quarta-feira, 24 de setembro de 2014

I am brazilian, and you?

All brazilians have their way to explain to a foreign their idea of being brazilian. Most of them will base such explanation on their own experience. I myself define brazilian as a mixture of races and I use my family background as a vivid example of this mixture. On the one hand, my mother's father had an indian background, which means he had a darker skin, straight and black hair. Indians were a native population in Brazil when Portugueses arrived in the XVI century.

On the other hand, my mother´s mother, with her light brown hair, white skin and green eyes, was the daughter of two italians that moved to Brazil in the begining of the XX century, both looking for a better life. Many Italians came in the same period to work in coffee plantation in the state of São Paulo and arrived in the harbour of the city of Santos.

On the other side of my family tree, my father's father was decendent of black Africans. He was originated from Bahia, where is Salvador, the first brazilian capital. The black Africans were brought to Brazil as slaves in the beginning of the XVI century in order to work in sugar plantations in the Northeast. Later on, the slaves worked in gold mines in the state of Minas Gerais. My grandfather ended up moving from Bahia and living in the country side of São Paulo state, in the southwest of the country.

As for my father´s mother, I don´t exactly know her family background, but I suppose she was also the result of centuries of mixture of races and ideologies. Like her I am also brazilian, but I am not white, I am not black, I am not tall, and I am not short. My hair is not too curly, neither straight. My eyes are brown, but they could have been green. I like coffee and soccer, but I have brazilian friends who hate them. I like carnaval, but I know many others who don't like it. As Brazilians, we can define ourselves in many ways, as well as we can feel lost in a world governed by stereotypes.