This commentary written by Lucyana da Silva from the city of Campos dos Goyatcazes in Rio de Janeiro state, is an example of why the Black Women of Brazil blog exists. In her comments, taken from issue #118 of Raça Brasil, the only Brazilian magazine dedicated to the Afro-Brazilian population, Lucyana touches on some of the issues we discuss on this blog.
“Raça Brasil magazine appeared at the right time. It was a watershed moment. We blacks were starving for decent representation in media. I grew up watching TV commercials and magazines showing white women, mostly blondes. I grew up wanting to be a Paquita (1), but all of them were white and blonde….These things weighed much on our self-esteem (2), mainly when we are children. Maybe, because of this, many blacks grow up thinking that whites are synonymous with superiority and we, the opposite. To be black is a symbol of struggles and victories. I am proud of being a descendant of those who were the base of Brazil’s development and that, in spite of all the problems (discrimination, exclusion, lack of quality of life, etc), and managing to smile and many times going against the statistics.”
Source: Raça Brasil magazine
1. A Paquita was one of the young, blond, white girls that were part of the ever popular Xuxa kids variety show. Xuxa’s various TV shows, movies and CDs have a huge influence on all children in Brazil and she is said to be the richest woman in Brazil. Although she is currently experimenting with a brunette hair color, for the vast majority of career, her image has been based on her blond hair, blue eyes and white skin. For a further discussion of Xuxa and the Paquitas, see the article and film that delves further into the topic.
2. Many articles on the BW of Brazil blog discuss the issue of self-esteem amongst Afro-Brazilians, in particular, children and adolescents. Please see the “Bias in the classroom” section of the article “Revisiting the black Brazilian middle class of 1999” as well as articles here, here and here.