Note from BW of Brazil: Well, well, what have we here but more evidence of what I’ve been pointing out since the debut of this blog? A recent article from the American newspaper Wall Street Journal exposes yet another layer of Brazil’s ideology of whiteness as supreme. As you know if you’ve read enough material here, quite a few articles show how the average Brazilian is quick to say that “we are all equal” whenever the topic is race or whenever some racist incident adds to the mountains of proof that this is simply not the case. I’ve spent years listening to the rhetoric that says that it is those “big, bad, evil Americans who are the racists” because there, the races don’t mix and because there was once a law that banned interracial marriage. As I’ve long held, the absence of racist laws clearly doesn’t prove the absence of racist thoughts nor racist behavior or practices. The United States itself today, where there are no more segregationist practices written in laws and codes, where interracial marriage has exploded and a black man was the president for eight years, is perhaps the best proof of this. After all, even with the three aforementioned details, who would dare claim that the US is no longer a racist country?
To get straight to the point, one cannot simultaneously argue that a country sees “all as equal” but also know that most citizens, in fact, DO believe in the superiority of one racial group over another. So, where’s the proof of this? How much do you need? The week after week of white faces plastered all over the magazines at any newspaper stand? The whiteness of the television, advertising, or film industries? The rejection that so many Brazilians have when they see black people in places they aren’t expected to be? How about the percentage of non-white politicians? Or the FACT that most prominent black Brazilians (men OR women) just happen to choose white partners? Considering just these few facts, I think there is NO DOUBT which racial group is most admired in Brazil. As such, would this WSJ article demonstrate the contrary or simply re-affirm what is already quite obvious? Let’s go there…
According to a March 22nd piece entitled “Demand for American sperm is skyrocketing in Brazil”, Brazilian purchase of the semen of American men has increased 3,000% since 2011. Huh? Wassup wit’ dat? Aren’t there enough Brazilian men already sufficiently producing babies? I would say so…After all, Brazil’s population has grown from a little over 95 million in 1970 to about 210 million according to the latest numbers. So what gives with Brazilian couples (hetero and homosexual) and single women seeking foreign sperm donors? Hmm, I wonder…
Eugenics: Brazilians importing semen from US whites has become international news
Wall Street Journal says the number of Brazilians who prefer white and blue-eyed donors has grown 3000% in recent years
Courtesy of Socialista Morena
It looks like Nazi Germany, but it’s Brazil 2018: The Wall Street Journal brings a report on Thursday about how demand for semen imported from the United States has exploded in our country in recent years, thanks to the interest of people who want to “whiten” their children and ensure that they have light-colored eyes and European features. In other words, eugenics. Hitler would be proud.
“With light-colored eyes, blond hair and a few freckles on her face, donor number 9601 is one of the most sought-after by wealthy women in Brazil who are importing the DNA of young Americans in unprecedented numbers,” says the report authored by Samantha Pearson. Based on data from Anvisa, the reporter says that the importation of foreigner sperm has risen 3000% since 2011, especially among wealthy single women and lesbian couples who prefer profiles of donors with “fair skin” and “blue eyes.”
The report cites the policy of “embranquecimento” (whitening) that took place in our country in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the “persistent racism” in our day to day to explain the desire for Aryan children. Brazil was one of the first countries to have an organized “race improvement” movement, with the emergence of the Sociedade Eugênica de São Paulo (Eugenic Society of São Paulo), created in 1918. Among the proposed initiatives was to prevent the immigration of people who were not white. Families who are importing sperm from Caucasian donors seem to strictly follow this guideline.
With light eyes, blond hair and a few freckles on his face, donor number 9601 is one of the most requested by rich women in Brazil who are importing the DNA of young Americans
In addition to wanting to whiten the offspring, the “complexo de vira-latas” (mutt complex) is also a reason for importation: Brazilians who buy gringo sperm say they “don’t trust” the “national product” as if they were dealing with an electronic product or running shoes. According to a mother who imported sperm from the US, while here the information on the donor would be precarious, she was able to collect 29 pages about the American donor.
“Brazil buys almost all sperm imported from donors characterized as Caucasians. Almost a third of the specimens are from blond donors and 52% from men with blue eyes. The country also appears as one of the fastest growing semen import markets in recent years. More than 500 tubes of semen frozen in liquid nitrogen arrived in Brazil last year, up from 16 in 2011,” the report said. “In 2016, heterosexual couples bought 41% of imported sperm, single women 36% and lesbian couples, 21%, but demand is growing among the latter two groups.”
Note from BW of Brazil: Still more info from the WSJ gives us more insight into what’s going here. Here are a few more interesting little nuggets from the piece.
- 4% of American semen purchased by Brazilians came from white donors. The remaining percentages were 1.8% Latino, 1.5% mixed, 1.2% Asian and 0.2% black.
- Eduardo Motta, a director at the Huntington fertility clinic in São Paulo said his well-off patients often insist on blue-eyed donors because they see that characteristic as a surefire way to get a donor that “doesn’t put in jeopardy the color of the skin.”
- The WSJ correctly points out that “having fair-skinned offspring is often viewed as a way to provide a child with better prospects, from a higher salary to fairer treatment by the police.”
So, tell me again, should we really believe that Brazilians believe “we are all equal”? I would think that if people really thought that way, the percentages of how Brazilians chose their donors according to race would be a little more even. According to the latest stats, 54% of Brazilians define themselves as either preto (black) or pardo (brown or mixed) but when given the choice to select from a group that may be similar to the majority of Brazilians, only 3.5% of them chose from America’s Latino, mixed race or black donors. But even with such data, in typical Brazilian fashion, we’ll find those trying to downplay what the numbers reveal. Below are the comments I translated from the website Socialista Morena of a Brazilian calling himself Alan whose comments are a response to the above article from March 22nd.
Alan on 03/22/2018 – 16:47 PM commented:
“Extremely biased and incongruous article…
1) Constantly states that the purpose of importing sperm is to lighten the skin of subsequent generations but does not provide any proof that all buyers have a darker skin tone than that of the donor.
2) Correlates the choice of donor with Nazi eugenics but does not provide evidence that buyers identify themselves as “Aryan”. If all buyers are “Aryan” then it will be impossible to further lighten the skin of the next generation; on the other hand, if buyers are not “Aryan” the crossbreeding would characterize miscegenation, an act punishable under the Nazi laws of the time.
3) Doesn’t know what eugenics is. Eugenics is an obsolete term that describes the study of racial characteristics that through manipulation would affect the racial quality of subsequent generations. The use of the word was as ridiculous as stating that whoever buys a carrot is committing agronomy.
4) The individual who states that Brazil was one of the first countries to have an organized eugenics movement is certainly unaware of how the monarchical system works.
I can even accept the premise that single women (21% of buyers) and lesbian couples (36%) want to implement the Fourth Reich by importing Aryan American sperm, but for that the lacrosphere it will need to provide some kind of proof. Until then Occam’s Razor says that this text is only a fallacy Reductio ad Hitlerum, misogynist, with the intention of withdrawing women’s right to choose which sperm to fertilize their eggs.”
Note from BW of Brazil: So let’s analyze the validity of Alan’s comments. His first point in terms of not knowing the race of the Brazilians who purchased the semen I actually agree with. But the comments of a director of a fertility clinic offering similar services in São Paulo reveals a few things and leads us to consider other facts. One, his “well-off” patients openly express a preference for white sperm donors which leads us to number two, and the fact that most “well-off” Brazilians are white. Three, a Brazilian fertility clinic that conducts the connection with the American sperm donors charges US$1,500 per vial and the procedure itself costs US$7,000 per attempt. With the US dollar being worth about R$3.25 Brazilian reais, it means that one vial costs R$4,875 reais while the procedure itself would run about R$22,750 Brazilian reais. With this in mind, considering Brazilian minimum wage rates, how many Brazilians earn an equivalent of about US$900 per month or less? And with the high percentage of Afro-Brazilians that fit in this income bracket, I think we can safely assume that the price tag of this procedure is far beyond the means of most black Brazilians.
In terms of Alan’s second point, it isn’t necessary that one identifies herself as an “Aryan” in the literal sense of the word, as if followers of the Nazi party were still among us, but it’s intriguing to know that Brazil actually had the largest branch of the Nazi party outside of Germany over 75 years ago and there are still quite a few people who pledge allegiance to Hitler in Brazil today. Saying that someone is “Aryan” is simply a way of referring to someone who has clearly European characteristics: pale skin, light-colored eyes and blond hair. In southern Brazilian, there are millions of people who fit into this category. In terms of his comment that it would be “impossible to further lighten the skin of the next generation”, I don’t necessarily agree with that either. Because although there are millions of Brazilians who would be considered white anywhere in the world, there are also millions of those who some refer to as “Brazilian white”, being that type of person who is generally accepted as white even though their physical characteristics denote that they also carry some distant African or Native American ancestry.
Most white Brazilians today will readily admit that they are not “white white” in the sense of white folks in the US or Europe, so it would, in fact, be possible to achieve a certain white standard that many Brazilians feel they don’t possess. On the other hand, there are those who DO possess this level of whiteness and would prefer to preserve it and maybe they “don’t trust the national product” because even those Brazilians who consider themselves “white” may not actually be white. Alan is correct when he says this article can’t prove that there is a process of whitening going on here because the WSJ doesn’t state the race of the persons purchasing American semen. But if we pay attention to what black women, and increasingly black men, are saying, the time has come for black Brazilians to come clean and admit that the adoration of whiteness explains much of the interracial union rates in Brazil today.
Alan’s comment that “if buyers are not ‘Aryan’ the crossbreeding would characterize miscegenation, an act punishable under the Nazi laws of the time’ also misses the point by his making a literal comparison with Hitler’s Germany. The point here is, Brazil has always promoted itself as a country that is proud of its mixed-race heritage but the fact is that many Brazilians, white and non-white, would prefer to have whiter or white children, which in fact adheres to the myth of “Aryan” superiority. In her study on white, middle-class men in Rio de Janeiro, Valeria Ribeiro Corossacz explained this apparent contradiction this way: “In order to understand how the social separation of color-based social groups can coexist with the valorization of mixing, one must take into account the fact that the valorization of mixing has been combined with a deeply rooted valorization of whiteness (the ideology of branqueamento, or whitening)”.
As I have stated before, the objective in Brazil is to become (or remain) white, not mixed, and the racial breakdown of the Brazilian choices for American sperm donors provides more evidence of the fact. To explain this in simple terms, whiteness is preferred in Brazil, but the national discourse that posits that all Brazilians are proud to have a mixed-race heritage and that they cannot be racist because of this long history of mixture prevents them from speaking openly about this preference for whiteness.
In terms of Alan, by interpreting the Socialista Morena article literally, he again misses the point. No one here is saying that there is some lab in Brazil in 2018 conducting experiments that would lead to a whiter Brazil. But modern Brazil was shaped by Eugenics ideas of the early 20th century that believed that whitening the country would be the best way to modernize the nation and lead to a brighter future, the effects of which we still see today. Nowadays, black Brazilians who are willing to look beyond the rhetoric that says “love has no color” are admitting that ideas connected to the belief in the superiority of the white race plays an enormous influence on the desire of black Brazilians to marry white partners and have white/r children.
In terms of his fourth point that “the individual who states that Brazil was one of the first countries to have an organized eugenics movement is certainly unaware of how the monarchical system works” is also misguided. In his paper, “Brazilian eugenics and its international connections”, Vanderlei Sebastiao de Souza, writing about two Brazilian eugenicists, Renato Kehl and Edgard Roquette-Pinto, tells us that, “the ties that the two researchers maintained with so-called mainline eugenic thought were broader and more extensive than first believed” and as such, arguing as to whether Brazil was one of the first or last countries to get involved in the Eugenics movement doesn’t really matter. The fact that the country participated in any form with such a movement, which it certainly did. Brazil certainly has its own way of dealing with race and its black population in comparison to other countries. But in the end, all that matters is that, whether the idea is to segregate whites from blacks, as in the US, or to mix blacks until they disappear, as in Brazil, both systems are clearly anti-black.
Alan’s last comment is perhaps the most absurd of all, as he makes the accusation that “the intention” (of the Socialista Morena article) would be that “of withdrawing women’s right to choose which sperm to fertilize their eggs”. This has nothing to do with the article. Every woman has every right to choose whatever donor she so chooses if she decides to go the artificial insemination route. The objective of the articles, both that of the Wall Street Journal as well as the Socialista Morena site, is to show that 1) More Brazilians are choosing American sperm donors, 2) that these Brazilians have an overwhelming presence for whiteness in their reproductive choices and 3) this preference for whiteness is simply a continuation of past and current social engineering tactics. Brazilians have and will continue to have the right to reproduce with whoever they choose, just as anyone reading the Wall Street Journal also has the right to interpret what these choices mean in the context of Brazilian History, social and racial values.
The bottom line here is that Brazilians know, whether they admit or not, that Brazilian society is dominated by a belief that “white is right” and “the whiter the better”. The Wall Street Journal article simply put into words and provided stats about a value system that any non-Brazilian would clearly see. And as quiet as it’s kept, Brazilians already know it but its national mythology will never allow them to admit it.
Source: Socialista Morena, Corossacz, Valeria Ribeiro. White Middle-Class Men in Rio de Janeiro: The Making of a Dominant Subject. 2017 Lexington Books. Souza, Vanderlei Sebastião de. (2016). “Brazilian eugenics and its international connections: an analysis based on the controversies between Renato Kehl and Edgard Roquette-Pinto, 1920-1930.” História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos, 23 (Suppl. 1), 93-110.