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Brazil Society History Essay

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Updated: Mar 14th, 2020

In what ways is Brazil a neo-slave society? In what ways do indigenous communities represent a counter-public to this facet of Brazilian society?

Neo-slavery is not only systematic, but is also considered to be deceptive (Warren 49). It is a general exploitation that majority of individuals tend to ignore, since most of them benefit.

Neo-slavery is also considered to be part of the political, economic and social structure shaping today’s societies (Neate & Platt 23). Brazil, in one way or the other, is perceived as a neo-slavery society.

One of these ways includes the fact that it is ridden with poverty, or the fact that majority of its citizens are low income earners.

Because the country is dependent upon aid from foreign countries as well as the rich within the nation, it is somewhat considered to be a slave to such aid (Nava & Lauerhass 59).

Brazil is a modern day society but is still in slavery by not being able to cater to its own basic needs. Indigenous communities tend to represent a counter-public to this particular aspect of Brazilian society in a number of ways.

Poverty, discrimination and loss of land are part of what makes Brazil to be viewed as a neo-slave society (Bowser 101).

As it has been observed in the recent past, indigenous communities living in Brazil have endured and are still enduring a lot of negativity from the rest of the Brazilian population.

Contrary to popular belief that discrimination is no longer in existence, indigenous communities in Brazil are still experiencing it, and are thus also considered to be slaves in a modernized world (O’Daughtery 14).

What are the cultural and material reasons for indigenous resurgence in Minas Gerais?

Resurgence in Minas Gerais took place in the 1980s because the individuals felt that they were being oppressed and discriminated upon by the rest of the Brazilian community (Warren 53).

The Indians who had already inhabited the country were allowed certain privileges such as acquisition of land through legal means, as well as protection of property. This left majority of indigenous individuals landless and poor.

For this reason, the indigenous communities decided to fight back and earn their rights as equals in the land (Neate & Platt 24). Culturally, the Indians had developed, or rather, established their own identity and were recognized as citizens of Brazil.

The indigenous communities, on the other hand, fought to be recognized and identified as natives of Brazil. They also found themselves striving to re-introduce their cultural practices and beliefs that had been overtaken by those of the Indians.

Why might one see indigenous efforts to build their own schools and privilege indigenous mates as racist? Why aren’t they?

One might see indigenous efforts to build their own schools and privilege indigenous mates as racist because their own schools would only incorporate students who are natives and not of any other cultural background or race (Nava & Lauerhass 63).

This would also mean that such schools would teach only subjects relating to their native culture and history. Students in these schools would not be encouraged to embrace other foreign subjects apart from their own.

Contrary to such observation, they are not racist but just trying to establish their own identity as natives in their own country (Bowser 113).

According to Vik Munoz, what is the “poison of Brazil?” Why? How was the art project portrayed in Wasteland a challenge to this poison?

Having been born in Brazil in the year 1961, Vik Muniz initially ventured into sculptures but later focused more on photographic reproductions of his various works (O’Daughtery 15).

Munoz tends to work in series, where his works incorporate sugar, chocolate syrup and dirt to come up with often deceiving, bold and witty images that have been obtained from art history and photojournalism (Warren 58).

The poison that he refers to is the social class hierarchy which tends to oppress those at the bottom, making them non-existent (Neate & Platt 25).

By creating his works from garbage trash, Munoz tries to pass on his message regarding such oppressions as suffered by indigenous communities in Brazil. In his recent documentary, Wasteland, Munoz’s art project was considered a challenge to this poison.

He purposely did this particular piece to show how art can not only open different views and opinions but is also capable of transforming one’s life (Nava & Lauerhass 68).

This documentary was also aimed at changing the lives of garbage collectors in Jardim Gramacho, which is one of the largest landfills in Rio de Janiero (Bowser 116).

Why were the US backed dirty wars in places like Brazil impediments to economic progress?

The US-backed wars in locations such as Brazil were considered to be obstructions to economic progress because by the end of the day, the government had to compensate its losses incurred in the process of the war.

With every war comes devastating consequences such as lack of proper housing, hunger and poverty. This then forces the country’s government to ask for aid from foreign countries within their neighborhood (O’Daughtery 16).

Spending so much money trying to restore the country’s initial status usually costs a lot of money, and this tends to also have a negative impact on a country’s economy. These wars that are often backed by the United States also incorporate drug wars which also affect Brazil’s economy.

How does Brazilian social history compare to Europe over the past two or three centuries?

Brazilian social history consists of intermarriages between diverse ethnic and cultural heritages from the vast population occupying the country (Warren 72). Similar to Europe, Brazil has majority of its population living in the urban regions and has Christianity as its major religion.

There has been numerous cases regarding racial discrimination and this is also no different from Europe, whose history is filled with racial discrimination against the Jews by the Nazis (Neate & Platt 28).

Over the past two or three centuries, Brazil has had a long way to go regarding the issue of class and social status of its citizens.

Europe, on the other hand, prospered earlier on, way before Brazil did, and that is why some of its nations such as Portuguese, were able to colonize Brazil in the course of the 16th Century (Nava & Lauerhass 71).

Additionally, both nations have had and experienced slavery in different forms. While Europe has moved past that, Brazil has transformed to become a Neo-slave country.

How does the Man Who Copied help to undermine economic development in Brazil?

The ‘Man Who Copied’ is a film revolving around a very poor 19 year old boy by the name Andre. Andre resides in Porto Alegre where he has a job as a photocopier operator (Bowser 120).

His neighbor Silvia sells clothes in a local store and Andre instantly becomes attracted to her as he develops a habit of spying with a telescope (O’Daughtery 17). One day, he decides to surprise her by purchasing a dress from her store but realizes that he is not in a position to afford paying for it.

He then decides to use the photocopier to make an exact copy of a brand new 50 dollar bill and once he succeeds in purchasing the dress, he chooses to continue with his vice (Warren 74).

This particular film tends to undermine economic development in Brazil in that it portrays the country as being helplessly poor and can only manage through engaging in various vices to acquire cash (Neate & Platt 29).

It also means that Brazil has no other alternatives to improving its economic status other than carrying out illegal activities which tend to bring more money to the country.

How is culture central to antiracism in Brazil?

Culture is central to antiracism in Brazil in that it tends to promote diversity in a country that is slowly embracing Neo-slavery. The indigenous communities in Brazil have long been undermined and oppressed by the Indians who have apparently taken over the nation (Nava & Lauerhass 72).

Today, the indigenous people are fighting back to regain their long-lost cultural heritage and are encouraging it by building their own schools where their culture can be taught to children.

They are also finding other alternatives to try and curb the problem of poverty through agricultural programs that promote irrigation, and leasing of small pieces of land for agricultural use (Bowser 123).

The produce gotten from such land can then be sold and the indigenous people can earn their money no matter how little.

How does the history of racial policies and practices help to guide antiracism in the US?

The history of racial policies and practices tend to guide antiracism in the United States. Racism has been in existence in the US long before the 1950s where slavery also existed (O’Daughtery 18). Whites were not allowed to mingle or interact with those of racial minority groups, and vice versa.

Soon afterwards, awareness was created regarding issues of equality where the state welcomed the idea. Blacks, Hispanics and others from minority groups could now be enrolled in white schools and universities.

They could also be employed by white firms and also get compensated equally for their work (Warren 77). Such efforts have guided and are still guiding antiracism in the US.

Works Cited

Bowser, Benjamin. Racism and Anti-Racism in World Perspective. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE. 1995. Print.

Nava, Carmen and Lauerhass, Ludwig. Brazil in the Making: Facets of National Identity. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. 2006. Print.

Neate, Patrick and Platt, Damian. Culture is Our Weapon: Making Music and Changing Lives in Rio de Janeiro. New York, NY: Penguin Press. 2006. Print.

O’Daughtery, Maureen. Consumption Intensified: The Politics of Middle Class Daily Life in Brazil. Durham: Duke University Press. 2011. Print.

Warren, Jonathan. Racial Revolutions: Antiracism and Indian Resurgence in Brazil. Durham: Duke University Press. 2001. Print.

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