a s a laboratory for inter and intra -ethnic relations in multicultural immigrant cities, where new groups tend to settle. My findings suggest that the empowerment of the community is conditioned by internal dynamics as well as by the context of the receivi ng society. As an example of the former, the ethnic press, for instance, often reifies internal divisions rather than calling them into question, thus perpetuating a discourse of disunity in weekly publications that are widely distributed. On the other han d, the receiving society impacts the groups cohesion. For example, gender dynamics are altered and perhaps even inverted when Brazilian women find themselves to be desired by Brazilian, Latino, and American men, thus gaining leverage vis vis their male counterparts in terms of insertion to American society and even a path to lega status. I finalize with a discussion of this third, immigrant, identity as the formation of a new Brazilian ethnic community becomes established in the United States
15 CHAPTER 1 FROM BRAZIL TO SOUTH FLORIDA : INTERSECTION AND CONVERGENCE IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD Sometimes I tell my friends that its useless to change places. Who you are, your problems, your troubles, the good and the bad you will bring [it] inside you, so there is no point in changing places. If something is bothering you, what needs to change is YOU. [ Tati, Brazilian immigrant in Miami] Tati, the woman who spoke these words, may not have realized how accurately her statement encapsulates the immigrant experience. I n it, she captures both the promise of reinvention that comes from changing places, and the futility of imagining mobility alone as commensurate with transformation. Moreover, her words reveal a fundamental truth experienced as a consequence of the radical rupture that is migration a new engagement with the self through a new identity project, one that reframes ideas about places and persons through new understanding. Questioning who you are, your problems, the good and the bad, can apply to both persons and nations. How these answers are constructed and imagined, individually and collectively, is the product of ongoing negotiations that straddle the tensions inherent in living between two cultures. Often caught between what are expressed as dichotomous o ppositions inherent to each culture, immigrants can and do articulate a third position, giving rise to a tripartite immigrant identity. This dissertation analyzes how the imaginary of national identities is expressed by Brazilians in South Florida vis vi s their migration experience. Within the context of the globalized world and of increased migration in the early 21st century, nationality remains the primary way of identifying people who leave their country of origin, this despite a new understanding of the weakening power of the nation -state in favor of a new global order. This dissertation proposes that, despite alleged cultural homogenization and an ideology of a global village, discourse about national identities is still expressed in remarkably stabl e and fixed ways,
16 made explicit and particularly relevant through migration. I examine how Brazilians in South Florida, faced with an American system of compulsory categorization that hierarchically ordains peoples and groups, interpret their new social location. Often this is done through existing Brazilian hierarchies, embedded in Brazilian consciousness through historical ideologies meant to consolidate national identity. Alternatively, some persons remove themselves from these hierarchies through a disc ourse that emphasizes rupture and difference. Nevertheless, the conventional wisdom about both a Brazilian and an American national character is seldom contested. In this way, even while rejecting a national identification, Brazilians in South Florida ar e reinforcing fixed stereotypes about national identities, which through migration have the potential to represent the Brazilian ethnic community. These identities may not be overtly expressed, but can be inferred in the characterizations and interpretati ons of national subjects. By looking at these embedded representations, I hope to reveal the nascent ethnic identity of Brazucas as Brazilian immigrants in the United States are often called. In showing how these immigrants articulate both Brazil as a nat ion and Brazilians as a people, I seek to counter notions that national identities are only expressed in nationalist terms or in expressions of patriotic pride. Rather, I argue that these identities emerge in nuanced statements that define Brazilians both as others who embody undesirable traits and as an idealized Brazilian self. Through interviews designed to elicit ideas about identity, nation and belonging, I contrast the presentation of self and others and of Brazil and the United States across multip le domains, finding that Brazilian and American are consistently presented as opposite and exclusive descriptors. This discourse of difference that permeates both discussions of other Brazilians and of Americans generates a need for a third space or identi ty, at times
17 embracing hybridity but at others rejecting both identities in favor of an individualistic self understanding. Through an approach that embraces native ethnography methodology, I employ the narratives of participants to demonstrate how natio nal identities within the migration context are imagined in ways that interpret the self in relation to others. These narratives, in turn, converge in the hybrid space that is South Florida, engaging issues of identity, social class and space in South Flor ida s Dade and Broward counties Given its diverse environment and overwhelming immigrant presence, South Florida serves as a laboratory for inter and intra -ethnic relations in multicultural immigrant cities, where new groups tend to settle Its rapid dem ographic change has made the South Florida metropolitan area a site where different local realities integrate national and global discourses affecting both individuals and groups, and it is within this terrain that I examine the Brazilian imaginary of nati onal identity. Locations and Dislocations Nowadays we often hear that we are experiencing a certain geopolitical moment called globalization. Globalization has come to signify a host of factors engendered by advanced capitalism, the collapse of the Soviet project, deregulated industries, technological innovations, and dizzying worldwide linkages (Appadurai 1996; Clifford 1997; Juergensmeyer 2002; see also Inda and Rosaldo 2002). Such linkages, most emblematically represented by the Internet and the World Wi de Web, signal a shrinking world, one in which ever -evolving technologies virtually collapse physical distances and give rise to the global village. This historical juncture of the emergence of global markets in a postcolonial and post Cold War world h as combined with the spread of technologies and media to produce a hypermobile world (Sassen 2000) one in which population flows, albeit less so than the flows of capital and goods, have reached new levels and new ways of existing in foreign states (see Appadurai 1996;
18 Castles 2002; Glick Schiller, Basch and Blanc -Szanton 1992). From the global and regional to the most intimate domestic spheres, individual migrants meet with and react to a series of conditions and experiences that affect not only their de cisions to migrate but also their very construction of self and community. Nevertheless, these migrants are still the product of very specific local realities and histories that have their own internal logic. Additionally, when one asks a specific person w hy he or she decided to cross international borders, the reasons given range from the intimately personal (e.g., to accompany a spouse) through the local (e.g., the plant shut down) and on to the national (e.g., currency change) but rarely are global reasons employed. How the migrants then position themselves in relation to others and their relationship to and assessment of their countries cultural legacies may reflect broader notions of legitimacy and worth that may have as much to do with inherited colon ialist and imperialist discourses as with the current global order. As citizens of the second most populous nation of the Americas, a country whose very own myth of origin extols its promise for future greatness, Brazilians who live abroad must somehow re concile their move away from such a supposedly promising state1. Sometimes this is justified by expressing a particular rupture with the national (and nationalist) rhetoric, which constructs Brazil as the land of the future, replacing it with the rhetoric of the American Dream, where the United States is imagined as a site of new opportunities, both personal and economic. However, Brazil remains a cherished and valued social space in ways that, perhaps not surprisingly, are opposite to the ways in which the U.S. is valued. By valuing certain factors in each country that are almost mutually exclusive, (e.g., the U.S. is valued for being serious; Brazil is valued for 1 See Magalhes (2006) for her analysis of the reasons given by her participants for leaving Brazil. She concludes that they typically did not declare personal reasons, which m ade them feel guilty but rather cited political and economic motivations based on the imaginary of Brazil as a country of natural beauty and United States as a land of opportunities (2006: 5).
19 being fun), people must necessarily rank one set as more important than the other in order to not be in conflict with their decision to migrate. What places one countrys set of virtues over the other and how does this correlate with the current global order of consumer capitalism? Further, how do new immigrant subjects express, create, and sustain these dichotomies within a multicultural space? This dissertation analyzes the realities and discourses of Brazilians who live in South Florida during this global moment. One World The seductive powers of globalization both as a construct and a reality a re strong. Creating the global village in each persons imagination can be a truly virtuous endeavor, a boon to humanistic and ecological advocacy that stresses one world communitarianism and social responsibility (Benhabib 2002)2. Less idealistic but po ssibly more prevalent, this awareness combines with the market flows of the global economy so that we are theoretically free to consume goods and culture from anywhere in the world, freeing us from the monotony of strictly local commodities. This is cosmop olitanism writ large. How wonderful that both Mexican immigrants and Midwesterners in Ohio can now consume exotic Mexican mangoes in December. Multiculturalism, a bright face to globalization that gives subaltern populations a certain legitimacy, is genera lly thought of as a good thing by even the most socially-conscious individuals. On the other hand, progressives are less likely to endorse the outlandish consumerism promoted by over -commercialized mega-corporations, such as Nike and Coca Cola, which use t he same avenues to infiltrate new markets and create new desires. These new desires, in turn, collide with a global hierarchy that privileges certain kinds of labor over others, 2 See Juergensmeyer 2002 for a useful typology of eight gl obalizations focusing on different aspects of the process.
20 increasingly divorcing people from the national scale as well as the nation -st ate from its subjects and structuring different markets for categories of labor independently from those for goods and capital (Sassen 1996). Globalization, however, has become such a buzz -word that it is losing its analytical value. So much is meant by i t and encompassed in it that limiting it and defining its contradictions becomes necessary (see Appadurai 2000). Therefore, for the purposes of this dissertation, globalization represents the historical epoch we are currently experiencing begun in the late twentieth century during which political relationships have decreased in relative importance to the ties of international trade and finance. As such, economic considerations and multinational corporations operating on a supra national level, enabled in no small part through widespread technological advances, have come to impact the political and social lives of people, weakening the structure of the nation -state and its influence over its subjects (Juergensmeyer 2002). This lies in stark contrast to the Eu ropean expansion begun in the fifteenth century, in which one of the major goals was state -empowering imperialistic dominion, even if economic gains were a clear motivator. The global market economy, not national economies, is what is at stake today (Sasse n 2002). This shrinking of the world into a multi -connected sphere occurs at multiple levels (see Appadurai 1996) trade and finance alone would not create a global village. Conceptually, there is an awareness of this global village, wherein we expect a glo bal marketplace with goods to be available to anyone willing to purchase them, irrespective of their physical location. And to a large extent, we consider a certain global culture, one that claims to privilege a certain exoticized multiculturalism yet that continually reifies western modes as the standard. This global moment, of globalized capital, global travel, and global culture, is laden with caveats. Globalization has
21 undermined the modern idea of the nation-state by providing nonnational and transnat ional forms of economic, social, and cultural interaction (Juergensmeyer 2002:8). In other words, it provides avenues for the very undoing of modernist nationbuilding projects, which up until now coordinated the economic, social, and cultural spheres into bounded packages of citizenship and membership, even if these were often hierarchical and ranked. However, these non -national and transnational forms of interaction do not simply expand the options of individuals by eroding the power of a bigbrother state. By undermining the role of the nation -states power over its subjects, globalization also removes the states primary accountability to its citizens. Neoliberal tendencies have shirked the notion of the welfare state. The nation -state, perhaps the heretofore oppressive structure and source of limitations, was also ultimately responsible for its nationals, and failure to live up to that left many states subject to revolutions, foreign interventions, sanctions, and other reprisals. Likewise, in order to foster economic development and stability, more powerful nation -states, sometimes acting as blocs and sometimes as individual nations, have provided aid to poorer states 3. While such measures still take place, a new global order has emerged. The decrea sed influence of the state, while perhaps creating new freedoms, also gives rise to new restrictions and new agents and sites of oppression. Because they are especially vulnerable, developing nations, which are less privileged in the global market hierarch y, are left to provide labor and raw materials for the global north (Sassen 1996; Castles 2002). If the nationstate cannot provide for its subjects, then these are free to seek their lot elsewhere but of course, they are not free at all, because, as Benhabib (2002) writes, being free to leave one state should entail being free to 3 I am not trying to gloss over the iniquities and self serving designs inherent in state sponsored aid and development here, but these lie beyond the scope of this paper. The point here is that states are receding from these roles.
22 enter another, but, typically, entry is indeed highly regulated. Crossing borders typically means leaving behind whatever protections ones state of origin could offer, and anyt hing less than full citizenship (something that is hard to come by) in the new state means reduced access to the host societys protective measures (DeGenova 2002; Fassin 2001). Capital and goods flow more easily than people (e.g., DeGenova 2002; Sassen 19 96). However, unprecedented migration exists today4. Although migrants comprise only about three percent of the worlds population, the total number of migrants (about 176 million in 2003) has more than doubled since 19605. We must also acknowledge how cur rent migration is a new phenomenon, due in part to the geopolitical moment: deregulated technologies have facilitated these flows by making movement accessible (Basch, Glick -Schiller, and Szanton Blanc 1992; Appadurai 1996). Migrants today face many new re strictions, but also new opportunities as people continually exert their own counterforce while shaping their own lives (Castles 2002). Of Nations and Belonging Talk of globalization often turns to how the structure of the national became less authoritativ e over the culture and lives of people, the flows of goods and capital, and even over the territory encompassed in its borders (Juergensmeyer 2002). Nations and nationalisms become the subject of academic inquiry not only to examine how they are manifest, but also to problematize whether or not they exist. Wimmer and Glick-Schiller critique social sciences naturalization of the nation state (2003:576). Volumes have been written on the forms of nationalism that paradoxically exist in this new reality (see Connor 1994; Kellas 1998; Hedetoft and Hjort 2002). On the other hand, nationalism remains a force to be contended with and new 4 The current worldwide economic crisis has probably slowed this down some what 5 Source: International Organization for Migration, www.iom.int http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/site/ myjahiasite/shared/shared/mainsite/published_docs/books/wmr_sec03.pdf
23 forms of nationalism, particularly ethnoreligious, have emerged (Juergensmeyer 2002; Doomerick 2003), indicating that reports o f its death have been greatly exaggerated. Indeed, it seems as if rather than doing away with nationalism as a relic of modernity, we would do better to understand its enduring legacies and the conditions that stifle or promote it. Moreover, one must not confound nationalism with sentiment for the nation-state, a particular political territory. Connor (1994) argues that thinking in terms of ethnonationalism helps explain the emotional bond that makes people willing to die for their homeland. Wimmer and G lick -Schiller further caution against the coherent epistemic structure [that forms] a self reinforcing way of describing the social world in terms of naturalizing the boundaries of the nation-state as encompassing a limited unit of analysis (2003:577). I n other words, the rhetoric of the nation-state is so embedded in our collective psyche that we lack the vocabulary to speak about nations in any other way. Nationalism then, while still reflective of place, is less linked to a specific polity and can be t hought of more in terms of ethnicityethnicity rooted in space. Indeed, it would seem nave to allow for essentialized notions of what it means to belong to a nation. They would have no place in a world where people are increasingly on the move, where the concept of what a people is has to contend with the amalgam of native peoples, original settlers, minorities, historical immigrants, and new immigrants. Likewise, it would seem that nationalism as a sentiment would be confounded by ethnic roots and multiple displacements, such as when historical diasporas become the new immigrants in a new setting. Is the East Indian Kenyan an African or an Asian when settled in Ohio? Does the Italian-Japanese Brazilian living abroad seek the company of Italians Japanese, or Brazilians? What of the children? What makes a people? Answers to these questions are hard to come by, not only for
24 social scientists, but also for the people themselves as they search for their placeboth physical and figurative in thes e multicultural national composites. Worldwide migration destabilizes traditional notions of nation, and yet it also reinforces them. Transnational migration literature rightly points out that immigrants are not on a one -way path to assimilation in the hos t countries (Basch et. al. 1992; Portes, Guarnizo and Landolt 1999), keeping active ties to their country of origin. This approach to migration contributes to the destabilization of traditional notions of the nation as a space that must be occupied physica lly in order to be meaningful by articulating the notion of deterritorialized states that is, states that exist apart from their territory. Yet paradoxically, and perhaps unintentionally, these same scholars reified the importance of the sending nation or community. More recently, migration scholars have broadened this understanding. Transnational orientation toward the sending country is looked at along with participation in the host country as part of a simultaneity that focuses less on either/or an d more on both/and (Levitt and GlickSchiller 2004). Therefore, this migration phenomenon of the 21st Century allows for new ways of being but also continually calls the concept of nation to the forefront. Which people belong to which space, who belong s to where, and who does not, are salient discussions in labor -sending and labor receiving nations, not only among academics and policy makers, but also in the media, in school boards, neighborhoods, and churches. One can belong to many communities religious, ethnic, gender, occupational but belonging as intimately tied to an experience of place is still a very potent construct (Cohen 1985). This place to which one belongs was for many decades articulated through the nationstate, certainly a political construct but one sustained not only through political means, but also through an emphasis on a shared imagination of belonging (Anderson 1983). Andersons work,
25 ironically, which so intricately details the construction of the nation -state concept as a te rritorial entity, is continuously cited in the migration literature, from specific ethnographies (e.g., Beserra 2003; Sales 1998) to more conceptual works (e.g., Kastoryano 2002). This paradox is indicative of just how difficult it is to do away with natio nalism as an explanatory concept either looking at its presence or attempting to justify its absence, it would indeed seem as if migration scholars along with other social scientists do suffer from what Wimmer and Glick-Schiller (2003) call methodological nationalism. However, I offer that in migration the very division of the world into political territories handicaps us, migration scholars, from speaking in any other terms. Internal migration, that which does not traverse political borders, is an entir ely different phenomenon, but the truth is that international crossings necessarily define migrants as nationals (even if not citizens) of some (other) place. Immigrants, of course, are active in this process. For instance, Latino immigrants in the U.S., despite the overwhelming tendency to be grouped by ethnolinguistic markers (i.e., as Hispanic or Latino), still identify themselves primarily by nationality (Caldern 1992). Marrow (2003) found that even in the second generation, Brazilian immigrants (and their children) tended to identify their ethnicity and their race as being Brazilian. Likewise, when we define and understand migration as the crossing of geopolitical borders, we scholars end up creating our own conceptual borders that reinforce the nati on-state divisions6. We often inadvertently assign meaning to the national as the primary distinction, thus focusing on the migrants incorporation into a new nation, but also privileging their origin as one contextualized specifically within another state 6 Certainly there are studies wherein immigrants are categorized by different criteria: racial, regional, ethnic, linguistic, or religious criteria such as studies of Maya or Arab communities that may include immigrants from more than one country, or exclude conationals of differing communities. Nevertheless, the pattern described dominates the migration literature.
26 Anderson states, In the modern conception, state sovereignty is fully, flatly, and evenly operative over each square centimeter of a legally demarcated territory. But in the older imagining, where states were defined by centers, borders were porous and indistinct, and sovereignties faded imperceptibly into one another (1991: 19). Migration literature often speaks of porous borders political ones as demarcated on maps, made porous by unsanctioned crossings. But there are also other borders that ha ve become fluid those of loyalties, language, culture, and values and crossing political ones does not necessarily signify crossing these imaginary ones7. Brazilian Emigration: God is Brazilian, the Land of the Future, and Other Failed Narratives In order for migration to occur, individual migrants must experience either certain opportunities or certain lack of opportunities and often both prior to emigrating: the global moment that spurs migration coincides with specific national and local conditions (Sas sen 2000). There would be no need for migration scholars to interview immigrants if we were interested simply in discussing the macro level forces that foster and engender migration. The narratives of immigrants are often interwoven with far more intimate projects, ranging from the personal to the local a local that, through migration, is writ large and comes to encompass the national. In other words, Brazilian emigration began to take place during the latter decades of the twentieth century, the era o f globalization and accelerated migration. However, specific national conditions, themselves a part of this global web of events, had a more direct influence on local realities and individual experiences. 7 Or sometimes, the imaginary borders are crossed long before the politi cal ones, as with the Brazilians that Beserra (2003) proposes have been imagining a life in the U.S. ever since Hollywood and rock and roll broadcast it worldwide in the mid Twentieth Century.
27 The end of the military dictatorship in 1985 and t he movement towards democracy and political openness appear to be the historical threshold between Brazil as a country that receives immigrants rather than a country that sends them (immigrant receiving versus immigrant sending). The ensuing instability and hyperinflation, along with newer consumption patterns (see Margolis 1994; ODougherty 2002) of this political transition, and the failed projects of the nascent democracy, spurred on unprecedented emigration. The heavy investment by the outgoing dicta torship in public works and nation-building projects, as well as the practice of exiling dissidents, created an illusion of growth and stability that crumbled without authoritarian rule. Brazil, along with much of Latin America, fell into a distressed econ omic period known as the lost decade. The burden of tremendous foreign debt, compounded by International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustments designed to stem hyperinflation, and the unwillingness of foreign investors to bring in their capital tran slated into economic implosion for many Brazilians. When average Brazilians did not see the increased political power of the individual translate into a corresponding increase in economic stability, the hopes of many began to deflate. When the Collor admin istration froze bank accounts and assets in 1990, widespread lack of faith and even panic led Brazilians to begin looking elsewhere to ensure their futures8. Lack of economic opportunity is not the only issue that fostered Brazilian emigration after all, t hat in itself was not a new phenomenon. In personal narratives, disappointment with the Brazilian government, or even simply with Brazil, is often cited as a reason for leaving (Magalhes 2006; see also, Margolis 1994; Martes 20029). Brazil, as probably is the case with 8 One man I met in Pompano Beach told me this story: his friend, having decided to pursue other paths, liquidated a ranch with thousands of heads of cattle, after which he deposited the money in his bank account. The next day, Collor announced the freeze, and the man lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The next yea r, he moved to Florida. 9 Brown 2005 and Magalhes 2005 both suggest that economic hardship is not supported empirically as a primary motivator for Brazilian emigration. Beserra 2003 shares this contention without making the claim on empirical basis.
28 most nations, is permeated by official narratives of its own greatness; unlike many nations, however, this greatness is not to be found in some imperial past (such as China, Mexico, Portugal, and others) but either in some natural, primordia l state or in some time yet to come. The national anthem of Brazil encapsulates this perfectly when it exalts: [a] giant by your own nature you are beautiful, you are strong, impervious colossus and your future mirrors this greatness. The first purveyors of this land of the future myth probably did not realize the burden they would place on subsequent governments to deliver a state that could live up to the territorys promise. If the United States was the land of Manifest Destiny, Brazil was the land o f un manifest[ed] destiny. Tired of waiting for a future that never arrived, significant numbers of Brazilians began to leave. There have been many moments when it seemed as if Brazil was on the cusp of that future. Most relevant to this migration stream a re those in the late twentieth century: the emerging democracy and demilitarization in the 1980s; the election of the charismatic Collor; the intellectual solution offered by Cardosos Real Plan; and even the future embedded in the promise of Lulas electi on as president. Each of these moments created a promise a promise that nevertheless did not materialize for large segments of the population. Brazilian emigration began in earnest during this period of sharpened disillusionment with the failed promise of Brazil. This may be a significant factor in how Brazilians abroad relate to one another and construct their images of Brazil. Many studies of Brazilians abroad have highlighted the interesting dichotomies and contradictions expressed by Brazilians when as ked to describe Brazil and their countrymen10, which may reflect the real or proclaimed disenchantment 10 Mar golis (1994) was the first one to document this in Little Brazil. It has since shown up in differing degrees in most texts I have read on Brazilian immigrants, from Sales (1999) and Martes (2000) to more recent ethnographies such as Brown (2005) and Magal hes 2005.
29 that permitted them to leave. On the other hand, one should keep in mind that Brazil itself is often referred to in terms of its many contrasts and contra dictions11, and as a steeply hierarchical society that nonetheless espouses a friendly and cordial veneer of equality (see Buarque de Hollanda 1936). From its very inception as a nation, Brazil has been trying to understand itself through the voice of its s cholars, artists, and leaders. This rhetoric that is so integral to the articulation of the Brazilian self in Brazil, then, becomes exported through the global movements of today and subjected to new narratives about what it means to belong. It is precisel y in this imaginary of national identity as reproduced abroad that I am interested. Travel Guide The structure of this dissertation follows the development of my research topic and my process investigating what Brazilian national identity could mean in South Florida. In this first chapter, I have introduced my research topic and situate it within a broader discussion of contemporary migration, globalization, and nationalism. I acknowledge the challenge that transnationalism poses to traditional notions of t he nation and raise questions about the extent of that challenge. I also discuss how Brazil went from being an immigrant -receiving nation to an immigrant -sending one. In Chapter 2, I situate myself within the context of my own research to provide some bac kground for my initial interest. I outline how my own familys history made me a part of the very phenomenon I would grow up to study. In this chapter, I provide more information about South Florida, my chosen field site, characterizing it as a unique metr opolitan area by virtue of its immigrant population. I also describe my initial foray into the field, including how a 11 See Da Matta 1984, Freyre 2002 , and Ribeiro 2000 among Brazilian social scientists. NonBrazilians characterizing Brazil through its contrasts begin with Bastide with his 1957 Brsil, Terre des contrastes to, most recently, Vinod Thom ass 2006 publication for the Worldbank entitled From inside Brazil : development in a land of contrasts.
30 misguided pilot study helped me home in on issues that proved more pressing for my participants. I take the opportunity at this point to i ntroduce what I hope are pertinent questions about what it means to be a native ethnographer today. In Chapter 3, I present the methods used for the study and discuss my experience conducting research and analysis. I first define my questions and research design, and then launch into a description of my field site, now more from the perspective of a fieldworker. I share how I came to define my field as two counties, but ended up including participants from three. Somewhat predictably, then, given that my st udy did span three counties, I recount the challenges of being a commuter anthropologist and the crisis of disciplinary legitimacy brought about by too many hours in South Florida traffic. I also chronicle how my sample ended up being defined and specify h ow my interviews were conducted. Finally, I discuss the particular methodology I use for the content analysis of the local Brazilian ethnic press and tie it in to my studys broader questions. In Chapter 4, I introduce data that shows how the imaginary of national identity becomes articulated both in the ways that participants refer to nations as well as how they refer to the citizens of these nations. I focus the findings into four articulations: how participants view Brazilians as a people, Brazil as a s ociety, Americans as people, and the U.S. as a society. This dichotomous construction, however, belies the complex ongoing negotiations in the process of developing an immigrant identity, one that is fraught with ambiguity and prone to idiosyncrasies. The emerging tripartite structure of Brazilians, Americans, and the self is much more reflective of Brazilian rhetoric (see Da Matta 1991), most emblematic in our nations myth of origin that embraces mestiagem or miscegenation, as constitutive of the Brazil ian people (Freyre 2000 ).
31 In Chapter 5, I focus on one particular aspect of my participants social lives, gender. Through this lens, I analyze the constructions of an other. The myth of the Brazilian woman is looked at more critically here to see how the exoticized image of a hot blooded siren holds up under more quotidian circumstances. The imaginary construction of the Brazilian woman, circulated both inside and outside of Brazil, ends up affecting the gender dynamics of Brazilian women and men in different ways once they themselves are circulating outside Brazil. I look at how this affects the courtship experiences of my participants. The more patriarchal gender power structure is challenged by an inversion of power abroad Brazilian women ha ve a greater variety of mates to choose from abroad, whereas the Brazilian men, have less. T h is inversion only applies within the Brazilian context, however, for the very desirability of the Brazilian woman is contingent upon her fulfilling a specific role that upholds very traditional gender roles. From this, I examine the role of beauty standards and body types and how this contributes to the exoticization of the Brazilian woman. Finally, I consider my participants experiences living in the United States under a different set of gender norms, and how these interface with previously held notions not only of gender, but also of self and family. In Chapter 6, I take the same questions (the articulation of the national and its citizens) and apply these to the local ethnic press. I look at two South Florida Brazilian publications, the Florida Review and the Gazeta Brazilian News focusing on editorials over one year to see how the themes that are discussed in the interviews emerge in the press. In Chapter 7, my final chapter, I present my findings regarding the consolidated immigrant identity. Working from the dichotomies expressed about Brazilians versus Americans, and Brazil and the U.S., I set up a space in between the two nations where a hybrid identity now becomes more explicit, and posit
32 Miami and its surroundings as fertile ground for the articulation of that hybridity within the multicultural landscape of American cities.
33 CHAPTER 2 THE MINES IN MY BACKYARD: PRELIMINARY FI ELDWORK1 I said, you know what? Im going there, that is where Im going to stay. Ill make [my husband] come, Ill be close to Brazil. When I came here, I loved Miami, I loved it! Loved it. Its so much more pleasant living here, here I dont feel like a strange animal. There I fe lt as if I was an exotic animal. Raquel Elis, Brazilian immigrant, on moving to Miami from Missouri The Self in Context: Situating the E thnographer For a discipline with such a broad scope and holistic approach, anthropology can be intensely personal. Whether we consider the traditional lone fieldworker in a remote and foreign setting, or the native anthropologist studying his or her own community, it becomes clear that anthropological research condenses the overarching global reach of the discipline into a local, particular, intimate endeavor (Clifford 1986). If this seems unlikely, ponder that most anthropological device, the field notebook. By trade, we are encouraged to recount, reflect, and recreate the nuances of our days, our data, our interactions with our participants, our struggles and doubts in short, we are to journal our experience and that then becomes part of our data. Reflexivity is part and parcel of the anthropologists tool kit, from understanding the first motivation to undertake a study to the personal biases and inclinations that mediate fieldwork and the analysis of data. We must place the self in context. With that in mind, it would be impossible to explain my approach to the study of Brazilians in South Florida without explaining how my own experience led me to it. I am no stranger to difference. My parents are from different countries, and I was born in a third. I was born in the United States, yet raised in my mothers Brazil for most of my formative 1 This chapter presents findings for a pilot study that were previously published in Portuguese as: Brasileiros no Sul da Flrida: Relatos de uma P esquisa em Andamento. In: Ana Cristina Braga Martes e Soraya Fleischer, Eds. Fronteiras Cruzadas: Etnicidade, Gnero, e Redes Sociais 2003. So Paulo: Paz e Terra.
34 years. I carry my Portuguese f athers spelling of our last name (with an s) rather than the more common Brazilian spelling with a z ( Rezende ). Though I was both born in the U.S. and educated in English, upon moving back to my native Rhode Island for high school, I was considered fo reign, being classified as either exotic, for being Brazilian like my mom, or undesirable, for being Portuguese (see FeldmanBianco 2000) like my dad2. Nevertheless, despite all my experience with difference, I remember being completely unprepared for the surreal experience of being simultaneously in and out of the United States, and of discovering a shared identity with people with whom I shared neither a history nor a language, which is exactly what I experienced upon moving to Miami, Florida. In 1987, when I first moved to South Florida, there were not very many Brazilians; there was only one Brazilian market, over forty miles from my house. I did not have any Brazilian friends in college and my parents did not know any Brazilians in the neighborhood or anywhere else in town. Nevertheless, unlike the general ignorance or misconceptions we had lived with in New England, in Miami we were surrounded by people who knew about Brazil, from our music and culture to geography and current affairs. We were embrace d by the Latin American community3. In a city of hybrids and transnationals who traverse different cultural spheres with relative ease, I found people who shared my superstitions, recognized my amulet against the evil eye, and understood the importance o f family and of Christmas Eve over Christmas Day. In addition to familiar mango and coconut trees, our neighborhood had the recognizable smell of fried plantains, rice and beans, and strong coffee being brewed by Cubans, 2 I was scrutinized by the students and the Jesuit faculty. The former were completely ign or ant of Brazil ( questions ranged from Is there grass in Brazil? to the outrageous Did you live in a tree? ) The faculty and my Portuguese family as welltreated me as if I were a heathen frequently attempt ing to convert me or bring me to civilization. The movie Blame it on Rio was released around this time, which only worsened this trend. 3 Also reported in Margolis (1998) about New Yorkers and Tsuda (2003) about the Japanese.
35 Colombians, Nicaraguans, and other Latin Americans. Yet we could not speak the same language. Somos todos Latinos, my mom explained. We are all Latinos. In time, the number of Brazilians in South Florida increased exponentially. It seems silly now, but twenty years ago any contact with a Brazilian would merit an announcement at our familys dinner table: I met a Brazilian today or I saw a car with a Brazilian flag. Eventually, more and more Brazilians appeared, and the novelty wore off. Interestingly, these newer arrivals knew their w ay around with far more ease than I did, quickly finding the stores and restaurants that catered to Brazilians. It became clear to me that, generally, the more recently someone had arrived, the more connected and informed they would be. Soon enough I would learn academically what I had learned anecdotally: the role of networks in migration can help determine various aspects of life, from employment and settlement to social support (Boyd 1989; Fernndez -Kelly and Schauffler 1994). I began to wonder if these new arrivals would find the same continuity when encountering the Latin American melting pot, or if having sufficient social ties among Brazilians would mean that there would be no need to bridge the language divide and become Latinos. Yet there were si milarities between Brazilian culture and other Latin American cultures. These are as mundane as rice and beans and caf con leche but also involve less material commonalities of shared values and experiences: more fluid racial categories; a Catholic histo ry; tight knit families; a passion for soccer, music, and dancing; and unfortunate familiarities with inflation, corruption, and political instability. In short, a Latin American identity, a Pan -Latino Americanismo I naively decided to pursue the questio n of whether this then translated into Panlatinismo a shared identity that comes from being a Latino in the United States. Previous studies of Brazilian communities in the U.S. seemed to indicate that Brazilians outright rejected
36 the label of Hispanic (se e Margolis 1994 and Sales 1999), although this was less so for the label Latino, which does not imply Spanish-speaking. Overall, the resistance of Brazilians to being grouped with Latinos/Hispanics has been regarded as a resistance against the subalter n status of Latinos in the United States, rejecting a categorization that implies subordination. Believing that Miami presents a unique location for the articulation and pride in Latino status (Portes and Stepick 1993), I was certain that Brazilians who se ttled there would embrace the label as I had, and set upon my study. Why South Florida? Arriving in the F ield When I first entered the field (summer 2001), there had not been any published studies that specifically considered the integration of Brazilian a nd Hispanic immigrants, or the possibility of a shared identity between the groups. Brazilian immigration was a fairly recent phenomenon, and thus was being studied as a whole concept unto itself, not in relation to its sociological insertion into the U.S. An ethnography of Brazilians in San Francisco did indicate that some links existed between Brazilians and Latinos, such as Brazilians owning taco restaurants (Brazilians do not eat tacos) and hosting Brazilian nights at bars in Latino neighborhoods (Ribei ro 1999). Ribeiro questioned: if integration exists, why then was there such a low number of intermarriages between Brazilians and other Latin Americans, given the linguistic and cultural proximity. He concluded that the Mexican and Central American popu lation differed so significantly in socioeconomic status (SES) that it made them unattractive partners to Brazilians. Recently, other studies have tackled the question more directly, with findings showing that factors from skin tone (Martes 2003) to socia l class (Beserra 2003) and generation (Marrow 2003) can influence the degree and extent of this identification with U.S. Latinos. Like these other researchers, I also felt this was a question worth pursuing and, given that our field research time frame ove rlapped, perhaps we began to perceive a shift in the attitudes of Brazilian immigrants towards accepting
37 the label Latino. Given South Floridas unique position within the United States as a premier Latino region4 (Portes and Stepick 1993), I felt as if Br azilians there would feel less stigma attached to being Latino than in other cities. Brazilian visibility in South Florida was anchored for me by the World Cup events in the summers of 1994 and 1998. In 1994, when Brazil won the World Cup, people of man y nationalities poured into the streets of Miami Beach to celebrate a fellow Latin American countrys victory over Italy. There were many Brazilians, to be sure, but there were as many nonBrazilians joining in the celebrations as world famous Ocean Drive erupted into a spontaneous block party. By the next World Cup in1998, there was no need to wait until the final match. The streets of Miami Beach became a celebration each time Brazil won, and with each subsequent victory, the overwhelming presence became increasingly Brazilian. This unconventional barometer of the increasing Brazilian presence in many ways led me to my research question were the cross -cultural linkages starting to dissipate as Brazilians emerged as a significant group in its own right? In the span of a few years, I had witnessed a proliferation of Brazilian publications, restaurants, and cultural events, and the establishment of the Brazilian Film Festival of Miami and the Centro Cultural Brasil USA (Brazil USA Cultural Center), and wondere d if this would lead to a more segregated enclave Earlier studies of Brazilian communities in the United States, such as the pioneer Little Brazil (Margolis 1994) about New York Brazilians and Brasileiros nos Estados Unidos (Martes 1999), about those in Greater Boston, presented profiles of what the first Brazilian immigrants were like: young, better educated than Brazilians at home, middle or lower class, racially white, and most typically from the landlocked state of Minas Gerais. Previously, Brazilian s had 4 As of the 2000 U.S. Census, persons of Latino or Hispanic origin account ed for 57% of Miami Dade countys population, and 17% of Broward county s population. (www.census.gov)
38 resisted the label of immigrants, preferring to categorize themselves as sojourners who would return to Brazil once the situation allowed (Margolis 1995). South Florida Brazilians had much to add to this. For one thing, I knew many Brazilians in Flor ida were secondary migrants (Resende 2005), having settled elsewhere in the U.S. first, and then moved south. I wanted to see if this indicated a greater willingness to stay in the U.S. long term, by expending resources and energy moving within the U.S. ra ther than conserving them to prepare for a return to Brazil. Also, I hypothesized that the cultural identity of Brazilians in a setting such as South Florida might be different from that of other U.S. locations. Brazilian society is very hierarchical and class -conscious (e.g., Da Matta, 1984) and if Brazilians were rejecting being grouped with Latinos where these represented a subordinate social location, this particular objection would be lifted in South Florida, where to be Latino granted access to the m ainstream and elite populations (Stepick, Grenier, Castro and Dunn 2003). Additionally, discourse in and about Miami tended to assign a tripartite structure (Anglo, Latino, and Black) that privileged culture as the meaningful construct (Croucher 1999) for organizing social and political activity. If Brazilians could not be Anglo, then perhaps insertion into the society could be achieved by self identifying as Latinos. The setting itself was so different that it could engender a new sort of Brazilian commu nity. There is no question that New York and Boston are traditional immigrant cities and have a longer history of immigration than Miami, but Miamis transformation in the last forty years from a sleepy southern town into a cosmopolitan city has yielded a very different terrain (Portes and Stepick 1993; Croucher 1997; LiPuma and Koelble 2005). Miami is not considered to be an American city, but a Latin American one in fact, it is often hailed to be the capital of Latin America (Stepick 1994).
39 However, the geography of the region presented a conundrum: perhaps Miami was a great Latin American city where Brazilians could find a voice in common with other communities, yet more Brazilians were settling in Broward County instead (Suarez 2003), just north of Miam i Dade County. Broward County had become home to much of the white flight out of Miami as the Hispanic presence intensified (Portes and Stepick 1993), but immigrant groups began settling there as well (Fernndez-Kelly and Schauffler 1994). The largest co ncentrations of Brazilians are found in the continuum at the very north of the county, from Pompano Beach to Deerfield Beach. I had heard that Broward was home to a large Brazilian population, and the place to go to for real Brazilian food, meant for Bra zilians. If Miami had become a Pan Latin American enclave, perhaps Broward was the place where the Brazilian enclave would take hold. The notion of an ethnic enclave holds some sort of mystique over our collective imagination. Chinatown is considered an obligatory stop on a tour of San Francisco, Little Italy in New York, and Little Havana in Miami. The romantic idea that these spaces magically retain the Old Country feel is central to this mystique you go to there to consume real Chinese (Italian/Cu ban) food, to hear the language, to purchase imported products meant for members of that community (as if they are better than the ones imported by the local Stop-and Shop) in short, to consume authenticity. The reality, of course, is that these neighborhoods are dynamic settings, and often end up performing the identity thrust upon them that at once homogenizes the old country into an idealistic setting and oversimplifies the complexities inherent in living between two (or three) worlds.5 Diamond sees so mething inherently contradictory in this desire for authenticity given the general climate of cynicism we live in, deeming is nostalgic for a mythical earlier era, before community was destroyed by society (1995:2). Nevertheless, I had 5 S ee Lin (1995) for a description of Houstons Hispanic enclave as a Latinized spectacle of urban tourism and consumption.
40 navely hoped in m y nostalgia to find some sort of Disneylike recreation of Brazil collapsed into a twentymile stretch of coastal Florida. What I would later discover is that the expanses of northern Broward where many Brazilians settled do still offer the possibility of hearing the language, eating the foods, and buying the products that real Brazilians would. However, any charm has been wiped out by suburban sprawl and the old country feel is only performed, without any pretense of authenticity, as a feathered danc e show on Saturday nights at the Tropicana restaurant for its mostly American patrons. As I planned my pilot study, I expected to find important differences between the counties with regards to relations with other Latino groups and Spanish proficiency. Co nventional wisdom would seem to indicate that the Pompano-Deerfield community was an outgrowth of the Miami community.6 Now a traditional gateway city, Miamis market for immigrant labor was saturated, and newer arrivals would head north in search of jobs and cheaper rent. This also made sense as Broward County was experiencing significant population growth, providing a new job market with many opportunities for immigrant labor sectors (construction and service industries). I wondered if Broward Brazilians would be more recent immigrants less likely to speak Spanish which in turn would make the possibility of Brazilian-Hispanic Panlatinismo less likely there than in Miami. The de facto existence of a second language in Miami, Spanish (Fradd and Boswell 199 6), is less pronounced in Broward County, where Hispanics still comprise a minority. Whereas in Miami Spanish is either a prerequisite or a byproduct of employment in many sectors, in Broward County it is less prevalent (although still present). For many e arly Brazilian immigrants in Miami, Spanish served as a transitional language that, being 6 As it turns out, this was not exactly the case. Many of the Brazilians in Broward migrated directly there, either from Brazil or relocating from somewhere else in the U.S. See Resende (2005) for an explanation of the three origins of South Florida Brazilians.
41 so similar to Portuguese, was easier to learn than English but still managed to grant access to all avenues of life: employment, religion, social networks, and info rmation, including media. Newer immigrant experiences were likely to be different for Brazilian migrants since the Brazilian community itself had grown so much; by extension, Brazilians settling where they outnumbered Hispanics probably offered reduced op portunities for forging a Pan-Latino identity. Brazilian services and goods, such as the arrival of Brazilian network television through satellite (Globo, Brazils biggest network, has been available since 1999), also decreased contact between the ethnic communities. Finally, I also considered how both the geography and the infrastructure of each county affected the formation of this Brazilian community. Less developed Broward County, for example, still had relatively affordable rental rates near the beach whereas in coastal Miami -Dade County prices were increasingly prohibitive. Take O ne : Conducting the P ilot Determining appropriately defined sites of inquiry was one of the purposes of this preliminary study. The focus of this study was the Miami metropo litan area and its outflow; Palm Beach County was not included. I sought to determine the scope of the Brazilian community; locate the most concentrated areas; become acquainted with Brazilian oriented services and businesses; and administer questionnaires to test the feasibility of research propositions that would later become fuller interview schedules. I quickly realized that Miami did not have the heavily concentrated pockets of Brazilians that Broward did, and so, in the absence of neighborhoods and B razilian public spaces, I entered the field through businesses that catered specifically to this population. I began with the Brazilian market closest to my residence, in the south Miami -Dade area of East Kendall. Mercado Bras il (Fi g ure 2 -1 )., as it is called to this day, is owned by a married couple from Rio de Janeiro; they purchased the space and clientele (it was previously one of
42 three Via Brazil markets in Miami -Dade) from another couple who were moving back to Brazil. There, an abundance of free Portuguese language ethnic papers and promotional flyers provided my first material data. This market, and every subsequent market, proved to be a useful entry point as each contained a bulletin board ( F ig ure 2 -2) where people posted all sorts of requests and offers. Roommates, jobs, items for sale and services even counterfeit documents were all available and sought after through these boards, which tell their own story of the communities. Handwritten scraps and color -copied ads all found their way onto t he boards, which I later discovered were of particular interest to new arrivals. Conversations with the owners of this market, whom I had met while still living in South Florida, led to more contacts and, armed with names, I began to make calls to the Bra zilian Consulate, the Brazilian cultural center, the Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce, as well as to schools and churches. This led to many informal interviews, but few eventual participants, and I finally began traveling to Broward County frequently, where I went to Brazilian markets, bakeries, and restaurants, and trying to become familiar with the sites where I was likely to find Brazilians. I wanted to see if my inclinations regarding Panlatinismo were accurate or if I needed to change my researc h focus and determine the breadth of the Brazilian community, highlighting differences and similarities between the counties. I devised a questionnaire that I hoped would capture both of these dimensions. The general questionnaire addressed a variety of de mographic and migration history questions, but also contained questions regarding social groups and language ability. On the one hand, I wished to obtain a general feel for the respondents: were they very different from the typical profiles of the Brazilia n migrant? On the other hand, I wanted to see if Brazilians were learning Spanish or English, and with whom they socialized. Were they sticking to other Brazilians or branching out?
43 According to Jones Correa (1998), first generation immigrants may be diffi cult to reach directly, but traditional snowball samples may lead to interviewing only certain strata or limited personal networks. Thus, snowball samples with multiple entries were generated. Interestingly, I still ran into these closednetwork difficul ties during my pilot, particularly in Broward County, where I had fewer contacts. In Miami -Dade, I utilized contacts of mine from differing spheres (my hairdresser, a family friend, the market owners, and neighbors) who then forwarded my questionnaire to friends, co -workers, customers, and other acquaintances who in turn, forwarded the questionnaire to Brazilians whom my immediate contacts did not know. In Broward, however, I did not have this luxury, which affected my results. Nevertheless, I carried my f ield notebook along, as well as an organizer: as a budding anthropologist, I opted for at least looking the part, even if I was not too certain of what I was doing Looking for Darkness, Blinded by Light: Findings As I proceeded through my pilot, an intere sting paradox began to emerge. Observations of events and organizations aimed at the general Latino community indicated that there was an inclination to include Brazilians in their target audience, and many Brazilian events also demonstrated some type of P anlatino orientation. For example, the Hispanic Film Festival regularly showcased Brazilian films; Telemundo, a Spanish language network, was a sponsor of the 5th Annual Brazilian Film Festival; and the Festival de Teatro Hispnico (Hispanic Theater Festiv al) 2001 included a Brazilian play. Yet my informal interviews and questionnaires were not bearing this out on a personal scale. Try as I might, my participants were not revealing a discourse of newly discovered brotherhood with their Hispanic neighbors. M ostly, the attitude was one of casual acknowledgment yes, they are here. Theyre all right. We get along Occasionally, there was a discourse of difference, as in they [Hispanics] are so united as a community and we are not. Sometimes, however, there w as an active disdain and resentment,
44 particularly targeted at the more established conservative Cuban community, evidenced in comments such as They have taken over this place, and I thought I was coming to the United States and no one speaks English! E ven people who spoke Spanish and had many Latino friends (or spouses, for that matter) did not accede to my notion that this signified a shared panethnic identity. However, what my participants did want to talk about was other Brazilians and quite often in a negative tone. It took me some time to realize that what I was hearing was not mere incidental gossip, but a generalized disappointment with the entire community. Gossip to me signifies something else; it is far more personal in nature, and loses it s social impact when shared with a stranger. These complaints, rather, were cries of frustration over dashed expectations. Moreover, a discourse of active exclusion began to surface as well. I dont do business with Brazilians, was a common refrain, as w as Im not friends with Brazilians. Many scholars of Brazilian immigration have found this as well: Margolis (1994) documented this about Brazilians in New York first, but others followed (e.g., Ribeiro 1999 and Martes 20007). Here I was trying to find t he linkages between Brazilians and Hispanics, and instead the community I was focusing on was lacking unity at its own core. Although I resisted it for the duration of my pilot, it became clear that I had to change the focus of my study. Observations The size of the Brazilian population in South Florida was unclear. Although no official estimates were found, large numbers were frequently cited. The Florida Review a popular local Brazilian paper, claims 250,000 Brazilians live in South Florida in its press kit, and a consular representative cited 200,000 (personal communication July 9, 2001). In 2001, the non-ethnic 7 In fact, most publi cations about Brazilians abroad seem to include this issue, a notable exception being Tsuda (2003). Recent publications that highlight this problem include Takagi (2006) and Rocha (2008).
45 local press put these numbers under 50,000, a large disparity that probably underestimated the undocumented immigrants. According to the Brazil ian Foreign Ministry, 1.9 million Brazilians lived abroad then, with approximately 800,000 residing in the U.S. (Itamaraty Website, September, 2001). The official estimate for number of persons under jurisdiction of the Brazilian Consulate in Miami was in deed 200,000, but that would have included the Brazilian populations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, as well as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas8. This population had continued to increase in number and visibility since then, attracting not only Brazilians from many parts of Brazil, but those scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada. Brazilian owned and/or oriented businesses proliferated throughout the two counties, even in the cours e of the summer of 2001. There was a defined ethnic press, with multiple publications, eateries for all budgets, musicians and dance nights, travel agencies, attorneys, physicians, and car dealerships. I also found a variety of Brazilian markets, bakeries and snack bars (Figure 25) from small stores that specialized in a few products to full -size supermarkets that sold foodstuffs, beauty products, household cleaning agents, and durable goods such as pots, pans, and ceramic water filters from Brazil (Fig ures 2 -1, 2 -3, 2 -6, and 27 ). All non official needs could be met, to some extent, by someone who spoke Portuguese but much more so in Broward than in Miami -Dade. In Pompano Beach, for example, there were at least two strip malls entirely dedicated to the Brazilian customer. Businesses there included not only the markets and bakeries, but also clothing and religious stores, insurance companies, beauty salons, law offices, travel agencies, and remittance companies ( Figures 24 and 28 ). I found no such congl omeration in Miami -Dade in fact, to this day I do not know of any. At most, there are 8 In 2008, a consulate was added in Atlanta, GA, due to increased Br azilian migration to t he region. As a result, the Miami consulate now has its jurisdiction limited to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
46 strip malls with two or three Brazilian businesses, such as when the owners of Mercado Bra s il, my neighborhood market, established a bakery and a fashion store in 2002. T hese never predominated the landscape, and often were short lived concentrations Mercado Bra s il is once more a stand -alone market. Broward also had help centers, sort of one -stop shops for Brazilians in need of assistance. These centers staff attorneys, accountants, immigration experts, and real estate and insurance agents that service the Brazilian community. They also staff despachantes a peculiarly Brazilian profession that has been imported into the community. A despachante is essentially a red -tape navigator, someone paid to fill out forms, file claims, and work the system. It might make sense to use one when immigrants do not know exactly what is being asked of them, but a critical function of the despachante is to open closed doors. It struck me as surprising that in a relatively short community history, that these navigational experts could be found. Again, I found no such center in Miami -Dade, although it should be noted that in more recent years despachantes have offered their services in both counties through advertisements in the ethnic press. On the other hand, there was no equivalent in Broward to the Centro Cultural Brasil USA (CCBU), a cultural center dedicated to serving the needs of the Brazilian community. CCBU is affiliated with the Mi ami Consulate and its programming includes Portuguese language and Brazilian culture classes for children and adults; lectures by academicians, authors, and language specialists. The Center also houses a multimedia library with 3,000 volumes. In 2001, CCBU promoted cultural events in both counties, but its programming was mainly Miami based. Even as events that took place in Broward did appear on the Centers calendar alongside Miami -Dade events, many more Miami -Dade productions were listed.
47 Informal Inte rviews Conversations with Miami-Dade Brazilians reinforced my discovery that there was a dichotomy between the two counties. For example, in a telephone conversation with a consular representative, he commented that regionalism exists here, referring to the divide between Miami -Dade and Broward residents and stating that Brazilians in Miami Dade lived in Brickell and Key Biscayne, two upper middle class areas. When I countered that there were many Brazilians in the less affluent Kendall area of Miami -Dad e, he retorted that even Kendall residents came from a higher socioeconomic status than those from Pompano Beach (Personal Communication, 07/09/01). I should add that at no point did he invoke consular authority when making these statements. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to believe that the nature of his position would make him familiar with the community and therefore his comments, while possibly no more than his opinion, could reflect the popular bias. Furthermore, other Miami -Dade Brazilians with whom I spoke made remarks that only bore out these inclinations. This can be exemplified by a conversation I had with a woman in Miami as I explained my study and its purposes. I expressed that one of my interests was in seeing if there were differences across c ounty lines, by which I had meant in how Brazilians interacted with other immigrant groups, but she immediately began telling me her view that yes, its quite different across the county line. L em Pompano outro nvel she said. There in Pompano its another level, a common Brazilian euphemism for social class. She shared a story of a trip she had made up to Pompano Beach and concluded that I went up there to find a little piece of Brazil I guess I did, but not my Brazil. Another Brazilian, a mer chant, alleged that the Brazilian brand name clothing found in the Broward stores was counterfeit (Theyre perfect [copies]. But fake,) and that Broward merchants could charge less for their wares because they brought in merchandise on the sly, evading i mport taxes. Moreover, I was told,
48 Broward markets had an advantage because their undocumented clientele guaranteed steady business year -round, as opposed to the presumably legal and jet -setting Miami -Dade Brazilians who left for Brazil every summer and Christmas9. A review of my notes confirmed that I encountered these attitudes frequently in Miami. Often, as I described my study to potential recruits, people jumped on the two-county focus of my study as a crucial distinction, citing everything from the ty pes of restaurants and merchandise available in each county to the musical acts brought from Brazil to play in either county. Participants denied knowing anyone in Broward County that could be a contact for me, which I first interpreted as a question of ge ographical distance, but when some offered contacts in posh Palm Beach County (even further north), I had to consider the active exclusion of Broward in the discourse of Miami based Brazilians. Finally, I am ashamed to admit, I too was confronted by a Braz il that did not match my expectations when in Broward. I found myself highly critical, and extremely conscious, of violations of the proper code of conduct constructed around social class that I been accustomed to in Brazil, the hierarchical relationship a rticulated by Da Matta (1979). I had always believed myself to abhor those protocols, to be egalitarian and not classist, but I realized that I did not at all escape my upbringing in a status -conscious society. I was further forced to recognize that my Bra zilian community experiences had been fairly upper crust and elitist until then, and that I would have to restructure my study and my biases if I truly wanted to do an ethnography of South Florida Brazilians. Questionnaires A total of thirty -eight questi onnaires were administered, twenty nine for Miami -Dade and nine for Broward. Despite my low response rate for Broward County, I include the results here 9 Undocumented Brazilians, as is the case with many immigrants of irregular status, cannot travel easily be tween Brazil and the U.S. for fear of being barred upon re entry (see Margolis 2008).
49 because these were very much a part of a pilot study, though they are not meant to be generalized as in dicative of community sentiments. Rather, I used them as a guide for my future directions. Results presented here, then, are grouped for both counties, except in the case of Spanishspeaking ability, as other differences between counties were not interpret ed to be even anecdotally significant given the discrepancy between samples. Demographically, both counties had a diverse group of Brazilians in terms of state and region of origin (Brazil has five official regions), although most were from the South and S outheast regions. The most prevalent state was the Southeastern state of So Paulo, with 37% of respondents (n=14), followed by Rio de Janeiro with 24% (n=9), also in the Southeast. The Southern state of Rio Grande do Sul (13%, n=5) was the third most comm on and no one came from the Center West or North regions of Brazil. Interestingly, only one respondent from each county originated from Minas Gerais, the state with the highest proportion of emigrants (Ocando 2003). Most respondents had high levels of educ ation, with 70% indicating education beyond high school, which confirmed what the existing literature had claimed (e.g., Margolis 1994). Several, in fact, completed their education in the United States (34%, n=13), five (13%) of which went on to earn post graduate degrees. This related to the question of how many years respondents had lived in South Florida or the U.S.: a majority of 60% (n=23) had lived in South Florida for seven years of more. In total, 34% (n=13) of respondents had lived elsewhere in the United States prior to living in South Florida, though some respondents indicated it was for a limited stint such as senior -year abroad type of program. Perhaps the most surprising finding was that 25 of all respondents (66%) indicated that they did not i ntend to move back to Brazil permanently. This contradicted the then -available literature. This was not, however, interpreted as a geographical difference between South Florida Brazilians and those in other areas, but also a temporal
50 distinction of a study being conducted at a later date, as the migration flow became more established. Reasons for migrating were overwhelmingly network-related. Seventeen respondents, or 45%, selected family and friends as a reason for coming to the United States, and ninetee n (50%) as a reason for choosing South Florida specifically. Weather appeared as at least one of the motivations for choosing South Florida in ten questionnaires, or 26%. Given the similarity between South Florida weather and to Brazils tropical weather, this could also be interpreted as an indication that these immigrants were here to stay. In other words, perhaps not Brazil, but the next best thing. Relocation is a big investment, particularly to move families with schoolchildren. People who invested tim e and resources in relocating to South Florida may have decided that a move to Brazil was, at a minimum, no longer imminent. Job offers or transfers also figured prominently in the responses, which related to the high numbers of employed respondents: 76% o f respondents (n=29) were employed at the time. Most of these worked in the retail industry, but there were professionals as well, including an attorney, a financial advisor, a minister, an investment banker, and a physical therapist. Only four listed empl oyment categories that could be operating in the informal economy (mechanic, babysitter) but some did not list their type of employment at all. The questionnaire did not address the status of immigration, that is, whether they were documented or not, but i t is reasonable to assume that employment in large corporations, government offices, and chain retail operations did indicate legalized residency, and this seemed to be more often the case. Language ability correlated with education level. Over half of r espondents, 61% (n=23) indicated that they already spoke English well prior to arriving in South Florida, and another 24% (nine) spoke some English. Interestingly, 47% of respondents also already spoke Spanish
51 prior to arriving in the area. A Miami -Dade/ Broward distinction was found in that fourteen (37%) of Miami -Dade respondents said they learned Spanish in South Florida, whereas none of the Broward residents learned it in the area. Moreover, 24% of Miami -Dade respondents specifically learned Spanish to be able to secure employment or because it was easier to learn than English. Only three of Miami -Dade respondents do not speak Spanish at all. The following question addressed the circle of friends in the participants lives, and the question listed vario us ethnic groups and nationalities for selection. Respondents often chose more than one group, thus the number of responses is greater than the number of respondents, and most responses included Brazilians, Latinos, and Americans (out of 45 selections, 43 were evenly split between these three groups). It turns out that claims of having no Brazilian friends were widely exaggerated. One salient omission from all questionnaires was the indication of non Latin Caribbeans as friends. Given the large numbers o f Haitians, Jamaicans, and Trinidadians in South Florida, I found it very peculiar that no respondent indicated them as choice and regretted that the questionnaire format did not allow for further probes into this subject matter. A New Path: Recasting the S tudy This preliminary field research had the intent of illuminating relations between Brazilians and other immigrant groups across the two counties. Instead I stumbled upon intra -community issues. At that point, I focused on county differences as these were apparent in conversations and questionnaire results, but most apparent on the ground. Specifically with regards to Panlatinismo, I did find some indications that, at least on the part of the Latinos, Brazilians were being regarded or at least accepted as somewhat related, but there were fewer indications on the parts of Brazilians themselves. Interestingly, after I decided to move inter ethnic relations to the margins of my study, more content began to emerge on the topic during my interviews. Reflect ion has led me to conclude that naively trying to ascribe a shared identity was my downfall in fact, participants resisted this
52 imposition of commonality both with regards to Latinos and other Brazilians, something that would take me another two years to accept. My study then had to become less about the experience of shared identity and more about how immigrants recast their identities in the immigration context and how they negotiate the tricky terrain of community in a strange setting (Ong 1996). It also spoke volumes about the resilience of identity itself participants were not willing to wear my labels, nor, I later learned, those of the U.S. Census. Checking a box, it seems, does not lead to self -identification at least not in the first generation. T he role of social class also took on a new importance. It became clear that I would have to operationalize class to capture the subtle ways in which it was being employed in the discourse of disunity and exclusion (Bourdieu 1984, Hall 1997). As far as I ha d determined thus far, economic capital did not turn out to be the standard for ascribing social hierarchies among South Florida Brazilians. Rather, this seemed to be subordinate to an intricate interplay of occupational status prior to emigrating and cult ural capital (see Rupp 1997), that reproduced a Brazil like social stratification, including a north-south divide that also exists in Brazil, despite collapsed or even inverted economic realities produced through migration whereas old stigmatized labor gen erates rapid capital accumulation. Finally, I had to recast the study to adapt to the changing landscape of Brazilian diversity in South Florida. For example, Brazil is divided into five geographical regions (F igure 2.1), and those from the Northeast, Southeast, and South were represented in this preliminary sample. At the time, no Brazilians from the Center West region (where Braslia, the capital, is located) or the North (Amazonia) were found. Today, however, a high number of Brazilians from these regio ns can be found throughout South Florida, indicating both the speed with which trends can develop and how 9/11 and stricter immigration laws have actually done little to stem the flow of
53 people. Another factor that had to be adjusted was how the community leaders began to respond to and conform to the community as a whole. For example, I became quite familiar with the Miami based Cultural Centers volunteers, many of whom are part of the Brazilian elite and have lived in the U.S. for many years. I must say, to their credit, that they responded to comments I made about how to broaden their reach (and to some community pressure as well). In 2005, the Center sponsored what would become an annual bi -county forum in Ft. Lauderdale (Browards county seat) truly ai med at the community: held in the evening, with consular and legal representatives, as well as educational and mental health experts, who were there to inform the public about how to navigate the difficulties inherent to immigration. It met with great succ ess, and they have recently held the second one. The S elf R econtextualized: Exploring the M eani ng of N ative Ethnographer Pilot studies are generally conducted to determine the feasibility of the research, but my pilot also brought into question the feasi bility of the researcher (me). I had been under a series of assumptions that proved unfounded, or at least inflated, not the least of which was my rush to uncritically label myself a native anthropologist. Having been born in the U.S., I could not, for exa mple, share in my participants immigration experience fully, for I had always been a U.S. citizen, with all the benefits that this accorded. Also, my middle class, private school upbringing had circumscribed my experience of Brazil to one a small percenta ge of the actual population enjoys. Furthermore, having lived outside Brazil for so many years, I was quickly tagged as highly acculturated, which was evidenced by my Englishproficiency and, for some, by my ability to speak Spanish fluently as well. This was not necessarily a drawback, but it was, for me, a new concept. Paradoxically, this was combined with a certain amount of Brazilian -style regionalism: I was surprisingly met with some discrimination from Brazilians from the more industrial south on acc ount of being from
54 Bahia, the biggest state in the poorer Northeast. Bahia is home to the largest Afro Brazilian population, and respondents often doubted me when I said I was from there, pointing out my light coloring. However, I was still subjected to co mments reenacting common prejudices (e.g., that Bahians are lazy, slow, and mystical), and even the unself -conscious use of the term baiano as an insult, which is common in southern Brazil. Even some of my personal narratives were brought into question, such as disbelief that I had attended an American school while living there, the implication being that such a backward state could not actually have a bilingual school. I also had to grapple with my own self imposed barriers. The magical enclave I had hoped to find in Pompano and Deerfield Beaches did not materialize, one which would have had only positive icons of Brazilianness as memory -bearers, where sidewalks would be lined with Brazilian cafes and street vendors of Brazilian artifacts, and crowded by Brazilians going about their daily business. In reality, there are hardly any sidewalks at all in South Florida, and the few who walk them are likely to avoid eye contact altogether. You drive to the store, the post office, the laundromat. If you are caught outside anywhere but the beach, chances are you are smoking a cigarette. Moreover, I now found myself a stranger in what I had imagined to be my own backyard, having considered Broward County a suburb of Miami that I should have easily traversed, and now realizing that pragmatic concerns (miles and miles of traffic) had seriously obstructed entry into my field. In fact, Broward was not my backyard: it merited as much consideration as I had given Miami when I had first moved there over a decade earlier. As I reconstructed my study, I began to focus on the positive outcomes of my pilot, noting the ways in which I was successfully conducting my fieldwork I was malleable to my respondents directions, open to new methods and sites, and increasingly knowledgeable about my subject. I repositioned myself within the Brazilian social scheme, accepting that native
55 anthropologist can mean many different things, and that I did share a common cultural experience and vocabulary with many participants. No one could partake in the experience of all these people, after all, given their heterogeneity. This functioned in my favor, for it allowed me to recapture the naivet that ensures anthropologists are not taking the unspoken for granted (Bernard 2002), while still tac itly understanding the relative meaning my participants assigned to their interpretations in the context of a general Brazilian culture. I also became the first U.S. researcher to consider this important population, and the first one overall who moved into Broward as a field site something that I am confident arose out of my familiarity not only with Brazilians in Miami, but also with South Florida history and dynamics overall. As I prepared a more in-depth project, I was able to respond to these insights a nd design my study accordingly. In the next chapter, I describe this design and methodology.
56 Figure 21. Mercado Brasil, East Kendall, Miami -Dade Figure 22. Bulletin board with announcements, Central do Brasil, Pompano Beach, Broward
57 Figure 2 3. Counter of a Brazilian market (Brasil Mania) in Coconut Grove, Miami -Dade Figure 24 Sign for Brazilian businesses, Pompano Beach, Broward
58 Figure 25. Pompano Beach lanchonete a typical Brazilian snack bar, Broward Figure 26. Brazil ian coffee for sale at Brazilian supermarket, Pompano Beach, Broward
59 Figure 27. Fashions at Central do Brasil II, Pompano Beach, Broward Figure 28. Despachante and Brazilian realtor, Pompano Beach, Broward
60 Figure 29. Brazilian Touch Salon, Pompano Beach, Broward (taken during Carnaval) Figure 210. Photo of Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais atop bulletin board in Deerfield Beach bakery
61 Figure 211. Panorama Restaurant, Pompano Beach. Mural depicting various sites from Brazil (l r :) Iguassu Falls, Amazonia, Brasilia Figure 212. Seu Moacir, a former seasonal worker and now immigrant, selling Brazilian products and remittances at the Brazilian Supermarket in Pompano
62 CHAPTER 3 CONDUCTING THE STUDY : NEW CONSIDERATIONS FOR OLD METHODS I think your work is great, Rosana, I want you to know [that.] Because it shows that someone is thinking, the heads that you find over here, theyre not thinking heads. When I saw your and I thought, Someone is thinking thinking about the Brazili ans who are here. Nelson, Brazilian immigrant living in Tamarac, Broward County The Researcher Finds The Study: Research Questions And Design No longer intent on studying Panlatino identity among South Florida Brazilians, I decided to focus specifically on attitudes expressed by participants toward other Brazilians, about Brazil in general, and about their social context. My original interest in Panlatinismo stemmed from a desire to know broadly how new immigrants recast their social identities within a new context that may or may not recognize the categories, labels, and habituses1 they had migrated with. This necessarily calls into question how the identities of host community members are imagined as well, in this case, of Americans. How is the imaginar y of national identity articulated? In what ways is it invoked? How are competing narratives of pride and difference utilized to construct these national identities in international contexts? This interest, made particularly salient in such an immigrant -ri ch setting as South Florida, remains at the heart of my study, and framed both my research questions and methodology. 1 According to Marshall and Foster: The importance of habitus to an understanding of the role of migration in transforming a community relates to its illumination of the relations of contact, producing new positions in social and historical space, and incorporating new categories of perception and appreciation rather than a separation of the subjective and objective experiences of cultural and social change. Implying a di alectical relationship between structured circumstances and people's actions and perceptions, habitus demands that we go beyond our most revered dualisms. (2002:66; emphasis added).
63 My research propositions thus changed to focus on three categories: Social imaginaries: how are nations, populations, communities, and societies referenced, represented, or manifested2? Interpersonal relationships: how are personal interactions and relationships referenced, represented, or manifested? Immigrant identities: how is the process of becoming an immigrant referenced, represen ted, or manifested? This study consisted of participant observation, semi -structured individual and group interviews, and an analysis of the ethnic press as it was the only widely available cultural production from the community. Including the pilot, I spent a total of 16 months in South Florida conducting field work from 2001 to 2005 Defining the F ield: A C ontinuum of T wo C ountiesand a Bit M ore The mere mention of Miami calls to mind a tropical big city barely contained on the map of the United States, slipping off into the Caribbean. It evokes images of lush g reens and bright flowers backdropped by glitzy buildings and azure seas. The reality is a bit more expansive than that. Fly into Miami International and rent a car and start driving north on I 95. Chances are you will be asking Where is Miami? Or rather, Where isnt it? As described by LiPuma and Koelble, Miami is a city in concept only, in the sense the actual City of Miami is but a mid -size municipality and not what the world visualizes as the city of Miami (2005:162). This imagined Miami is what we Miamians imagine as well: a collection of suburbs, municipalities, unincorporated areas and urban centers. There are natural boundaries to Miami that cannot be overlooked. At the tip of the Florida peninsula, Miami is naturally delimited by Biscayne Ba y to the east, and the Everglades to the west, despite the insistent westward expansion of gated communities and superstores. 2 I must thank DawnElissa Fischer (2008) for this wording.
64 Heading south one inevitably drives off the continent and onto the Overseas Highway that connects the Florida Keys to the mainland. But heading north is an entirely different proposition: [i]n local conversation, the entire urban corridor from Fort Lauderdale to Miami is often treated as the single site of multiple levels of cultural and economic circulation (LiPuma and Koelble 200 5:162). Casual travelers would be hard -pressed to pinpoint the exact moment they transition from Miami -Dade County into Broward3, and then again from Broward into Palm Beach. There are peaks and valleys in the landscape of buildings, that is that indicate more concentrated centers of activity such as Fort Lauderdales downtown. Nevertheless, it is not until one gets into northern Palm Beach County that the massive highway shrinks to only four lanes bordered by vegetation and one finally outdrives the city. During the pilot I realized that some of my challenges to access centered on the geography of the study. I knew from the onset of my study that northern Broward County was the site of the largest concentrations of Brazilians. In Broward, these areas were concentrated in contiguous municipalities: Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point, Deerfield Beach and, though not technically Broward, Boca Raton. In Broward County and Boca Raton, the likely places to encounter Brazilians were retail centers and certain gated communities. In fact, this is the case in South Florida that is where actual human beings are found, outside of the safe cocoons of their vehicles. Beverley and Houston 1996 describe the decentered urban space of South Florida as having neighborhoods tha t are names but not real social entities. These, along with roads and highways, constitute the veritable wasteland of open spaces that dominates the area in between the attractive pockets that culminate in quintessentially consumerized space[s] (19 96:25 26). 3 In fact, th e Census Bureau groups these two counties together into the Miami Fort Lauderdale Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA).
65 In Miami -Dade, there were few areas of en masse concentrations for Brazilians or Brazilian oriented businesses, but these were not contiguous. In fact, they were scattered throughout the county and the distances between them made them entirely i ndependent of each other. There were four main areas: Kendall, Brickell/Key Biscayne, Doral, and Miami Beach, with particular concentration around North Bay Village, one of Miam -Dade Countys numerous incorporated municipalities4. North Bay Village is also known as 79th Street Causeway because it is a small island on the Florida Intracoastal Waterway through which the Causeway runs as it connects the mainland to the Miami Beach peninsula. There are a few hurricane-defying highrises and some commercial space, some of which is aimed at the Brazilian community, including the very popular Boteco a bar and restaurant that regularly features live music, films, and art shows. On the other side of the causeway, in Miami Beach proper, is the original Via Brazil, the first local ethnic market, established in 1983 (personal communication, 2001). There is also the Ramada Deauville, a relic from Miami Beachs Art Deco era, which regularly hosts Brazilian themed events and is a frequent venue for Brazilian popular artist s of little name recognition abroad. This area, then, is the closest thing to an ethnic neighborhood in Miami -Dade for Brazilians. Heading south from North Bay Village for about eight miles on 195 leads one to the Brickell and Key Biscayne areas, near dow ntown Miami. These also have many Brazilian residents and are peppered with high rises, but the area is much more exclusive than North Bay Village, and only very wealthy Brazilians live there. From downtown, heading west on the Dolphin Expressway, one arri ves at the Doral area after about fifteen miles a journey that can easily take an hour or more to traverse during rush hour. A similar journey taken in a southwest 4 In the 2000 Census, 9% of North Bay Villages 6,733 plus residents claimed Portuguese as their first language. (U.S. Census: factfinder.census.gov).
66 trajectory will land one in Kendall. Doral and Kendall, both suburban subdivisions with mile s and miles of gated communities and strip malls, have a distinct broad middle -class feel to them there are working -class apartment complexes, as well as glitzy McMansions and everything in between. A general lack of public community sites in both counties had me playing cat and mouse with possible participants, the distances were long and traffic was horrible. Another geographical challenge was limiting my study to just the two counties. Brazilians in South Florida were, at the time of my data collection, steadily expanding northward along with the rest of the population. Palm Beach County, directly north of Broward, had cities and townships with growing numbers of Brazilians, among them Boca Raton and Boynton Beach, as well as West Palm Beach itself, whic h lies at the northern end of the county. I was also hearing of newly established communities in Fort Pierce, further north in St. Lucie County, to say nothing of the westward expansion into Fort Myers and Naples. I realized that I would have to draw an a rtificial boundary around my field site since my population of interest refused to be self -contained. A few field trips into northern Palm Beach County were enough to realize that a three county study was not feasible. However, I also became aware that Boc a Raton, the southernmost city in Palm Beach, was much more linked to Deerfield and Pompano Beaches than to the county seat, West Palm Beach, at least as far its resident Brazilians were concerned. Within the continuum of Pompano -Deerfield Boca Raton, peop le traveled as if within one specific microcosm. The county line being, after all, an abstraction, the discourse of the people was more that of neighborhoods (with Boca Raton being the fancy, desirable one) than of separate cities. It was not unusual to he ar of someone moving to Boca Raton because of the better schools, a function of the county-run school boards, as if it were a neighborhood shift; no other changes
67 were involved jobs, friends, church, and so on could remain the same. For this reason, I de cided to include the Brazilians who lived in Boca Raton in my study. However, I did not specifically seek out participants there by going to Brazilian businesses, and whenever I did patronize some business or event in Boca it was because I was taken there by a contact made in Broward. That way I hoped to retain the original focus of the study on the two counties, while allowing for the flexible reality of my participants. The Anthropologist as Commuter The commuter anthropologist is the suburban anthropolo gist. Although I typically call myself an urban anthropologist, the truth is that urban evokes city, and city evokes sidewalks, effective mass transit, and densely packed streets. With very specific and limited exceptions, South Florida is nothing like t hat. Naturally, there are sidewalks, but those are for smoking and walking dogs more than anything else. As put by Beverley and Houston (1996), Miami offers pockets of safety, charm, beauty, and useful activity surrounded by a veritable wasteland of open spaces -unattractive, often ugly, dangerous or at least intimidating, stressful because of the contradiction between the power of the auto (no one is on foot) and the congestion and, hence, frustrating tediousness of actual travel, an undefined place, a pur gatory between the pockets one is always hopefully heading for. South Florida as a region developed after the paved road and generalized auto ownership. One has to drive everywhere. Mass transit, such as it is, exists to service the indigent and disabled. Buses run once an hour; the elevated train in Miami, Metrorail, has but one line and this runs neither to the airport nor to the beach (any beach) Parking is ubiquitous, as everything is bordered by parking lots, and yet not finding a parking space is a common complaint. Unless, like Bragg (1999) presents, one is happy to park while trying to arrive at someplace else: the traffic is so mind boggling that a whole sixlane highway can become a parking lot at any time.
68 It is not easy to casuall y bump into people when one spends so much time driving (or not driving, depending on traffic). Many times on the highway I saw Brazilian flags on cars and thought there goes some more lost potential. The truth is that I had envisioned something differen t for my fieldwork experience, something akin to an immersion program in a foreign land: I would sit somewhere, and observe life go on around me. I should have known better; I had, after all, lived for years in South Florida. The only place to observe life going on around you is the mall. I had to overcome the methodological challenges and disciplinary illegitimacy of being a commuter anthropologist. Without my car, this study would not have been possible5. The logistics of such a study compose one set of barriers, but larger doubts loom. Is it even anthropology to be stuck in traffic for longer periods of time than actually interviewing participants? Is it anthropology if public spaces for observation are restricted to retail venues? Does that no t bias the observation of daily life into one of consumption? These doubts, combined with the doubts over doing anthropology at home, of being a native, call into question my own authenticity. What if the anthropologist drives home every night and there becomes a person completely divorced from her study? How immersed in her field can she be? In other words, if you are not studying an other, and you are not in some remote village somewhere, can you call yourself an anthropologist at all? Thankfully, I wa s not alone in sensing that romanticizing anthropology as the kind of work carried out at the foundation of our discipline is subject to its own critiques and justifications. Anthropology in the 21st century is perhaps marked by a series of inversions from traditional anthropology6. Remote 5 Beserra (2003) also writes of conducting research with Brazilian immigrants in the Los Angeles area and spending inordinate amounts of time in her car, which she put to use by speaking notes into her tape recorder, making phone calls, and so forth. 6 See Constructing the Field: Ethnographic Fieldwork in a Contemporary World (Amit 2000) for essays discussing precisely this.
69 villages of bounded cultures are rare finds in todays hyper -connected world (Tsing 2000). Physically isolated spaces are rare, and even rarer are social and cultural isolates. Paradoxically, my challenges in the field we re exactly the sorts of things that led me to my study fluid spaces and populations and their ensuing fluid cultures were precisely what I was interested in. While I still struggle with some of those concerns, the value that the anthropological eye brings to this kind of social research outweighs my concern for pushing disciplinary boundaries. The logistic troubles, however, were another matter. The thought of getting into the car for the thirty mile trip to Pompano Beach derailed my efforts more than thoughts of being an illegitimate anthropologist. One summer, I realized out that if I was not on the road before 11 a.m. my entire day was shot. (First theres the lunch traffic, and then the school traffic, plus the car will be unbearably hot7, and then t he obligatory 4 p.m. thunderstorm, and then rush hour, which isnt over until 8). I simply could not visualize a two-hour drive north that was not guaranteed to land me an interview or contact. I dreaded the trip, even when I knew I had a firm commitment from a participant driving in South Florida is simply a red-faced, stress -filled, curse -under your -breath -as -you glare -hatefully -at other drivers nightmare (Bragg 1999). In time, I would acquiesce to the South Florida reality and see these stressors as nuisances. Nevertheless, I think it is important to acknowledge here that field research poses real challenges that impact the researcher and the study, and these issues are akin to a more traditional anthropologist recounting a bout with malaria or inte stinal disease. Translating the Quotidian: Participant Observation Within the toolkit of a competent anthropologist, participant observation may be the trademark of ones craft, the particular skill that grounds the holistic approach and brings 7 I actually blistered my thumb on my steering wheel once. Another time my automatic gate opener melted a nd split open.
70 discipline to the art of hanging around. According to Bernard, it involves immersing yourself in a culture and learning to remove yourself every day from that immersion so you can intellectualize what youve seen and heard (2002: 324). In my particular situation, participant observation pre -dated the actual study in fact giving rise to the field inquiry rather than being simply a method utilized once I got there. As an observing participant, i.e., an insider (Bernard 2002), the weight of participant obser vation shifts from learning the culture, language, and codes the immersion part to learning how to analyze and interpret them the intellectualizing part. The challenges of undertaking participant observation, fieldwork in general, in the large amorphous ur ban sprawl of South Florida are not unlike those described by Beserra (2003) about Los Angeles, DAlisera (1999) about Washington D.C., and Okely (1996) about London. The lack of a bounded field, a place to go be immersed in that somehow reflects daily life, is highly disconcerting, even when one knows full well how unbounded small isolated communities actually are. Once more I return to the notion of the ethnic enclave, that romantic vision of a neighborhood or collection thereof that encapsulates th e migrant population of interest and conveniently provides the anthropologist with a site of authentic immigrant culture I take this opportunity to remind the reader that this did not materialize for my project. Nevertheless, and here lies a great bene fit of being an insider, while defining the field may have been difficult, finding my population was not. I did not need to rely on going to places where Brazilians go and congregate, because of a highly subjective, but highly effective, internal radar f or finding Brazilians, as well as a general familiarity with the local conventional wisdom about where people go. Do not misinterpret me: access to residential and work spaces that had large numbers of Brazilians remained difficult South Florida gated comm unities,
71 where loitering is neither encouraged nor often allowed (Beverly and Houston 1996:26), are not receptive to anthropologists hanging around the parking lot observing the comings and goings of the residents; supervisors do not appreciate us distra cting their staff, either. However, recreational spaces were easy to locate, as were spots where folks were going about running errands and the business of daily life. Some of these places were specifically Brazilian businesses, but many were not, and I c redit my insider perspective with being able to recognize these serendipitous encounters with people of interest. For example, walking on the beach in northern Broward one morning,8 I immediately recognized when I had come upon the Brazilian section of t he beach the mens sungas Speedo-style bathing suits, gave it away and plopped myself down. There I observed paddle ball and beach soccer as I remembered from Brazil, and overheard cell phone conversations, a newer phenomenon. There was one woman complain ing that here in the U.S. it is difficult to avoid undesirables on the beach who dont know their proper beach, qual a sua praia knowing ones beach in Brazil is an euphemism for knowing ones place. All that was missing were the vendors with homemade ice pops, coconuts, and sugar cane chunks for me to feel like I was in Brazil. When I kept on moving, however, it did not take long before I realized that I had walked out of that stretch of beach, off our beach, and into a Colombian and Venezuelan dominat ed section. Participant observation is as much about the setting as it is about the interactions that one witnesses within it. Keeping an eye out for Brazilians becomes easier when one keeps an eye out for the right markers of Brazilianness. These can be a s manifest as the Brazilian flag, the 8 One might think that studying Brazilians in South Florida involved a lot of beach time, and it probably should have, but as the bulk of my fieldwork was conducted in the sweltering and rainy summers, these were rather rare opportunities.
72 incorporation of the morpheme -brs as in Autobras, a car dealership and green and yellow signs or more muted and discreet symbols, such as statuettes of Brazils patron saint, Our Lady of Aparecida, the presence of Brazilian consumer products like guaran softdrinks and Havaiana sandals, or posters of Brazil ian landscapes. Careful observation, a dedicated penchant towards picking up publicity flyers and periodicals, and a genuine interest in casual conversations all helped ensure I had a well -rounded understanding of the Brazilian microcosm within South Florida. Sampling: Whose Story Gets Told As was the case with the pilot study, a snowball sample was generated with multiple entries, i.e., using several individuals to generate further samples, following Jones Correas (1998) logic. Having spent more time in the field, I was now aware of diverse points of entry and had already gained valuable contacts. I was careful not to skew my study by selecting participants dis covered through their associational behavior. Thus, I purposefully avoided sampling from pools of churchgoers, or soccer team members, or members of some other sort of organization or informal network predicated specifically upon being Brazilian. In part, this is because I fear that urban anthropology, given its contingent challenges in determining and defining the field (Amit 1999), very often favors gatherings and established networks as sampling frames and uncritically privileges those who display an exp licit association with a given construct, missing the bystanders and misfits. Given the specific discourse that had given rise to my study, then, I was even more careful to capture in my study those who do not participate, the alienated and alienating Bra zilian immigrants who so frequently claimed that the community was fragmented. As could be expected, there were some particular challenges in accessing certain populations when using this approach. The very, very new migrants were all but invisible to me;
73 I never interviewed a single Brazilian who, without the possibility of obtaining any sort of visa, had crossed over through Mexico9. The most overwhelming factor of utilizing this approach, however, was feeling lost and disconnected from the community I w as studying, and the hours upon hours of feeling unproductive because I did not feel engaged in my fieldwork unless I was speaking with someone, making plans to speak with someone, or on my way to speak with someone. Thus, there were times when I wished I had opted to research students at a school (Marrow 2003), or members of a given church (Beserra 2003), so I could have a base, a space to go to where I felt immersed in my population and where I increasingly gained entry, established rapport, and made connections with the same set of people. This was more the case in Broward County, despite the fact that, while in Broward, I was definitely only and always conducting fieldwork whereas in Miami I was also going about my daily life as a mother, daughter, f riend, and other roles that pulled me away from being simply an anthropologist. Furthermore, despite great care being taken to approach fairly equitable numbers of male and female participants, I still had significantly more female participants in both f ormal and informal interviews. Although unintentional, I was not unaware that this was happening at the time. I believe my own gender greatly impacted this disparity, both in terms of my behavior and in that of my potential participants. To begin with, I had more female contacts from the outset: friends of friends, and the workings of womens networks perhaps uncritically generated decidedly female threads for me to follow. Female participants most often recommended other women, and it never occurred to me to ask them why, but I believe that the very nature of the interview and the cathartic aspect of the conversation may have inclined them to do so. When women did recommend a man to take part in the study, these were most often husbands and sons; 9 See Margolis 2008.
74 in only one instance it was a roommate, and it was never a co -worker or friend. Further, while most of the male participants had been indicated by a female participant or contact, none of the males went on to recommend another male as a possible interviewee. In oth er words, male participants did not generate any more male contacts, thus effectively closing the gender loop. A review of my field notes reveals another set of challenges in accessing males. This centered on the gender dynamics of being an unaccompanied woman in the field and feeling, if not safer, then more comfortable in approaching and following through with unknown women than men. For example, occasionally I shied away from pursuing a promised interview with an unreferred male. One time when I did sh ow up to ones home at the scheduled time, he unintentionally tapped into a personal fear when he exclaimed Are you crazy? You are so small, cute, and defenseless, arent you afraid of just walking in to some strange mans house? Personal safety and conce rn for my physical well being weighed heavily on my mind10, especially since most of my interviews were taking place in the participants homes. Thus, I was as cautious of my potential participants as I would have been of a potential date met under similar circumstances. When I was the one who did the approaching, my success rate was not any better. If I approached a group or couple, the conversation might be lively but quickly became one among women. Approaching unaccompanied men had other challenges any r apport that might have been established often was killed once the words research project flew out of my mouth. Occasionally, it was my mention of being involved in a romantic relationship that ended the conversation, if the mention of my research had not already done so. Please do not misinterpret, I am neither so desirable nor my participants so predatory, but I do believe that the context in 10 South Florida newscasts do not help, having considerable crime and drama to report. Metro police spokespersons constantly mention self vigilance as the first line of defense against being a victim of crime.
75 which I tried to reach these accidental participants lent itself to a certain script: unaccompanied man meets una ccompanied woman out on the town. Her mention of another man can be interpreted as a curtain call on the interaction. One man specifically told me he could not waste his Saturday night, the only night he was available to party, talking to a woman who had no romantic potential for him when the competition was so stiff at the club. So here I was, studying immigration, and failing to get at the classic immigrant the young, lone male laborer. These issues did not come into play when interviewing men whom I knew, or had been referred to either personally or through their professional contacts. Had I been content to conduct a study that concentrated on members of various associations, none of this would have been an issue at all, since referrals flow more easily within explicit and established networks, and one gets lulled into a certain sense of security by virtue of association. As that did not happen, I believe it was important to make explicit some of the gender dynamics that came into play at the very beginning of research. Getting the Story: The Interview Process As this study focuses largely on the lived experiences and perceptions of immigrants, indepth semi -structured interviews were the primary method of data collection. Following Glesne and Peshkin s (1992) guidelines for developing and analyzing interviews, questions were closely linked to the topic following analysis of previous pilot work. These focused on the perceptions and attitudes towards other groups and towards Brazilians, with specific att ention towards heterogeneity factors, and whether or not Brazilians feel a need to form a community composed of other Brazilians, how they believe other groups perceive them, or how Brazilians see themselves fitting into the complex landscape of South Flor ida. Questions were open-ended about attitudes (What about being Brazilian makes you proud?/What are you ashamed of?/Do you feel Latino?) and behaviors (What types of cultural events do you and your
76 family attend?/How often do spend time with nonBrazilians outside of work, and in what context?) Mostly, however, I would set up the interview by explaining my research, and ask participants to begin by telling me about moving to the U.S. The conversation flowed from that point on. There were forty-si x participants in total for these longer interviews. Interviews were tape -recorded as a primary means of record keeping, but notes were occasionally taken to aid in clarity. They were conducted mostly in Portuguese, with some minimal code -switching between English and Portuguese, following the participants lead, with one important exception. The interviews with some young BrazilianAmericans who constitute part of the 1.5 generation, those who immigrated as young children, flowed in both languages, with heavy English usage A native Brazilian was hired to transcribe about eight interviews, and these were transcribed in their entirety. Also transcribed in their entirety were another 12 interviews to allow for sufficient material for the first pha se of coding. Subsequently, the interviews were transcribed selectively, allowing for preliminary thematic coding (Glesne and Peshkin, 1992) to take place as the data were transcribed. Salient quotes were transcribed verbatim. Coding methods were employed then to highlight specific themes and concepts. Multiple codings (three times for the first twenty interviews, twice for the others) of the same interview ensured that I obtained participants perceptions and attitudes on a given topic even if not answerin g the specific question relating to that topic. For example, I realized that participants often gave guarded answers regarding race relations in the U.S. when asked directly, but made their attitudes towards this more explicit throughout the interview. The original intent was to include some focus groups, given the richness of the data regarding attitudes when there is interaction (Bernard 2002). In fact, I did conduct one focus group with seven participants. However, the logistics involved in ensuring a successful focus
77 group were beyond my capabilities I had no access to either adequate space nor financial compensation, and thus was limited to a focus group consisting of participants who all knew each other well, and had to use a participants home to host the event. These are not ideal conditions for a focus group, which can thrive on a certain degree of anonymity and should take place in a neutral space so that all participants feel free to express their views without fear of reprisals or social consequences. This, combined with the lack of a research assistant to take notes as I moderated, quickly laid to rest my notion that this research would have multiple focus groups. I chose to keep the data from that lone focus group, however, out of respe ct for my participants and their earnest discussion. Nevertheless, several interviews had more than one participant (usually two), either for a portion of the interview or for its entirety. This was most often the case with roommates, family members, or c lose friends, and happened both premeditatedly and spontaneously, such as when a roommate would walk in and, becoming interested in the topic that was being discussed, sit down and join the conversation. Although I was reticent in the beginning, for fear that someone might hijack the interview in a different direction or perhaps lead us back to topics that had already been discussed, I never stopped these interruptions; I found that it was not difficult to continue the interview successfully. The interview s that were intended to take place with two or three participants were different from the beginning, with much less attention being given to the specific migration narratives, which were not the focus of my analysis; thus, I consider the group interviews to be as fruitful as the one -on -one interactions. In the end, I settled on seventeen codes that proved relevant some other three did not survive the reiterative process each a separate document into which I pasted the relevant passages of my interviews, to taling 130 pages of passages, single -spaced. I pored over those
78 pages enough times that I can name each participant and the assigned code for any sentence contained in them. This was, I believed, what I had to do to own my data and be able to write about it11. Extra! Extra! The Ethnic Press as Data To supplement the ethnographic and interview data, I turned to the local ethnic press. Ethnic newspapers and media in general have very specific target audiences, and are produced by members of the very communi ty they target (Riggins 1992). As such, they are more intimately tied to the zeitgeist of their readers, and can be looked at as a form of cultural production that more accurately portrays its readerships interests and attitudes than would a corporate, br oadbased medium. Content analysis, then, as a method that captures how a medium reflects attitudes and values of a given population (Krippendorff 1980) can be a particularly useful tool in capturing the broader context in which immigrant communities funct ion. While it offers a particularly sensitive lens by which to examine issues of concern to that community in general, the ethnic press may also help illustrate differences. On the one hand, it can be seen as a tool for social cohesion (Riggins 1992). I w ould argue that this is particularly true in populations that do not live in segregated communities as it helps, as defined in Andersons (1986) seminal work, create imagined communities. in subsequent chapters, I will I argue, however, that the ethnic press may also solidify and perhaps exacerbate cleavages precisely because it links individuals who do not know each other personallyand may resist a third partys definition and imposition of community. As a method, content analysis has the advantage of b eing unobtrusive (Krippendorf 1980). Thus, its messages can be considered free of an observer effect (ibid) and be analyzed within the specific context it was meant to be consumed 11 The challenge, however, w as that in becoming so immersed in the data, I lost my ability to extract from it, to translate it into text, or even to translate it at all (into English), finding that the quotes were all too self evident.
79 in. That is, the meanings of its messages, while subject to multiple influen ces and considerations, were not affected by the possibility of the researchers gaze. The South Florida Brazilian papers can lead to a more layered understanding of the intra community dynamics, indicating the interests and realities of their readership. At the time of the study, there were approximately ten to fifteen publications within the Brazilian ethnic press (some came into existence and others faded out during the overall duration of the project). Some of these were very specific, such as Linha A berta an evangelical Christian glossy, or another, Quatro Rodas dedicated exclusively to cars. Some had very limited distribution or a very short life span. I was primarily concerned with general interest publications and decided to focus on two. Given the geographical breadth of the overall project, one publication from each county was chosen: The Florida Review published in Miami -Dade, and Gazeta Brazilian News published in Broward. Both publications were ubiquitous in Brazilian businesses throughout the counties Despite the fact that the former was biweekly and the latter weekly, both were easily available at any given moment. Issues were collected systematically from July 2003 to May 2004, and only one month for each paper has gone unrepresented. A total of thirty -six papers were selected for analysis. The data to be analyzed focused on editorial content, with specific attention paid to references about the Brazilian community, as well as references to other national groups, the articulation of soc ieties and nations, and the creation of national imaginaries. Through this method, I explore if the issues made explicit in the interviews manifest themselves in the publications, which can in turn point to the conventional wisdom of those who ostensibly have their finger on the pulse of the community. Triangulating the newspaper analysis with the ethnographic data helps ensure that findings are more reflective of general
80 trends and less subject to sampling bias. The papers, which I suspect tak e an active part in the shaping of a Brazilian ethnic identity as opposed to a national one, help illustrate precisely the identity projects at the heart of this study. It is through the newspapers that the voice of the Brazilian immigrant is made known. Seeing The Forest a nd t he Trees: Sorting It Out My kit retooled, my questions restated, and my methods defined, I imagined naively that the hardest part was done when my fieldwork was completed. Nevertheless, having an idea of what I had to do did not mean that I had an idea of how much or how little I actually had signed up for. Endless waves of analyzing data, writing notes, and engaging with the literature, the phase of our careers euphemized as writing, made it seem as if the final product would never emerge. My analysis of both the interviews and the ethnic press editorials revealed overlaps in the way that national identities are constructed and articulated, both with respect to Brazilians and other groups, mainly Americans. These identities refer both to the people who bear these labels as to the societies that represent them. Interestingly enough, despite the large immigrant presence in South Florida, the Brazilians I interviewed mainly constructed the identity of a Brazilian in opposition to an A merican other. How participants articulated the Brazilian did not always coincide with how the self was articulated, being that the self is much more contextual and not subject to stereotypes. Nevertheless, fairly consistent descriptions emerged that p lace Brazil and the U.S. as binary categories, with the immigrant self appearing somewhere in between. In the next chapters, I will explore the general articulation of national identities found in my research, giving special attention to how gender emerged as a particularly salient category.
81 CHAPTER 4 TROPICAL BRAZUCAS: A NEW CAST FOR THE AME RICAN DREAM When we first moved here, the first time I tried to speak English was at Winn-Dixie; I went up to this little old lady and asked her if she wanted me to he lp her push her cart, you know, to be polite. In Brazil, we totally respect the elderly; I think its RIDICULOUS here that they have to put signs on the bus that say Please give up your seat to the elderly. They have to tell you to do that? So I went to ask her, out of politeness, if she wanted me to help her push the shopping cart She was so offended, I dont know what she thought I wanted, but she started screaming at me Of course not, Ill do it myself! And I couldnt understand her, and shed screa m louderIt was, like, three weeks before I tried to speak English again. Daniela, Brazilian immigrant from Coral Springs The Imaginary of National Identity If we understand identities as fluid and notions of selfhood as layered and contextual, how much m eaning can we ascribe to national identities? How do we even define their expressions? There are scholars today that decry the overemphasis on the national in migration studies (Wimmer and Glick Schiller 2003) as the naturalization of the global regime of nation states. Yet studies have shown that naturalizing the nation-state is not simply an academic bias at least for some immigrants in the U.S., national origin remains the primary identifier (see Jones Correa and Leal 1996; Marrow 2003). Woods (2006) found that Brazilians resented having to check the box in the U.S. and were frustrated because the available categories, White, Black, and Hispanic, could not capture their identity; a country so massive, said one man whom Woods interviewed, deserves it s own category. Paradoxically, several of my participants denied having a Brazilian identity, or feeling Brazilian, or even simply attributing any greater meaning to the label than of a demographic category. These were the people who agreed to be intervi ewed. Once I met a man that, upon hearing his accent, I asked if he was Brazilian; his response? I was Brazilian. Despite my attempts, he refused to be interviewed.
82 How are we to understand this? By giving the primary weight of analysis to the imaginary of national identities, I am consciously making a bold statement that some of my participants would not make that a national identity is a primary form of understanding and positioning oneself vis vis others, and of interpreting these others as well. In fact, some participants would out and out reject this claim. Oftentimes I was caught listening to stories that narrated either someones own refusal to be categorized as Brazilians culturally, or (and sometimes, in addition to) an almost committed dis tancing from other Brazilians, i.e., a rejection of Brazilian as any sort of meaningful collectivity. Take Tati, a forty one year old systems analyst from So Paulo, whose grandparents were from Italy: Ill cry if I hear a traditional old Italian song. But I will never cry with Aquarela do Brasil Margolis (1994) was perhaps the first to note that Brazilians immigrants expressed this sort of distancing from claiming a Brazilian identity because in Brazil people do not identify themselves as Brazilian choosing heritage instead as an identifier. It makes sense. In the absence of difference, an identity becomes meaningless (Connolly 1991) and so highlighting Brazilianness in Brazil becomes somewhat redundant except, of course, during the World Cup. Duri ng that season, Brazilians do rally behind their flag in a massive display of what Jorge Duany (2007) refers to as banal sports nationalism which has the effect of blurring class, race, and gender differences in order to ratify the belonging of all citi zens to the nation. Irene, a thirty year -old hairdresser confirms this: The last thing that [a Brazilian] wants to find here is another Brazilian unless its the World Cup. Moreover, some scholars interpret this rejection of the label as a resistance to being categorized at all and to the racialization that checking the box represents (McDonnell and de Loureno 2009).
83 If Brazilians reject the American classification system and choose to identify themselves as Brazilians only when forced to, it would s eem as if sentiment for the motherland is lacking. The reality is more complex. Brown (2005) describes this as ethnic ambivalence, actually a term employed in multicultural psychology to describe one of the stages of immigrant acculturation (see Phinney 1990). It is not so much that Brazilians reject Brazil, or being Brazilian, but that they have contradictory and ambivalent feelings (Brown 2005). I am not so much interested in why this happens in fact, focusing on the motivation can blind us to what part icipants are really communicating about what being Brazilian means. What interests me is teasing out the construction of a national identity and the meanings extracted from the immigrants narratives to focus on the identitary imaginary they construct abou t Brazil, the U.S. and the people inhabiting these spaces. I may be, as cautioned by Wimmer and Glick-Schiller (2003), giving into a certain methodological nationalism but I defend my choice to do so. What happens when one crosses borders is that one be comes othered specifically and primarily as a foreigner, one who is defined as coming from (and so belonging to) another state. To be sure, there are other differentiations at play here language, race, and religion are but some of the ways that a host so ciety marks its immigrants. Mayas from Mexico in Florida may feel a greater affinity to their Guatemalan counterparts than to other Mexican nationals one oppressed indigenous group relating to another, and not to the state that sustains that oppression. In no way do I propose to minimize the marginalization experienced on account of these sites of difference and recognize that there are times when there is a conflation of factors. Nevertheless, it is the national ascription that is the most powerful, becaus e it is both a socially and politically marginal identity. Mexican Mayas are subject to the geopolitical order that characterizes them as members of
84 Mexico, a NAFTA nation, and its relationship to the United States, which is different from the relationship between the U.S. and Guatemala. When immigrants transgress the host societys sensibilities, it is to their home country that they are deported. Their most authoritative identifying document, when it exists, is the passport (Neumayer 2005). If someone fro m the host society detects an accent in the speech of an immigrant, their origin is questioned not even what language one speaks. The role of the sending country in an immigrants sense of self can even emerge in its absence, such as when immigrants become frustrated by other peoples lack of knowledge about their country of provenance. Some Brazilians who deny feeling Brazilian still share frustration over misrecognitions by an American. The classic examples are not knowing that Brazilians speak Portuguese (Margolis 1998), or that Brazil has major urban developments (Tsuda 2003). In my research, for instance, several participants from So Paulo were irritated about Americans thinking that Rio is the biggest Brazilian metropolis12. When some of my participants denied a Brazilian identity, it was really as if they were denying an identification with things Brazilian the difference is subtle, but important. Citizens of any nation grow up exposed to a number of discourses, these the product of nationbuilding pr ojects, that construct and define a national identity and a set of cultural traits (e.g., American individualism). The same can be said of regions (think Southern hospitality) and even cities (the city that never sleeps.) The reality on the ground is m uch more complex than these encapsulated clichs would indicate there are layers of differences, personalities, generations, to say nothing of recognizable subcultures. In immigration, the primary identification of a person as a national of a certain other place collapses those layers. People are read as a series of 12This misrecognition is softened in a setting s uch as Miami on account of its large Latin American population, familiar with Brazil on account of its prominence in the region.
85 stereotypes and clichs their nationality being used as shorthand for an assessment of who they are. Within the migration context, these stereotypes gain prominence. Immigrants who reject bein g categorized as Brazilian may do so because they do not like samba, watch Brazilian television, or follow the World Cup. Nevertheless, even as they distance themselves from the concept of Brazilianness, people reveal their own take on a Brazilian identity. I choose to shy away from a reductionist definition of national identity as one that examines expressions of nationalism or patriotism. As they speak, my participants articulate ideas about what it means to be Brazilian or American. They state their v iew of the culture of each country, in essence constructing a national identity for each through which they interpret its actors. Despite the broadness of nation as a point of reference, I conceive of national identities as grounded in how the people of these nations are represented, irrespective of whether these are articulations of pride or prejudice. It is the people, after all, who express, create, and contest what is considered to be the national culture. When I speak of Brazilian society, I am not referring to some abstracted entity hovering over the territory and exerting its power and neither are the participants I interviewed. They are referring to ways in which certain generalizations characterize the connections and interactions among its peo ple. When they discuss, even if critically, the national identity of a people, they are grounding those characterizations in descriptions expressed from the top down and the bottom up. To me, these opinions, stereotypes, and judgments are all constitutive of a national identity, one that reflects both an identity of the national as well as of its nationals. In this chapter, I explore the imaginaries of national identity as articulated by South Florida Brazilians. In some ways, it can be said that they represent both a national and a personal
86 identity. In this framework, the nation itself and the citizens of a nation constitute two strands of the same identity. These dual identities are represented by my participants understanding of both Brazil and th e U.S., illustrated by the four maps (Figures 41 through 44) containing the traits and descriptions that emerged through the interview process. I focus on how Brazil is referenced and represented, allowing my participants to describe it as a country, a nation, and a society (Figure 41). I then follow this with how Brazilians themselves are referenced and represented as defined through personality, family, and friends (Figure 42). Throughout, I briefly contrast this with the reference and representation of the U.S. (as a country, a nation, and a society see Figure 43) and American personality, family, and friendship (Figure 44). I believe the juxtaposition is crucial to a general understanding of how a Brazilian identity is presented. First, I define how I am i nterpreting each of these terms. Country: the territory o Natural landscape o Man -made structures, cityscapes Nation: the state o Government, politics o Economic realities Society: the public o Celebrations, competitions o Social class, race Personality: qua lities of Brazilians, the embodiment of the archetype o Family: relating to kin o Friendship : chosen relationships and networks Of Love and Loathing: Brazilians on Brazil Brasil! Brazil Meu Brasil brasileiro My Brazilian Brazil
87 Meu mulato inzoneir o My wily mulatto Vou cantar -te nos meus versos13 I will sing you in my verses (my translation) The opening bars to this song are among the most recognizable notes in all of Brazilian music. The song by Ary Barroso, Aquarela do Brasil was first recorded in 1939 at a definitive moment in Brazilian history. It is a type of samba called exaltation samba, strongly linked to the modernist projects of Getlio Vargass authoritarian regime Estado Novo (19371945) that sought to consolidate the nati on in the minds of its citizens, equating it with the national character (Soares 2002). The song has also been recorded in English by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dionne Warwick, known simply as Brazil. Along with possibly the Girl from Ipanema, Aquarela do Brasil is arguably the most recognizable Brazilian song to Brazilians and foreigners alike, having been recorded scores of times in several languages. It is, indeed, a musical symbol of Brazil (Soares 2002), a symbol that sings, in fact, exalts, th e nation of Brazil and all its glories. But which glories are those? At the very opening, Brazil is characterized as Brazilian, which seems to then be explained as mulatto and wily. This sits in stark opposition to an American U.S. typically conceive d of as white, AngloSaxon, and Protestant, with the strong emphasis on ethics that the Puritan legacy left behind. Brazil as a Country Curiously, in my interviews there was very little said that spoke to Brazil as country, either in its totality or in local manifestations. With few exceptions, there was hardly any mention about Brazils natural geography, the landscape of its cities, or even its vast territory. There were occasional comments that touched on some aspect a mention of traffic being compli cated by mountains, or a passing observation about a beautiful beach but no one really 13 Aquarela do Brasil, Ary Barroso, 1939
88 focused on this aspect of Brazil for any significant utterance. Tati stands out in this regard. Hailing from Brazils busiest metropolis, So Paulo, she yearns for a Bra zil that she only experienced in tourism: I wish I could travel now, she says, alluding to her irregular status in the U.S., to see the family and to visit some places in Brazil that I think are beautiful; Brazil is a beautiful country. Her frustration at her lack of mobility is aggravated by a sense of urgency Tati is afraid that Brazils natural beauties are quickly disappearing: I cant think of one small city in Brazil with a river going through it that I havent had to stop my nose to go by it, bec ause it stinks like sewage, and if I saw what I see here, people by the side of the road, all over the United States, anytime you go by a bridge someone is fishing, and he is going to eat what he gets from that river, because he knows that he can, becaus e there is an environmental law, that river was once polluted, [but] there is an environmental law. Tati presents Brazil as beautiful but tainted and quickly degenerating. Conversely, she sees the U.S. as improving from its once polluted standards to a cle aner environment. Paradoxically, Irene and Fernando both mentioned in their interviews how Americans who have been to Brazil are quick to share, upon hearing that they are from Brazil, that they find it to be a beautiful country, with beautiful beaches and natural landscape the very things that Tati is concerned are being tainted. Brazil as a Nation When it comes to Brazil as a nation, South Florida Brazilians are more explicit about their views. The political dimension and its consequences emerge more oft en than the territory as topics in the interviews. Often participants reproduced stale depictions of Brazil as a land of sharp regional differences that nevertheless result in widespread poverty, corruption, and lack of opportunity, the very factors that m ost likely prompted their move away from Brazil. As this aspect of the nation is perhaps the one most linked to the direct causes for migration, it is not surprising that I found a preponderance of negative comments linked to this particular imaginary.
89 Whe ther focused on economic realities, government bureaucracy, or lack of opportunities, South Florida Brazilians generally demonstrated a lack of faith in the nation of Brazil. For Alice, who had led a charmed life of privilege in So Paulo until her then-hu sbands relocation, finds each time she visits her hometown that being confronted with certain realities about Brazil can be unsettling. She recounts going into a McDonalds inside a shopping mall in Brazil, purchasing a sandwich, and waiting for her change. The cashier, lacking enough coins to make change at a time when coins were not worth anything, partially doled out the change in matchboxes: I was horrified, I gave it right back to her; I said I dont smoke, I paid you with money, I want my change in cash. My cousin was [trying to pull me away] Come, Alice, let it go. So the [cashier] grabbed some hard candies [ balas ,] because there were very few coins in circulation at that time, she gave me my change in candies. I said I dont eat candies, di d I pay you with candy? If I come here tomorrow and throw a bag of candy at you, are you going to give me a sandwich? Alice was incensed by both the government inefficiency (lack of coins in circulation) as by peoples complacency toward broken down ins titutions (evidenced by Alices cousin as well as the cashier). Indeed, there is something surreal about imagining a McDonalds, of all things, in a shopping mall located in the most prestigious neighborhood (Morumbi) of a highly industrialized metropolis having to resort to barter like exchange. Irene, who is also from So Paulo, takes a broader view of the problem: [h]ere you work hard, but you see your return at the end of the month. There you work, and the money flies. This is a general complaint. Th e economic stability of the U.S. sits in direct contrast to the uncertainty generated by Brazils economic realities. The story of Csar, from Minas Gerais, illustrates how even attempts to stabilize the Brazilian economy can have the effect of destabilizing personal finances. Csar had been successful as a small business owner, at one point having three enterprises at the same time until Fernando Henriques planput an end to all
90 that14. He had been managing quite well, borrowing and making small investmen ts that he would then turn around and liquidate, as well as joining pyramid schemes that provided durable goods like cars, which he also sold. These dubious practices had been the way in which Csar had weathered the Collor administrations financial ups a nd downs. By staying one step ahead of the game, he had thrived amidst economic chaos, but his strategy was not suitable to an economic plan designed to bring stability. When his credit was called into question and his business partner defaulted on a debt Csar liquidated his assets and moved. Like most of my interviewees, Csar had not experienced extreme economic hardship, but rather faced struggles that made economic advancement unlikely. The frustration with the economic reality of Brazil did not ari se out of an inability to have basic needs met none of my participants had been unable to feed their families, none had been destitute but rather from not being able to engage in certain middle -class consumption patterns that fulfilled the desires created by the modernist projects of military Brazil (ODougherty 2000). Having learned to live within one system, Csar had been honing skills incompatible with the new Brazil of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. He came to the U.S. with $5,000 in cash and a willingness to work hard, because he was never afraid of work. His negative view of Brazil is a targeted one: Im so proud of being Brazilian I love Brazil. I wish Brazil was just like here, that its leaders [ governantes ] were just like [the ones] here. Because t hat is the only thing that is not like here. Here they divvy it up more I believe there is corruption here, but here they share the pie better. What is interesting here is not so much that Csar has a problem with corruption per se, only with the unfair d istribution of its spoils. In fact, by his own admission his lifestyle prior to emigrating had been one that benefited from shady practices. Csar denies that this is part of his 14 The Real Plan ( Plano Real ), when Fernando Henrique Cardoso changed the currency to the Real, which remains Brazils currency today.
91 character (Ive always liked things straight) but ended up expressing an id ea that in Brazil, to live a correct life ( uma vida certinha), was a fools way. Survival demands flexibility, the famous Brazilian jeitinho15 that acts as social leverage in the face of so many constraints. Like Csar, Rute also suffered a betrayal th at marked her point of rupture, forcing her to emigrate. She had been successful in her medical practice, but her then husband, with whom she shared her practice had been committing insurance fraud and manipulating the books. At first, she was ignorant of the practice, but when she found out about it, she went along with it. The ensuing legal drama was made worse by his use of Rute as a scapegoat, leaving her in the lurch while buying himself the best legal representation. Unable to recover financially or professionally, Rute came to the U.S. Reminiscent of Csar, Rute expresses a respect for the American moral and ethical rectitude along with a disdain for Brazilian ways (seemingly unaware that her own narrative contradicts this strong ethic). While her hu sbands fraudulent ways had not caught up with her, she did not seem to mind. She states an admiration for American efficiency and reliability, as well as its rigor and discreetness, traits she decries Brazil for not having: I dont like that Brazilian wa y of I dont know, try tomorrow. Countless bureaucracies, countless despachantes countless inanities. You know, to renew my drivers license, which is originally from Rio, with Detran [DMV,] it took four months for me to get it back. Four months! The se bureaucratic proclivities, however, were precisely what allowed her husbands fraud to go undetected, buried under mountains of paperwork. Unfortunately for Rute, the same system also prevented her from escaping her predicament when her husband took the available funds to clear 15 Jeitinho is a Brazilian expression that refers to a way of getting around obstacles in order to meet a need or desire, and often means employing personal appeals over bureaucratic impediments, bypassing official means. See Barbosa (1995) for an essay on how the jeitinho literally, small way, is a metaphor for Brazilian national identity.
92 his own name and ruin hers in the process. Lacking the resources with which to fight back, she moved. Unfair access to power, nepotism, and social pull were frequently cited as a Brazilian reality that one escapes by living in th e U.S. Tnia, living in Miami-Dade for the last four years with her adolescent son, is glad that his civic persona is being influenced by U.S. socialization, thus shielding him from this noxious aspect of life in Brazil: I think its very important that my son came at the age that he did, for him to realize that its not about being the son of Mr. so-and -so, but that you have to live under a certain law. I think that the presence of this law [means] that you are not going to bribe the policeman who pulled you over Still, some participants who are more integrated into U.S. society do not see things as necessarily different here, only that by virtue of being outsiders, Brazucas can sometimes not be privy to the backroom deals of Americans. While voicing a c omplaint about the difficulty to bend the rigid American system, David explains this: [b]ecause in Brazil, ultimately, you have pistolo16 to help resolve things. Here that doesnt exist. Well, it exists, but we dont have access to it. Even though this u nequal access to power has less to do with actual political leaders and more with a form of social capital (Briggs 1998) that can be enacted to flex the system, politicians remain the culprits. Rather than seeing these leaders as people who, like the peopl e themselves, are simply availing themselves of a strategy to flexibly manipulate a system that bills itself as rigid, participants blame politicians for Brazils ills, divorcing them from the people, as if they emerge from a separate culture. If only they were different, as argued by Csar, so would the Brazilian reality be different. Or, as put by Ana, if only there were a way to wrestle 16 Pistolo literally means big gun; in Brazil, it refers to a form of social leverage, patronage or pull, and can a lso refer to the person (usually someone of influence) providing that leverage.
93 the nation from their grasp: the politicians, they do too much damage to this place, you know? They hurt it too much a nd I think that one day that Brazil, that place, will give its response. Ana speaks out of frustration. After six years as an undocumented immigrant in Miami, she moved back to Brazil with her family with the intent to stay. She was dismayed to find that the work experience she acquired in the U.S., as well as learning two languages (English and Spanish), were of no avail. Her multiple applications for employment led to nothing, and Ana and her family eventually returned to South Florida. The challenges of living in Brazil are perhaps made more salient once one has lived abroad. As first described by Margolis (1994), the lack of sufficient opportunity or decent wages is, in contrast to the availability of work in the U.S., seen as a major and constant irri tant that spurs remigration (ibid: 264). The opportunity to work is a major contrast between the two nations. The U.S. is characterized as the land of jobs (jobs are never lacking, according to Tati) but Brazils surplus of labor force is seen as a conse quence of inept government practices, which result in killing initiative. People such as Ana, whose skills outmatch her social connections, are frustrated by this reality. Brazil as a Society Brazil as a society figured prominently in the interviews, both in terms of how participants view that society and how they believe others perceive it. How Brazil is interpreted by others takes on special importance in migration, particularly since immigrants know there can be a tendency to conflate persons with a mac ro culture. Thus, I begin illustrating the representation of Brazil as a society with what likely are the aspects of Brazilian society with the most visibility: celebrations and competitions. In discussing Brazil, this necessarily reverts to Carnaval17 and the 17 Carnaval is the preLenten celebration that takes place on the four days (five in some areas) preceding Ash Wednesday. It celebration varies throughout the country but is alw ays marked by revelry and indulgence. Worldwide, Brazils Carnaval is largely associated with images of the samba schools parade of Rio.
94 FIFA World Cup18. Both events fix Brazil in a global imaginary as a country where leisure defines its people. Large -scale celebrations can be an enduring representation of immigrant and ethnic nostalgia. Puerto Rican Day in New York City, St. Patricks Day in Boston, and Calle Ocho in Miami all come to mind as celebrations that validate and legitimize an immigrant groups cultural legacy. In Brazil, Carnaval is the maximum expression of celebration, experienced both in its live and in color local manif estations and through the televised spectacle of the Rio and So Paulo samba schools parades. More pertinently, Carnaval is not only central to Brazils ritual calendar but is a major part of Brazilian self understanding or, as Goldstein writes, a transfo rmation from religious ritual to national metaphor (2003: 32). Anthropologist Roberto Da Matta has written extensively on Carnaval as precisely that, most notably in his 1979 book Carnavais, malandros e heris: para uma sociologia do dilema brasileiro I n it, he describes the ritual as one of inversion, wherein hierarchies get upended only to revert back to normal once Ash Wednesday comes19. Although Da Matta has his critics who contend that this view glosses over some of Carnavals more troubling aspects by romanticizing the ritual into a metaphor for the nation, his articulation remains central to how Brazilians view and interpret this firmly entrenched and scripted institution. 18 The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup Finals are a series of soccer matches betwee n thirty two national teams that take place every four years over a month. The victor is awarded the title of FIFA World Cup champion, the ultimate honor in the worlds biggest sporting competition. Brazil is the most successful team, having won the Cup, a s it is usually called, a record of five times. 19 This inversion is captured perfectly in Chico Buarques samba Vai Passar, literally it will pass, a play on words given that Carnaval passes by (as a parade) but also passes quickly only one day of pre tending to be barons and Napoleons for the hardworking sons of the motherland : And, finally, one day/they had the right to a fleeting happiness/the breathless epidemic called Carnaval/It will pass/clap for the starving barons/the block of the black Napoleons/and the pygmies of the boulevard/My God, come and watch/come see up close as a city sings/the evolution of liberty/until the day breaks. It can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A_JrsJF6mM
95 Abroad, Brazilian immigrants seem to perform Carnaval wherever they go; Japa n (de Carvalho 2002), New York (Margolis 1994), and San Francisco (Ribeiro 1999) are but some communities with vibrant Carnaval manifestations. South Florida is no different, and Carnaval is, along with the World Cup, a time when the Brazilian community ga ins enough legitimacy to be acknowledged in the mainstream media (see Hernandez 2004). South Florida Brazilians are acutely aware of how Carnaval shapes the image of Brazil, a topic that I explore further in the chapter on gender. For now, suffice to say t hat when participants mentioned Carnaval, it was generally in relation to how the epitomization of Carnaval as a scantily clad woman has tainted the perception of the ritual as one of debauchery, and of Brazilians as promiscuous. For instance, Irene says a major misconception is how Americans think that during Carnaval, everyone is naked and there is free love. Irene, Leni, Rodrigo, and Tati all resent the conflation of Carnaval with sex (see Astor 2007) and of Brazilianness with Carnaval. Carnaval may be central to a Brazilian self image, but it is placed within a specific context as both fleeting and surreal, not a ritualized orgy that defines the national character. Instead, my participants complain, Americans misinterpret it as some sort of promiscuous Spring Break on a national scale, and attribute too great a meaning to it. In reality, though, this conflation is reinforced by the proclivity of Brazilian immigrants to showcase Carnaval as a moment of cultural pride. De Carvalho (2002) addresses this i n her study of Japanese Brazilians in Japan. As an ethnic group that, in Brazil, is largely external to both Carnaval and samba culture, upon migrating to Japan the nikkeijin as they are known, are thrust with the Japanese expectation that, as Brazilians, they must enact Carnaval which they do, finding in it an expression of their Brazilianness (De Carvalho 2002). In Miami, Brazilian Carnavals are promoted not only in the ethnic media, but through Englishlanguage and Spanishlanguage
96 publicity as well, so that both American and Latin American expectations of Brazilian culture can be fulfilled. Raquel Elis, a well -to do socialite, sees Carnaval as a vehicle for promoting the Portuguese language and Brazilian culture: I have Globo [Network] at home, and when its Carnaval, I invite everyone who isnt Brazilian to come watch it at my house and they love it. Interestingly, Raquel Elis is involved with the Centro Cultural Brasil USA (CCBU Brazil US Cultural Center), a center whose very mission is to promote Brazilian culture in South Florida and whose standard event is a monthly luncheon and lecture series, in Portuguese, with an almost exclusively Brazilian membership. Why is it that she does not use her role in CCBU to promote other events to which she coul d invite everyone who isnt Brazilian instead of calling on these to witness the single most culpable source of Brazilian exoticization? It may be that, as an older white paulistana Raquel Elis almost certainly does not identify with the exposed young ( often brown) bodies parading through the Sambadrome and thus is either unaware of or unaffected by the essentialization engendered through Carnaval20. Leonardo encapsulates it: those stereotypes are definitely embedded in the American mind women, soccer, and Carnaval. And even though most of the tens of thousands of figurantes or parade participants, have neither breasts nor buttocks exposed, the stereotype of Carnaval that defines Brazil is one in which nakedness is flaunted. As Leonardo says, soccer is as entwined with the image of Brazil as Carnaval. For Brazilian aficionados, of course, soccer is not limited to World Cup Finals but a weekly reality. There are matches during regular season, playoffs, and team championships where different 20 I recommend checking out http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/02/carnival.html for pictures and comments about Carnaval 2009. Although the photos are from Carnaval celebr ations throughout the world, most of the comments center on Brazil.
97 franchises eac h associated with a specific location compete. This is the level at which hometown boys gone good elevate a given city or neighborhood to a state of bliss, but it is mostly devoid of the most famous soccer stars, such as Ronaldinho, who play for European t eams. This is ironic, because the most iconic images of Brazilian soccer involve these international stars, wearing yellow jerseys for Brazil in matches that pitch country against country. At this national team level, there are regional cups such as Copa A mrica, special exhibition games, friendly matches, and age -related cups (sub -21, for instance, with players under 21 years of age, or the seniors cup). Brazils prominence in soccer on the world stage is undeniable, and the skill of Brazilian players has been naturalized as a national trait (Lopes 2000). Brazilians obsession with international soccer competitions is not necessarily different than that of other countries it is, after all, the most popular sport in the world. What is different is that Braz il, a third world country, is the country to beat at a game invented by British. The FIFA World Cup is inescapable in Brazil. For months leading up to the finals21 yellow and green color every store window, flags and Cup-worthy attire are peddled in the str eets, and media coverage has a definitive focus. During the actual finals, when Brazil plays, streets are eerily quiet and empty, save for the poor souls who gather in front of appliance stores whose managers mercifully leave the display TVs set to the rig ht channel. When Brazil scores, firecrackers are set off. When Brazil loses, grown men sob in the streets. When Brazil wins, the streets erupt in parties. Even most people who disdain the sport can get caught up in arguably the most universal experience fo r all Brazilians. In any given household, multi generational family units watch, as do the domestic employees, jumping and screaming in singular voice. 21 The FIFA World Cup is actually played over a period of three years all over the world, with the World Cup Finals actually referring to a tournament of the countries who placed highest in the qualifiers.
98 I remember, as a child in Brazil, getting random phone calls from complete strangers during matches Wh ich team only needs a tie? or, Why dont they replace so and so? I doubt this is common in todays era of cellular phones and laptops with Internet access, but this anecdote reveals the reality of the galvanizing effect of the World Cup. Someone could p ick up the phone, dial random digits until someone answered the phone, and have faith that the person on the other side would be caught up in the same exact moment. For Brazilians in South Florida, this totality must now be experienced elsewhere. While it s true that South Floridas population contains many groups who are just as fanatic about soccer, there is a fundamental difference in now experiencing the Cup as a fragmented event of competing loyalties. Inevitably, for Brazilians outside Brazil, whether or not they care about soccer, the FIFA World Cup thrusts them into a direct and unavoidable collision with competitions as an expression of national identity. It also forces an expected performance of the same, from both within and without the community. When Irene complained that Brazilians in South Florida are a people without a motherland, she shared her disappointment that Brazilians actually avoided other Brazilians except during the World Cup. Yvette and Lukas, a married couple from Boynton Beach who complain that it is hard for them to find Brazilians with whom they have much in common, exemplify that specific desire which Irene highlights when they recount going to Sample Square, the shopping plaza in Pompano Beach that is almost exclusively l eased by Brazilian merchants. Brazil had won a match during the Cup, and this made them go seek out the celebrations: We went, during the World Cup, to Sample [Square.] They had closed it off. I said Lets go by, just to see, but it was total anarchy, it only wasnt any worse because the police was there the mounted police! garbage, loud music, a carnaval and I said Lets go ask the police officer what he thinks I asked What do you think about all this, this mess, this civil disobedience? And he replied It would be better if they didnt do this, but at the same time, we cant stop them because its a large group and this is a free country.
99 Lukas was caught between two realities. On the one hand, he wanted to participate in (or, at a minimum, witness) what in Brazil would have been ubiquitous the celebration of a World Cup victory. On the other hand, the style of celebration not unlike what he would have experienced in Brazil was unappealing to him, and dissonant from the environment in which he now found himself. To validate that sense of dissonance, he sought confirmation from a police officer but his very words (mess, civil disobedience) betrayed his prejudice. The question here is why would he have gone in the first place? Given that he and Yvette were not going to watch the actual match, my interpretation is that they must have felt disconnected from others at such an important moment a disconnection accentuated by being in another country. There is something incomplete for a Brazilian to experience the World Cup in isolation. In Brazil, one is not ever in isolation during the Cup the noise pours in through windows, news coverage is relentless, everyone is constantly talking about it. In another country that does not typically care about thi s sport, one must actively engage with the Cup or it can pass you by. It is not about the sport, it is the spectacle, but it is the shared and participatory spectacle. Yet this is the very spectacle that turned Lukas and Yvette off. Had they been in Brazil they would not have needed to drive to another county to reinforce how different they are from other Brazilians. The World Cup is a moment when Brazilianness is called into being. My children are proud of being Brazilian, says Alice, offering as proof you have to see them during the World Cup, they go crazy! I used to dress as a Brazilian, claims Elizabeth, I would wear Havaianas and [during] the Cup, you know, wear Brazil shirts. This entrenchment in the Brazilian mind of what Duany (2008) calls banal sports nationalism is not only, I argue, an expression of support for the team, of for the nation, but also an expression of community. During the World Cupas well as other international competitions, such as Copa Amrica
100 South Florida Brazilian restaurants show the matches on large screens and local ethnic markets, which always carry the national teams jerseys, explode in canary -yellow (and green and blue), so that everyone may have the right to display their national pride from their head to their feet, young and old. All of this is true in Brazil as well, but in Brazil those things are an expression of esprito da Copa, the spirit of the Cup, and the emphasis is on expressing similarity with the tens of millions who surround you. Outside of Brazil, though, it becomes about identifying yourself as different, as part of a subgroup, and of being able to identify others like you. Although celebrations and competitions are important ways in which Brazilians see their society as a totality, and i n how they imagine other groups perceive them, other aspects of Brazilian society that are less ritualized are important to consider. For Brazilians, perhaps no subgroup membership is more definitive than social class. Nevertheless, it is actually within t he context of migration that this reality becomes highlighted. Perhaps this is due to the segregated nature of class relations in Brazil, where everyone knows their place and the veneer of cordiality (Buarque de Holanda 1936) can mask the discomfort that may otherwise characterize the relations across social groups. Recognition is crucial to this (thus Da Mattas famous analysis of the phrase Do you know who youre speaking with as a call to recognition). The ruptures engendered by migration seem to be the ones that most call up the discourse of social class by creating an aura that all Brazilians are thrust together outside of their country, even those who would not otherwise have any dealings with each other. For the most part, participants tended not to discuss social class in Brazilian society rather, it was through migration that social class became a relevant construct, employed in a discourse that links social location to identity. This is discussed further in the section of
101 immigrant identity, but here I introduce the story of three women who have reanalyzed their own social class in Brazil as a result of the migration process. There is Irene, the daughter of professionals who nevertheless struggled to make ends meet, was able to succeed professio nally and financially in Miami. We also meet Raquel Elis, who has been very wealthy all of her life, yet had to leave So Paulo to truly see another economic reality. And then there is Elizabeth, who, having immigrated as a child, denounces her bourgeois c lass origin in favor of a more progressive orientation. Irene, who works as a hairdresser in a posh Coral Gables salon, left Brazil on a tourist visa with the intent to overstay. She had been attending university in So Paulo, but she had to work at a factory in order to pay her tuition. This double shift was further complicated by the traffic congestion, and Irene recounts having to sleep on the bus during her commutes and not being able to dedicate much time to her studies. Upon moving to Miami, she beca me friends with a well to -do Brazilian woman, also from So Paulo. They became close, but even though this woman introduced Irene to her circle of wealthy friends, these friends would snub Irene when they ran into her around town. The sting is still palpab le: In Brazil, there is a lot of social segregation. Even though my parents were both attorneys and I was going to college, I was never a rich girl ( filhinha de papai ). Her parents professional status was misleading, as they always struggled financially and Irene was accustomed to working from a young age. Once in Miami, Irene had expected her circle of friends to be composed of other Brazilians, but experiences such as this left her with a bad taste in her mouth: I was really disappointed. I thought it was going to be one thing, but it was not. Even when people fall [economically upon migrating] they insist on showing you that in Brazil they were better than you. Today I avoid Brazilians.
102 This segregation is also experienced by people at the top of the class structure. Raquel Elis, who describes herself as coming from a traditional So Paulo family, a phrase used to describe the generations -old social elite, had not realized how her social experience had been constrained by this unidimensional realit y until her daughter, upon entering a public state university in Missouri, pointed it out to her. She recalls her daughters complaint: She said Mom, you raised me in a bubble and I said, What do you mean, I raised you in a bubble? I sent you to such-an d -such [international] school, and she told me But who can pay $20,000 a year? That was a bubble and this is reality. And you know what? Shes totally right. Here in Miami I finally came into contact with reality. Despite having lived in one of the worl ds biggest metropolises, filled with the social problems of urban poverty, Raquel Elis had somehow missed reality until encountering it in South Florida. Finally, there is Elizabeth, a college student. Her upbringing in Brazil had been solidly middle c lass her parents worked hard in order to afford trips and luxury goods, but she and her sister attended private school and otherwise enjoyed a certain level of privilege. Today she sees that as bourgeois and elitist, given the economic reality of most Braz ilians. In fact, she questions how she would have turned out had she remained in Brazil: [g]rowing up in Brazil, being white and being middle -class? Today I am completely on the left but I never [thought] that I would be on the left. Im wondering what wo uld have happened had I stayed in Brazil. I would be a different person now. For that reason, I am glad I came. In other words, Elizabeths view is one that white middle -class white girls in Brazil are bound by a certain economic determinism, that politic s in Brazil is defined by social location more than individual inclination. In considering this, it would be necessary to see how race also becomes presented. As illustrated by Elizabeths comment, whose whiteness, along with social class, is problematized as part of a self -questioning engendered through migration, a re -
103 evaluation of the self necessarily calls questions of raceand an identity linked to race into being. Like social class, race and color were not often discussed by my participants in the context of Brazil. I attribute this to the same phenomenon, that potentially polemic topics are not discussed in polite company and often neither I nor my participants focused much on race. In fact, truth be told I never asked my participants which race they belonged to22. I failed to introduce questions about race and race relations, fearing it would taint our interactions by characterizing me as an American researcher (because many participants reported that Americans are obsessed with racial categorization ). Rather, it emerged most in the context of migration, as the clash with another system of classification forced people to consider themselves as non-whites, possibly, or as Latinos, or as characteristically Brazilian, which is how Neila and Rafaela, to name but two, both described their heritage. The interplay of race across borders is interesting to social science students Yvette and Lukas, both cariocas Yvette surprised me when she called herself negra as that had not matched my perception of her r acial category. I would not have referred to her as an AfroBrazilian, or even mulatta I could not recognize her racial identification which she later acknowledged had much to do with her political militancy. When I questioned her (You are negra?), this exchange ensued between the three of us: Yvette: Well, I am negra, I assume [that identity,] there is no way around it, cant hide it, cant deny it. I am negra, there is no oh, depends on the family context there is none of that, I am negra, I admit it Rosana: And here? Y: Here they translate me as Hispanic, as Latin American 22 This is not entirely true. Some of my participants were also taking part in a study about religiosity and had to fill out a questionnaire, which included a question on racial self identification.
104 Lukas: As for me, theres no way, what can I do? Im white. Im white here, Im white there, Im white anywhere. Y: [to Lukas]No, but here you are only considered white until you open your mouth L: No, no, but I put Latin American, I do. [to Yvette:] Here you are not considered black because of your hair. Y: Yeah, I heard that, because I dont have bad hair. What fascinates me about this exchange is that Lukas and Yvette have adopted racial identities that they construct in Brazil as on the opposite ends of the racial scale: she as and AfroBrazilian and he, with his German name and pale freckled face, as white. These are identities that they consider inevitable (what can I d o? What can I say?) and yet migration brings them both to the middle, to the Hispanic race, one that is neither black nor white. In Brazil, the Census color category pardo 23 would capture that inbetweeness, yet neither of them self identifies as such Only to reinterpret race in a foreign landscape can be confusing because the constructs are so different that Yvette and Lukas try to make sense of it all based on characteristics that are assumed to be meaningful: her hair texture and his accent. Tati, however, shares another dimension to race by a reverse migration anecdote. While still living in So Paulo, she had been involved with an AfricanAmerican man who had been living there. They communicated mainly in English because he avowedly did not wish t o learn Portuguese well, something that irritated Tati. As long as I speak English here, he told her, I might as well be blonde and blue -eyed. If I learn Portuguese, Im just another black man. Despite her annoyance at his attitude, she confirms his as sessment by an anecdote. One evening while out driving, they were pulled over by the police who had set up a roadblock. She attributes 23 In Brazil, Census heritage cate gories denote color, rather than race or ethnicity. The five options are White, Black, Pardo (Murky), Yellow, and Red.
105 their being selected for a stop to his being a black man, driving an imported car, with a white woman sitting next to him Tati recounts what happened: [T]hey stopped us with the gun already in his face. So he turned to me and said Just you wait, youll see and when he lowered the window he said I dont speak Portuguese and began beating his chest and saying Americano, americano, so the man lowered the weapon Sorry, mister [ doutor ], [turning to another officer] go get the supervisor because this dude only speaks English. Tatis boyfriend found a way to invert a racial hierarchy by invoking a higher order rank: bei ng American. In Brazil, not only does money whiten, but foreigners apparently are categorized less according to their individual color, and more according to the color associated with their country. In the case of the U.S., that color is unequivocally whit e. Elizabeth concurs, but she represents the opposite of Tatis boyfriend. Having lived in the U.S. for a long time, and having an English name, Elizabeth struggles against being defined as American and, more importantly, white. I dont know why it offen ds me if someone perceives me as white. I find that completely offensive, she says, adding there are characteristics associated with that culture that I simply cannot see myself in, I cant place myself inside those values. In her construction of an Ame rican identity, Elizabeth sees U.S. society as racist, something she confirmed upon joining her campus chapter of National Organization for Women (NOW). She had been very involved with NOW on campus, but was disheartened by the narrow focus of its agenda a nd its constituency, which she says overlooked minority women. Her colleagues could not, she says, understand that feminists and activists could still discriminate against other women, and Elizabeth attributed this to American racism. Elizabeth was not the only person to characterize American society as racist. Daniela, also a college student, remembers being shocked the first time she was asked to fill out her demographic information and seeing the box for race. In Brazil, the term race is used differen tly than color it can be used to denote a people (thus, the Brazilian race) but it is also
106 the translation for the English word breed. To her, she says, dogs have breeds ( raa), What the hell is this place? Over the years, she has gained more of an u nderstanding of how racial categorizations in the U.S. are classified, but at first, she was perplexed. Today she generalizes less, but still sees this obsession with racial categories as indicative of underlying racism. This racism is not necessarily see n as exclusive to white Americans. Raquel Elis minces no words when she says she is afraid of African Americans: I love the Black community in Brazil, but here I am afraid of them. Theres that small thing. Big thing. There [in Brazil] they are so pleasan t, everyone is. Here I dont know if theyre going to attack me. As she goes on, it becomes clear that Raquel Elis is not afraid of becoming victimized by African -American criminals. Rather, she is intimidated by the oppositional stance she sees as emerge nt from a legacy of segregation and discrimination she is afraid of an imagined angry black man, one who sees all whites as complicit in the suffering of his people. Recalling an incident over a parking space while still living in Missouri, Raquel Elis sta tes that she never again went to that shopping mall on a Sunday: They were all there, screaming in my ear, fuck you and so on. She can barely recall the details of the event, but was shaken just to tell it. In many ways, this archetype she fears can be seen as the empowered black man, the one who does not back down into the pleasantries Raquel Elis finds so endearing in Afro Brazilians, the one who does not immediately recognize, as an Afro Brazilian would, her privileged social location and treat her with the appropriate deference. However, there is something else at play in this anecdote: the different ways in which race and social class interact in each society. Raquel Elis herself acknowledges that if one goes to a fancy outing in Brazil, there ar e no AfroBrazilians there, but in the U.S., that is not the case. Tnia and a couple of friends who joined the interview are likewise struck by this difference
107 between the two countries. In Brazil, says Tnia, you dont see these groups of black people like that, walking around the mall and being loud. In Brazil, interjects her friend, you dont see black people driving Mercedes, either! If hes driving a Mercedes, its stolen. Tnia goes on, analyzing the difference between African Americans and A fro Brazilians as reflective of historical trends: I think the American black is different from any other black. He has this consciousness of his ngritude, but its this consciousness that I dont like, it doesnt please me, because its a consciousness o f being aggressive. It seems as if to be black, theres this need to impose you see them at the mall. He gets to the mall and he speaks loudly so everyone can hear Im black, so what? Im here and you have to deal with me. But our blacks, unfortunately, they have that slave mentality, of being servile, of not calling attention to themselves. But that is changing, they are learning to deal with their negritude, there is that wonderful movement [Movimento Negro.] Tnia then waxes on about how the Black Mo vement in Brazil is making gains while remaining true to the Brazilian spirit, that it will be a softer struggle for equal power, as African Americans have become aggressive only as a response to racism. In Brazil, she says, prejudice is based on social cl ass, so there is less anger in Brazilian black culture. These interpretations of how differences in social and racial categories can have subcultural impact illustrate how Brazilian immigrants read societal features as cultural traits embodied by individua ls. To examine this more closely, I move from a discussion of Brazilian society to the perceptions of participants about Brazilians as people. Between Pride and Prejudice: Brazilian Perspectives on Brazilians Throughout the interviews, three main thrusts e merged about Brazilians as a people. Participants referenced Brazilian personality traits and also how these are reflected in personal
108 relationships: family and friendship. Personality traits of Brazilians are the cultural attributes that most Brazilians recognize as typically Brazilian, and are even more contrasted with the American traits ( F igures 4.2 and 4.4) than descriptions of the two nations. Perhaps due to this contrast, as well as to the highly personal nature of family and friendship relations hips, differences in how each culture defines and embodies these relationships posed the greatest dilemmas to my participants. In other words, given the de facto distance between most people and abstract entities such as government, territory, and societal structures, assessments about these intimate constructs evoked the most emotional responses. Personality Brazilian is one of the best races that in the world. Csar By and large, the most pervasive comments about a Brazilian personality center on hu man warmth, joie -de vivre, and happiness. Every single interviewee mentioned something of this nature, typically in a longing way. Csar explains his statement: Brazilians are happy. Look at Brazil. Brazil is a party, all year round that happiness is ther e. With only fifty reais24 you have a party, any excuse for a party. This sentiment is also echoed by Fernando, who had been unable to travel back to Brazil due to his irregular status and so returned vicariously through his friends accounts: I talked t o my friend today, he hadnt been back in six years and he got there two days ago, he got his papers. I spoke to him online. He said Fernando, everyone there is broke, no one has money, theres violence, bla, bla, but everyone is happy, everyone is out, having a great time, laughing. But nobody has any money, nobody has anything, but theyre there, having the time of their life. If I were to reproduce in this dissertation all of my participants statements that expressed this happiness and warmth, I could fill dozens of pages. Dozens more could also be filled with my 24 At the time of the interview, R$50 would have been around US$25.
109 field notes, particularly as I described my participants themselves. They read as a series of clichs: Csar who is brincalho or fun loving. Fernando, super -simptico or super likable. Ana, Alice, Yvette, Leni, Raquel Elis, Daniela, Fbio, Igor, Davi friendly, happy, contagious laughter, bubbly, warm When people escaped this, I wrote notes such as bitter, complainer, or repressed, indicative of my own bias about a typi cal or ideal Brazilian personality: those who escape the stereotype, it would seem from my descriptors, are characterized negatively and even pathologically. It is not lost on participants that this image of Brazilians as friendly and happy is widely circu lated and recognized outside of Brazil. Ana, for instance, feels that her job as a cosmetic salesperson is made easier by it: You know, everyone, not only Latinos, but Jamaicans, Haitians, everybody knows Brazil, that image. () Party, soccer, happiness. It is completely linked to happiness. Fbio, a university student, recounts that his American friends love going to his house for breaks. Brazilians who fall outside of that stereotype acknowledge that they may be a disappointment to others who expect to find it, something that is made more explicit in the chapter on gender issues. All of this consolidation of the Brazilian identity as funloving is contrasted with the American personality: serious, predictable, dry and formal. Leni, when her dog Cookie be gan barking at me, evokes this when she excuses its behavior: Cookie is American, cant you tell? She doesnt like strangers, shes all shy and reserved. Tnia finds it shocking that even teenagers, who ought to be young and carefree, exhibit this repres sion: Because the American, he doesnt really know how to have fun. When the young ones go out, they have to get drunk or get high. Its not like the Brazilian, who likes to sit, hang out, chat, have a little beer. When the Brazilian goes out, he has ONE beer, the American drinks an entire keg. Brazilians are characterized as enjoying a middle ground, whereas Americans either are repressed, or excessed. This notion that Brazilians know how to live also link to the very
110 cultural expressions of Brazilian society as leisurely that were problematized above. The flipside of all this happiness and partying is that Brazilians are then characterized as not being serious when it comes to important things. The three college students I interviewed, Daniela, Fbio, and Elizabeth, all distinguish themselves from other Brazilian students, for they are studious and disciplined. I didnt have that many Brazilian friends anymore once I got to AP classes, states Daniela, because you know, theyre lazy, they dont like to study. Yvette and Lukas, who are also college students, but also older and full -time workers, make the same judgment when they complain that they have no Brazilian colleagues other people their age who could be enhancing their skills -set by furthering their education do not do so, choosing instead to spend their money, they say, on new cars and other consumer goods. Family Family memories take on a new relevance in migration. The role of family for Brazilian society is famously discussed in Freyres [1 933] Masters and Slaves as well as other works (see Ribeiro 2000). How my participants describe family, however, is likely compounded by nostalgia brought about through the rupture of migration. Alice is particularly nostalgic. Her life was perfect, in Brazil. Despite being married with children, she recalls living glued to my mothers apron, spending her afternoons with her cousins, and needing that strong structure. At the risk of seeming oversimplified, this dichotomy of Brazil as emotional as U.S. as rational becomes articulated as both a positive and a negative in discussing families. Thus, for issues where emotions are naturally anticipated, the Brazilian way seems to dominate. Relationships with families seem particularly relevant. Parents mother s, really highlight the importance of nurturance and carinhoaffection for the well -being of their children, an important trait in fulfilling their roles as mothers.
111 Alice, recalling how she turned down a rewarding job offer in order to be a full time mom fulfilled a cultural expectation to sacrifice her personal career in order to provide a certain model of motherhood that conforms to a Brazilian ideal: I opted for being a full -time mom, but provide the education, you know? That is the affection and kin d of life I lead, which is very healthy. For the kids, as I can tell in this time my girls have been growing... you know, three of my oldest daughters friends tried to commit suicide. She proudly presents that dinner at home is still Brazilian: rice, be ans, salad, meat, vegetables, every night! Meanwhile, her assessment of the American family, is that children: are not guided, their parents work all the time, they are so tired when they come home and they let the kids do whatever they want so they don t have to worry about, you know, arguing, for the home environment to not become unbearable. So the kids grow without any limits, without guidance, without a goal, where everything is allowed and there is no affection, no attention, and the kids turn to dr ugs or become depressed. Tnia, who also has an adolescent at home, echoes the same sentiment: In the beginning, I really wanted my son to have more friendships with Americans, but now I dont mind so much, because I think its very different, I cherish this affection, this thing that the Latins have, you know, I maintain that. I think that is the way to be: family and respect, that is the key. Leni, who was returning to Braziland ambivalent about it took solace in the fact that she could put to rest he r fears of raising an American child. My thinking is that after a certain age, you lose control [of them.] She would only care about [American] things. So in that respect I am glad that we are returning because there I can offer more, I am more sure of ho w to raise her, I know whats what. I grew up there, I lived there, so I know whats really allowed and what is not, I know how to guide her. Ah, because that is normal here, you know, that whole story, thats normal here Neila goes further, believi ng that Americans could stand to learn from Brazilians about the importance of family. She is shocked by how many of her daughters friends come from broken homes, and believes that families ought to be prioritized. Her daughter, who was still in
112 elementar y school at the time of the interview, brought this factor up with her several times (perhaps as her friends parents were splitting up), and Neila thinks its a cultural difference. Theres a psychological theory that kids should be able to compartmental ize this, but I think its really different inside their little heads. That is something that Brazilian culture can offer. Americans get together as families for special occasions, certain specific celebrations, but for us its a more frequent need. () M aybe this has to do with the affective side. We are a group that needs to be together, to hang out together, and culturally here, the baby here does everything, everyone roots for the baby to be independent (laughs). They want that baby doing everything in dependently by age one. Independence, then, is seen as a counterpoint to the importance of family its an individualistic trait, incompatible with the interdependence that characterizes Brazilian expressions of affection. Expressions, then, that are not of tenderness, but somehow must be interpreted as being tied to a need otherwise why is independence incompatible? I should clarify that Neila is a devout Catholic, but her expression is not that divorce is an aberration or a sin, rather that this is an Am erican reality. Daniela, a university student, echoes these sentiments about the fragmentation of the American family. She said for years she only saw negatives about the American culture, and when pressed for an example she cited family. Family stuff. They dont have any contact with their grandparents, with cousins, because they live in another state Thats it. During my first bus trips with the water polo team, all those hours on bus, all that talking, especially when you are a foreigner, people ask all these questions, and I would compare stuff. And this girl [said] my grandmother died. Your grandmother died? Yeah, the day before yesterday, but i hadnt seen her for like eighteen years. How can that be? Later, when she talks about how different friendships are in the U.S. from Brazil, she again evokes the family theme both because friends to her ought to be like family, but also because (as an adolescent) friends families also have a significant presence in ones life. Thus, how her American fr iends relate to their families, and how she is expected to relate to their families, affect their friendship.
113 Somewhat surprisingly, for all this rhetoric of the importance of family, many of my participants had significant problems with siblings as a result of the migration experience. Nelson, who first came to Florida on a graduation trip to visit his sister and ended up staying, recalls how a work accident forever altered his relationship with her: When I had the accident, it was a great shock. The firs t shock was the accident. The second one was my sisters reaction. He goes on to share that when his sister visited him in the hospital, he, expecting her to be moved by the sight of him so bandaged up and full of tubes, was instead confronted by a verbal attack. He states I thought she was truly a friend, not only a sister () And at that moment, she did not give me support. On the contrary, she put me down, she did a terrible thing that I will never forget, she threw things in my face [figuratively] so that I had to call the nurses to throw her out. I cut my emotional ties with her at that moment. Another participant who had a break with her siblings was Rute, a single mom who complained greatly of lack of social support. Eventually, she revealed that he r sister lived in the next town, but simply stated that she could not count on her for support. Lukas whom I had spent time with at least four times prior to our interview also ended up revealing somewhat casually that he has an older sister living in Deer field Beach with whom he has no contact. Csar had originally moved to Texas, to be with his brother, a man his mother had taken on to raise in an informal adoption. Three months later, due to a falling out with him, Csar was on a bus to Florida. Irene, who perhaps would not characterize it as break in her relationship with him, also endured tense times with her younger brother who lived with her for a while and told me she was relieved when he was deported back to Brazil. And then there is Elizete. Eliz ete works as a cleaning lady and has done quite well for herself: at the time of her interview, she was packing up her townhouse as she was moving to a one -acre estate in West Palm Beach. Theres a stable on it she announced proudly. She had
114 been able to save $50,000 in cash for a down payment on the property. Life did not always work out so well for her. When Elizete first arrived in the U.S., she somewhat naturally had asked her sister to pick her up at the airport. She was her only local relative, and a big factor in her decision to migrate. From Miami International Airport to northern Broward, Elizete recounts how her sister embarked on a tirade letting her know that things were different here, that you couldnt just abuse25 people for favors. She punctuated the tirade by charging Elizete $50 for the ride, and telling her that a shuttle would have cost much more. In the beginning, Elizete could not escape this exploitation. Her sister utilized Elizetes fear of the INS and charged $5.00 a day for drivi ng her to and from the bus stop, demanded a percentage of her earnings, and generally exploited her within the household. Of course, all of these anecdotes beg the question of whether migration itself destabilizes the traditional notions that make Brazili an families function within Brazilian society. In the absence of the other structures, is the Brazilian family a durable social institution? In the next chapter, we take an in -depth look at another aspect, gender and how migration affects the gendered ar ticulation of Brazilian subjects, and how this is reflected in the most intimate relationships. 25 Abusar in Portuguese has a connotation of abusing the right to, in t his case, the right to ask for favors and expect people to do things for you. In fact, abusado, at least in some regions, means a moocher
115 Figure 41. Perceptions of Brazilians about Brazil as a nation, a society
116 Figure 42. Perceptions of Brazilians about Brazilians as a people
117 Figur e 4 3. Perceptions of Brazilians about the U.S. as a society, as a nation
118 Figure 44. Perception of Brazilians about Americans as a people
119 CHAPTER 5 GENDERED NATIONALITY Im riding the Miami commuter train, the Metrorail, after work. Its rush hour, and its pouring rain out, the very combination that ensures truly crowded trains. A woman gets on at the downtown station, and I hear her speaking Portuguese with an unseen friend but they are split up in the scramble for seats, and she takes the space next to me. We acknowledge each other with faint smiles, but ride in silence. By the next station there are no more seats, and a well dressed man inches his way through the crowd, eventually grabbing a hold of our seat back as the train is set in motion a gain. My seatmate glances up at him, and then stares at his feet. Then she looks back up at his face and asks, in a thick accent, Are you Brazilian? No response. She tugs on his jacket, forcing him to look down. Are you Brazilian? He shakes his head n o and looks straight ahead once more. Because I thought you were Brazilian, she insists. He looks down once more and shakes his head again. Your shoes, she continues, egged on by his eye contact, they look Brazilian. At this point I am mentally stic king a finger down my throat thinking cmon, you must have a better line than that! Im Brazilian, she follows up, wanna go out? Ah, I thought, theres the closer. Although this anecdote recalls events that took place before I conducted my research, it illustrates one of the very reasons I decided to focus on the imaginary of national identity. The archetypal representation of the Brazilian woman both in and outside Brazil, is of someone who is desirable, approachable, and available (Bgus e Bassanezi 2 001). For decades, Brazils image abroad has relied on its lush exoticism, and more specifically, on the lushness of its exotic bodies: tanned, toned, scantily clad bodies feathered and in high heels during Carnaval, or prone on the sands of Brazilian beac hes. Although this woman on the train was fully dressed, she employed her nationality as her sales pitch the image evoked by it being cemented both in her brain and, presumably, in any hot blooded males brain as well. She had an image of a Brazilian femin ine national identity in her mind and a hunch that the man she approached had that image as well. She was neither provocatively dressed nor exceptionally attractive, yet she believed that, in the absence of time with which to properly make someones acquai ntance, revealing that she was Brazilian would be enough to entice a complete stranger to call her1. 1 Indeed, the man accepted the womans phone number. They shook hands and she left the train at the next station.
120 At the beginning of my research, I had wanted to explore this mythologized image of the Brazilian woman because of encounters I had witnessed, such as the one above, and experienced myself. According to Piscitelli, the racialized and sexualized notions about Brazilian styles of femininity that attract sex tourists to the country also mark female international migrants (2008: 784). I also felt as if there w as something very unique about the dynamics of Miami and its surroundings as it impacts gender. Miami is very much a tropical, showy city, its beach culture placing a high emphasis on looks and body shapes. In addition, the Miami Dade tourism board markets the area in a particular way as to highlight this emphasis (LiPuma and Koelble 2005), falling in line with its image as a glamorous cosmopolitan destination (Nijman 2005). Yet, even in a city such as Miami, teeming with beautiful people from all over Lat in America, brasileiras seem to conjure up a particular set of assumptions centered on their sexuality that women from other nations, such as Colombia and Argentina, to name two neighbors, are apparently exempt from. Even my prudish sexagenarian mother has been misread as hot -to -trot no deep necklines, no red lips, no tight pants on the mere fact that she is Brazilian. In other spaces, Latinas in general may generate exoticized desires and fantasies, such as Barrera (2005) found in Canada, but in a predom inantly Hispanic city, Spanish-speaking Latin Americans do not capture the imagination as freely as Brazilians.2 Some studies focusing on Brazilian women abroad have attributed this phenomenon to the participation of brasileiras in the sex industry (see T akagi 2006 and Piscitelli 2008). Whether making a living as exotic dancers (see Margolis 1994) or sex workers (see Claudia 2008 and Alves 2008), Brazilian women who belong to a certain ethnic niche of highly eroticized professions impact the perception of Brazilian women in general. Concomitantly, exotic notions 2 To be fair, Brazil itself has contributed to this imaginary for decades, particularly in the promotion of Carnaval as a racialized and sexualized spectacle. See da Matta 1984.
121 about Brazilians in general (Frigerio 2002), and women in particular (Pontes 2004, da Silva and Blanchette 2005, Padilla 2007) forge an image of Brazilian women as especially desirable and suited to this line of work, in a chickenor -egg phenomenon are Brazilian women considered sexually available because of Brazilian sex workers, or is there a demand for Brazilian sex workers that is fueled by the notion of the sensual brasileira ? When I began my re search, I decided against following this line of inquiry, feeling that it would somehow reify the very categorization that had so troubled me. I decided to focus on how Brazilians related to each other and to other groups, overlooking that precisely becau se nationalities are the primary identification for immigrants these very interactions would be colored by this image of the sexy Brazilian woman. Thus, the topic emerged in my interviews more often from the participants themselves than through any direct questioning. Perhaps this was a result of my interviews highlighting the imaginary, and ideas about what it means to be Brazilian. Given that most of my participants were women, oftentimes the conversation would turn to this topic. I do not wish to be dis ingenuous here whenever the conversation veered in this direction, I pursued it. But I did not set out during any interview, or even any observation situation, to explore the myth of the Brazilian woman, especially because when we did begin to discuss this it no longer felt like an interview, but like a conversation between friends and marked by a shared understanding. Had I pursued my original research, I have no doubt I would have found enough material and data to reinforce my belief in this objectificat ion of the Brazilian woman (see Pontes 2004). It is rampant in the periodicals, the online ads, the escort services, and the gentlemens clubs. I would have missed, however, much of the context surrounding this myth that emerged from participants own na rratives of making sense of this stereotype.
122 By expanding my broader research focus toward relationships and interactions, I gained a broader view of how gender issues are manifested both within and without the immigrant community in ways that went beyond label and stereotype. The result was learning about an image of Brazilian women that is not only predicated upon beauty and sexiness, but that also pushes the limits of that stereotype and its ramifications. Moreover, an ideal Brazilian femininity did eme rge, culled from statements by both men and women. In this chapter, I explore this and its effect on the daily interactions of my participants. It is a complex phenomenon that is rooted in warmth, friendliness, and beauty and not necessarily focused sexual ity, an ideal that encompasses their roles as citizens, workers, mothers, wives, daughters, and friends. How people confront this in courtship, marriage, and motherhood becomes a window into the feminine identity. Finally, what also became clear is how ind ividual Brazilian women position themselves vis vis this two -dimensional stereotype to reveal a range of options, more salient in the migration process, that alternately reject, uphold, or dissect these images in order to make sense in their personal liv es. Of Beauty, Bodies, and Sex Well, the Brazilians [women] are prettier than the rest, no doubt about it. Americans are fugly, only the rich ones take care of themselves, the rest are a wreck. They cant even tell whats food, whats diet, whats takin g care of yourself. So the Brazilian [woman] ends up being the most sensual one, whether she was born here or not. Rute Certain stereotypes exist about Brazil that all Brazilians recognize: our music is good, our disposition is happy, our men are soccer aces, and our women are sexy. Anthropologist Roberto da Matta, writing about Brazilian national consciousness, uncritically states that Brazilians know we are as good in food as we are in women and soccer (1984: 53). In other words, Brazilian women, rather than being subjects of the nation, become part of its cultural production
123 like its cuisine and its soccer stylings. Being bom de mulher or good in women is something that all Brazilians are an unmarked category of Brazilians that reads as male, brasileiros None of these stereotypes is confined to Brazil (see Frigerio 2002), but the image of Supermodels Gisele and Adriana Lima, both Victorias Secret Angels3, contribute to this stereotype as much as they are a product of a world that envisions brasileiras as supremely desirable. In 2007, Sports Illustrated dedicated an entire spread in its famous swimsuit issue to The Women of Brazil4. On the social network site Facebook, the keywords Brazilian women yields dozens of groups specifically devoted to Brazilian women, Brazilian fashions (bikinis and jeans, in particular), and also the sexy Brazilian bikini wax. One group, titled Brazilian Women are the Most Seductively Hot Women in the World5, has nearly 2,000 members. The administrator, a Brazilian woman who lived in South Florida, provides a one line description for the group: hotness is just in our blood. Whether she has bought the hype or is merely a purveyor, she is certainly promoting the idea that Brazilian women are hot. Cle arly, this is not just some mythical Brazilian that exists in the imagination of non Brazilians. In fact, I found in my research that the beauty, sensuality, and simpatia (loosely, likability) of the Brazilian woman are not in question for most of my parti cipants. Pontes (2004) also found that Brazilian women in Portugal reproduced and reenacted this discourse, all the while criticizing the Portuguese media for sexualizing the Brazilian woman. In my research, Brazilian women emerged as more desirable partic ularly as compared to American women, as illustrated by Rutes quote. Brazilian men are proud to bask in this reflected glory, and many 3 See figure. There are other Brazilian Angels, such as Alessandra Ambrsio, I sabeli Fontana and Izabel Goulart, but these two are the highest paid, and most visible, global scale Brazilian models. 4 See figure. 5 Facebook site last accessed March 7, 2009. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?sid=954a383608b42d197c48161ff993a85d&gid=2222394609
124 women also reiterated this national trait point matter of factly. Several participants emphatically affirm that Brazili an women are the most beautiful around. The men who were interviewed were the most enthusiastic cheerleaders of the brasileira Fernando, a twentyfive year old lifeguard, spares no praise: The Brazilian woman is divine. Igor, a restaurant worker in his mid forties, had actually been complaining that the image people have of Brazilians was full of stereotypes, adding that everyone assumed he liked soccer (which he does not) because he was Brazilian. And some talk about the beauty of the Brazilian woman, he goes on to say. As I begin to say something about the myth of the Brazilian woman, Igor quickly jumps in, It is not a myth. Its true. Its true. Csar, also in his midforties, is just as emphatic in his assessment: They are the prettiest ones, t he prettiest. For me, they are the prettiest. The beauty of the Brazilian woman is often touted as a result of mixture of races as espoused in Freyres myth of racial democracy that remains an enduring element in Brazils self image (Needell 1995: 52 ). This mixture is strongly linked to the figure of the mulata a mixedrace woman who embodies sensuality and sexual temptation (Gilliam 1998, Pravaz 2003), but in fact has morphed so that all Brazilian women, regardless of race, become associated with th e mulatas sensuous ways, just as Brazilians in general have appropriated the discourse of miscegenation as a cultural truth even when biologically it may not be so. This association is also described in Pontes (2004) and Padilla (2007), whose studies focus on Brazilian women in Portugal. Given the colonial and historical relationship between the two countries, Portuguese constructions of Brazilian femininity must be considered as having partly authored and propagated the image of the sensuous Brazilian wom an.
125 In fact, Ribeiro (2002) argues that the very first document about Brazil, the letter written to the court by the scribe Pero Vaz Caminha on the occasion of the Portuguese discovery of Brazil in 1500, constructed the Brazilian woman (a Tupinamb Indian) as an object of sexual desire: naked, without shame, and comfortably exposing her dark and shapely self. This tropical sensuality is an image that has been maintained and circulated for centuries since, even as it mutated from naked cunhs to feathered m ulatas and lingerie -sporting top models. In the 21st century, the image of the Brazilian woman that collapses all three incarnations is still characterized as a temptress. Recently, she was blamed for breaking up Portuguese families: in 2003, the wives o f the small city of Bragana, Portugal, took to the streets with a manifesto to protest the presence, and demand the removal, of the girls from Brazil, sex workers whom they accused of destroying their marriages (Ripley 2003, Pontes 2004). I recall hear ing about this Brazilian home -wrecker since childhood. During the large scale migration of Portuguese to Brazil in the 20th Century, Brazilian women were often blamed for being the ruin of men who left families in Portugal with the intent of bringing the m over and then never sent for them. As a result of this bias placed on the Brazilian woman, when my (single) father, who was living in a Portuguese community in New England, sent for my mother in Brazil so they could marry, the Portuguese Catholic priest of his Rhode Island parish refused to marry them because of my mothers nationality. Their wedding had to take place in Fall River, Massachusetts instead. As a society in which stereotyped gender identities are used as marketing tools, Brazil has promoted an image of primal sexiness through its media, celebrities, and tourism board. During its military rule, the tourism publicity of the country abroad relied heavily on half naked bodies (Claudia 2008; also, personal communication with Consul Paulo Pinto, 20 08). This same image
126 has been also been propagated from outside, and in fact there is somewhat of a chickenor -egg phenomenon going on. Since the day the Portuguese landed and found naked Tupinambs walking around without covering up their shame, to the yearly spectacle that is Carnaval, this seems to have been cemented in the world imaginary. This image is circulated within Brazil (da Matta 1979), from Brazil outward, vying international tourism (and sexual tourism) markets (Piscitelli 2007, Pruth 2007) and outside of Brazil as part of a global imaginary that places Third World countries as exotic others (Gilliam 1998). Many participants were aware of this. Tati complained extensively about the proclivity of tourist agencies for displaying a butt this big wearing a thong as promotional material6. She adds, they use the Brazilian woman as a come -hither... Brazils billboard to the world is the butt of the Brazilian [woman]. Rodrigo also sees something wrong with that exporting that image, that image that we ourselves sell parrots and Carnaval we sell the wrong image, I think this marketing needs to be worked on. Rodrigo is right to call it marketingthe objectification of the Brazilian woman is not only to sell Brazil as a tourist destination, but also to attract consumers to Brazilian products, both in and outside of (Pontes 2004, Claudia 2008). Today, Brazilians who live abroad are also active in the process of commodification, circulation and consumption of the exotic others (Rocha 2008: 80), such as the woman on the train in the anecdote that opened the chapter. By declaring certain attitudes and mores to be Brazilian traits, some women end up defining the perception of Brazilians by members of the host community. On the dating show Change of Heart, where couples with troubled relationships are paired with a new date arranged by the shows producers, the man in a relationship complained that his Brazilian girlfriend was constantly flirting with other men. Her 6 This is much less true today than in the past. For those who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, however, the images have left a stubborn impression.
127 defense, when questioned by the host: Im Brazilian, its my culture (aired 2001 in syndication). Despite some criticism of how it is deployed, however, several of my participants acknowledged the sensuality of the Brazilian woman uncritically (see also Takagi 2006), taking it as a g iven traits. It is as if the issue is not so much with the stereotype but with the entailment behind it; namely, promiscuity. Neila, a former nun no less, says matter -of factly that the Brazilian woman stands out when it comes to sensuality. But then cri tiques the women for allowing themselves to be on display: Why do they have to show their bottoms? Without showing [them,] they already arouse such passion. Tnia concurs, oh, we hear from other people, Brazilian? Oh, shes easy but rather than consi dering this perception of Brazilian women as a product of a certain global imaginary, she interprets this to be a real attribute of Brazilian women. Its not a stereotype, I think we really exude this. In other words, it is a result of a natural sensuali ty that is misinterpreted a view she supports by citing that even the deliverymen who bring packages to her office, who conceivably have little access to a globalized image of Brazilians, have mentioned the beauty of Brazilian women to her. Like Neila, T nia7 also feels that by being more sensual, Brazilian women should invest less in that sensuality, in a sense taming the image. The reputation being what it is, she feels, means women should do less to encourage it. According to Rodrigo, it is simply a poi nt of fact: Its different. You see the eyes of people when they look at Brazilians, its just different. It is almost as if the sensuality of Brazilians cannot be helped. To Brazilians, this sensuality is not equated with promiscuity or even sexuality. Rather, it is a sensuality that emerges from a better relationship with the body, a sentiment echoed by 7 Takagi (2006) also found that some Brazilian women in New Jersey were very sensitive to how this image is employed and manipulated by some.
128 Ana, Neila, Tnia, and Fbio, among others. Bodies and nakedness are not necessarily sexualized in Brazil (see Astor 2007) so while there is still an objectification of women, it is not so much sexual as esthetic. Notwithstanding, even though to Brazilians this is not a sexualized image, it is important to examine the sexual aspect involved. The idea that Brazilian women are sexually overactive has rev erberations for migrants (Takagi 2006, Piscitelli 2008). In South Florida, I found that even though participants represent Brazilian sexual mores as different from American ones, they resisted categorizing Brazilians in general as more casual or indiscrimi nate when it comes to choosing sexual partners. Irene, the hairdresser, is outraged by this suggestion; she considers American youth to be just as likely to be openminded when it comes to sex as Brazilians, or even more so: Fifteen year old girls are a lready having sex here, but they think that in Brazil its a lot more. Irene is not contesting that young teens in Brazil are sexually active it is simply that it is no more so than in the U.S., so why should Brazilians have the reputation? Fbio, an arc hitecture student at a state school, knows the stereotype and becomes offended by proxy. His male friends are constantly asking him to introduce them to Brazilian women. They think ah, every Brazilian woman is easy, which may be the case but American w omen are really easy too, (emphasis added). Like Irene, he defends the reputation of Brazilian women by equating their behavior with that of American women, finding the judgment of promiscuity to be unjust. But Fbio quickly reverts to the dichotomous construction of each national identity: [t]he Brazilian woman is much more mature than the American woman. The American woman, her idea is either Im going out to get laid or she is saving herself until she gets married. The brasileira knows how to balance things more.
129 Tnia, a receptionist in her early forties, likens the American way to a false Puritanism. Observing her teenage sons circle of friends, she complains that the teens dress and dance provocatively, but that no one is allowed to touch each ot her off the dance floor. When they do touch, it is under wraps, as if there is something wrong with it. They live under complete sexual repression, she states. Thirty years ago, she acknowledges, things were more conservative in Brazil; nevertheless, sh e sees something beautiful and easygoing about how Brazilian teens are so casual about doing what comes naturally. She sees this as healthy, citing the repression of Americans as what leads to all sorts of binge behavior in sex, controlled substances, and food. Davi, a Brazilian American who has twice married Brazilian women, put it succinctly. For Americans, sex is an obsession. For the rest of the world, it is simply a reality. Ana seems to be unaware of the possible drawbacks of being considered sexually open as she claims Brazilian women are. It has helped me a lot in my business (she works in retail), because everyone wants to talk to Brazilians. She goes on that this has also led to Brazilian women being considered approachable, not necessarily sexually, and so since she deals with the public for eight hours each day, this is helpful: I take advantage of this to reach my American Dream. On the other hand, she is also raising a teenage daughter who is dating a pure American, from up North, and she sees something tender and innocent in their American style of adolescent courtship, that is less pronounced and more romantic: I find their relationship beautiful. There is a formality, even when he goes to kiss her, which I find beautiful. I think at her age in Brazil, she would not have the opportunity to experience a love like this more innocent. No, because TV is very explicit and sex is overly fostered. Nevertheless, her views can often be contradictory. Along with other participants such as T nia, Ana cherishes the fact that sexuality in Brazil is seen as more natural. Brazilians are described as
130 being less hypocritical than Americans when it comes to sex, more open, and less complicated but the sensuality itself also comes from, as expressed by Ana, a better relatioship with your body, we have a different way of cultivating our bodies. It is somewhat ironic. This discourse of a better relationship with ones body would seem to be at odds with statistics showing Brazil to have the highest rat es of plastic surgery in the world (Ana herself having had some done on occasion of her 45th birthday). Perhaps this is more related to a fairly narrow definition of what constitutes beauty. There is definitely an idealized Brazilian type, as one perhaps would consider the Barbie type to be an idealized American beauty. I could describe this Brazilian belle, but will let Alice do it, as she describes her teenage daughter: Patty? The lower her pants are, the better, [because] she has that typical little Brazilian body, you know? Tiny waist, that [perky] butt. Small breasts, really small, typical Brazilian, long hair, brown color, but a little bit lighter. Some scholars argue that there is another standard of beauty in Brazil, much closer to the America n one. Amelia Simpson (1993) rightly presents Xuxa, the blonde queen of Brazilian childrens television programming and former model, as an idealized European beauty that most women in Brazil cannot achieve. However widely regarded as beautiful German desc endents (see figures) like Xuxa, Gisele Bndchen, and Ana Hickman (a model) may be, Brazilian women are acutely aware of another ideal, the one that emerges from the sensuous and curvaceous mulata (Gomes 2004). The former, an idealized form, is closer to a n idea of beauty, whereas the latter is more linked to an expression of desirability. Of course, it is difficult to conform to both ideals as these are almost diametrically opposed, but while the blonde Xuxa type may be an ideal, the body described by Al ice is touted as typical.
1 31 Daniela, a college student who does not fit into this typical Brazilian body type, describes her coming of age as an unpleasant process. She had always been tomboyish, and never liked accessorizing, wearing skirts, or jewelry. She recalls her dad telling her to: cross your legs, sit like a girl. But it was worse when my body began to develop, because then I wanted to hide, especially my breasts. Because in Brazil its all about the big legs, the big butt, but this here [grab bing her breasts], oh, I dont know, my mom is small like you, my sister is completely flat, my dad, well, he has no breasts, obviously, and everyone was like where did those come from? Daniela had already stood out from frilly girls who, when they begin to develop, start wearing cute little clothes. Instead, when her body began changing during puberty she took to wearing baggy clothes to camouflage her misplaced curves and skinny legs. Daniela had been embarrassed by her body big breasts and long, thin legs until moving to the U.S. Once here, she had an awakening in gym class. A boy told her You have really thin legs, and, feeling as if he was poking fun at her, she responded by punching him in the arm. Only after the boy explained to her that he was trying to compliment her, did Daniela begin to see that, in the U.S. context, her body could be reflect the standard of beauty. While most people can sympathize with the pressure to conform to an ideal of beauty, it may not be immediately apparent just how oppressive it can be. For women in Brazil, patriarchal structures and historically dichotomized gender roles (Levine 1997) have left them more valued on account of how they look than for what they can do. Tati is indignant that appearance should affect a womans professional opportunities, which she feels should depend only on ability she missed out on contracts for being overqualified that went to the cute one in the mini -skirt, something that does not happen here as much. Moreover, besides sexist an d ageist, she feels the racist overtones of this kind of discrimination are evident: I have not been hired more than once for not being white enough, because oh, if you straightened your hair, put in some highlights. A former supervisor would make the entailment more explicitTati says he felt that if she dyed
132 her hair blonde, it would look more professional. Unlike Danielas experience, for Tati, this is all part of Brazils cultural subservience to an external model of beauty that prizes the highl y Europeanized looks of the ideal over the typical Brazilian woman. The more typical (read: darker) Brazilian woman has a beauty that must be sexualized: according to Tati they are pretty when they appear naked. Where Tati and Daniela do agree, howe ver, is that looks are central to how a woman is received, and what she does with those looks communicates much more than a womans degree of vanity. Leni, who at the time of the interview was getting ready to move back to Brazil, was acutely aware of this disparity between expectations of women in the U.S. and Brazil, lamenting: Here we are free, you are very free. Youre unconcerned Whether or not I have the outfit that is in the [store] window something that in Brazil is the opposite. Appearances, the latest fashion, Im going to have to readapt to all that. Leni cherishes the freedom she has enjoyed from the social eye while living in the U.S., which has allowed her to be more casual about her appearance. Raquel Elis, who emigrated in her forties from So Paulo, is reminded of this pressure whenever she returns to Brazil. She criticizes her friends who bejewel themselves as if they are a Christmas tree to go to the mall, something she finds absurd both because of the social contrast that this marks i n Brazil between the haves and have -nots (which is precisely the point of their actions) and because in Brazil accessorizing that will get you killed, referring to the violence so prevalent in cities like So Paulo and Rio. Rafaela, a young housewife w ho is married to an American, takes a different approach. Appearances, she explains, are a measure of effort, thus of what a woman is willing to do (or endure) to please her man, and so she is careful about how she dresses both herself and her little girl. She does not relax her standards to match those found here: Americans, their little girls,
133 any pants, any shirt will do. They dress them as if they were boys. When Rafaela and baby show up, it is clear that she was meticulously attentive to their appea rance. Consequently, it becomes clear to her that no one else cared quite as much. In actuality, Rafaela is grooming her baby to be just like her perfectly presented. In this way, she is constructing her daughters Brazilian identity too, an identity that, as has become apparent in the interviews, links appearance to a womans worth. It is not that appearance is something attended to only in the name of loved ones. Rather, it is a standard set fairly high simply because one is a Brazilian woman and while so me women find themselves somewhat relieved of that obligation by virtue living in the United States, others, like Rafaela, feel particularly defined by. Courtship Dating can be like hopscotching blindfolded through a minefield: you never know where you are going to land, or if youll be able to get your balance once you do. South Florida may further complicate issues. A transient place, with rootless people from all over, it has been characterized as having a weakened social contract and a lack of civic c ulture (Nijman 1997). This, in turn, decreases social accountability and courtship becomes a crapshoot. In a sense, anyone can end up relying on broad labels to help make preliminary judgments, a shortcut to evaluating a potential mate. Clothes, bodies, and cars are all accessories that end up broadcasting someones desirability in this milieu. Nationality, as we saw with the woman on the train, can be used in the same way but it is not an accessory. Foreignness, as a by-product of nationality, can be emp hasized or downplayed, but it is always there. It is only a matter of time before it emerges. Tati, a forty one year old paulista who lives in Miami, resents the problems that this generates for her. Expressing a desire to be in a stable relationship, she is critical of the reputation of Brazilian women in general, as this has a direct impact on her prospects:
134 [H]ere we have a problem in terms of personal relationships, the reputation of the Brazilian women. Because you meet someone and everything is goi ng fine, going fine, aham, where are you from that you have that accent? Brazilian. Oh! [They] change. [Suddenly] you are Globeleza8, you are willing to samba naked in the middle of the street, you came here for that, to find an American husband, which I find funny. Tatis frustration seems due to the derailment of conversation that had been going fine as a result of being essentialized on account of her nationalityan exoticized nationality that conjures up racial ( Globeleza ) and sexual (samba naked) fantasies, as well as places her in a subaltern position in the world hierarchy as having the goal of finding an American husband. Even though to be Brazilian is to be desirable, Tati takes that as a form of misrecognition that she refuses to acc ept. In fact, she had previously ended a relationship upon finding out that her suitor did not tell people he was dating Tati, but simply that he was dating a Brazilian woman. Damn it, what am I? she asks. A label? Irene, a hairdresser in an upscale salon in Coral Gables, shares a similar experience. You say you are Brazilian and [mens] eyes go wide, theres this expectation. When asked what she meant by expectation, Irene retorts Oh, they immediately see you in Carnaval, naked. Unlike Tati, how ever, Irene is not as directly affected by this. She does not agree with the existing stereotype that Brazilian women are easy, but, being married and out of the dating pool, this stereotype does not personally inconvenience her, even if it offends her. It is in courtship situations that this view of Brazilian women becomes problematic. Within that context, Brazilian is such a charged term that it requires clarification specifically, clarification that comes in the form of denial. A Brazilian woman must qualify herself, as the unmarked category of brasileira signifies loose morals. Thus, some women end up distancing themselves from the 8 Globeleza (literally, Globo Beauty) is the symbol of Carnaval for Globo television network, a title rather than an actual person; she is the harbinger of Carnaval. Always a shapely mulata, she appears wearing no thing but body paint (and high heels), dancing samba in twenty second spots that begin airing in January each year (see figure).
135 label Brazilian as a primary identifier, employing either denial (I am Brazilian but Im not) or complete omittance as a way to avoid any possible misunderstanding. This is something Rute has struggled with. A single mom in her forties, she had tried online dating but gave it up. She recounts, in a similar experience to Tatis: This last one asked me: do you wear the se clothes, those kinds of bikinis, bla, bla, bla? and I told him no, honey, I have nothing to do with that, that is not my style, and he said oh, because I know at whatever such beach they play volleyball with those tiny tangas, and bla, bla, and Pall adium 9 and I was like what? Palladium? Whats that? Lacking a face-to face conversation and ability to size her up, it seems Rutes suitors seized upon her nationality as a way to make inferences about her. The overtly sexy Brazilian woman was a myth she could not live down nor live up to. Rute escapes the stereotype even Brazilians hold: a paulistana with blonde hair and green eyes, she wears minimal makeup, conservative clothes, and keeps her hair cropped. She complained about the way Brazilian wome n dressed in South Florida, stating that it was as if they lived in a permanent Carnaval, and distinguished herself and other paulistas as having another profile: one that avoided excessively provocative outfits meant to broadcast nationality so anyone can tell they are Brazilian. For these women, this reputation was a source of constraint and indignation. Tati, Irene and Rute, saw their dating options compromised by this stereotype. While several studies have explored the interethnic relationships bet ween Brazilian women and, specifically, Western men (Bgus and Bassanezi 2001, Ribeiro 2003, da Silva and Blanchette 2005, and Piscitelli 2008), the i ntra ethnic dimension has not been explored. Brazilian men must also confront the myth of the Brazilian wom an as the mystique surrounding the brasileira also complicates their dating options: Especially the younger ones, oh, they are so 9 Palladium is a warehouse style nightclub in Boca, where Saturday nights were themed Brazilian nights characterized as suc h by the clientele, not by the type of music.
136 stuckup, they only want Americans, you know? It is very hard to get a woman here, very hard. That lament, by a man who, in actuality is married and supporting his wife and child in Brazil, was echoed by others in many a forr10 night I attended, where I never lacked the company of men who wanted to complain about the stiff competition for Brazilian women. As Csar relays his re lative disadvantage at these dance nights put on by local restaurants events attended by Hispanic and American men (but not women) in addition to Brazilians we begin to see the conflated gender dynamics of deterritorialized bodies. If I look at a woman a nd, just by her manner I can tell she is like, [turned off], do you think Im gonna go over there? Im not going over there, Im going to that one over there in the corner, who is plainer, not as pretty. As an undocumented black Brazilian who does not spe ak English, he does not aim high, because he is aware of the hierarchical system that compounds his race, his legal status, and his limited skills into an undesirable social location. Brazilian women are difficult to meet, and Americans are out of reach du e to the language barrier. On his own ground and in his own language, he would have more appeal, claims Csar, but this playing field is laden with competitors who offer what he cannot. Men who are able to speak English have more dating options. Fernando c an and does date Americans, but he is frustrated that he ends up doing so more than Brazilians: oh, of course, I also get involved with Americans. The more I seek Brazilians, the more I get caught up with Americans. When asked to explain, Fernando expands based on a broad view of what constitutes a Brazilian woman, and an American woman. He begins by saying that his jobs, as a lifeguard and bartender assistant, necessarily constrain his access to women of a certain kind. 10 Forr is a type of Brazilian music that is typical of the rural Northeast, danced somewhat similarly to a polka, only with bodies that are much closer together. For decades considered a style suitable to country bumpkins, Forr has enjoyed a national ressurgence in Brazil that crosses regional and class divisions. Nevertheless, the overwhelming presence in most forr nights in South Florida was that of working class males.
137 You are not going to find a decent American at the beach on a weekday morning, he insists, as these would be safely ensconced in their college classes. One may find, he suggests, a half American, a Latina, but any fully American woman who goes to the beach (or bar, presumably) on a wee kday is trash. Fernando holds a powerful assumption that Americanness is conflated with a strong work ethic and almost robotic predictability, so he disrespects an American who escapes that stereotype and does what he seems to assume is a given for Bra zilians and Latinas. For the latter, he holds no such disrespect, presumably because by engaging in leisure activities during the week they are only fulfilling some cultural mandate. The allure of the Brazilian woman remains, however, linked to a more prob lematic assumption Fernando holds about American women: Americans... Theyre nuts. They are too independent, the American woman, I think. Shes like she cant be bothered. In this case, the desirability of the Brazilian woman is less a question of sensuality and more a question of dynamics, and she is revealed as less independent, more into the relationship. The independence of the American woman is interpreted as a lack of interest (cant be bothered.) Leni, voices the complaints of her adolescent nephew who had come from Brazil to learn English: Nothing happened, nothing. No one is interesting [to him,] no girl. And he is a hit with them, he is adorable, but he is not interested. Moments earlier, Leni had been describing the conventional wisdom of Brazilian men to her husband with the intent of updating him on the topic of our conversation: They say, you know, the Brazilians hate Americans, hate American women, they say they are ugly, that they dont like to work. Notice that physical attractive ness becomes a function of action in this case, work does not refer to a job, or even to housework, but to the effort that a woman puts into her appearance just as Rafaela had described. Lenis
138 husband, Rodrigo, contrasts the American woman with the Br azilian woman: Its the care they show when they dress, their femininity, and lots more the little earrings she puts on This is ironic, because Leni was the woman who was lamenting that, upon her return to Brazil, she would have to once again worry ab out her appearance. As in other descriptions of Brazilian and American, Rodrigo characterizes the two nationalities are placed in direct opposition to each other. Young Brazilian men such as Fbio, Fernando, Tnias son, and Leni and Rodrigos nephew (the se last two were not interviewed directly, but these were their reported attitudes) characterize American women as undesirable, or as the sexually promiscuous ones and all four have expressed a disinterest in dating them. It begs the question: are these young men suffering the reverse sexual objectification and, lacking the ability to recognize a challenge to patriarchy, deeming the women promiscuous and thus unattractive mates? In other words, are they, on account of being Brazilian hotties as one female friend of mine characterized them, being sought after to fulfill some sexual fantasy and subjected to the same fetishization that the women are? I cannot say for certain, but what does become clear is that the Brazilian woman becomes reinforced as the gol den ring and, as a result, men have to compete for mates in a much more contested terrain, and often lose out local Brazilian women, recognizing this appeal and power imbalance, can in effect invert the gender dynamic propagated at home by so many Brazilia n womens magazines that state there are not enough men in fact, there are plenty to go around. In South Florida, both men and women display an awareness that Brazilian women are highly desired as mates. Bgus and Bassanezi (1999) found that to be the cas e as well with Brazilian women who immigrated to Italy: they were valued as mates by Italians, considered pretty, sensual, and domestic. I should make clear here that, of my twentynine female
139 participants, only four were involved in relationships with nonBrazilian men. Twenty women were either married or in stable relationships with Brazilians, most of these having been entered into while still living in Brazil. Five times as many women were involved with Brazilians as were involved with non Brazilians; c learly, endogamy is still the rule. However, none of the women, whether in a relationship or not (five women either did not disclose or were not involved), expressed a specific preference for Brazilian men in the same abstract sense as I found with the men. In other words, no Brazilian woman in this study was compelled to sing the praises for the Brazilian man. The desirability that the Brazilian woman evokes for the Brazilian man, apparently, is not mutual. One man, however, stood out as the only one to specifically reject Brazilian women. Nelson, a carioca11 in his early thirties, had a bad experience with a Brazilian girlfriend who was a shoplifter. This so offended his strong ethic that he swore off Brazilians forever: First and last one. But he was the exception. Importantly, of the seventeen Brazilian men who were interviewed, only one was married to a nonBrazilian. Six had Brazilian mates (five wives and one fiance), nine had no significant other, and one was a Roman Catholic priest. However, it is perhaps not a surprise that of the six men in stable relationships, two had previously been involved in failed marriages to American women and specifically sought out a Brazilian woman as a result of those failed relationships. It also bears repeating that four young men expressly reject the desire to date an American woman, even though one, Fernando, admittedly does do so. Perhaps more telling, a majority of men interviewed were not romantically attached (nine out of seventeen) whereas the majority of Brazilian women (twentyfour out of twenty -nine) were, in fact, in committed relationships. 11 A native of the city of Rio de Jane iro.
140 Given the discourse of the men regarding both the desirability of the Brazilian woman and the challenges in finding one, these numbers may indicate that either Braz ilian women are unavailable prior to immigrating, meaning that they are less likely to immigrate on their own, or that they become more desirable upon the crossing. Or, conceivably, a combination of both factors. Marriage Similarly, the anthropologist Gustavo Lins Ribeiro (2003) found that many more Brazilian women in San Francisco had nonBrazilian mates than the other way around. American men were both desiring of and desired by Brazilian women. For Piscitelli the strikingly few transnational marriages i nvolving Brazilian men suggest that Brazilian women acquire a particular value in the marriage market, driven in part by notions about Brazilian femininity that mark it with sensuality but also with the valorization of domesticity and an interest in mother hood. (2008: 787) This matches with Rafaelas experience, who is married to an American. According to her, the perfect couple is made up of a Brazilian woman and an American man since both have been socialized to give (she by Brazils machista ways, h e by the demands of American women). After meeting her husband, Vince, at a Rio nightclub on the eve of her graduation from college, Rafaela shifted her entire trajectory, giving up an internship at a prominent Brazilian newspaper and, subsequently, her ca reer and eventually moving to the U.S to be with him. She even agreed to become pregnant right away, despite only being twentyone at the time. Whether or not Vince had a notion of Brazilian femininity as described by Piscitelli, as sensual, domestic, and with an interest in motherhood, I could only guess but Rafaela certainly does. When asked why she had agreed to become pregnant so soon, she responds without hesitation: Oh, I love my husband. I would do anything for him. Anything She positions herself in contrast to her American sister in law:
141 [Americans] are raised like this: the man serves you, you dont serve the man. For example, she decided she was not going to wash her husbands clothes even though he works and she stays home. She doesnt do anything. She does not even clean the house because she says she has to go play with the kids. I understand she was raised like that. That is her problem. But she doesnt understand that I was raised like this. When I painted my nails and Vince didnt li ke it, I took the polish off because I have to be pretty for my husband, and they were like Paint your nails, he has to get used to it, and I was like, no, he has to find me pretty. Rafaela is precisely the kind of woman that feeds the fantasy of men, and fears of women12 about the exotic other. She is dark, young, trim, flirty and sexy in her dress and mannerisms. Rafaelas husband encourages her to play the part of the sexy and devoted Brazilian wife, in contrast to her previous Brazilian boyfriend, wh o insisted that she hide her sensuality (see also Takagi 2006). Vince likes her wearing very provocative clothes and performing this sensuality because it was not only what attracted him to her but also how he wants others to see her. Rather than feeling o bjectified, Rafaela feels liberated and appreciated. That would not be the case if these American husbands (and Latinos as well) did not get bragging rights upon their union they are proud not only of their wives, who happen to be Brazilian, but of the Bra zilianness of their wives. A Brazilian wife, then, comes to embody the whole nation of Brazil and elevates the status of her husband among his peers he becomes the object of (sexual) envy out of an essentialized notion of what that wife represents. It is a s if he goes on an exotic vacation each time he goes home. The same, however, is not true for Brazilian husbands. Leni and Rodrigo, a married couple in their thirties who were about to relocate back to Brazil, noted this seeming paradox: Leni: What we see is that we know a lot of people who married a Brazilian [woman] and learned how to speak Portuguese and loves Brazil, loves Brazilian [women], loves 12 In fact, Rafaela is preparing to do battle with her sister in law, who says that in a few years Rafaela will have to stop wearing her small bikinis when the young boys in the family reach puberty. Rafaela says she will do no such thing.
142 Brazilians, and alls good. But when its the opposite, when its an American woman who marries a Brazilian man, she does not learn Portuguese. Rodrigo: And doesnt go there. Leni: Doesnt go to Brazil, doesnt like it, doesnt care, lives her life, continues living life as normal. In other words, to marry a Brazilian woman is not normal, it is extraordinar y, a ticket into an alternate lifestyle. The mate stops living normally he marries a language, a country, and presumably a hot -blooded lover. He loves Brazilians and has picked one to marry, by which he seems to join some sort of elite club. Contrast this with the case of Lukas, a (traditional) Protestant from Rio who met his first wife, an American, through their churchs missionary efforts. Lukas moved to the American heartland to be with her and was brought into the fold of her family. When the marr iage did not work out (Lukas cites that she was too controlling and did not like him attending university and making friends), Lukas was devastated: L: I had decided that, if I was going to marry again, it was not going to be with an American. It was not g oing to be another foreigner, because that did not work well for me, I dont know, I was traumatized, I was disappointed, I began to see that people use you. R: You found the cultures very different ? L: Look, I tried my best to adapt, Thanksgiving, the egg hunt, I adapted to everything, In the first years I was like a puppy Oh, let me see, let me learn but then she was like, wait, let me go to college first, you wait. Finally, I thought, why do I need to wait? On the surface, it seems as if perhaps the Brazilian man is not as willing to be subordinate in a relationship a subordination based on an international pecking order (Machado 2004, Piscitelli 2008), perhaps, but that rails against traditional gender hierarchies in Brazil (da Matta 1984, Levine 1997). Brazilian husbands do not confer the same stature to their wives as the inverse because Brazilian wives are trophy wives, a display as explained by Tati, a prize that only confers advantage within a narrow patriarchal structure that values wives based on what they can
143 do for their men and their household, and how good they look doing it. A husbands worth, on the other hand, is often measured in monetary terms, earning power, or occupational prestige, and so an immigrant whose English is not his first l anguage actually has two strikes against him. This, interestingly, only reinforces the image that participants hold of American women as distant and disinterested thus making them less attractive to Brazilian men. Hence, there is a circular process by whic h the Brazilian woman becomes increasingly valued as a mate. This can only serve to reinforce the performance of a certain Brazilian femininity that reifies the stereotyped image. Nevertheless, as we will see, other realities about life in South Florida im pact this traditional gender type. Living in the United States In general, taking into account all levels, the economic, the social, and the professional, I think that women here have much better opportunities, without a doubt, [considering] age and everyt hing, when it comes to work. In Brazil, a pretty face still counts for a lot. Ana, Brazilian immigrant in Miami Like Tati, who complained about missing out on certain job advancement on account of physical appearance, Ana observes a certain reality about a Brazilian womans professional life: the pretty face (or nice legs) can trump qualifications. Neither woman feels that this is the case in the U.S., and several other participants commented on their ability to work and be respected for their labor d espite their age or sex. Leni, a psychologist who was unable to practice while living in the U.S., says that her lack of professional recognition or earning potential in Brazil solidified their decision to move. Having been employed as a psychologist and e arning very little, she felt as if all of her effort was not building up her career. When her husband told her about the opportunity to move, Leni did not feel as if she was sacrificing her career. Women are much more valued here she states, as if punctu ating her argument that her career was stagnant in Brazil on account of her being a woman.
144 Further, despite often having valuable experience and skills at a minimum, language gained in the U.S., most women interviewed realize that, if they were to return to Brazil, their professional opportunities would be few or nonexistent. Alice, who only began working once it became apparent that her marriage was ending, decided to stay in the U.S. because what could I do there to maintain four children that would sti ll allow me to be there for them? Here, she launched her own businesses to generate an income, effectively becoming her own boss and arbiter of her time. In Brazil, a divorcee in her forties with four children and no real work history would have no such prospects. She is conscious of this and is instead looking to retire in Brazil, rather than return. Like Alice, Tnia also found the ability to start over from a failed marriage given the opportunities she found in the U.S. This perspective, however, does not address some of the complexities facing the Brazilian woman who lives in U.S. There is an empowerment that comes along with work and earning an income but that may be oversimplifying things. On the one hand, many women engage in labor that is well bel ow their social stature once they come13, demonstrated most dramatically by the case of Rute, the gynecologist turned baby-sitter. Unable to study English given her double shift of working all day and then parenting her son on her own, she was left in what she deemed to be the crucible of the Brazilian single mom: illiterate, career -less, and penniless. Illiterate because, without English, you are illiterate. In the end, Rute turned to the occupation so many Brazilian women engage in: housekeeping (Sales 1 998, Capuano de Oliveira 2003). Out of options, she was forced into this path, saying to herself pick up a broom and start sweeping, honey. 13 This is tr ue for both men and women. See Margolis 1994 and Tsuda 2003 for examples.
145 Even for those whose occupational status does not drop precipitously there are other challenges to adapting to li fe in these United States. While it is true that many women who either did not work in Brazil or had limited employment options now have broader opportunities for work, it is also true that for middle class Brazilians they now have to perform certain dutie s that they had outsourced in Brazil: domestic labor. Rita, who is in her fifties and fairly well -to do, explains: It is very interesting how its said that because she [the woman] is working she is happy, because she subjects herself to things she would not in Brazil. She has changed and she will not be able to go back to the old ways when she goes back [to Brazil.] Things are tough in Brazil, so its easy to come here and not have a maid, and have to do everything and think its fine Tati considers this with regard to the American woman. In her view, living in a country where the glass ceiling is quite a bit higher than in Brazil has earned the American woman a particular right, the right to the second shift of working at home after a full day at the of fice: Everyone talks about the rights of the American woman. What rights? The right to work twice as hard! For middle class Brazilians, unaccustomed to doing housework, it does become a challenge, particularly when some of them had not worked either outs ide of the home, or within it (Margolis 1994). Nevertheless, Raquel Elis, a socialite from So Paulo, articulates the empowerment that arises from suddenly being forced to do for yourself what had previously been done by the hired help: Women change when they get here because they have to. I had no driver, like I did in So Paulo, I had no maid, what was I going to do, stay at home staring at the walls? I had to learn how to cook, how to get by, do whatever I could in that house, learn how to drive a car, whatever, because otherwise how was I going to go anywhere? For someone who had always lived with privilege, Raquel Elis had never even had a chance to develop what can be considered basic adult living skills: cooking, cleaning, and driving. Even though she remained extremely wealthy upon her move to the U.S., her first place of settlement
146 was Missouri rather than South Florida. In Missouri, maids, cooks and drivers are not readily available presumably, as Raquel Elis herself assumed, due to the large Anglo population that is not accustomed to relying on a domestic staff as the Latin American population present in Miami does. Raquel Elis found herself middle -aged and still quite capable of learning. The result? Its impressive, my independence now. Today, I do quite well on my own. Leaving Brazil did not free Rute from a set of expectations, however. Her foray into domestic work and baby-sitting has been largely unsuccessful. Unable to speak English, she preferred to work with Brazilians, but soon discovere d that she intimidated patroas or bosses. She characterized this as a result of being from So Paulo, the cultural and financial apex of Brazil, unlike most Brazilians in South Florida, whom she characterized as being from the more provincial Northeast. S he also believed that being blonde and light -eyed contributed to this, but most of all it was her professional status in Brazil that made her a terrible choice for a domestic worker: when I tell people Im a doctor, they begin to ask for advice. But then there is nothing else to discuss. When asked why she disclosed this, Rute dismissively said that she was a terrible housecleaner, that she could not hide what she truly was. There is another kind of independence that emerges within the migration context. The freedom from the social eye that was mentioned by Leni. It is not only limited to appearance, but also behavior. Raquel Elis compares herself to her friends in Sao Paulo, and is amazed at the freedom that she enjoys the freedom to maintain friendships at all socioeconomic levels without feeling burdened by social class. I left the bubble [of So Paulo high society] and I dont want to go back to it. Today I am freer than I was when I lived in Brazil. I am freer because I can say what I want, wear wh at I want People can talk bad about me, I dont care. Raquel Elis is so vibrant a woman that I have a hard time imagining her constrained by certain expectations; in fact, she never realized that her life had been limited in so many ways
147 until she moved to the U.S. Even for women with less means, the pressure to measure up to a society that privileges class status as a definitive characteristic is made more acute in comparison. Rita, who returned to Brazil for several years while her children were small, also recognizes that it is difficult to readjust to life in Brazil as a result of this social pressure: Having all those niceties takes away some of your freedoms. Having a household staff means adhering to protocol, maintaining a certain composure in your own home at all times. Irene, who was middle class, was able to leave behind the pressure to attend university while still needing to work to support herself. Away from So Paulo, she could dedicate herself entirely to wage labor without subjecting her parents to shame because here, its easy because nobody knows you. Thus, taking on work that would have been beneath her social standing was unthinkable in Brazil, even though economically, her family could ill-afford to raise Irene and her siblings. B y coming to the U.S., she could go work as a maid if I had to, which she never did. But knowing that the safety net was there made Irene happy with her move. On the other hand, she says this had the effect of making her a lot more humble than I used to be, since she essentially had to accept that she was now willing perform work that is highly stigmatized in Brazil. However, Irene sees that humility as a personal gain, a sign of maturity that comes from living as an immigrant in the U.S. Other participa nts mentioned the freedom to escape bad marriages. Tati finds it hard to believe that there are women in Brazil who remain in abusive relationships rather than lose their status as so -and-sos wife. Rute and Alice, both divorcees, find the social stigma de creased when it comes to dating after a failed marriage. Alice, however, goes further in her analysis. Having endured a painful realization of her husbands problems, which she did not specify but described
148 in terms used for addictions or mental illness, s he concedes that, had she been in Brazil, she probably would not have divorced: I would have had more support to help him. But also, if hes going out and doing all kinds of things,[there] I have 80 million friends, I have my family, I would not have been left at home cooking and cleaning, you know? I would have had other things to do. But here it was just me and the kids, all week long, and the weekend came and I had no time for me At this point, I asked Alice if she felt that Brazilian wives, as describ ed by Tati, would not divorce their husbands once they had reached a certain socio-economic status. She concurred: The price is too high. I have friends who have serious problems and I tell them, think hard, because its bad with him, but worse without h imif the kids are grown enough that [not separating] will not cause psychological damage to them, listen honey, close your bedroom door, build up your nest egg, and buy real estate with your marital income. Thus, the freedom to make such a choice can als o become a burden of deciding whether or not to divorce. On the other hand, while financially she struggled, Alice then goes on to say that a person who is alone, but who is at peace, can do wonders inside a home and raise her children beautifully well. It was a choice that was difficult to make and posed many challenges, but ultimately, Alice is happier and less bitter had she been socially trapped in a bad marriage. Gendered Exports Undeniably, gender dynamics are shifted in migration. A different socia l order, combined with changing realities for the migrants, must affect such a profound aspect of social life. Although gender equality in the U.S. is still far from becoming a reality, several participants echoed a certain refrain about a sense of liberat ion gained by living here. Unlike what much of the literature has focused on, namely that the earning power by migrant women turns into a sort of leverage that Brazilian women can wield (e.g., Sales 1998, Martes 200214) the comments expressed by South Flori da Brazuca s focused more on the liberation from having to be young 14 For a discussion on how earnings through migration impact gender dynamics in general, see Hondagneu Sotelo (2003).
149 (Ana), look (Tati), and behave (Raquel Elis), a certain way. Empowerment through work be that remunerated or not was also reflected in the womens sense of purpose. Rute is the one woman w ho has thus far failed in her life projects both professionally and personally. But it is Rafaela who stands out. Having decided that her success in the U.S. is very much based on her youth and appearance, Rafaela has invested heavily in maintaining a certain structure that ensures her advantage, much as if she still lived in Brazil and were still subject to the same standards. The idealization of the Brazilian woman within global circuits of desire finds fertile ground in South Florida, yet it also finds a voice that resists the reduction of this ideal into sexual objectification. Brazilian men in the area are the ones who are left wanting, however. This inversion of the availability discourse from the one in Brazil (where the idea that is circulated is that there are more women than men) does grant Brazilian women a certain leverage in dating but it is a leverage that is predicated upon their exuding a very essentialized notion of femininity that conforms to traditional domestic structure. Ironically, w hile this reifies the image of the Brazilian woman, the work opportunities found here solidify the dichotomy expressed by participants that characterizes the U.S. as a place for work and Brazil as a place as a place for family. A lack of professional avenu es for women in Brazil makes it so that the only perceived female spheres of influence there become the home, the family, and the bedroom. Thus, upon migrating, Brazilian women either embrace the stereotype of the Brazilian siren, or, by attending to her e arnings and career, becomes Americanized. In either personal or professional relations, Brazilian women may find more practical freedom, but they nevertheless are bound to reproduce one stereotype or the other. Women returning to Brazil, such as Ana had pr ior to re -emigrating, and Leni was about to, who attempt to enter that workforce with renewed vigor can reinforce existing ideas in Brazil about
150 how American living is centered on work and economic gain. Despite all the shifts that these moves can bring a bout in gender relations, some fixed notions about Brazilians and Americans, as well as Brazil and the U.S. are not easily transformed. In the following chapter, I examine how this dichotomy is expressed in the ethnic press.
151 CHAPTER 6 EXTRA EXTRA! BRAZU CAS IN PRINT I dont even want these things, I dont want Rede Globo [television.] I only want American things and sometimes I pick up those Brazilian papers to read. Only sometimes, once a month. Maybe more than that, right? Rute, Brazilian immigrant in Boca Raton Ethnic Journalism The discourse displayed by participants that positions Brazil and the United States into dichotomous characterizations can also be found in the cultural production of South Florida Brazucas. Production that is intended for the community itself, rather than for the broader South Florida audience, is particularly relevant in understanding how South Florida Brazilians come to understand themselves vis vis each other and the environment they inhabit. The local ethnic press is perhaps the most ubiquitous form of media that is locally produced and consumed, and I argue that this press plays a large role in sustaining this rhetoric for South Florida Brazilians. Benedict Andersons Imagined Communities (1983) is often cited in the migration literature for highlighting the origins and influence of nationalism. In this chapter, I want to bring into a new context Andersons notion of nationalism developing as a product of print capitalism. According to Anderson, print capitalism in g eneral, and newspapers in particular, helped readers to imagine themselves as part of the nation community, despite the inherent anonymity of being co -citizens. Most citizens of the same nation, no matter how small, will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion (Anderson 1983: 7.) He credits print media as generative of the imagined community that readers then felt they belonged to, a community of fellow citize ns within a new abstract national consciousness. Like Anderson, I propose the press, in this case the ethnic press, can function as a vehicle for imagined community formation in 21st Century immigrant settlements. As ethnic ghettoes
152 and urban centers ha ve given way to suburban sprawl (Garnett 2007,) the notion of belonging to an immigrant community, i.e., to some sort of national identity-based collectivity, cannot be dependant on geographic proximity to other members of that collectivity. Churches, orga nizations, clubs, as well as commercial spaces such as stores and restaurants can all provide a space where immigrants expect to encounter their fellow citizens. However, as a mediator that describes the community itself, perhaps it is the broad reach of t he ethnic media that can best communicate to people that they are part of something wider than their immediate surroundings. Ethnic newspapers and media in general have very specific audiences, and are produced by members of the very community they target (Riggins 1992.) As such, they are more intimately tied to the zeitgeist of their readers, and can be looked at as a form of cultural production that more accurately portrays its readerships interests and attitudes than would a corporate, broadbased medi um. Content analysis, then, as a method that captures how a medium reflects attitudes and values of a given population (Krippendorff 1980) can be a particularly useful tool for illustrating the broader context in which immigrant communities function. Accor ding to Riggins, [t]he social influence of ethnic minority media is not well understood because the topic has been relatively neglected (1992:3). While it offers a particularly sensitive lens by which to examine issues of interest to that community in ge neral, the ethnic press may also play an active role in that community. With regards to the Brazuca press, very little analysis has published about its role in Brazilian communities. Ribeiro (1999) briefly alludes to this in his study of Brazilians in the San Francisco Bay area; however, he goes no further than indicating that the number of publications has risen dramatically and listing them. On the one hand, it can be seen as a tool for social cohesion (Riggins 1992.) I believe this can be particularly t rue in populations that do not live in
153 segregated communities, for the press helps its readership create these imagined communities of individuals linked both by a common heritage and trajectory. Like Anderson, I see the power of language in print to sta ndardize and reinforce a specific consciousness, having a normalizing and naturalizing effect. On the other hand, the ethnic press may actually disengage individuals from their own community and may solidify and even exacerbate cleavages precisely because it proposes to link individuals who do not know each other personally and who may not want to. The South Florida Brazuca Press It is impossible to miss the ethnic press that links the Brazilian communities of South Florida. Every store, salon, restaurant, and any of the estimated 300 commercial enterprises as cited in the press itself that cater to this immigrant group is stocked with a multitude of publications that range from home printed publicity flyers to full out glossies aimed at local Brazilians. O ften by the door (or, alternatively, in a hall leading to the restrooms), one can find display racks holding multiple publications. The Brazilian Consulate, for example, always has a fresh batch to entertain the waiting crowds. Some have a selective appeal : automotive focused weeklies, or gossip rags (such as TiTiTi, a Brazilian expression akin to the rumor mill), the automotive -themed Sobre Rodas, or even the evangelical Linha Aberta. Where one is found, many can be had. Since they are all free of char ge, and tend to be displayed together, it is conceivable that there is little market competition between them. People tend to pick up several at once, although there appear to be some perennial favorites that run out more quickly than others. These papers are not likely to be the main source of news for anyone. In this day of instant worldwide news, weekly, biweekly, and monthly publications are hardly the best way to keep oneself informed. Rather, it seems as if they serve as a touchpoint for the communit y. They provide the opportunity to read, in Portuguese, about local events, to indulge in stories about
154 Brazilian celebrities, who may or may not be coming through South Florida, and to have both U.S. and Brazilian national events and policies discussed by journalists who, like their readers, have a foot in both nations. At the time of data collection, there were approximately ten to fifteen publications comprising the Brazilian ethnic press. As my ethnographic research encompasses two neighboring South Florida counties, I selected one general interest publication from each county: The Florida Review (FR), published in Miami -Dade, and Gazeta Brazilian News (GBN), published in Broward. Both were universally available in Brazilian businesses throughout both co unties, and despite the fact that the former was biweekly and the latter was a weekly, both were easily available at any given moment. The Florida Review The Florida Review was, at the time, a local paper that crossed into magazine format: a distinct cov er, for example, rather than a collection of headlines. There was an index on the inside cover, followed by letters from the readers, and other features approximating a Sunday papers magazine. Many had reprints by well -published Brazilian essayists. The c irculation at the time was listed at 20,000, with an expected readership of 100,000 but those numbers include papers sent away to Orlando, the Northeast of the United States, and even Brazil. Gazeta Brazilian News Gazeta Brazilian News is a weekly paper published out of Fort Lauderdale. It has two sections, with the first dedicated to editorial and news (featuring local and immigration news, columns on the U.S., Brazil, and the world, as well as health and sports columns.) The classifieds are also include d in this first section. Unlike the FR, where they were limited to one page, Gazeta classifieds were composed of several pages and detailed categories, including want ads and personals. The second section of the paper covered the local social scene, as wel l as entertainment news, fashion, shows, concerts, and celebrity news (both Brazilian and
155 international). At the back of this section there was a small feature dedicated to English language study and a horoscope. At the time of fieldwork, GBN had been in print for over a decade, and staffers claimed a weekly circulation of 15,000 issues distributed throughout the tri -county area of Miami -Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. A Tale of Two Countries Issues were collected from July 2003 to July 2004, and only two m onths for each paper have gone unrepresented. A total of thirty-six papers were included in the analysis, which centered on the editorial content, looking at stated topics and thematic undercurrents. Borrowing from Bar -Hams (1992) model used to analyze t he ethnic Romanian press in Israel, I classified material as negative, positive, or neutral in tone and as having either an internal (i.e., communityoriented) or external orientation, meaning Brazil and United States in general, which I consider external insofar as they do not deal with the micro-structures of community life. Visions of Brazil and the United States The most pervasive feature of the editorials is the focus on Brazil and the U.S. as states or national entities, more so than as societies or cultures. Of thirty -six papers, nineteen had editorials highlighting federal policies, government initiatives, and/or political figures (most notably, presidents George W. Bush and Luiz Incio Lula da Silva). The Florida Review was generally more critical of both states, whereas Gazeta Brazilian News, even when negative in overall tone, tried to present a more balanced perspective of the subject matter and even had a couple of editorials focused on positive aspects of both. One Gazeta editorial defended Lul as performance on the international stage, acknowledging the overall favorable reception of world leaders and pundits toward the thennew Brazilian president. Another called on Brazilian immigrants in the U.S. to stand up for American policies in the fac e of Brazilian anti American sentiment that had surged since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It urged Brazucas to act as
156 cultural brokers when speaking with their families, to defend their adopted land instead of merely jumping on the cultural bandwagon of bashing the United States. This same editorial also celebrated the U.S. militarys capture of Saddam Hussein as heralding better times ahead for the world and humanity. Both of these findings sit in contrast with my interviews; participants who addresse d the war on terror at all were mainly critical of U.S. interventions, and of Americans rallying behind this effort. In general, however, editorials tended to be critical of how each government handles its affairs. Interestingly, the negative assessment s were not uniformly levied against Brazil and the U.S., focusing on different aspects of each nation. Attitudes tended to reify some of the same long held judgments about both nations that were also expressed by participants, or at least to mimic their sp irit. American politics and leaders, and in some instances, people and culture, were critiqued for being imperialistic, moralistic, and money-hungry. Concomitantly, Brazilian politicians were portrayed as corrupt, self -serving, and indifferent to the millions of citizens who lack proper education, adequate housing, and other resources. While both countries were portrayed as having governments filled with self interested politicians, their motivations were ultimately represented as quite different. U.S. pol iticians were depicted as selfish with respect to the office they held, attempting to acquire more power or financial gain for the United States, whereas Brazilian politicians were described as corrupt and inept on a much more personal and individual level For example, GBN published a scathing editorial on U.S. government crackdown on immigration (331, August 2003) that critiqued policymakers for giving into public opinion and paranoia. It cited the anti immigrant sentiment that had emerged since the event s of 9/11 and since the American insertion into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as the result of ignorance on the part of most American citizens, but
157 insisted that the government ought to know better; it characterized anti immigrant measures as pandering to a fearful public vying the elections that were to take place the following year. Thus, it was an interest in maintaining itself in power that was the key motivator behind the Republican administrations stance, according to the critical piece. In contra st, Brazilian officials were critiqued for ignoring public opinion in favor of their own personal interests, or that of limited elites. When Lulas administration proposed a reform of the existing pension plan for civil servants, thousands erupted in anger calling this a travesty of Lulas Workers Party affiliation The GBN editorial, which supported the plan, blasted the outcry of public officials in the face of the revision of the federal pension plan, under which long -standing benefits to federal workers were drastically cut. Even though the paper supported Lulas plan, civil servants in this case stand in for the establishment, and are sharply criticized by GBN, along with the decades -old protectionism that maintains these positions as privileged app ointments handed out as favors or in repayment of such. The Brazilian government is portrayed as an ongoing and abstract entity, as if the actual people who occupy the positions are immaterial. It is also depicted as being nefarious, with several editoria ls insinuating that, rather than simply being neglectful, it purposefully maintains an underclass so that tens of millions of Brazilians never get the resources necessary to challenge the elite (e.g., GBN 327, GBN 328, FR 371). Interestingly, the self int erest of American politics, then, is one that privileges all Americans over other peoples of the world whereas the self interest of Brazilian politics is one that privileges some Brazilians over the many. As far as the countries themselves, certain tendenc ies appear. Brazilian society tends to be portrayed in a negative light, much as Magalhes (2005) found in her study, a tendency she linked to an attempt at reconciling migration with a personal choice. One editor criticizes the
158 Brazilian Foreign Ministry s policy of reciprocity, wherein American visitors to Brazil now had to obtain visas as the U.S. requires visas of Brazilian visitors to the U.S. The editor dismisses the premise as incommensurable, stating that there is no reciprocity since the Brazilian government cannot offer tourists the same level of security and safety, the same well paved roads, and the same clean restrooms that visitors to the U.S. can enjoy (FR 365.) Violence in Brazil, particularly in Rio, was mentioned during early 2004 (FR 369 and GBN 361.) This was a period of intensified gang violence, but how this discourse was employed by the papers bears noting. One calls the people of Rio shameless, for not having the courage to change things and continuing to elect the same imbeciles (FR 369.) Another claims that the violence is indicative, along with other social ills, of Brazils descent into anarchy (GBN 361) Stereotypes about Brazilians and Americans were also reinforced. In this medium, too, the construction of a national identity of the Brazilian is articulated in opposition to the characterization of the American subject much as we have seen with the interviews. For instance, a Florida Review appeal for people to content themselves with less (Realistic Happiness FR 364, January 2004) urges people to bear in mind, contrary to what American surroundings would dictate, that happiness is not in having, but in being. Another one, in GBN characterizes Americans as addicted to money. Wealth, accumulation, and a cool headed attitude toward money are depicted as American traits. Brazilians, on the other hand, are represented as not being serious, as being out for a good time, and apathetic to the appalling conditions affecting millions in Brazil. In fact, in order to succeed in the U.S ., claims one editorial, Brazilians must fight against an entire process and formation that we had in our land and by our families, in order to accomplish goals and dreams within the systematic NorthAmerican lifestyle, (GBN 362.)
159 Positive stereotype s also appear. Brazilians are represented as happy and warm, and Brazil as beautiful and engaging. Americans show up as responsible, honorable, and decent. If we were to compare the data from the periodicals to the maps in Chapter 4, we would see that the maps could also represent themes in the newspapers. For newspaper editors, however, this articulation is presumably the product of some reflection that is undertaken prior to writing the editorial, not some flow of -consciousness response given during an in terview. Occasionally, there is a specific rejection of stereotypes. Nevertheless, this tends to be rhetorical and unsupported. One editorial states We really believe quite strongly that we are the kings of human warmth and happiness. But are we really? (GBN 361;) however, the editorial does not attempt to answer that question. In the negative stereotypes this is also the case. In an appeal for readers to do away with their prejudices, the Gazeta editor blames mass media precisely for promoting stereotyp es (GBN 365.) He questions: Is every Muslim a terrorist? Is being gay immoral? Is every Brazilian dishonest, out of habit? Is every American imperialistic, cold, and calculating? Does every Frenchman despise bathing? Is being Hispanic always tacky? Howev er, despite attesting that these stereotypes are unfair, there are no examples given to counteract them. Thus, the only specific associations provided are the ones of the stereotypes, which is also the case in other editions. Only a few issues earlier, Gaz eta ran an editorial describing many of Brazils social problems violence, disorder, hypocrisy, racial strife, extreme poverty. The blame for all these problems is placed squarely on the leaders, all of them, from post -dictatorship populists to Cardosos administration, very cute, very pleasant, very chic for the French and the intellectuals and even Lula, who ought to have been something new and different, but was not, because all of the leadership that we produce is eternally committed to dishonesty (GBN 361.)
160 The rhetorical call to doing away with stereotypes becomes undone by the papers recurrent use of the same device. Imagining Community An important difference between the two papers focused on local content. FR did not generally write editorial s about the community it purportedly published for. Only once in the sample I analyzed did it publish an editorial focused specifically on the local Brazilian community. That piece, The Story of the Two Dogs, recounts a Native American folk tale narrate d by an elder about a vicious dog and a docile dog at odds with each other inside each persons heart. The vicious dog is treacherous, angry, and evil. The docile dog is noble, loyal, and steadfast. When asked which dog will be the victor, the elder repl ies: the one that is fed. The editor lamented that the South Florida Brazilian was a dichotomous being who carries two sentiments with regards to his countrymen, one of repulsion and the other of extreme receptivity (FR, Issue 361, December 2003.) S adly, he comments, it is the former that prevails, something he attributes to the roots of Brazilian immigration: [unlike the Cubans,] we all came here for different reasons [and] have no single condition to unite us around an ideal. Singling out the Cuban immigrant community was also the most typical form in which my participants complained about disunity among Brazilians in South Florida, in itself an absorption of the model immigrant discourse that glosses over both the privileges accorded to Cuban ref ugees and the internal divisions within the large and diversified Cuban community. This editorial and interviewees, especially those from Miami Dade, echo an image of CubanAmericans as single mindedly interested in advancing the Cuban cause. Alice, who ha d been shunned by the Cuban mothers at her daughters private Catholic school, describes the Cuban advantage:
161 The Cubans are really interested in helping out their own community, they are a very united people; actually, that is why I think they have done so well, because they really help each other out. If there is a Cuban event, the entire community shows up. We do a Brazilian event and we are lucky if half a dozen strays (gatos pingados) appear. Alice, the editor, and many participants who compare South Florida Brazucas to the CubanAmerican community are bound to be disappointed. This persistent comparison through editorials such as this one further legitimizes the discourse of disunity among Brazilians. Most of us, claims the editor, would return to Br azil if given better opportunities there, but what this fails to acknowledge is that Cubans were given better opportunities in the U.S., certainly better than the opportunities afforded to other immigrant groups. The lack of unity among Brazucas is also de scribed as a product of the colonial legacies left by the Pilgrims in the U.S. and the Portuguese in Brazil, as the Pilgrims came to settle and escape persecution, and thus form a community, whereas the Portuguese went to Brazil to extract its riches and along the way, sleep with a cute little Indian [uma indiazinha bonitinha] implying that Brazilians lack the proper historical training to form a community. Americans as a people emerged from a small group of conservative families who were interested in co nstructing a life that would nurture generations to come. Brazilians, on the other hand, emerged from exploitation and rape, and a desire to get ones ownalmost as if we are an accidental people. Again, the problem is framed in such a way as to preclude a solution: what can South Florida Brazilians do to combat a stain that is five centuries old? While that was the only editorial in FR specifically discussing South Florida Brazilians, the same twelve month period saw seven editorials published in the Gazet a, which both celebrate and critique South Florida Brazilians. The most emotional one was an appeal to the community for keeping the Portuguese language alive for the next generation (GBN 357, February 2004). It blasts Brazilians for not valuing their own language, and with it, their own heritage, enough to
162 maintain the discipline required for raising bilingual children. It also criticizes people for considering the language of less political importance or economic value than English or Spanish, and insist s that Portuguese is valuable, beautiful, and marketable. This attitude, of course, focuses on instrumental motivations and glosses over the highly emotional aspects of language maintenance described by Irene and Elizabeth, who argue for language maintenance as an enduring tie to family and ethnic legacies. Instead, the paper makes a rational, rather than emotional, appeal, citing the uniqueness of Portuguese within the South Florida environment, where Spanish-speakers abound. By valuing Portuguese, it argues, the second generation benefits in two ways. There is both the direct financial reward associated with language as a skill, and the less tangible reward that comes from being an established and legitimized linguistic minority. Perhaps nowhere but South Florida can such an argument be made as compellingly. One GBN piece chides South Florida Brazilians for treating their immigration as a temporary thing, and therefore only focusing on making money and returning home (GBN 362, March 2004). The key to the s uccess of our community, cries the editor, is to organize ourselves and mobilize as a group that is focused on what happens here, and to get local officials to pay attention to our specific concerns. The fragmentation of the community, he writes, comes fro m this individualistic and unrealistic perception of what is truly at stake in immigrating. That this call to action comes from the Broward paper does not surprise me. Broward County having the larger proportion of Brazilians, as well as a rather anemic Cu banAmerican political representation, seems to create a space for Brazilians to stand out as an immigrant group. Neila, for instance, reflects a concern with political representation. According to her, other immigrant groups are quick to put someone in of fice once enough people from that community can vote to
163 do so. She feels that Brazilians are also moving in that direction, and that this will help consolidate the Brazilian agenda. The two papers, which I propose take an active part in the shaping of a Br azilian ethnic identity as opposed to a national one, help illustrate the identity projects at the heart of my ethnographic study. Rather like Andersons notion of how imagined national communities developed aided by newspapers, which created the idea of s haring community with those one has never met, the ethnic press can expand the imaginary of immigrant communities and define ideas about the communities themselves. I argue that in a suburban environment such as South Florida, the lack of public spaces and ethnic ghettoes that would foster an idea of who makes up a community has to be supplanted by certain markers of identity that label both the space and demographics of a community. The papers, then, help to create in the minds of South Florida Brazilians, if not an idea about who they themselves are, then a concept of who the other Brazilians, the unknowns, must be. These two papers are targeted at all South Florida Brazilians, and broadly distributed. Being the only locallyproduced medium, this press in essence defines the public image of the Brazilian immigrant reality and for those who do not see themselves reflected in it, it only further reinforces the notion of I am not like other Brazilians you see here. Thus, references to the concerns of the undocumented in the Broward -based paper may lead Miami -Dade readers to conceive of their neighbors to the north as all undocumented. Also, editorials that focus on the dysfunction of Brazilian federal politics, the violence in Brazilian cities, and overa ll unreliability serve to maintain and justify the choices made by people to emigrate, and to keep their distance from the very unknown Brazilians who compose this imagined community. In turn, the discourse of disunity that prevails becomes constitutive of how this community is imagined and,
164 subsequently, presented in the papers. Communities, however, are made up of individuals. To truly understand the landscape of the South Florida Brazilian community, we must turn back to the individual, and see how peopl e place themselves vis vis this community.
165 CHAPTER 7 (RE)CONSTRUCTING THE SELF: BECOMING AN IMMIGRANT But I think I will never be the same anymore; once you come away, you leave, you live outside of your country, you are going to be that for the rest of your life, you bring that with you. Leni, on her impending return to Brazil Of Difference and Belonging: The In Betweeness of Tropical Brazucas In this chapter, I move beyond the contrast of Brazil/U.S., of sending country and host country, to pres ent the imaginary of the consolidated Brazuca identity and of the mediated space of their daily interactions in South Florida. The existing dichotomies of Brazil/U.S., self/other, periphery/core, and domestic/foreign can be bridged in the way participants describe themselves as immigrants and South Florida as a middle ground between Brazil and the U.S. Conversely, the discourse of an immigrant identity and the participants analysis of their new location can also be expressed as falling outside of either cu lture, in essence presenting both self and location as unrelatedand unbelonging to any meaningful collectivity at the national level. For the immigrant, caught between two frames of reference, the ongoing struggle to (re)position oneself becomes its own r eferential location and a legitimate articulation of identity. This third element, whether manifested as blend (both Brazil and U.S.) or difference (neither Brazil nor U.S.) is most evident in participants struggle with definition and belonging. One way of articulating difference is through a social class distinction. This distinction, which often did not emerge in reference to life in Brazil, becomes necessary as immigration can be somewhat of an equalizer in this respect. The ability to make economic ga ins, particularly through labor that is so stigmatized in Brazil, gives rise to a new discourse of categorization. Rute, who as an upper middle class physician in Brazil had one set of social relations, finds her life entirely altered once she becomes an u ndocumented immigrant who does not speak English.
166 Brazilians who learn English, she comments, immediately stop associating with other Brazilians and her inability to learn English locks her into a limited social circle. Meanwhile, when the people to whom she has access, other undocumented Brazilians, realize that she is a physician, one of two things happen: either they start asking me for a consultation or they assume I have nothing in common with them. Which I dont. Rute further sets herself apart: the gang [ a turma ] gains skills and they earn [more than] they could have earned [in Brazil,] so they think they are the shit, right? But their cultural and educational level, its very low, they are low class, they dress poorly and they dont get along. Not only does Rute use social class to distinguish herself from this group, she also employs it as a reason why people cannot form a community they cannot get along, she says, presumably needing some folks with more culture and education to direct the grou p from the top down. Migration allows for previous distinctions to collapse, facilitated by anonymity and new acquisitive power. This makes traditional ways of identifying and categorizing problematic, and it also brings people into contact with each othe r who would otherwise not have overlap ped. On the one hand, there are people like Rute, whose economic situation in the U.S. belies her social origin. One well -to -do participant mentioned her cleaning lady as another example. One day her husband began havi ng a conversation with the cleaning lady and went to his wife: shes not a maid. The wife responded, Of course shes a maid, there she is cleaning. Well, if you had a conversation with her, you would see that she is very cultured. This multi level e conomic reality is cited as a reason for the lack of unity in the community. Alice and Raquel Elis, for instance, both insist that the many social class levels of Miami Brazilians complicate the formation of community. According to Raquel Elis, there are f ive classes of Brazilians, which she contrasts with two for Argentine immigrants. These five classes go from the multi -
167 millionaires all the way down to the laborer, from humble origins. Each one has their own little group, and they dont mix, something s he also attributes to the large distances of the Miami suburban landscape. Of concern to the middle classes are the emergentes or noveau riche the people who make a lot of money in South Florida through stigmatized labor (cleaning, construction, and so on) and increase their purchasing power. For middle class Brazucas, it matters less how much someone has, but what sorts of investments they make with their money. Lukas and Yvette, for instance, are both enrolled at Florida Atlantic University pursuing soc ial science degrees, and mock the folks who work only to engage in certain consumption patterns: Oh, what car do you have? I dont want a used car, I want a Mustang, I always saw that on TV Lukas attributes this to a Brazilian dynamic that links social validation with the power to purchase. He adds each one has their own goal, you cannot categorize Brazilians. This notion that to speak of a Brazilian community as a unit was futile was echoed throughout the interviews. The main thrust was one of differ ence a fact that has also emerged in studies of other communities (Brazilians in New York, Margolis 1994; Salvadorans in New York, Menjvar 2000; Colombians in New York and Los Angeles, Guarnizo et. al. 1999.) In my research, this was repeated faithfully, and several participants offered a nameless Brazilian pauper as the ultimate character of difference: how can they be expected to have anything in common with this illiterate, uncultured, poor man forced to share a room with multiple others? This unculture d pauper never materialized for me; the only person I interviewed who had lived in overcrowded quarters temporarily was Nelson, who had a degree in architecture from a private university in Rio. Nevertheless, this idea of the p -rapado the miserably poor Brazilian, who moves to the U.S. in order to feed his family, still exists in the imaginary of Brazucas. This image is an archetype of difference, insofar as it is one of the ways that my participants
168 distinguish themselves from the rest of the community, as is the case of Lukas, when he criticizes other Brazilians who move to the U.S. only with the desire to make money. He quickly reverts and says that he should not judge others: I dont know, I never was a head of household from the backlands of Minas [Ge rais,] unemployed, with my children going hungry and the only way out that I could see my neighbors all sending remittances to their families, their kids all chubby and mine all skinny, [Id say] man, Im taking off, I think a father in a desperate situ ation like that would do that and come here. People like Yvette, Lukas, Nelson, Irene, and Rute, to name but a few, all decried the lack of unity in the community as a reason for their lack of involvement with other Brazilians; interestingly, they seem unaware that their lack of involvement can also be construed as part of the reason for a lack of community. Becoming an Immigrant Part of the process of migration is insertion into the host society; in fact, this is a major project for many of my participa nts. The articulation of the self becomes entwined with the relational aspect to a broader society. Ana, who had lived as an undocumented immigrant for six years, contrasts that experience, prior to her return to Brazil, with her new legal residence (now they are citizens.) I hated it here, I hated it, I couldnt see anything positive about being here, about the system, because I did not participate, I did not partake legally. It was so hard to raise small children, I felt I had no opportunities here, and I thought I should have had everything, I had all my life ahead, I had the youth of my 28 years, I had the will, the desire, but I was nothing because I could not participate legally. Her legal residence has shifted her experience: Today my view of life here is completely different. First off, because today I am documented. So I feel as if I am part of the American system. I contribute, I work, I pay taxes, you know? Im active. I pray a lot, you know, I cant believe Im telling you this, because I used to want to drop a bomb on this place, and today I pray to God for this [place] to be kept as it is.
169 The shift that Ana experienced is one of making peace with her new life. Although her situation was complicated by her undocumented status, even those who had no such legal troubles also go through a period of adaptation. Anas good friend Alice had been married to an American citizen in Brazil and when he was transferred to the U.S., Alice saw that her self described golden existence of both financial wealth and emotional stability was nearing its end. Her narrative is not one of a gradual decision, but one of a distinct rupture that ripped her from the family fold of parents, siblings, cousins, and a life that she loved, in order to bring her to what s he knew would be difficult and lonely. Alices eyes well up as she relates going to Rio for her interview at the U.S. consulate for her residency paperwork, carrying her third daughter, a newborn, who was still nursing. She did not want to move to the U.S ., but her husbands sudden relocation made it inevitable. She recalls: I pleaded with the consul, please, if you dont give me the residency, if you deny it, that is the only way I get to stay in Brazil. The woman, however, could not deny the petition f or her visa: with her corporate American husband and American-citizen daughters, all paperwork and taxes were in order. Alice relives the moment: My milk was gushing, I was crying, crying, I was wet all over, I was crying all the way to the airport, I cal led my mom from the airport [to go back to Sao Paulo] they gave it to me, they gave me a closed envelope. There was no other way. Like Ana, Alice also experienced her first years in the U.S. very negatively, especially once her marriage crumbled. The co nsequences of her divorce were dramatic, including financial strain to the point of having to decide which utility was more essential on a given month, juggling two and three part -time jobs at once, and raising four children on her own. Today, Alice is a s uccess story, running her own language school and translation service, as well as working at the Cultural Center. She proudly recounts her childrens accomplishments, the fact that they are all close emotionally, and how she is still able to provide Brazi lian dinner every night: meat,
170 rice, beans, vegetables and a salad. Ironically, today her ex husband lives in Brazil, but Alice opted to stay in Miami at her childrens insistence, and has committed to raising them here. As we saw in the chapter on gender, she is also aware of the fact that if she were to return to Brazil, her participation in the labor force would be unlikely. Alice has turned her life around dramatically, and she is not willing to let go of that accomplishment to return to a life of w asting time, of doing nothing. She speaks nostalgically about that life, but her sense of self worth has blossomed as a result of what she has overcome, and what she is now able to do as a result. Recently, Alice was further validated by her realization t hat she can also contribute to make someone elses life better: I was in line at [the supermarket] and there was a woman with a baby and some groceries She was missing three dollars, so she debated which item to take out She opted to leave out the raspbe rries and I put them back on the belt You are not leaving anything behind, here is the money. She was American. She wasnt even Latina. She just stared at me. When I left the supermarket, the woman was waiting for me outside, crying. I said You dont ha ve to thank me, you have no idea what I have been through, I have four of these little things [babies] and you dont know the difficult choices I had to make. I only wish I could have three dollars so well -spent every day of my life. As was the case with Ana, Alice has a new sense of personhood that comes from being an active member of a society, of being able to participate, and in this way, their immigrant identity becomes distinct from their identity in Brazil, where they did not work. For some, however the shift is not necessarily positive. The American focus on work as a defining characteristic of human beings grates against Lukass commitment to think about more than his bottom line. As Yvette tells of a friend who returned to Brazil only to find the violence in Rio crippling, Lukas interjects: But here you have other fears, right? Not fears about violence, perhaps, but the fear for your identity, who am I? Here all I do is work, work, work, but I have no contact [with others] I am nobody, I am not doing any service, I do not fulfill my role in a society.
171 Lukass assessment sits in contrast with Anas, who felt she was nobody only when she was undocumented. In fact, Ana concurs that the American society sees people as numbers, but she sees this as a positive thing, particularly as it pertains to her children. Her daughter, she states, is growing up with the awareness that she is a number, that society treats all its members equally, and thus this helps to curb pride and arrogance. Since this is an organized country where everyone has their rights, she goes on, some of the burden she could experience in raising her children is lifted, as she can do the best she can to offer them what they need, but this will not engender the arrogance that she fe els characterizes middle-class children in Brazil. Ties that Bind: Toward an Ethnic Understanding At this point it becomes important to consider this generation that Ana speaks of, and see how an immigrant group moves into an ethnic understanding of the s elf. Anas children, and those of some other participants such as Raquel Elis, Alice, and Tnia, along with participants such as Daniela, Elizabeth, Fbio, and Leonardo, constitute the Brazilian American generation. Their ties to Brazil and to a Brazilian identity, so manifest during the World Cup and Carnaval, are predicated upon how their families maintain those ties, but also largely influenced by their new social milieu. Most of the BrazilianAmericans in this study are trilingual (Spanish being the thi rd language,) but Portuguese language maintenance is strongly tied to their parents desires for them. Raquel Elis, for instance, is indignant that her sonin law is American. I hate having to speak English in my own house. Its bad enough I have to speak Spanish all day here. I like him But I already told my daughter that she has to speak Portuguese when she has a baby. For Irene, who is raising her son (and now daughter) in a trilingual environment, Portuguese maintenance is complicated by the fact that both she and her exhusband (who is Peruvian) remarried Americans. Thus, her son is mainly exposed to English, and to an American identity.
172 She complains that until recently, he would say he is Brazilian. But now his dad is living with an American and h e says hes both. She goes on to say how she forces him to speak Portuguese, even though it is increasingly difficult for him to do so. As the daughter of a Spanish immigrant in Brazil, Irene can sympathize with her sons resistance. Nevertheless, she ins ists: All of my family is there; he has to speak Portuguese. But when you are an immigrant I can understand, because I would get annoyed with my dad, everything was espaol, espaol When you are an immigrant in a strange land, this is very important for your identity. Gosh, I get all emotional... At this point, Irene begins to cry and choke back sobs. She composes herself, tears still streaming down her face, to share a deeper motivation: [m]y mom recently had a stroke, and I think I know my mom wi ll die soon, and everything that she taught me is all that will remain of her, and it is what I have to offer, it is the heritage that is not lost. Indeed, Irenes mother has since passed away. Ana does what she can to maintain a strong Brazilian identity for her children. But she reveals, like Irene, that the ties that bind are familial much more than cultural. She sends them to Brazil during their school vacations, so language maintenance is more a function of practical communication. They must know Port uguese in order to communicate with family during those summer trips, which are geared towards keeping the family ties, because culture, they can learn that from a book. They can be like you, Rosana, and go study it if they need to. For Ana, language is culture in function of family, because culture is seen as a rational, rather than emotional, link. The heart, she goes on, that is what cannot be replaced. Ana, Irene and Raquel Elis are right in being concerned about language maintenance My intervie ws with Leonardo and Elizabeth, for instance, took place mainly in English. Language maintenance is important for Elizabeth as a marker of identity. Nevertheless, it poses a great challenge. Even though she likes to speak Portuguese, it does not flow easi ly.
173 When she returns to Brazil, her relatives poke fun at her accent and lack of fluency, and she knows that she and her sister are the gringas in the family. This hurts her deeply, because Elizabeth feels very strongly against being identified with the U.S. on account of her politics. But that is not so relevant, since she is also not interpreted as being American when she is in the U.S. : I speak with an accent here, I speak with an accent there. That is fine with her, because she conflates an American identity with whiteness, and whiteness with a hegemonic regime she despises, adding, Im never gonna be American. Still, where does this leave the young woman who stated I think that until last semester, I was Brazilian? What hybrid position does she take now that allows her to reconcile the neither/nor and the both and? Elizabeths narrative is that of a cultural critic. More than a mere misfit, which she acknowledges and takes pride in, Elizabeth is a curmudgeon who rallies against the system of whit e privilege. She self identifies as a Latina, and does not consider herself white because to her this conjures up a set of cultural truths she does not believe in. She embraces herself as a minority, but also as a foreigner. Her best friends, she said, w ere both African immigrants. Thus, for her to feel truly understood she needed people who could relate to being non-white, but also who understood the pressures of life on the accent. Despite having lived more time in the U.S. than in Brazil, a source of heartache for her, Elizabeth did not envision herself developing an American identity, even though she realizes that many of her views emerge from that. Leonardo also has a new racial understanding: See I never really felt discriminated against and Ill be honest with you, the first time I realized how non -white I am was when I went to Vermont. I swear to god, shit, Im not white. Everyone up there is just pasty white. Mostly in skin. Even people up there that were Latin, or even Indian, or even black they were like Youre one of us.
174 For Leonardo and Elizabeth, the American conflation of race and ethnicity has begun to take hold, and they are perhaps, as U.S. -educated white Brazilians, in a position to shape how U.S. society begins to interpret this ethnic group. As I write this dissertation, a new cohort of Brazilian Americans are preparing to enter college, to vote in the presidential elections, and to otherwise distance themselves from their roots as they establish their hybrid identities. At the sam e time, some Brazilians are returning to Brazil to take advantage of the economic miracle, to escape the U.S. economic downturn, to flee immigration crackdowns, and even to cash in on their earnings accumulated abroad. So in some ways, I question whether t his is a historical piece, already limited to a picture in time with yellowing corners. Do Brazilians really constitute a new cast for the American Dream? For the Brazilians who are here, that is certainly the case. The other day, while sitting with a Bra zilian colleague at the student union food court during Preview for new students, this woman eagerly approached us. Vocs so brasileiros ?1 Having overheard us speaking Portuguese, she gravitated to our area and, as only a mother about to truly cut the umbilical cord would do, immediately started telling us about her little boy (who was an incoming college freshman), and how relieved she was to hear Portuguese and know that there were, indeed, Brazilians in Gainesville. I assured her that yes, increasin gly so, in my years in town I had witnessed a ballooning of the Brazilian population, or at least, of its visibility. I then proceeded to tell her about BRASA, the student organization, and about the Brazilian Cultural Arts Exchange downtown, and their capoeira classes. The interesting thing is that what for this mom was a source of anxiety lack of Brazilian contact most likely did not affect her son at all. She said he prefers to speak English, and that, 1 Are you Brazilian?
175 although he roots for Brazil appropriately in sport s events, he is an all American boy after having grown up here. Why does this matter? For starters, they hailed from Boca Raton. Although improbable, I could conceivably know other people whom she knows; certainly, I am fairly knowledgeable about her local Brazil -scape. More importantly, to me this served as a serendipitous confirmation of my research proposition. It does matter where people come from it is a definitive, and probably permanent part of their identity. It links generations, and circumscribes traditions. It validates ones sense of self, and reassures parents that they have raised their children well, by passing on culture as if through blood, but also through culture. How was that mothers interest served by knowing that there were Brazilian graduate students in Gainesville? We belong to a different generation and an entirely separate engagement with the university. We would not be having regular feijoadas to reaffirm her sons idea of what it means to be Brazilian. Yet there is some legitim acy to her relief. She can convince herself that Gainesville is not noxious to Brazilians. She can hope that her son, upon encountering people who sound like her, will think of her and of his heritage. And she can assume that this will instill in him some pride in an identity she only gets to witness him taking for granted. I sent her on her way with the assurance that here, away from the South Florida milieu, Brazilian Americans seem to find themselves, and find each other. They may speak English and strug gle with Portuguese, but they know, somehow, it matters who they are. In all of the ways in which they are. And in that way, the imaginary of national identitywhich for this boy is more relevant than the actuality of this identity begins to forge the ethn ic representation that it needs to insert itself into the American national imaginary. The Nation Reinterpreted: Performing Self and Other for Global Publics What I have attempted to do here is mimic the layers of a nascent immigrant identity. By virtue o f living within a double frame of reference, the immigrant must find a new space where
176 this double frame of reference exists. That is the space located within the tension between individualism and collectivism, where there emerges an articulation of the un iqueness of the self in statements like I am not like any other Brazilian even while describing a macro -culture. Identity is expressed in terms of difference (the uniqueness) as well as sameness. Clearly this is not only a question for migration scholars Identities are not only national or linguistic, many are not even remotely tied to geography. Nevertheless, heritage is a primary identifier in this country, like gender and age. The migration experience highlights this process. Even internal migration c an do this, but that is much more so when it is across national and linguistic borders. Difference, it seems in this case, comes out on top as a defining characteristic of being an immigrant. So much of what has been expressed in these interviews consists an expression of difference, as if the participants are more aware of what they are not, than of what they are. The consolidation process by which one acquires the skin of the immigrant calls into question, however, the notion that multiple identities exis t simultaneously, rather than as an ongoing process. The immigrants identity is called into question not only by others but also by the self, thus this differentiation is not only an assertion of the identity of the self, but an active engagement in the process of self discovery. Difference is also a way of explaining rupture. Personal narratives of immigration are somewhat obviously punctuated by this rupture. The timeline of before is always building up to that moment, the after is an account of the consequences. But the further removed one is from that rupture, be it in actual time or simply in personal progress, the timelines become more entwined, as if the before is as much explained by the after as the other way around. By becoming an immigran t, one unbecomes something else, in this case, an unmarked Brazilian, one whose Brazilianness is not called into question (as it seldom can be in Brazil).
177 Much like Yvettes observation that, as she builds up her life and patrimony in the U.S. she is not only failing to develop it in Brazil, but actively deconstructing it, the simple routine of daily life chips away at a certain Brazilianness or a certain aspect of it. For Brazilians who expressed an incomplete Brazilianness to begin with, such as Nelson, or Tati, becoming immigrants allows them to reassert the very traits they felt distinguished them from other Brazilians. However, becoming an immigrant is different from assimilating. Immigration is life on the bridge. No matter which side of it you are o n, there is a direct channel to the other side. Tati had to come to the U.S. in order to learn how to enjoy the company of other Brazilians. Nelson, who supposedly was distant and disinterested in the Brazilian community for feeling like a misfit, found my announcement in a Brazilian store bulletin board and was prompted to call because he was happy to find someone interested in the reality of Brazilians in South Florida. The cultural package that one inherits by being Brazilian becomes reinterpreted vis -a via a U.S. macroculture which, no matter how bright it shines, or how heavy it weighs, can never quite displace a Brazilian identity. Future Directions This dissertation would not be complete without a discussion of where this process has led me and this d iscussion would not be complete without a consideration of the limitations of this study and of this text. I n many ways, the writing process has reinvigorated my engagement with the issues I study, something accentuated by the fact that much of what is lea rned (in fieldwork, through the data, and in the literature) cannot adequately be covered in one document. In the future, I plan to engage with my data more broadly, and to focus more specifically on how South Florida is characterized by my participants, describing in greater detail the attitudes and perceptions of Brazucas toward the Caribbeans and Latinos of various origins who are found there. In so doing, I would be coming full circle from the very beginning of this research, when I had hoped to study t he panethnic identity of Brazilians as Latinos. Ultimately, this topic has
178 remained dear to me, and exploring my data in this regard remains a priority for me. I also wish to explore the attitudes and perceptions of South Florida itself, much as I explored the attitudes and perceptions that Brazucas held toward Brazil and the U.S. as entities separate from their inhabitants. Other future directions center on improving areas of this dissertation which did not receive adequate attention either because they emerged unanticipated, from my data at late r stages, or be cause I simply failed to give certain constructs their proper weight and analysis. Inherent in any undertaking of this scope is a certain tunnel vision that we euphemistically like to call focus. Focus, of course, is a good thing, it means being able to ignore distractions. Without focus, I would still be juggling scores of micro documents with random thoughts. Tunnel vision, on the other hand, means ignoring important things. It is a delicate bal ance. I offer this less by way of an apology and more as a sincere attempt to do right by all parties involved: my participants, to whom I feel I owe the best possible effort, my committee, whose recommendations have been taken with more humility and grati tude than they might have anticipated, and, finally, to myself, my name, and my future career. In keeping with this, I wish to reengage this data with a deeper critical analysis of the sites of difference that are explored here: race, class, and gender. A particular limitation of this dissertation is the lack of analysis of race relations in Brazil, something that I realize was borne out of a certain fear to duplicate an American focus on race in Brazil. This statement may seem like a trite excuse, but it is not. In fact, I consider myself a race scholar and know the literature well. Nevertheless, race was not adequately problematized in this dissertation, perhaps because I, like many Brazilians outside Brazil, have an uncomfortable relationship with discus sing race in Brazil using U.S. language. Nevertheless, fear of a certain academic imperialism now seems an
179 inadequate reason. Despite having several pages dedicated to how my participants articulate race in Brazil and in the U.S., I failed to go beyond the surface and provide the necessary analysis to interpret their statements as products of specific historical and sociological realities. I plan to rework that section, utilizing both Brazilian and American literature, to give it the weight it ought to have In terms of social class, the analysis in this dissertation could have benefitted from a greater understanding of how vertical relationships, meaning across social locations, typically are manifested in Brazil versus the U.S Further, this section was li mited insofar as it failed to properly acknowledge the relative importance of different types of capital. It can be greatly improved by a Bourdieuan breakdown that highlights economic versus cultural capital as important sites of distinction and barriers t o community formation. Similarly, the chapter on gender can be enhanced by some critical theory that contextualizes the experience of Brazilian women within the broader literature on exoticization of others and objectification of women. Finally, in the int erest of relevance, I must consider my data within current events Globalization as described in this dissertation is now subject to the ravages of a worldwide economic crisis. The obsession with globalization as a buzzword has other effects; whether or no t the nation remains relevant is beginning to be less of a concern. Worldwide migration is affected by the economic crisis as well, which includes migration out of Brazil. Brazilian migration is likewise altered by a shift in Brazils position on the wor ld stage engendered both by President Lulas positive reception and by particular economic gains, or mitigated losses, that keep Brazil on par with other BRIC countries. Brazil now takes its place with Russia, India, and China, as a country whose develop ing economic power has made it worthy of note. It remains to be seen how these shifts will find their way into the discourse of subsequent
180 immigrants. Nevertheless, my data has shown that the rhetoric that makes use of national stereotypes has remained rem arkably stable through other major shifts in the past. The imaginary of national identity, it seems, endures.
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192 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Rosana D. Resende was born in Rhode Island and spent most of her childhood in Brazil. She received a both an undergraduate and a graduate degree from University of Miami and worked for several years as a developmental specialist prior to enrolling at University of Florida for graduate school in cultural anthro pology. She currently lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and son.