sexta-feira, 10 de outubro de 2008

One Brazilian's perspective

An interesting thing happened at a seminar the other day. The topic had nothing to do with contemporary politics - it was about the Count dos Arcos, one of the last colonial governors of Bahia, Brazil. However, when praising Portugal (the Count was Portuguese and one of his descendants was present), a speaker at the event claimed that Brazilian race relations are better than those in the US because the Portuguese did not establish Jim Crow laws or Apartheid. That argument (based on Gilberto Freire's theory that Brazil is a "racial Paradise") has been debunked long ago, and I might have overlooked that because, after all, the idea was to sing Portugal's praises, and as the moderator, I had to be diplomatic (the audience didn't, however - at least two people criticised him harshly for alleging that there's no racism in Bahia, the state with the largest population of African descent in Brazil).

But then the speaker used Obama's candidacy as an example of Brazil's superiority in regard to race relations - because if Obama should win, and he probably will, the speaker (a prominent scholar from São Paulo) believes the US will become a powderkeg, ready to explode! At the time, I thought that was silly, but seeing the way McCain and his proxies are stirring up mob hatred, trying to associate Obama with terrorism and stressing his middle name (which, by the way, was also the name of a staunch US ally, the late King Hussein of Jordan), he may have had a point.

Here's to President Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., and a peaceful transition to a post-racial society. Then, Brazilians might have to start thinking how they could improve in that regard.
--Sabrina Gledhill

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