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Neoslavery and Indigeneous Efforts in Brazil Essay

Neo-slavery in Brazil

Neo-slavery can be defined as full control of a person by another for economic, political, or social purposes. Agriculture in Brazil has been associated with neo-slavery that manifests in many forms. Affluent landowners control and oppress poor workers in four main ways. Debt, Deceit, coercion and violence are ways in which neo-slaves get to harvest sugarcane and clear large tracks of land that favor cattle farming as well as logging.

Notably, Brazil is the largest exporter of sugarcane in the world hence triggers the need for the availability of cheap labor. In this regard, the large number of slaves that are approximately 100000 in Brazil is attributed to economic desire (Vianna 14).

In Brazil, neo-slavery occurs in large agricultural plantations that are in remote areas where the public cannot see. Further, slaves cannot easily escape from their area of work. Neo-slavery in Brazil begins with the hiring of a contractor or foreman by affluent landowners. The contractor who is popularly known as gato recruits poor men from villages and cities. Since poor men are desperate, they fall into trap of contractor who promises them decent wages.

The poor men are transported to plantations that are in remote areas and made to work tirelessly with no pay. They are told that they are forever indebted to land owners since they did not pay for their transport or food. Violence is pronounced as they work under the supervision of armed guards. Indigenous communities counter the practice of neo-slavery in Brazil in two main ways.

The counter-narrative is the most powerful way that is adopted by indigenous communities and refers to the sharing of experiences of neo-slavery. As a result, neo-slavery practice is made known to the public, and the number of people who fall into such traps is reduced. Secondly, indigenous communities support operations initiated by the government of Brazil such as mobile inspection units. For example, in 2005 7000 slaves were saved due to the cooperation of indigenous communities with mobile inspection units (Burrows and Wallace 17).

Indigenous Resurgence

Sociologists have focused on highlighting reasons why there has been an Indian resurgence in Brazil. Brazil’s movements have played a crucial role in promoting antiracism. Many scholars postulate that the demographic transition of an indigenous resurgence in Brazil is founded on cultural and material reasons. Number of Indians in Minas Gerais, who assume their identity is on rapid escalation. Material incentives that are attached to legal rights, is one of the reasons why most Indians want to be self-identified. Legal rights are attached to democracy that is based on the effects of globalization.

It should be noted that indigenous people were exposed to intense maltreatment based on the fact that most of them were slaves. As a result, the government of Minas Gerais is attempting to compensate indigenous people by ensuring that their rights are respected. Land ownership is one of the reasons why Indians want to be identified as indigenous people, as opposed to the earlier trends where Indians hid. Further, change of policies in social movements like in the Catholic Church would ensure reduced oppression among indigenous communities (Little 22).

According to Warren, material and cultural factors are not the only reasons as to why there is an Indian resurgence in Minas Gerais. The Law of Whites is associated with racism while that of Blacks focuses on antiracism. For example, Whites felt that the adoption of cultural practices by Blacks was not enough to convert them to the White race. On the other hand, the law of Blacks acknowledged the fact that Indians should accept cultural changes as a way of being civilized.

Indigenous Efforts

Indigenous efforts by Indians to counteract White supremacy have been perceived by many scholars as being racist. In the process of identity formation, Indians had to come up with practices that would ensure that they would not be discriminated against by the White race. As a result, Indians came up with a way that would place them at the same level as the White race. Indians constructed schools that would benefit fellow Indians, as a way of keeping them in touch with civilization. It should be noted that Indians were not as literate as the White race. Efforts to construct schools for Indians were meant to bridge the gap between Black and White races. The issue of racism is based on the fact that schools were meant for a specific race (Warren 15).

Racism can either be positive or negative, but involves treating people differently because of their race. Even though the construction of schools was meant to improve the livelihoods of Indians, positive racism was evident. There are however arguments that there was no racism in the construction of schools meant for Indians. It should be noted that Indians were reacting to intense forms of negative racism in Brazil society.

Further, the fact that the White race did not allow Indians to school in their schools, ruled out the possibility of Whites schooling together with Indians. Racism was a form of discrimination that rendered Indians inferior to the White race. Indians did not have a chance to school before, since they were being discriminated against. Their effort to construct schools for fellow Indians was not a form of racism, but rather a way to counteract it (Ellis 19).


Wasteland is a documentary that features pickers or scavengers who live in abject poverty. Vik Munoz lives in a damping site and just as other peasants survive on what affluent people consider poison. According to Munoz, waste damped in Rio city garbage is poisonous in one way or the other. For example, pickers come across dead bodies that are damped in the garbage sites. Once rich people damp their waste, they assume that they are getting rid of poisonous material which instead ends up in the hands of scavengers. Notably, scavengers like Munoz use waste products to make portraits that are sold to the affluent.

The issue of Brazil poison arises from fact that people do not seem to consider the feelings of peasants who live or work in damping sites. According to Munoz, scavengers survive on the same poison released by the affluent. Some pickers eat food remains that are damped in city garbage. Portrait made out of waste material, which is regarded as poison is once again returned to the affluent (Kottak and Conrad 19).

Even though garbage pickers are most vulnerable to waste deposited in city garbage, the affluent have a significant share of the same poison. In this regard, poison in Brazil is a cycle that affects affluent as well as peasants. The art presented in the wasteland documentary poses a challenge to the cycle of poison in Brazil. The affluent will now be cautious when depositing their waste, as the same waste is likely to be returned to them unknowingly.

When people deposit waste and assume that it has vanished, it lands on people who could be negatively affected. Scavengers, who are extremely poor, make portraits and other products from waste and sell them to the affluent. In this regard, scavengers benefit from poison released by the affluent. Finally, the affluent are exposed to the negative effects of poison when they purchase waste products (Little 20).

Dirty Wars

Dirty war was a period characterized by political tension between communists and capitalists. Latin America was a communist region that faced opposition characterized by terror and the death of innocent citizens. Countries like Brazil were fought by capitalistic states like the US and its allies. The economic crisis was the inevitable aftermath of the dirty war in Brazil. Notably, the socialism model was meant to improve the economy by ensuring the fair distribution of resources among all citizens. Backed dirty wars, were meant to reduce the escalation of communists especially in Latin America (O’Daughtery 18).

Dirty wars led to the loss of property that is directly proportional to economic degradation. Loss of property meant that goods that could be used in trade to boost the economy of Brazil were lost. Further, the war period was characterized by insecurity that was not conducive for income-generating activities. For example, foreign direct investments only occur in states that are peaceful and secure. As a result, the economy of Brazil worsened during dirty wars.

The corruption that is negatively related to economic progress, increased during dirty wars in Brazil. Since Brazil was insecure and unstable, other powerful states took advantage and exploited it thereby worsening its economy. An unstable state is prone to external interference that is based on economic interests. For example, during dirty wars in Brazil exports and import operations were managed by England. Increased foreign dependence was well pronounced during the dirty wars in Brazil. Brazil depended on external support from other states, which resulted in economic exploitation thus rendering the economy worse (Ellis 23).

Social History

Over the last three decades, there have been tremendous changes in the social history of Europe and Brazil. The social transition has some similarities as well as differences. In Europe, social transition dates back to the time of the shift from the agricultural revolution to the industrialization revolution. The shift has had different social effects in Brazil and in Europe. In Europe, this marked use of machinery in place of manual jobs. Notably in Brazil, the social transition was associated with increased slavery and captivity. Europe depends on electronics for export, while Brazil majors on agricultural products like sugarcane.

There are instances of similarity in the social history of Brazil and Europe, because they all advocated for communism. Brazil and Europe felt that socialism that ensures equitable sharing of resources should be promoted, so as to counteract the privatization index. In this regard, both states advocated for public ownership and governance of resources. The socialism model was however opposed by capitalists and shifted the trend of social transition in Brazil and Europe.

Since Brazil was a smaller state, dirty wars that were meant to reduce the incidence of communists affected it more than Europe. As a result, the economic situation negatively affected social transition in Brazil. Gender inequity in Brazil can be attributed to social exposure during the colonial period as well as in dirty wars. On the other hand, Europe was strong and politically influential than small states like Brazil. In this regard, social transition in Europe was not critically affected during the cold war. Currently, the EU that comprises mostly of communists states is facing recession threats that are likely to affect economic growth. Even though Brazil is the world’s largest sugarcane exporter, it is the sixth country with the highest cases of malnutrition (Little 13).

The Man Who Copied

The man who copied is a play that involves Andres, a photocopier who falls in love with Silvia. Andres attempts to buy a gift for Silvia but realizes that he does not have enough money. He decides to photocopy money to pay for the gift and he succeeds. The act of photocopying money would have negative effects on the economy of Brazil. After Andres manages to pay for the gift with fake money, he feels encouraged to continue with the practice.

Undetected currency fraud will have negative effects on economy, locally as well as internationally. There is a mention that he continues with the practice of photocopying without being caught. Large-scale circulation of money would result in inflation. The products would be limited, while money circulation would be high leading to further weakening of the currency.

After Andres succeeds in photocopying money, he indulges in robbery to get more money. Increased circulation of money would lead to increased prices of products, as a way of getting money from public. Notably, money is not evenly distributed thus gap between affluent and poor would be broadened. Since prices are higher for most individuals, there would be significant drop in living standards of people of Brazil.

Further, Andres goes forth to win a lottery which increases money available to public. Free circulation would lead to inflation and potential recession. Local firms would be affected especially those that are entrapped in fraud scenario. Silvia abets Andres in financial fraud with an aim of meeting her father. Fraud would lead to loses, since in instances when Andres used photocopied money products had no value (Kottak and Conrad 16).

Culture Central to Antiracism

In earlier years Indians have been discriminated by White race in Brazil. Indigenous people feared being associated with their identity, due to low self esteem aligned with it. However, with social transitions being prominent in Brazil, culture has a lot of significance in eradication of racism in Brazil.

Culture is essential in identity formation and explains why there is indigenous resurgence in Brazil. Despite the fact that Whites fail to acknowledge efforts by Indians in adopting social transitions brought about by globalization, cultural practices remain potential solution to racism in Brazil. Social transitions highlight cultural practices and align them with different races, so as to constitute wholesome association with no discrimination (Spradley and Mccurdy 18).

Cultural consideration influences structure of policies that affect index of racism in Brazil. For example, international relations have expounded on guidelines to ensure that all races are represented. With operation of international laws and other global measures that promote human rights, racism is reduced in Brazil. Notably, international governance ensures that all interests of individual states are represented at global level. International policies are formed on basis of cultures practiced by different people. Domestic policies modified in international level, ensures that different cultural practices are respected and represented.

As a result, social transitions have increased culture appreciation and acceptance as opposed to rejection. Culture acceptance reduces instances of racism, as diversity is seen as potential economic and political stability. Indigenous communities in Brazil attempt to bridge gap between them and white race, by appreciating and accepting their culture (Ellis 10). Equity between Indians and white race that is brought about by culture transition and acceptance reduces racism in Brazil.

Racial Policies in US

Racism is well pronounced in US and traced in its early history. As early as 17th century, slavery of Blacks was well spelt in US. Economic demand and market integration were considered as reasons why cheap labor associated with racism and violence was rampant. Blacks were seen as being inferior to White race and could not enjoy amenities secluded for Whites. As a result, Blacks were powerless despite the fact that they were crucial in economy of US.

Socialization, empowerment and fashion are terms that have been used to refer to emergence of racial policies. Policies were developed to compensate Blacks and eradicate racism that was characterized by high degree of violence (Warren 11). Such racial policies are crucial in eradicating racism in US, as they were structured to meet certain objectives and goals.

Poverty eradication is one of objectives in most racial policies. Africans were being made to work on large tracks of lands and were not paid. Affluent landowners used Blacks for economic prosperity without minding their welfare. As a result, most slaves lived in abject poverty as they could only grow subsistence food. Racial policies were thus meant to improve living standards of Blacks. Historical consideration that has led to establishment of any racial policy is essential in eradication of racism in US.

Activities to eradicate racism in US cannot be stopped until goals set in racial policies have been realized. Further, historical developments on racial policies are essential in determining future trends in antiracism. Existing gaps are identified and recommended for future consideration, which ensures that racism is eradicated in US (Neate and Platt 18).

Works Cited

Burrows, Edwin and Wallace, Gotham. A History of New York to 1898, Oxford University: University Press. 1999. Print.

Ellis, Edward. The Epic of New York: A Narrative History, New York: Basic Books. 2004. Print.

Kottak, Peter and Conrad, Philip. Window on Humanity: A Concise Introduction to General Anthropology, New York: McGraw Hill press. 2005. Print.

Little, Johnathan. Twentieth-Century American Dramatists, Michigan: Gale publishers. 2000. Print.

Neate, Patrick and Platt, Damian. Culture is Our Weapon: Making Music and Changing Lives in Rio de Janeiro, 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.

Spradley, James, and Mccurdy, David. Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology, New York: Pearson Education press. 2009. Print.

Vianna, Hermona. The Mystery of Samba: Popular Music and National Identity in Brazil, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1999. Print.

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

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Neoslavery and Indigeneous Efforts in Brazil." February 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/neoslavery-and-indigeneous-efforts-in-brazil/.


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