Race in Brazil – Affirming a divide

Race in Brazil – Affirming a divide

Black Brazilians are much worse off than they should be. But what is the best way to remedy that?

Jan 28th 2012 | RIO DE JANEIRO | from the Economist

IN APRIL 2010, as part of a scheme to beautify the rundown port near the centre of Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic games, workers were replacing the drainage system in a shabby square when they found some old cans. The city called in archaeologists, whose excavations unearthed the ruins of Valongo, once Brazil’s main landing stage for African slaves.

From 1811 to 1843 around 500,000 slaves arrived there, according to Tânia Andrade Lima, the head archaeologist. Valongo was a complex, including warehouses where slaves were sold and a cemetery. Hundreds of plastic bags, stored in shipping containers parked on a corner of the site, hold personal objects lost or hidden by the slaves, or taken from them. They include delicate bracelets and rings woven from vegetable fibre; lumps of amethyst and stones used in African worship; and cowrie shells, a common currency in Africa.

It is a poignant reminder of the scale and duration of the slave trade to Brazil. Of the 10.7m African slaves shipped across the Atlantic between the 16th and 19th centuries, 4.9m landed there. Fewer than 400,000 went to the United States. Brazil was the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, in 1888.    more 

— Post #1075

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 02/03/2012 at 9:38 am

    This is a very thought-provoking article – I’m provoked! It seems to me, while our neighbours, the Brazilians, are trying to decide if this is racism like they have in the USA, or something else – the rich are getting richer and running all the way to the bank. Up here in Canada, Jean Swanson believes poverty is legislated.

    The consensus up here is that the poorest part of the nation shares 6-percent of the wealth, while the richest part share 94-percent. Swanson argues that the general belief that the way to share some of the 94-percent is to get an education and a job; but it is not because there are laws that prevent poor people from getting into the 94-percent. Rather, there are laws that help the rich that don’t help the poor. You have different, or more, choices available to you if you are rich than if you are poor, Swanson asserts. – I agree! -Clyde Duncan

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