2/18 Film: Madame Satã (2002)
2/20: James N. Green, Beyond Carnival, Introduction and ch. 2 “Sex and Nightlife, 1920-1945,” (pp1-16, 62-106). (BB)
Homosexuality was complicated in Brazil during the 30s. Scholars maintained a weird classification system stayed in place where one gay male acted as the penetrator (the more male of the two) while another was the receiver (the fairy). The country also had false moments of acceptance, where it seemed like gay culture was accepted during Carnival but then the police didn’t solve homosexual murders and would harass and beat them. This seemed to evolve later once the 60s past. Madame Sata slated Joao as a more as the penetrator, which the reading says was not completely true. Joao also was an anomaly, accepting both positions according to the reading but also being the violent and very “masculine.” The film choosing only to display the more masculine side of Joao was a weird choice to me however. On one hand, you have a homosexual male stuck in a dilapidated environment exceeding gay stereotypes, but at the same time you really don’t see the complexities of the character since in real life, he also received.
2/11 Film: Bus 174
The film showcased race and subsequent class struggles by diving into Sandro’s past. It showed how his progression through various stages of drug addiction, homelessness and violence made him basically hold people on the bus hostage. I really liked how the filmmakers interviewed other street kids, sociologists and cops about the situation. The media’s role in sensationalizing the incident and making Sandro seem like a drug addicted monster was an interesting aspect of the film as well. What really shocked me though were the conditions kids were living in. I’ve never been out of the country before, so seeing the way impoverished children lived in Brazil was pretty eye-opening. Them running away from their families, their families seemingly not trying to find them is something pretty foreign and speaks to the different ways Brazilians value families.
2/6 State Control and Racial Violence
R.S. Rose, The Unpast: Elite Violence and Social Control in Brazil, 1954-2000 (2006)
Chs 1-4 (pgs 1-198)
The fact that most Brazilians thought that all drug traffickers and such were non-whites did not surprise me. Also the author relating Brazil’s military leaders with a bunch of “know-it alls with weapons,” was a very good point, since they were basically executioners of the government’s wishes. Goutart being assassinated because he gave the poorer people hope helped contribute to her statement. Literacy being used as a way to separate the lower and upper classes made me think how that was not the case for the U.S. at all during that time. Since Brazil didn’t really have forceful Jim Crow laws, using literacy to separate classes to finally make a group of people lower than another seemed dastardly effective. In the U.S. a lot of people could read, but whatever race you were determined how society viewed you and you class in a way as well.
Carl Degler, “The Roots of Difference” (1986)
Baltimore Afro-American, “Opportunities in Brazil: South American Country Offers First Hand Knowledge of Solving of the Race Question” (1916)
Recommended: W.E.B. DuBois, “Brazil” (1914)
Florestan Fernandes, “The Negro Problem in a Class Society 1951-1960” (1969)
The idea of the “mulatto escape hatch,” Degler presented was very convoluted and contradictory. The fact that mulattos could escape from certain things in society that “full” blacks were subjected to in different countries made the U.S. seem like a villain. In the U.S., if you were had black in you, you were basically black, with the exception of the weird South Carolina case Diegler pointed out. But then in Brazil and Jamaica (who basically wrote the Mulatto escape hatch into law), if you were part black you weren’t always subjugated to the legal racism prevalent in the U.S. Also, the U.S. and Brazil comparisons of acknowledging mulatto offspring were eye-opening as well. If a white man had a mixed baby in the U.S., those kids were still subjected to slavery before it was abolished and the rest of racist rules existing in society. For Brazil, it was more of a case by case basis where some white fathers treated their mulatto babies like their own white children or threw them into the field with the other slaves. The Baltimore African-American reading made a weird point saying that it might be better for U.S. blacks to move to Brazil. The brief reading said black men would have more opportunities in Brazil and since they elected a mulatto president and congressmen, the country must be more equal. This reading completely disregards everything we have been reading about how Brazil constantly remains dumbfounded as to how to classify themselves and make their whites seem superior to the increasing mulatto population.
1/30 Gilberto Freyre, “Brazilian National Character in the Twentieth Century” (1967); “A Consideration of the Problem of Brazilian Culture” (1943); “Brazilian Melting Pot”
It felt like in “Brazilian Melting Post,” Freyre tried to trivialize Native Brazilians conforming to standards white settlers forced upon them when they came. His conclusion about most of Brazils problems stemming from class antagonisms makes me think about how in the Davila readings, Brazilians had a hard time picking a skin color for a statue, which seemed to place racial issues at the forefront of their society and not class issues. Brazil seemed like a country that accepted a lot of different types of people placing their customs and cultures into their own lives and others, but it still struggled with distinguishing which race was more important. That was made more difficult when a good amount of the population was mixed with “something.”
1/21 Thomas Skidmore, “Racial Ideas and Social Policy In Brazil, 1870-1940” (1990)
I did not know Brazil had problems with Nazi-thought through the Integralists or that the country has a sizable number of German and Italian speaking immigrants. The new generation of intellectuals during the1930s raised important issues with this saying that since Brazil maintains a heterogenous ethnic formation, relaying racist ideas would be dangerous to the country. I originally thought that many Nazis fled to Brazil after they lost the war, but maybe that will be addressed in future readings? I want to know more about if runaway Nazis found a home in Brazil after the war as well.