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Curly Nikki

Hair & the Politics of “Good Appearance” in Brazil

By January 27th, 202157 Comments

Hair & the Politics of "Good Appearance" in Brazil
via BlackWomenofBrazil

Whenever the topic is the existence of racism in Brazil, usually there are a few consistent reactions.

1) Some Brazilians will consistently claim the belief that racism doesn’t exist in Brazil (“racismo não existe no Brasil”) although studies over the past few decades have made this response appear borderline ridiculous

2) Many Brazilians will proclaim another common catch-phrase that “We are all equal (Somos todos iguais)” which is to say that when a racist incident occurs, people share their belief that this type of behavior shouldn’t exist and that in some ways it is almost un-Brazilian

3) The acceptance that racism does indeed exist but at least it is not as bad as in the United States

4) Amongst some scholars, there is a kind of tacit belief that American styled racism is more blatant while its counterpart in Brazil is more subtle.

Well, in the past week, two incidents occurred that would again put into question or obliterate this perception to whoever subscribes to this belief about race relations in Brazil. These two incidents have been a part of Brazilian social etiquette and mores for many decades and are inextricably connected.

Up until about 1950, advertisements for employment opportunities in Brazilian newspapers would blatantly declare that potential employers had a preference for hiring persons of white skin. Typically, the ad in those times would read “prefere-se branca (i.e. we prefer white women or a white person), but starting around 1950, increasingly, ads would use the code term “boa aparência”, meaning good appearance, i.e. persons whose appearance didn’t denote African ancestry. As people became more conscious of racism, the use of the term “boa aparência” attempted to shift from a more explicit form of racial preference to a more aesthetic standard but with the same objective: the exclusion of Afro-Brazilians. “Boa aparência” meant that a person shouldn’t possess any of the features associated with persons of African descent, including kinky hair, dark skin, wide noses, etc.

Although the use of the term “boa aparência” was supposed to be outlawed as of the late 1980s, two recent occurences show that laws cannot eliminate racist attitudes. The first incident occured on December 1st at a bus stop in the Pavuna neighborhood of the city of Rio de Janeiro where the following words were publicly displayed in an ad (please refer to the ad displayed at top of page):

“We need professional white persons of good appearance, with tools that know how to do the following type of work: Hydrolic technician, Gas technician, Electrician, Stonemason, Tiler, Painter that knows how to plaster, Assistant (to the above) “If you have all of requirements, you only need to get in direct contact with Russo.
ONLY WHITES, 7550-7124”

At the bottom of the ad, the words “Só brancos (only whites)” stood alone, bolded and underlined.

The second incident which was reported the following day happened on the one of the campuses of the college, Colégio Internacional Anhembi Morumbi in the São Paulo neighborhood of Brooklin located on Michigan street. According to Ester Elisa da Silva Cesário, a black woman that started working in the marketing sector of the school on November 1st, she was told that the director of the school wanted to meet with her in her office. In the days leading to the meeting, she continuously received messages that she should tie up her hair and avoid walking through hallways. In the meeting, the director asked: “How can you represent the college with this kinky hair? The standard here is straight hair.”

The director went on to say how “bad” the woman’s hair was and that she needed to straighten it in order to maintain the school’s standards. Cesário also said that after she revealed the details of the meeting with other workers at the college, she began to receive threats. The workers stood in solidarity with her and detailed that after the incidents, they found Cesário in the bathroom in tears.

Cesário went on to say that after all of this happened, she got dressed to leave and when she was leaving, the director stepped in front of her at the door and said, “Be careful who you talk to here because I have 20 years here in this college and you just started. Life is very difficult, you will still hear many bad things and you have to be able to handle this.”

When the university was told of the incident that was reported to the Racial Crime and Offenses of Intolerance department of a police station in São Paulo, a representative of the school’s law department said the school hadn’t received any notification of the incident. He denied the existence of prejudice and went on the say that “the college protects its image and advocating ‘good appearance’ refers to the use of uniforms and hair that is tied down.”

Regarding the incident, a lawyer for the Geledés Instituto da Mulher Negra (Institute of Black Women) says that the expression “good apperance” remains in common usage still today:

“The standard is tall, slim, white women with light eyes. This is what “good apperance” means. And excluding from the job market because of this requirement is very painful, it disrespects the law, it disrespects the Constitution and disrespects human rights.”

The lawyer went on to say that:

“The assailant always waits for the moment when the victim is alone so that there are no witnesses, but the scars are deep. He prejudice is so damaging that it denies fundamental rights, excludes, carries stigmas and the person feels humiliated and violated. When the assailant realizes the extent of the ddamage, they try to minimize it, saying ‘it was not quite like this, you misunderstod me, I don’t discriminate, in my family, my grandmother was black.”

Speaking of the emotional affects of the incident, Cesário said she got to the point where she “felt like trash and stayed two days locked inside of the house without eating or drinking. (You) think of suicide, you think that you’re ugly and feel like a monster.”

In her interactions with the director, Cesário says that she doesn’t wear her hair out anymore and:

“When I am in her presence I feel inferior, ashamed, embarrassed with my head hanging down. It is the only reaction I have to the offense and lack of respect in relation to me and my color.”

When I mentioned this incident to a black female contact in São Paulo who is a hair stylist, she also confirmed that this is the rule in Brazil. She too wears her natural but this is only because she works in the hair industry. If she were to work in another field of work, she knows that she would have to do something else with her hair in order to conform to Brazil’s European standard of beauty.

So, in regards to the question of whether Brazil is racist or not, I think the answer to this is quite obvious. But is Brazil more racist, less racist or equally racist as it’s northern neighbor, the United States? Well, the verdict is still out on that.


  • Anonymous says:

    I see a lot of parallels in the experiences of Afro-Brazilians, and Afro-Americans (in both countries, I speak of the indigenous/native Black populations specifically).

    In the US, African-Americans were forcibly removed from their often thriving communities, their homes razed, their businesses looted by Whites. In most cases, whites kept the homes and businesses for themselves after threatening the lives of Afro-Americans that if they did not evacuate their homes and communities, they would be killed in masse. Whites continue to live on this stolen land and in these stolen homes, and operate these stolen businesses to this day.

    The state itself forcibly removed Afro-Americans from their land when they wanted to create public projects, always avoiding the land of the white population. This can be seen in the case of Central Park, which costs millions to live around today – but was once a thriving community of Afro-Americans. That land belongs to the Afro-American population but it was ceased by the state, never to be returned. Now, whites live there.

    In Brazil, Afro-Brazilians are up against the razing of their candomble temples by state officials who have no "official" permission to do this razing. Yet they do it and get away with it.

    In the US, Afro-Americans are consistently pushed out of their own communities, through systematic means and witht he complete aide and complicity of the media. (Park Slope, Harlem, the south east coast in which our people are systematically removed from their homes and the land of their ancestors, their graves and homes replaced with "retirement plantations". Blacks who are monied stand idly by and watch it all go down and say nothing. Yet, we all talk about hair at length.

    In Brazil, Afro-Brazilians are systematically marginalized and pushed back to the favelas and out of their own homes and communities.

    The false illusion is that many believe that Afro-Americans have it so well. That's because you're dealing with more monied folk, and have a skewed perception of what exactly is taking place.

    In this post, Cesario is confronted about her hair at a school. This has happened to countless Black women in professional settings in the US and CONTINUES TO THIS DAY. Also, that idiotic Chicago anchorwoman who claimed her hair might "frighten or startle" viewers, and asked them to vote as to whether or not she should have the right to not chemically alter her hair. This is the ish our folks are up against in the US; I see parallels of this in Cesario's story in Brazil, and many others.

    So our experiences are really not that different. But the perception people have of the Afro-American experience is flawed, skewed, and based on lack of true experience and education.

    Ironically, the same can be said for the experience of Afro-Brazilians. They are promoted as a "rainbow country", but there's nothing rainbow about the ish our people in Brazil are up against.

    Bless you, beloved people of the diaspora.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anon 7:49, Brazil's slavery/genocide was officially outlawed in 1888. In the US, it was 1865 "officially", but it continued for years afterward and still continues. First, in the form of prison slave labor, which the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution permits, unbeknownst to most people, if the person was locked up and incarcerated:

    “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…” (13th Amendment, US Constitution)

    This is why since the time, of abolition, whites imprison African-Americans en masse. The same exact system continues to this day, where African-Americans are incarcerated in disproportionate numbers, numbers that are mathematically impossible, unless you're deliberately targeting and incarcerating them.

    African-Americans were once the smallest minority in prisons. Now, they make up a deliberate majority in the prisons and are used to build railroads, maintain highways, manufacture goods (including license plates), and are often used as “outsourced labor” for privately-owned companies who pay the prisons themselves (not the prisoners) for to free slave labor.

    The system continues today and is alive and well, but Black people in the US and in other countries thing Blacks in the US are “free” and have “opportunities”. This speaks to the complete lack of education and awareness on everyone's part.

  • Anonymous says:

    Brazil was the last place to abolish slavery, 1833 I think. This is not surprising at all. If you don't want your feelings hurt, don't go there. I watched the Henry Louis Gates documentary "Black in Latin America" like one of the other forum posters, and it made me sick!! Brazil is becoming more and more involved in the global economy, and they will be forced to change their ways. But who are we kidding, even in India they have a caste system based on the color of your skin!!! If you are African-American why would you want to go there and add any money to the economy??? It's bad enough that we contribute to what's happening here in the U.S.!!
    Black is BEAUTIFUL, and they can't handle the TRUTH!!

  • Hxyzyn says:

    "it's just a way to keep victims from taking out revenge and letting the offenders off free"

    That doesn't read right, I meant "it's just a way to keep victims from taking out revenge and a way of letting the offenders off free"

  • Hxyzyn says:

    @ Anon 2:05, yea, I agree, people always want to deter acts of revenge by saying "God will punish" or something about Karma, blah blah…it's just a way to keep victims from taking out revenge and letting the offenders off free. All victims get is an alleged guarantee of future punishment from some deity

    I hear more horror stories from black people about countries like Egypt, Brazil, and Libya where people will publicly say "There is no racism here!" but at the same time openly harass black individuals, taunt them, beat them, etc. Like it's normal or expected. I will take the U.S. closet racism over the daily blatant racism and physical assaults in other countries any day. Not saying the U.S. doesn't have blatant racism against blacks, but at least it's publicly decried and looked down upon here instead of being normalized and accepted.

  • Anonymous says:


    Don't know about all that, given the centuries of horrific behavior certain groups have had to endure with no apparent retribution in sight for the foreseeable future.
    Sometimes, I think the concept of karma is a way to keep violent crimes and vengeful acts to a minimum. Lol!

  • Anonymous says:

    this is crazy because in my sociology class we just went over brazil and racism and their huge involvement in slave trade.

  • Lorian says:

    @ Tab and Anonymous 12:51…silent racism is the worst kind! I'd rather you tell me up front that you don't like me instead of being devious behind my back or thinking you're pulling a fast one on me. I understand the need to give people no other choice except to acknowledge that you are the best, BUT the fact that we have to do that is racist. Mediocre work can still take non-blacks soaring to the top while we must shed blood, sweat and tears. We must neglect ourselves and our families in the name of proving ourself over and over and over. Even after your mother had proved herslef, she was still met with contention. That IS A BIG PROBELM! You don't think so?

  • Bianca says:

    This makes me so sad,and it is a stain on the beautiful culture of Brazil! I would like to express my support for Ms. Cesario. You are beautiful, no matter how your boss and society treats you!
    Take consolation in the existence of KARMA…God don't like folks who act UGLY!

  • Anonymous says:

    Very sad but not surprised. I am currently living in Hong Kong, it's supposed a very "progressive" country but you wouldn't believe the amount of products they have in the stores that promote skin whitening. Many familiar products that we use in the US are sold here and throughout Asia with whitening in the name. Forget trying to find any type of product for black women here let alone a natural haired one.
    There are even foods in restaurants that are supposed to make your skin white. Even though the population is Chinese most of the commercials on TV or on billboards show a European model or an Asian that looks European with no ethnic features. The only blacks you see are from TV shows imported from the US, or ads from large international companies. White is definitely right in Asia and all over the world. I haven't been to Brazil but it seems like the game is the same everywhere. When I walk with my asian co-workers, especially the males we get such dirty looks and blatant whispers and stares. Sometimes I stare back and smile and that usually unnerves them but most of the time i just ignore it.
    I wish I could tell Ms. Cesario to just ignore it but I know it's very hard to function when you know you are being judged for being yourself, all I can tell her is to walk with her head held high because she has done nothing wrong, and know that there are people who are praying for her and her success because that is the best revenge.

  • Anonymous says:

    that is a shame. Brazilian women have beautiful hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Brazil needs to get the memo!! Dayyyyum.

  • Anonymous says:

    The Civil Rights Act here in the States is one of the most powerful, hard won laws in the world. But racism in the US goes through changes. Nowadays, even the tea baggers know enough not to say how much they hate Black people because they know that's asking for trouble. So this new breed of racist here does everything but say it by screaming about these mythical race cards (I still haven't received mine in the mail), saying people who acknowledge racism are racists, and claiming they didn't know the n-word and Black caricatures are offensive-insanity. If you want your blood pressure to go up read some of the news online message boards–some of these people are so insecure and hateful their thought processes are impaired. And totally obsessed with the targets of their venom. Look at how they tried to vilify Michelle Obama, and when that got old Black women in general became a more focused target–often by Black males trying to score brownie points somewhere. When you don't fit into boxes it truly makes some folks lose their damn minds.

    I have often heard many Blacks in Latin America refer to themselves by nationality first. As a Black American I know a blond, blue eyed foreigner with a thick acccent is viewed as more American than me and my family who have been here for generations. That's ok for me, cuz I'm proud of how Black people historically have stood up in this country and many wonder how we are still here. I was floored when I found out there were Native American tribes who enslaved Black people, yet slavery and genocide did not destroy us as it has others. That strength confuses a lot of people, I believe.

    I don't believe racists they think they're superior, either. They spend so much energy into belittling others just to convince themselves–Re: the lady above who mentioned her hotel experience. Those ignorant white women NEED to believe a Black woman (most likely attractive and well dressed) with the European bf is a whore, so they can feel better about themselves. And it's hard to believe in 2011 there are people so diseased they would post a job notice sign like the one shown above. My heart goes out to Ms. Cesario. I wish she knew this woman she works with is a confused demon that is trying to destroy her spirit. But we're only human so I understand Ms. Cesario's despair and loneliness.

  • Cherry says:

    Any country that was 'colonized' (enslaved) by Europe has issues with people of African descent. I find that countries that have a large Black population internalize it worse than in American since we had the Civil War & Segregation which to a degree was 'good' for African Americans. We knew where we stood 'one drop' and that no matter how light you are your still black. Often in foreign countries where they got their 'freedom' they never got over the colonial standards/racism. So they instead deemed beauty as close to white (features, hair texture, etc) with the 'white' blacks being at the top of the ladder and the rest put at the bottom. That way they are able to feel superior and take over the vacuum of the white/European masters.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm a black Brazilian and I live in Brazil. Unfortunately, this is all true. There's a lot of racism here. Sociologists like saying that a rich black will not be exposed to racism, but that's not 100% the truth. Although the opposite (poor black ones) are always screwed.

    About Salvador, it's an illusion. There're a lot of black people there, but they are subtly pushed to poor areas. I had a terrible experience in a hotel in Bahia: at that time I was dating a white European man. We went to a high star hotel and the receptionists kept making jokes like "hey, you're here again" as if I was a hooker who took men to that hotel. No matter how many times, I said "that's my first time here" (and it really was, the first an last).

    Natural hair is seen as a feature of poor people. I've been natural for the last 5 years and I must say the reactions are terrible. People don't respect the fact that you want to accept yourself.

    I've had the chance to visit other countries, including USA. I can't say if Brazil is more racist, but at least in North America black people have lots of opportunities and they seem to be proud of themselves. Here, we are still tying to be someone else.

    Concluding, big cities has their part in the play, but small cities are the evil (including small towns in São Paulo). My sister once went to Limeira (SP interior) and had hard times to get a job. On account of her color, she only got jobs related to cleaning. Well, sorry for my English, this matter makes me so passionate.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ahh! Ergo "brazilian blow out"!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Anon 5:05pm
    Your experience in Brazil is a sad one, but not surprising. This same thing does still happen in America, only not as openly as it used to. Me and some of my black friends of who are educated as high as one can go in the educational process and who are in "traditionally white professions" are frequently looked at as an anomaly. Sadly, with the lack of focus and interest on education (and extreme emphasis on sports and entertainment), I suspect that we will start to experience this more frequently. I have even experienced this attitude from some black people. Sad.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think someone should email this article to the Brazilian Embassy and see how they respond.

  • Miss Rizos says:

    I can totally relate to this article. However I have been told that in the northern part of Brazil in Salvador Bahia there is a greater acceptance of Blackness and Afro heritage. I am from the Dominican Republic and I often experience things of this nature, but have found an incredible community both here in the DR, here on and all over the world who defend and celebrate black women. I encourage you to propose a get together of other women who wear their natural hair and start showing them images of women from around the world who wear their natural hair and who are fabulous and fly! Hope Cesario is reading this now, we love and support you! You are not a monster, you are beautiful!

    There are natural communities from Brazil on FB there is one calle eu amo meu cabelo.


  • Anonymous says:

    Agree! Paul Mooney is very deep and unafraid.

  • Anonymous says:

    i recently returned to my country (a Caribbean island) after 8months studying in Brazil and i will never in my life return there. i gringed after reading this article because i know how blatantly racial this country is.i never went out much because no matter where i went everyone would stare, they refused to sit next to me in the buses most of the time. it was horrible. and most black or coloured brazilians will say to you that their country is racist but only in the privacy of their homes. one of my Brazilian white friend said to me "They stare at you because you are different(you have money and you are educated and have nice clothes), most coloured or black brazilians are bandits, uneducated and poor." and this hurt so much because i never knew that one's skin tone could define one's destiny. Brazilians focus on everything from skin tone to hair texture, colour of lips and eyes, also nose structure. if u want to experience Brazil dont go for a vacation, go and LIVE THERE. i pray that this will stop one day because its a counrty that has a lot of potential.

  • Moonchyldcrab82 says:

    @ Anon 2:48, Paul Mooney goes IN. He does a lot of racial comedy and some people probably describe him as crass but don't disregard the message because you don't care for the messenger. I've caught him live a couple times and he can be downright PROFOUND. One of the most underrated comedians…

  • Anonymous says:

    The Isis Papers by Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing ( a black psychiatrist) attempts to address the psychological roots of racism. IT is a very interesting read.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anon 2:40pm. You are so right about the psychological roots of racism. What's fascinating is what makes one country become so psychologically disfunctional that its gov't finds it perfectly acceptable to simply float over to another country, put a flag down and fight/kill the indigenous people to claim the land. After that, they proceed to claim the minds, hearts and souls of whoever is left.
    The thought that drives me mad, is HOW and WHY did people allow this to happen?? SMDH

  • Anonymous says:

    @Female, I often wonder the same thing, Why are Black people shunned upon? I thought about this long and hard 1 day and it dawned on me that people hated Jesus, people hate Christians, people hate prayer in school, people hate Black people. But why? I think anything that is "Blessed" by God is hated. That's just the way I look at it. People hate Israel, why? Wasn't that nation blessed by God? I feel they know something "We" don't know. Whatever it is, they hate it and try to make us feel bad about ourselves. Think about it, some of the other nationalities don't "like" us but do everything in their power to be like us. Like getting bigger butts, tanning they're skin, perming they're hair, botox shots for fuller lips, they are even dating Black men. I don't understand. If I didn't like someone or something I wouldn't do anything that would make me look like them, act like them, and darn sure wouldn't date them. There's more behind this than we know.

  • Anonymous says:

    Pathetic, but not surprising.

    Perhaps one day, the reality of the sickness of racism will sink in. Until then, you will see this kind of nonsense and the pathology it breeds in society. The U.S. is certainly not immune. I shudder to think of the long term consequences of the rapidly declining strength of the black family and community. Yes, there are laws against racism and racist acts, however, you cannot legislate what exists in someone's heart and mind. Black folk need to turn inward and work on ourselves- start to revere family, education, health, modesty and humility more than we do.

  • Anonymous says:

    I watched a bit of a segment on youtube with Paul Mooney. He said there are some things that are considered "too black", but there is no such thing as "too white". Hmmmmmmmm…….

  • Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 12:38 PM Salvador, Brazil Is More Accepting Because It Has A Bigger African Population So I Would Say It's Never A Mistake There. Rio Was Cool For Me But I Guess An Extended Stay & If I Was Fluent Enough To Catch Certain Things Would Eventually Change My Thoughts On There.

    Anonymous 2:20 PM It's Because White Skin & Blond/Straight Hair Is The Minority That It's Coveted And Then The Whole Power, Wealth, Trying To Claim The World Thing That Took Place.

  • MsPooh says:

    I'm not saddened. I'm angry. Nobody is going to make me feel bad because I'm black, because I've got kinky hair, or for any other reason. I suppose it's the lack of recourse that really makes a person feel helpless, then worthless. So, then, I suppose my bravado comes from living in the US. There are laws and there is protection against racism (for now). Overall, I'm with Anonymous @ 1:39 p.m.–"Let someone try and say something to me!" I wish somebody would! (Guess I'll go calm down now…)

  • Anonymous says:

    Funny this is that the darker "naturally tanned" Brazilians are sometimes quick to refer to their ancestors who are white. Just saying. I could be wrong, but I believe that Pele (football player) was of that persuasion.

  • Anonymous says:

    Apparently I was unknown to how most of the world viewed African/black/darker skinned people and kinky/curly hair. What is truly funny to me is how most of the world has tanned skin and textured hair. You have countries like Russia where it gets extremely cold and have fairly white skin, but most of earths population has darker (tanned) skin and curly hair (without being treated of course). I am really curious has to who came up with the rule that white skin and bone straight hair ruled over darker/tanned skin and textured hair?

  • Livy says:

    Yea almost nobody likes Black people and I am yet to figure out why we are the most hated race.

  • Anonymous says:

    I knew there was subtle racism in Brazil but I must say I am shocked by this type of blatant racism. This is just so horrible. When I hear stories like this, I first feel angry, then frustrated, then sad and depressed. It seems like no matter what one does or how hard one works, one still is just not good enough simply because of color of skin. I try to live my life oblivious to all of the racists and haters out there but it is increasingly difficult. I keep saying live the change you want to see. Live the world you want to see. That's the only way I can deal with ethnic hatred and racism, no matter where it originates.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow! Very sad, but I'm not surprised. Will be traveling to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and I have every intention of rocking my natural hair. Let someone try and say something to me! LOL.

  • Tab says:

    I agree that there is a lot of racism in the United States but comparable to Brazil, I don't think so. The fact is that with racism being so silent in the US I think black people in general are more quick to pull the race card in any situation. Sometimes that isn't the case and since it can't be proven or disproved people automatically attribute situations not in their favor to the racism clutch. If you're up for a promotion make sure they have no other choice before you assume its because you're black. My mom had the most overtly racist boss once and aside from him she was the highest paid person there because she was the best and she gave him no choice.

  • Anonymous says:

    honestly I don't think the U.S. needs to worry about this kind of racism becoming a real problem. If anything the reverse will happen. Every country in the world looks to the United States for trends or whats popular, cool, etc. Once Brazil and other countries like it see how natural hair in this country is accepted watch and see how it becomes more accepted in other countries…it won't happen over night but eventually it will be more widely accepted. The funny thing is I get the MOST and best compliments from white people about my hair, and I definitely agree with another commenter said- if any Brazilian comes to the U.S. white skin or not they will still be treated as an immigrant and be made fun of, not hired, discriminated against or what have you. If you have an accent thats not European trust me you are automatically less of a factor in this country!

  • Anonymous says:

    To your last question: does it matter? Any racism at all is unacceptable. The way we carry on, one could come to the conclusion that it is the victim of racism that should be ashamed, not the perpetrators.

    I am getting tired of all this, so unbelievable tired.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not entirely surprised, for many of the reasons already stated. However, Brazil is a very large country so I would like to know whether this overtly racist sentiment is more prevalent in the larger cities like Rio and Sao Paolo, just like how here in the US you may find this overt racism in some of the smaller towns, whereas it would be less accepted in larger cities.

    I admit that I've never been to Brazil (and truly hesitate to do so now-I had planned on going with a friend next May), but a friend of mine had spent 6 weeks in Salvador in the spring, and my understanding was that his experience was quite different as he saw more of an appreciation of African culture and ancestry.

    I would love to read other first-hand experiences, so I know for sure whether I should bother buying my ticket. I won't support anything that doesn't support and uplift us. Thank you.

  • Pecancurls says:

    Sadly, it does not surprise me. I recall seeing the documentary Black in Latin America by Professor Skip Gates and similar attitudes were pervasive throughout. There are some small pockets of resistance emerging, but they are still small. Hopefully they can grow and their voices can be heard. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

  • Anonymous says:

    I heard there is a growing Black Movement in Brazil. More and more people are identifying as "Black." If so, I really hope that they can tackle this insanity of disdain toward people of African descent especially since it was the African people who helped give Brazil its unique culture (FOOD, MUSIC, CAPOIERA, BEAUTY, SPORTS) that it is today.

    The whole promotion of "white skin, blond hair" as the beauty standard stems from insecurity of white Brazilians themselves. They are trying to culturally export themselves as a "white" nation when that could not be any further from the truth. I honestly think that if Brazil could turn this standard upside-down, white Brazilians would physically combust.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with C Elliott at 10:25 above.

    OMG this is freakin' scary. Let this be a warning to us kinky-naturals!

    This resurgence of overt discrimination in Brasil is a portent, a warning, whisper in the wind of what may happen in America.

    Let's be honest – we must be aware that silence does not mean acceptance when it comes to Afro-textured hair in the workplace.

    I have 4c coils – and while I receive compliments on my hair, I still feel an intangible "resistance" from some individuals.

    I plan to graduate from college in May, and I am not naive enough to interveiw with my 4c coils in anything less than a conservative style. No – I will not straighten my coils, but I am not going to interview with a BAA.

    Anonymous at 11:28 am stated these "kinds of nitpicky classifications" are limited to Brasilians. IMHO, it's everyone and everywhere, so don't let your guard down or you're going to get your feelings hurt.

  • Anonymous says:

    i strongly agree with this,brazil and other latin countries think light is rite.brazil is my country neighbour in the south (guyana),we dont speak spanish.we speak english.even in my country light skinned people r more desired or admired

  • Anonymous says:

    Latina countries are blatently racist. On venezuelan television all you see are white latina women. By watching tv, youd think there arent any black hispanics. You got people like eva longoria being called negra and fella and shes very light.

  • Lee says:

    This is truly sad…

  • Anonymous says:

    Pretty sure it's Brazil that came up with all kinds of nitpicky classifications for people with even the merest fraction of African and/or indigenous ancestry. Fascinating…in a Sick Sad World (tm Daria) kind of way…

  • Anonymous says:

    I just think it's funny how the pale ones do things to enhance their features surgically to look like us and act like us, sit in the sun to get tan and then try to act like us. But we are constantly told we are ugly for gifts that we possess naturally.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just goes to show that ignorance and foolishness cross all geographic boundaries.

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    Very sad. I'm sure if those white people of brazil were to go to the U.S, they will still get picked on and become a victim of racism. Once a person hears an accent that sounds like spanish, they will call them a mexican or something else to try and let them down.
    But this is some crazy stuff

  • Anonymous says:

    I traveled to Brazil for an extended stay and I was struck by the admiration for all things white and blond. I was traveling with a group of white americans and they would fall all over the white women with us. In the mean time, I was wearing micro braids and they told me I looked like Whooi Goldberg (Im not dissing her), BUT I am very tall, very light and very thick! I guess all black folks look alike.

  • Anonymous says:

    Brazil = one of the most criminalized countries in the world. Enough said, I think the last thing they should be worrying about is how "good" appearance is and more about who's trafficking what.

  • C Elliott says:

    This is crazy. I cant say whether they are more or less racist than America. Here in America we have laws that prohibit blatant discrimination, but that doesnt mean racism doesnt exist. Your employer may not confront you to straighten your hair, but you may get passed up for promotions, or not hired at all… The racisms here are different from abroad because it is mostly undercover…

  • Anonymous says:

    Good article. I am not surprised. People in Latin American countries like to pretend that it's culture above race, that they are ALL Latin American and are all equal. It's such BS.

  • amber says:

    This story really breaks my heart.

  • Anonymous says:

    I happen to work at a place where there are a lot of Brazilians, and articles like this make me wonder… This makes me mad!!! But it also makes me happy that I have not run into this kind of crap. Most white people think that my hair is beautiful and have never said anything disparaging to me. I'm so glad that I'm natural and that I will be able to teach my daughter that she is beautiful.

  • Anonymous says:

    The "standard" is Gisele Bundchen, which is a shame since it's making people into cookie cutters

  • Elaine.D says:

    What a shame…this is sooo sad.

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