Thursday, July 12, 2007
In Brazil I glimpsed a possible future in which there is only one race
By its own definition it is a mixed country, but extreme poverty and violence occur mainly at one end of the spectrum
Timothy Garton Ash in Rio de Janeiro
Thursday July 12, 2007
"Some time ago, Brazil's census takers asked people to describe their skin colour. Brazilians came up with 134 terms, including alva-rosada (white with pink highlights), branca-sardenta (white with brown spots), café com leite (coffee with milk), morena-canelada (cinammon-like brunette), polaca (Polish), quase-negra (almost black) and tostada (toasted). This often lighthearted poetry of self-description reflects a reality you see with your own eyes, especially in the poorer parts of Brazil's great cities......
It is precisely this mixing that has helped to make Brazilians among the most handsome human beings on earth. What is foreshadowed here - but I repeat, only if Brazil can correct its dreadful social and economic imbalances, including a heritage of discrimination - is the possibility of a world in which skin colour is nothing more than a physical attribute, like the colour of your eyes or the shape of your nose, to be admired, calmly noted, or joked about. And a world in which the only race that matters is the human race."