Monday May 26:
After our Portuguese class this morning we had a lecture on Affirmative Action with instructor Fernando Conceicao. Mainly speaking on the black movement in contemporary Brazilian society we discussed how social problems in Brazil stem from the slavery system. Brazilian tv ads, magazines, etc portray north European/ Portuguese people, yet the entire Brazilian population is a combination of African Americans, the indigenous peoples, and Portuguese. It is a fight for social equality among races which is not very different than here in the US. I never realized how much segregation and degradation was apart of Brazilian society, but it makes sense since they have the same roots as the US and we all know what sort of path we took to get where we are today. It is harder to combat racism in Brazil because Brazil is technicaly a “racial democracy”. There is no admission of racism in Brazil because it wasn’t written politically into law like the US.
The black movement in works today argue that “race” is political terminology and not biologically correct (anthropologically the idea of “race” is completely invalid since humans are one species in which skin color is just an adapted trait due to surroundings and living environments). To bring awareness to the issues involving racism this movement has filed a lawsuit against the Brazilian government for 6.5 trillion US dollars in which the government owes their unpaid ancestral slaves. The idea would be to divide this money amongst all descendants of African and Mestizo for the work their ancestors did…but in reality the simple declaration of this lawsuit will bring attention to their cause and hopefully gather support.
We had soup again for dinner, BUT I must mention that before our lecture Ana made me and Sam a traditional Bahian meal for lunch.It included a fish stew (bones and heads and all), vatapa (a shrimp puree), and caruru (shrimp and okra), and for dessert she had bought us cocada which is a candied coconut thing…I’m not really sure to be honest. We also had Manguza… still not exactly sure what that was either but they were delicious.