Meet the two black women (out of 30) competing for the Miss São Paulo competition

25-year old Thais Andrade (Miss Rifaina) and 21-year old Jessica França (Miss Mogi Guaçu): the only two black women in a contest of 30 women
25-year old Thais Andrade (Miss Rifaina) and 21-year old Jessica França (Miss Mogi Guaçu): the only two black women in a contest of 30 women

Note from BW of Brazil: It’s not even surprising anymore but…Here we go again. Back in May, BW of Brazil covered a beauty contest in the northeastern state of Bahia in which only about 9 of 30 women could have been considered black or African descendant. As the latest census showed that the population of the state of Bahia is 76% Afro-Brazilian (pretos + pardos), 9 of 30 (or 30%) was an extreme under-representation of the state’s racial or color makeup. A black woman did eventually win and will represent her state in the next Miss Brazil competition.

Recently, photos of contestants who will dispute for the right to represent the state of São Paulo were released and…how should we say? The results shouldn’t surprise anyone. While the Afro-Brazilian population of the state of São Paulo is estimated to be about 27%, of the 30 contestants, only two could be immediately picked out as black women (possibly a third, but the photo makes it hard to tell), which means black women only represent 6.6% of the participants. There’s really no need to even make a comment that’s already been made on this blog about the gross under-representation of diversity. Just another example of what we call Brazil’s “dictatorship of whiteness.” 

Besides the cities of Rifaina and Mogi Guaçu represented by Andrade and França, the other cities being represented in the contest are Carapibuíba, Jaguariúna, Marília, Diadema, Campinas, Cordeirópolis, Socorro, Francisco Morato, São Paulo, Sumaré, São Jose dos Campos, Ribeirão, Americana, Jacareí, Iracemápolis, Tapiratiba, São Jose do Rio Preto, Araras, Rio Claro, Indaiatuba, Leme, Jaú, Américo Brasiliense, Itu, Limeira, Santo André and Atibaia. Below are the other 28 candidates.


rafaela-machado-_santo-andre, 23

Source: Yahoo

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. Since you follow the noxious thinking that any part Black=Black, how do you know those other women aren’t “Black?” This is the blog that agreed that a woman who was 70%(?) Dutch was “Black.” She was just as white as these other women and they were just a Black as her.

    • You know what, this topic has already been discussed on this blog although it is not noted on this particular post. Allow me to clarify. A term often used on this blog is a woman/person of visible African ancestry. If several previous posts it has been acknowledged that an apparently white Brazilian can indeed possess African ancestry. “Race”, while a biological fallacy, is a social reality in many realms of Brazilian society. This means that one could have two persons of the same genetic admixture with one having more visible African ancestry and another that, for most people, looks white. In Brazil, as in many other countries, the person with the more visible non-European ancestry will be subject to discrimination. One can spend a day watching any Brazilian TV channel and note this overwhelming whiteness. As far as the woman of 70% Dutch ancestry, you must be referring to Ildi Silva, who identifies herself as a black woman. Case closed.

      • I don’t think they look black…any African would laugh of this categorisation….you could say better….it has NO BLACK and NO indigenous people being represented as beauty….except 2 non white. Who are not black…please stop with the Americanism when look at race….the world can have a different approach and don’t forget the indigineous people in the lack of representation

      • Again, oversimplification. Why would you compare an African’s idea of what is black when speaking of Brazil? Americanism is not the point of this blog. The point is to show that the difference in how race is dealt with in Brazil is actually MORE efficient than what happens in the US. Many blacks actually WANT to disappear in Brazil through whitening, which is the whole point. I always ask this question. If the US never existed and Brazil maintained a system of whites on top, blacks on the bottom and blacks disappearing, how would Brazilians defend this argument without the US comparison? The bottom line is that regardless of a comparison with the US or not, Brazil is a structurally racist country that wants to get rid of the black population. This is NOT an opinion. It is written in Brazil’s history and there are several posts that deal with “embraquecimento” on this blog. So, please stop with the “this is not the US” argument, because that was never the point.

      • Any person who understands how racial discrimination works understands that regardless of whether you call them “black”, “brown” ,”parda” or “mulata”, the point is if these women face discrimination due to phenotype it is based on their African ancestry not their European ancestry. THIS is what marks these women as black. This has nothing to do with how these women would be seen in Africa. The Brazilian reality excludes these women because they are not white. Why are they the only two women who are not white in this contest? Now, whether or not they accept a “identidade negra” is another issue. When one speaks of the world in terms of color, one is either “white” or “non-white”.

      • Why do you think race is deal more efficient in Brazil than in Usa. Brazil never ever had a civilian rights movement, Brazilian thinks political is boring and violent and Brazilian are only happy people.

        We don’t encourage critical thinking and social movements very different from American experience regardless race, social status, sexual orientation. There they get political and they are proud of it.

        You are focus in blackness and forthat can only see blackness. I a, trying to argue here they are clearly both non white. Non white people which are majority in brazil has no representation. This is true. I never said the opposite.

        Most of our population is Parda, not black…..they are black for Americanism ideology. In fact the right lady if she didn’t straight her hair she could be a indigenous descendant but your black blindness won’t see that.

        If wasn’t for American influence we wouldn’t have the affirmative action in Brazilian universities. I have no problem in use Americanism to create a more equal society. Civil rights must be an important agenda. For that I am grated admire of Americanism.

        But we must not appropriate the Americanism of one drop of black blood is black, when we have been using the word mulato/ Pardo. We are not diasartucalating black movements if doing so. We are representing the Brazilian history and experience of race, which is not the one drop.

        The lack of space for non whites around Americas it is a fact, but it is not a privilege of black people only to be miss represented.

        I think if we want to talk about oppression, I think the non white must be our flag, sometimes will be the black, sometimes the Pardo, sometimes the indigenous, sometimes all of them.

      • In reality, “one drop” is ridiculous and this not part of the argument at all. The argument on this blog is based on discrimination and exclusion. If a person is excluded from GLOBO, Record or SBT, if 90% of the Camara is white, if all of the wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of whites, this has nothing to do with “one-drop”. Millions of Brazilians identify themselves as a shade lighter than they would be judged when applying for a job. Thus pretos becomes pardos and pardos become brancos. In this sense, the power structure’s view of what is not white has more influence on one’s life than their own self-identity, often constructed upon anti-blackness. So, please, this blog was not created along the lines of “one drop”. 95% of the articles on this blog are written by Brazilian people (check the source), so let’s leave the American argument out of this altogether. As more and more non-white Brazilians begin to understand how they judged by the racist system, the more they will invariably identify as black. There are a number of articles that discuss the transition into “identidade negra” on this blog. And again, this has nothing to do with the US.

      • I think this whole blog want her to accept the identidade negra. I have no problem with that, but this is the Americanism one drop of black =black… It was never a Brazilian thing….why we don’t create a blog for the pardos? For the non whites?

        I do think it will win so much more than this old Americanism debate. We must create our path according to our history, not envy the neighbour and try the same path as them when we have a totally different experience than Americans.

      • Tell me which country which had slaves inside Americas which is not racist against the non white?

        Brazil is racist for top to bottom I have no doubt about it. Who does must be really ignorant and blind.

        My point is not the racism which I thing the blog talks many times beautifully.

        My criticism to the blog is the one drop rule you apply all the time here.

        . Perhaps you can’t see it because you have been trained as so.

        I am Brazilian and I haven’t being trained to see this way.

        It is very interesting the argument. “Brazilian people self describe themselves a lighter then they are perceived when looking for a job. ”

        Really according to who? Where is the skin table of Pardo ? And where is the black?

        Why the job people has the “right” perception of blackness and why the Brazilian people has wrong in their self description?

        Americans are trained to see and perceive others as black or white. Pardo doesn’t exist there.

        Pardo is not brown and it is not mulato. Pardo is very complex mix heritage which faces the non white.

        Every Brazilian understand the Pardo by heart.

        How can you integrate racial discussion if adapting the one drop rule to every non white Brazilian human?

        What you are telling me is: common people categorised themselves lighter skin ; the Professional places would perceive them darker.

        Why the job people are seeing the “correct” reality.?

        Why the people are not being precisely about their mix heritage when calling them Pardo.

        Pardo doesn’t please anglophonic discussion as here. Pardo doesn’t empower afromoviments in brazil who insist in the dialetic black and white.

        Until the moment the anglophonic culture Didnt open to the Other, precisely to the Other Pardo, who is not Indigenous, not Chinese, not Arabic, not white, not black, not any label except of no being ….. they are the non white. We can’t address brazil problematic in it roots if not reflecting and empower the non white group.

        The more you argue with Brazilian culture using the one drop rule as being black, you will face resistance against the anglophonic imperialism not only political, not only economical but ideological.

        The Pardo will never please the anglophonic discourse of race, but it is the Pardo who has the power to transform Brazilian society and address the exclusion of the non whites lives. it is the pardo who will have the power to address the real brazilian struggle.

        I will say again the most I important struggle it is not the black, it is the non white…..every non white is denied of being. They have a name Pardo!

        We don’t want to get rid of black people , remember if we mix with white we are not white anymore… a white supremacy ideology would win mixing with black?

        This is the foreigner perception of brazil.

      • “My criticism to the blog is the one drop rule you apply all the time here.”
        This is the last time I will address this. This blog does not defend a one-drop rule. If you make the accusation again, it will simply be the end of the discussion.

        “Perhaps you can’t see it because you have been trained as so.”
        Trained? No, actually, this is a discussion I’ve had with many “pardos” and “morenos” who become “negros” and why this happens. It has nothing to do with how I’m “trained”.
        One very simple question will suffice for this dispute. Which ancestry is it that one is discriminated against for? The European? Or the non-European? When a person faces discrimination it has nothing with their whiteness. There are examples on this blog of “pardos” who are called “monkey” just like “pretos”. Why is that? About 90-95% of all socioeconomic studies in Brazil show “pretos” and “pardos” as being nearly identical and at a disadvantage in comparison to whites. Thus, in a sense, this is why racism is actually very efficient in Brazil. You can indeed call yourself whatever you like, but the system will treat you as “black.”

        “I am Brazilian and I haven’t being trained to see this way.”
        This is your choice. But I could introduce you to many Brazilians who, although they recognize that their “color” may be “pardo”, they see themselves as “negros” because the “pardo” race doesn’t exist. In this regard, “pardo” is listed as a “color” in the census and not a race.

        “It is very interesting the argument. ‘Brazilian people self describe themselves a lighter then they are perceived when looking for a job.’ Really according to who? Where is the skin table of Pardo? And where is the black?”
        So,let me get this straight. You have never met a person of who could be seen as another color by a different person? Studies? Well there are a number of studies but I will start with Rosana Heringer, who has done a number of studies racial inequality. I quote: “No final, os pesquisadores compararam a descrição dos entrevistadores com aquela fornecida pelos entrevistados. Segundo Rosana Heringer, que coordenou o trabalho, 30% daqueles que se audenominaram pardos eram pretos, segundo a cor da pele, e outros 30% dos que se diziam brancos, eram pardos.”

        “Why the job people has the “right” perception of blackness and why the Brazilian people has wrong in their self description?”
        Simple. If you see yourself as a “moreno” because you don’t see yourself as being “dark” but an employer only wants white people for the job, you have been eliminated, not because of your European ancestry, but because of your non-European ancestry, which marks you as black. Even in studies from Brazilian slavery, Indians were defined as “negros de terra.”

        “We can’t address brazil problematic in it roots if not reflecting and empower the non white group.”
        If this groups to be empowered it must empower itself, which it appears that, as a group and organization, the agenda of the “pardo” only arose because of a law they disagreed with.

        “The Pardo will never please the anglophonic discourse of race, but it is the Pardo who has the power to transform Brazilian society and address the exclusion of the non whites lives. it is the pardo who will have the power to address the real brazilian struggle.”
        Really? What has the “pardo” group achieved? Where are the accomplishments as a group? While the Movimento Negro has successfully fought for quotas, a national holiday, a law that obligates the teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History in schools. Where is this “pardo” power that you speak of?

        “They have a name Pardo!”
        Again, according to the census, “pardo” is not a “race”. It is a color. Where in the world do you find the “pardo” “race”? I’m curious? Where is it? When Getulio Vargas created a law to stop Africans and Asians from coming to Brazil it was to preserve the most desirable racial components of the Brazilian people, meaning the European. With this in mind, when ambassadors from other countries come to Brazil and connect with descendant communities, what group does the “pardo” identify with? Germans connect with German descendsants, Italians with Italian descendants. What group does of origin does the “pardo” identify with because Germans and Italians clearly will not accept them as a whole. Again, just curious.

        “We don’t want to get rid of black people, remember if we mix with white we are not white anymore… a white supremacy ideology would win mixing with black?”
        If this is true then why do nearly 50% of Brazilians identify themselves as white? There are clearly many “pardos” who identify as “brancos” in the census.

        “This is the foreigner perception of brazil.”
        I disagree. Historian Maria Luíza Tucci Carneiro found that social organizations in Brazil excluded persons from their groups if African ancestry was in someone’s bloodline up until the 4th generation, thus imposing its own “one drop” rule. When one analyzes socioeconomic stats it is apparent that Brazil does still function according to this ideal. If this were not true, “pardos” would fit exactly in the middle between “pretos” and “brancos” rather than nearly identical with “pretos”. “Race”, while not biologically valid is a system advantages and disadvantages based how the power structure treats a group. And the Brazilian system treats “pardos” like it treats “pretos” even if “pardos” don’t see themselves as “pretos”.

      • Gatasnegrasbrasileiras it is fine. I can see you think it is unlegitime to fight against the american blackness fascist discourse when trying to explain the struggle of no Europeans look outside anglophonic cultures.

        You clearly agree Pardo WON’T NEVER Please the NORTH HEMISPHERE AUDIENCE. for that must be eliminated.

        We can have different opinions. It is fine. You didn’t convince me of the anglophonic ideology of blackness. I agree with many beautiful things. But I don’t agree with this fascism academic

        As you told me before; totally simplified your discourse about Brazilian history of German, Italians, and getulio.

        Getulio was a discussing elitist man. he send people to be murder by hitler. He persecuted all the japonese and all German speakers because of the war. To please the western hegemonic discourse. Even all the human rights and civilian movements can have their fascists influence. To be critical is to think deep and local.

        Your comments about the Germans and Italians communities only in the south of brazil. And in the small villages. In São Paulo they are most all mixed thank you! In the amazonia they are very mixed thank you. most actually became Pardos.but if you make a good job you can convince them all to became Negros.
        You can’t speak for the whole brazil about this European communities.

        A small village of German descendants in Texas is very mixed?it is not, partly because it is countryside, partly because never encountered other cultures, if so tried hard to keep their identity alive and became more xenophobic.

        Pardos, indigineous have almost no representation if compare to the black one. Again it is nothing against Afro movements but it is the dogmatism which is surrounded all the academics. We can’t be recognised as a good academic if not quoting the anglophonic thinkers who can only see Afro descendant in any dark skin (whendark skin doesn’t look Chinese/ japonese.)

        I am tired of this. We should think out of the box.

        I never said pardos wasn’t called monkeys, why monkey must be used only to refer to Afro descendants? It Can be used to refer to indigenous people too. Stop to see only blackness, when not necessary has ONLY blackness: it will of course have non white discourses.

        My point the NON WHITE prejudice is the problem.

        Why do you think the Afro movement have to convince the pardos they are actually negros? Gosh if you can’t see ideology there! I don’t know what you define as ideology! I do define when you perceive the word according to one frame. You believe this negro frame is the only frame and the only right. And the only who gets political.

        The only prejudice is against the Non white; if they are aborigine in Australia, Maori in New Zealand, black and Latinos in USA, or negros and pardos and indigenous in Brazil.

        This must be our flag, not accusing, defining everyone as black. Only because anglophonic people couldn’t callPARDOS; because Pardo is a colour for you. or brown as you put it to me in the other article.

        Pardo is not between black and white. Pardo is the uncertain background, it is the mixed background, can be between black and white but not only.

        Pardo is the REAL BRAZILIAN STRUGGLE

        If you can’t understand i have to leave here and please continuous to do your excelent ideological job of convince the pardos ( when they decide to get political) they are black ( then you argue they have no agenda; how could they? If all the thinkers KNOW FOR SURE, it is anti- blackness why we use the word PARDO.

        Keep reinforcing the hegemonic north hemisphere discourse inside black studies which represents only the concepts of race in north not in the south.

        Because for the south hemisphere , we are just condemned to be a copy cat.

        Pardo IS A RACE in brazil we call it Cor, because Brazilian are not used to ethinias races and etc e tal which north hemisphere loves and easily understands.

        We just call Cor but we must use the word race, because this is what academic in north hemisphere uses to classified people. As far as I know census says a lots about the society we are looking at. If you don’t respect our census you are distressing our social constructions.

        Afro movements are hight supported by the north hemisphere black studies ….you are doing a great job to create a hegemonic blackness; but when doing this you are removing ( at least trying) the Pardo from our culture.
        Our own unic construction.

        As Fanon says: colonisers do that, they remove our sense of identity and suddenly we became the coloniser. If the dream of every white Brazilian is to be white European. The north epistemology discourse of blackness does the same in any Pardo Brazilian, suddenly make them all dream of becoming an Afro American militant.

        When they were not that in the first place.

        Race is social located is culturally constructed you have no right to claim this doesn’t exist. When does exist and have been with us for long time.

        Even if the Pardo movement started it would swallowed by this blackness north hemisphere hegemonic discourse.

        I told you already too; I love getting political – I can’t believe how undermining of Brazilian struggle is to exclude the word Pardo and the group Pardo of civilian rights.

        I am half japonese and half black. I always put I am Pardo. I always will. Because I am .I don’t feel only black, I don’t feel between black and white. I dont feel brown. i feel I am this in definition. I am proud of it.

        Why are you undermind my feelings? In fact I look more Brazilian indigineous ( which I am not) then Afro descendant.

        Why anglophonic discourse insists in patronise me and tell me to be negra.

        Why do you call the both girls black? Why not one Afro descendant and other indigenous descendant?

        If you are trying to be political correct this would be the correct approach. Except if you can only see blackness as you ARE TRAINED ideological to do so.

    • I think the reason we don’t create a pardos blog or non whites blog is because this makes no sense to international academia where everything is segregated. Black studies, Asian studies, Jewish studies,

      This wouldn’t make any sense to Afro American movements which fund and high support many Brazilians Afro movements.

      The fact is Pardo/ mulato movement it is a far more important movement in Brazilian society and in all Latin America.

      But how many people would read the blog if we changed temporarily for the mulato women in brazil?

      The non white women of brazil?

      I would love that! I bet you would gain a massive Brazilian public.

      • Here is my question in terms of the “pardo” movement. What is its agenda? Where was it before The Statute of Racial Equality which officially placed “pretos” and “pardos” together as black? Americanism is not the point here. There are many studies that this blog post in the future that show during Brazil’s own slavery era, “pardos” and “pretos” were both considered black. This has nothing to do with the US so please don’t drag the US situation into the argument. This is not the point. Where was the so-called “pardo” movement in the 1930 when there was a “Frente Negra”? In the US, multi-racial movement has no agenda but establishing a separate category than black. In the same sense, I ask, what is the “pardo” agenda? Regardless of whether non-white Brazilians accept an “identitdade negra”, as Clovis Moura once wrote, in a scheme established according to white supremacy, which clearly exists in Brazil, “it is the origin that counts”. Clovis Moura was a Brazilian sociologist, not American. When FHC was sociologist, he wrote something very similar. In fact, since you believe everything has been Americanized on this blog, which it has not, please DO read this article. It was created with you in mind. Keep in mind, NONE of the people cited in this piece are American:

      • Nice question: Pardo doesn’t have agenda and really few Brazilians have agenda and interested to fight. When they do, they are absorbed by the I am not Pardo, I am black – the discourse which is rooted in Afro North American movement and the law of one drop.

        Again it is not a criticism to the Americanism if it is for us to be more political lets learn with Americans. But we must think our struggles with our legs.

        We can’t think of black struggle without American thinkers. It is a power relation we know that, it is here and always will be.

        Unfortunately we haven’t written much of the beauty of the Pardo.
        We have insisted in the anti blackness of it. But it has a very strong non white identity.

        Who disagree the Pardo is so bad treated and so bad perceived as the black person?

        I never said they where better treated. The slavery comes together with colonisation and comes together with white supremacy.

        I am sorry I must drag usa, because I can’t understand why the word Pardo can not be absorbed and understood by anglophonic culture. All Brazilians know about the one drop rule; how many Americans understand the Pardo problematic? It is an unequal construction we must understand the Afro American struggle but they won’t understand our struggle deeper because Pardo makes no sense.

        I think the Pardo is beautiful. The more I read black studies the sadder I get as almost none mention the beautiful of Pardo. It is always the same discourse of the anti blackness ….it is not …..Pardo is the non white. PArdo is the empregadinha (maid), Pardo is the slum people, Pardo is the Brazilian struggle inside amazon, in the Pantanal, in the sea coast.

        Btw thanks for the link. I am really enjoying this chat 🙂

      • Julia: There is nothing in this blog that applies to the “one drop rule”. I have said this to you repeatedly. Judgements on this blog as based on appearance. “One drop” gives the idea that even if a person is blonde/blue they would be black if they had African ancestry. I REPEAT AGAIN!! The “one drop” rule IS RIDICULOUS. If a person appears white, they are white. Can we move on from this tired reaction? Next, although the term doesn’t exist in a place like the US, the idea of a multi-racial person is not newin the US. Persons of “mixed race”, if you believe in concept of race, have existed for hundreds of years in US also. But again, we are NOT talking about the US reality. If you cannot move on past the American perspective then there’s no reason to continue this debate. Way back in slavery as well as the concept of the Frente Negra Brasiliera, pretos and pardos were considered as members of the black race. There are many Brazilians of ALL skin colors and hair textures who have come to accept a black identity because they understand that the Brazilian system treats them in this manner. As you said, pardos have experience the same discrimination. You also agreed that there doesn’t seem to be a true “pardo” agenda. The debate continues…

      • Question: Why do you keep insisting on bringing the American perspective into this discussion? I’ve already written, 95% of the articles on this are written by Brazilians so are you consisting bringing the US into the debate? You will note that the articles on the development of identity on this blog don’t mention ANYTHING about the US. The identity these people develop are mostly based on the frustration, denial and rejection that they’ve come to see after understanding the mythology about race in Brazilian they had been taught to believe. By consistently making the comparison with the US you actually disregard the development of identity of these people on their own as if they are not capable of coming to this realization through their own consciousness.

      • The title of this article is meet the two black women, I am arguing their black women according to the black anglophonic perception.

        Who are defining their black? The anglophonic audience has no doubt and wouldn’t use other word to describe the ladies.

        But we brazilian would….

        According to Brazilians we would all agreed their are both Pardas.

        One could have more African look and the other more indigenous look, but we wouldn’t say it is black.

        This is the Americanisation? Can’t you see?

        My point is the African movements do not encourage Pardo/ a s agenda. In fact Afro movements with academic support of black studies; have been insisting in the descontruct the word Pardo.

        Why we are not defending the agenda of Pardo people? Why we must insist has only blackness when clearly has more than three “races” mixed….

        Why we don’t use the word Pardo?

        Why couldn’t we expand the anglophonic vocabulary and include in the discussion of the struggle?

        You didn’t answer why we must des articulate the word Pardo?.

        why do you think has no agenda for Pardos?

        i explained to you already. any pardo who emgages political, is absorbed by the black studies discourse.

        I do think because anglophonic audience has no interest to defend this idea of mixing, we must dialogue beyond the blackness but still inside the notion of non white being denied the possibility if being.

        We can get political with a blur label as Pardo, but the academy must give a chance.

        Pardo are the majority of Brazilians excluded from the system. They suffer prejudices and struggle in the same difficult as the real Negros.

        I do think because the academy ( created and sustained by most western thinkers) can not cope with the word pardos; but only black.

        For that Pardo must be expelled from the discussion.

        Otherwise the tittle here would be the only two non whites. The only two Pardas.

        If we want to explain the Brazilian problematic of race and oppression of race we should explore the Brazilian reality.

        Not what the anglophonic audience understand as black dot.

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