Three weeks ago, Brazil’s latest soccer sensation was at the center of another controversy in regards to the question of race. Santos soccer club/Brazilian national team superstar Neymar (da Silva Santos Júnior) made headlines after he approached an opposing coach and asked if he had made a racial slur against him during a game. Neymar’s image, the complexity of his racial identity, stance against racism and marketability says much about the marketability of black public figures, Brazilian and American. Below is how Rafa Santos reported the incident. BW of Brazil’s comments will follow the article.
Neymar, racism and the question that goes beyond a simple game
by Rafa Santos
“Did you call me a macaco (monkey)?” Neymar asked in images caught on television. The target of the question was the coach of the Ituano team, Roberto Fonseca. The confusion between the two started after the Santos star received a hard entrada by one of the players of the team coached by alleged perpetrator of the insult.
Neymar still walked over to the fourth referee of the match, Paulo Estevão Alves da Silva, and complained: “Did you see that? What’s (up with) that? Is that legal? You didn’t see him calling me a monkey?” insisted Santos’ number 11 jersey. In turn, Fonseca retorted: “Are you deaf, boy? Are you deaf?”
In an interview with Bandeirantes TV, the fourth official said he didn’t hear Coach Ituano’s alleged racist insult. At halftime, Neymar wasn’t sure of having been called a macaco. “I didn’t understand what he said, so I went back to ask … Then he said I was deaf.”
Fonseca was also asked by the press and seemed irritated by the question. “He must be deaf, I said that he is cai cai (fall fall), that he falls all the time. He’s going make a divination too,” he said.
Many people will say that Neymar is exaggerating, that he ‘just wants to show off’ or this or that. However, his attitude was the best possible. He went to the supposed speaker of the insults and asked face to face what he said. He wanted to confirm before formally accusing the rival coach.
Indeed racism exists in Brazil. It’s a fact. In spite of much of Brazilian society adopting a ‘culture of misunderstanding’, as well defined by Michel Blanco right here on Yahoo!
Also please note that Neymar has already been the victim of racism. In 2011 during Brazil’s victory against Scotland by a score of 2-0 he had a banana peel thrown in his direction. The star showed indignation and received support from teammates.
Later it was discovered that the perpetrator of the “joke” was a German teenager and the Scottish Federation demanded that Neymar publicly apologize for having ‘offended’ local fans. Number 11 once again did the right thing and refused to apologize …
In 2012 Neymar was again the target of bananas, this time wearing a Santos jersey in the Libertadores em La Paz game against the Bolívar team. As if the bananas were not enough, the athlete was also hit by an object thrown by the crowd. The big wigs of Conmebol (tournament organizers) did nothing and Bolívar went to the Copa Libertadores 2013. The team was eliminated by São Paulo.
However, I believe that the attacker acted very well to directly confront coach Ituano. If he didn’t hear very well (what was said) he was entitled to ask for a confirmation. Period. Neymar can’t accept that everything is ‘misunderstanding’. He needs to know. He has reason to be bothered and worry about racism. One simply need remember the other cases of racism involving the striker.
If the main Brazilian soccer player in activity has suffered with racism on the field …What is the reality of so many other black athletes far from the focus of cameras in Brazil? The question remains…
So, again, the “black blond” bomber tipped off another question of racism on the soccer field. The words black and blond are both in quotes because Neymar once said that he was not “preto” (black) and his blond hair is courtesy of a can. The question of Neymar and race is an intriguing topic for a number of reasons. First, for the previous accusations that he made about being the target of bananas on the field, one of a number of racist practices associating African descendants with monkeys that has plagued black soccer stars around the world for a number of years. Second, as mentioned above, Neymar once said that he was not “preto” (black). And third, he once appeared in a music video with two black Brazilian singers in which all three were dressed in gorilla suits (see our analysis here). And four, Neymar’s affinity for blondness, a dominant standard of beauty in Brazil.
While Neymar has been straightening his naturally kinky/curly hair for a while and also using blond hair coloring in his Mohawk hairstyle, recently he’s also been seen in photos with blond facial hair as well (1st, 2nd, 3rd photos). When the star posted photos of his one year son online in November of 2012, Brazilians commenting at Holofote (wp.clicrbs.com.br) online participated in quite a debate about the paleness of the child.
Some people commented on how the child didn’t take after his father too much while others stressed that Neymar’s mixed ancestry was similar to that of many Brazilians. Still others revealed their own family backgrounds as evidence that brown skinned people having lighter-skinned children is normal in Brazil.
Now, black, or “would be black” soccer stars and white women in Brazil are nothing new and any Brazilian can affirm this. In 2009, comedian/TV host Danilo Gentili became the center of accusations of racism when he tweeted the following joke…. “King Kong, a monkey that, after going to the city and becoming famous, gets a blond. Who does he think he is? A soccer player?” (1). So does Neymar saying he isn’t “preto” (black), his preference for bleaching his hair blond, his relationship with a white woman and subsequent birth of a very pale child mean that he may have been influenced by the concept of embranquemento (whitening) in which African descendants purposely try to whiten themselves and/or their descendants for purposes of social acceptability?
The thing about Neymar is that, obviously he is quick to point out racism. He also seems to be familiar with the association of black people with monkeys. Without his having proclaimed himself to be black, it’s a little perplexing to know how Neymar sees things in terms of race. Does he see himself as white like retired superstar Ronaldo once proclaimed himself when discussing racism against black players in European stadiums. When Neymar said that he wasn’t really “preto” (black), did that mean that he saw himself as a “pardo” (brown) and maybe only partially black or did he mean “pardo” as a means of saying that he is of a racial mixture that doesn’t fall under the category of black (2)? Or did he perhaps mean it in a similar vein as former US Secretary of State Colin Powell when he stated, “I ain’t that black”? There’s really no way of having certainty. To be sure, regardless of how the star sees himself in terms of race, this doesn’t negate his right to protest when he feels he’s been the target of racism. Let’s face facts: Neymar being personally attacked doesn’t mean he would be willing to take up the anti-racist cause in general.
This is nothing new. Dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, sociologists Roger Bastide, Florestan Fernandes and anthropologist João Batista Borges Pereira argued that black Brazilians ascending to middle class status distanced themselves from their communities of origin. This is often still the case today. In his 2011 dissertation on black executives in São Paulo’s corporate world, Pedro Jaime Coelho found that practically none of the 50 black execs he interviewed were involved in any anti-racist initiatives of the Movimento Negro (3). At the time of the interviews, all the execs were also married to white women.
Over the years, black Brazilian soccer stars, Pelé in particular, have frustrated Brazil’s black civil rights organizations (Movimento Negro) with their silence on issues of race or refusal to dedicate themselves to such topics. But it is also true that, nowadays, more black Brazilians in general are becoming aware of the dictatorship of whiteness/Eurocentrism that dominates Brazilian politics and media. As such, many persons of visible African ancestry are demanding more representation and respect for phenotypes that are not purely European in appearance. For example, more than a month ago, a woman from São Paulo initiated an online petition campaign to encourage the “black blond” bomber to start wearing his hair in its natural state again. Her reasoning? Her black son wanted to emulate Neymar (4). Here’s what she posted:
Neymar:Accept your curly/kinky hair
Rafaella Nepomuceno, São Paulo, Brazil
Neymar, leave your hair natural please! My son is a handsome black boy with curly/kinky hair and told me that he wanted hair like yours, including straight, I responded:
– Neymar’s hair is curled like yours my son
– How does he make it straight, mom?
– Chapinha (flat straightening iron)
– Then I want chapinha mom…
– Mom, so is Neymar preto (black)?
– Ah, still quite (black)!
Now (can you) imagine a child with self-esteem problems because of not having straight hair? Neymar as an idol and example for so many children like my son could be more sensitive (about this issue) and accept his hair as it is.
Once again, we have a question of the social responsibility and influence of public figures. African-American basketball star Charles Barkley once famously said that he was “not a role model” in a Nike gym shoe commercial. I remember years ago a critic once saying that NBA basketball legend Michael Jordan had about as much social consciousness as a pea. Clearly, public figures have a huge influence on the public. Corporations that have products to sell know this very well. Remember the “Be Like Mike” campaign featuring Michael Jordan? Or how about singer Beyoncé’s recent $50 million endorsement contract for Pepsi, which led to some calling the singer out for accepting such a deal considering the alarming rates of obesity and diabetes in the US, particularly among children.
Beyoncé, being an international superstar that is female and black is very popular in Brazil. From the Brazilian media constantly using her name in comparison with any black Brazilian women in the media at any given moment, to the imitation of her famous dance in the “Single Ladies” video, to the influence of her hairstyle, there’s no doubt in her selling power. In Brazil, Neymar seems to be everywhere as the pitchman for a number of products including Claro (telephone), Red Bull, Panasonic, Nextel, Lupo (underwear) and at least six other companies. All told, Neymar earns only about 15% of his monthly R$3.6 million real (US$1.8 million) salary from the Santos team. The rest is from endorsements. Thus, as the bottom line often boils down to the money, is it really reasonable to expect Neymar or any other star to accept the responsibility of being a role model or is he or she a role model whether he or she chooses to be or not?
It’s actually on old question. But let me say this. If you’re waiting on the day for sports figures and entertainers to accept social responsibility and take unpopular stands on issues of the day, FORGET IT! Often times, entertainers and athletes are chosen for endorsements precisely due to the fact that they are not activists, maintain a politically neutral positions or don’t get involve with anything considered controversial so that they don’t fall out of favor with the public and thus lose their marketability with companies who often sacrifice or have no ethics when it comes to selling products to the public even if potentially harmful to public well-being.
So, in closing, I will say that Neymar is nothing more and nothing less than the current “flavor of the month.” No doubt talented, but still the “flavor of the month”. And while it would be inspiring to see people with such influence take important, unpopular stands on whatever important issue of the day, Neymar, like Beyoncé and Michael Jordan before him, has too much money riding on his marketability to “fight the power”. I’ve seen it all before and I don’t expect him to.
1. A few minutes after tweeting the King Kong joke, Gentili tried to justify the joke. “Can someone give me a reasonable explanation why I can call a gay veado (literally meaning deer, but similar to faggot), a fat person whale, a white man a gecko but never call a black man monkey?” He followed that up with, “In the joke about King Kong, I didn’t say the color of the player. I said that the blond goes out with a guy because he’s famous. It’s prejudice that’s in your minds.” It seems that Gentili didn’t note his own words as he had already asked the question of associating a black man with a monkey. As we have shown countless times, the terms macaca (feminine) or macaco (masculine), meaning monkey, is one of the most used racial slurs against Afro-Brazilians. In reference to his “joke”, one doesn’t have to actually say that the player is black because it is implied that and the image in the social imagination already associates black Brazilian soccer stars with white/blond women. White men are the least likely in Brazil to marry interracially, thus they are expected to marry white/blond women so stating a white man’s preference for a white/blond woman doesn’t apply because it is expected. Black men and white/blond women, on the other hand, has a whole other set of social ramifications.
2. For clarification and further discussion of Brazilian terms regarding race and color see previous articles here, here, here and here.
3. Coelho Júnior, Pedro Jaime. Executivos negros – racismo e diversidade no mundo empresarial. Uma abordagem socio-antropológica
4. Neymar’s influence can seen throughout Brazil, particularly in São Paulo where one can see many young men, black or white, wearing straight or straightened, blond Mohawk style hairstyles. Blond hair among black youth is also popular among participants of bailes funk or funk carioca music in Rio de Janeiro.
Source: Yahoo! Esporte Interativo, Folha de S.Paulo, Coelho Júnior, Pedro Jaime. Executivos negros – racismo e diversidade no mundo empresarial. Uma abordagem socio-antropológica. University of São Paulo. Department of Anthropology. Post-Graduation in Social Anthropology, 2011.
Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. And I willing respectfully disagree.
Tell me first, what constitutes “two black parents” and “two white parents”? According to whose standard? The standard as used by this blog follows a standard in which whites and non-whites are clearly not treated equally as race itself is a system of privileges and penalties.
If you speak from the US perspective, read the fine print of the census and you will see that persons choosing more than one “race” are included and counted as part of the minority race. If you argue from the Brazil perspective, you will see that “pretos” and “pardos” are socioeconomically in the same boat and at drastic disadvantages vis-a-vis whites.
Is that YOUR head in the sand?
What is critical race theory based on it and what is the agenda behind it? Respond to that and we can discuss. First things first, you base your argument on something that is sanctioned from academia which is owned, operated and directed by whom and at whose interests?
I would argue that if you follow and support whatever is controlled by the powers that be, YOU need to wake the hell up! Everything the system tells you is not necessarily true, but if your college professor said it and received financial support to promote it, even if it’s a lie, you accept it as true?!?!?
Why don’t you try coming up with some clear, concise, independent theory rather than spewing academic sanctioned/approved theory. There is a world of knowledge out there that will never be accepted by academia but this doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Recognize the art of control and manipulation and maybe then we can have a conversation, until then, keep your disrespectful, unnecessary comments to yourself!
Yes indeed, terrible!
In reality, I am glad to end this debate because it seems it will simply continue on opposing paths, which is fine by me. First, let me correct you on a few things. I am not the woman in the article to which you refer to defending “your son”. Her piece was included into the article to make a point.
Second, no one on this blog can you point to my identity. Third, in regards to your statement, “If you were mixed yourself, you might just understand this is more about personal identity than anything else”, a number of people on this blog can consider themselves “mixed” as you see it, but after experiencing Brazil’s own peculiar type of racism, they reject this identity as a sort of “dangling carrot” in which there are no real benefits and no sort of politicized militancy according to the racial dynamic of inequality.
This also appears to be the case in the US because, as Spencer Rainier points out, beyond wanting a separate “racial” category, “mixed” persons don’t seem to have a real agenda. This has also shown itself in Brazil where “pardos”, the small “movement”, if one can call it such, supports the “racial democracy” ideals of sociologist Gilberto Freyre, which have been rejected for decades as a fallacy.
On this blog, with the debunking of this mythology also comes a rejection of what one American historian termed the “mulatto escape hatch”. We also find that as persons become politically conscious in terms of race, these very same “pardos” and “mixed race” persons become “negros” and “blacks” and not the other way around. Thus, your “if you were mixed” argument comes up a little flat. Besides that, I also wrote about the difference between classification and persons who flatly reject a black identity. Please re-read the response on this…
I will now again address your points…again…
“However, having spoken with a wide array of “mixed” people, a wide consensus amongst this varied demographic agrees that the term “mixed” is appropriate whilst “black” is not”.”
Since when does simple majority count as pure validity? If 30 years ago the majority of “mixed” people identified as “black” what would your argument be then? If one hundred people believe in something that is false and one person disagrees and is actually right, does that make the fact right because majority rules? Ridiculous.
“an issue you seemingly just do not understand”
I sent a pretty long response addressing the points of your argument. It’s one thing to say I “just do not understand” and another to say I simply disagree.
“also has links with such things as social justice and social mobility of course, all within a very unjust system.”
I will point out that in Brazil, pardos and pretos are in the same socioeconomic boat statistically speaking, within an unjust system. Some studies have also pointed this out in the US. And as I pointed out previously, the system of “race” are about privileges and penalties, of which neither pretos or pardos can really claim in terms of financial, political or any other terms of power.
The psychology of the mixed person differs from that of the “black”, just as it differs from that of the prevailing dominant discourse, “white”
Psychology? Hmm…So tell me, if a person with the same skin color as Michael Jordan were raised in an all-white neighborhood by white (adoptive) parents from birth, never had any contact with persons similar to his appearance, would his psychology also be different? What if it were a Chinese person raised by a white family? In this sense, it would have nothing to do with biological “race”. There are people who have spoken about this dynamic as well. So, again, what is “race”? Anyone’s psychology can differ from the next depending on their upbringing, environment, etc. This has nothing to do with “race” as you see it.
“you too would hold similar intersectional concerns.”
By making such in-depth analysis and maintaining a blog that discusses these issues, I would argue that I indeed hold such a concern. It’s simply different from yours.
“a fluid spectrum, albeit one that you do not see as fluid at all.”
Did you read in my first response where I wrote about nuances and grey areas? Maybe not…
“Rihanna and Neymar”
Incredible. Not to negate anyone’s identity, but you want to include two people who most likely have never even studied the topic and are a part of he dumbing down of society as examples of progressing a “mixed race” agenda? WOW! So if I quote Paula Patton or Camila Pitanga, who identify themselves as black women, what does that say in the context of this discussion? NEXT!!
“You do get what the points I am making about. You do recognise that “black” people are very different to “mixed” people.”
I’ve made my point on this. Do you argue from the physical appearance perspective? If so, how do you define the cut off point for “black” and “mixed”? If it is cultural, what about the examples I raised about the apparently black or Chinese persons raised as culturally “white”? If it is parental, what about the people who have parents of two different races but only look as if both their parents are of the same race? What about the person who people assume to be “mixed” (parents of different races) but in fact have two parents of the same “race”?
My bottom point is this, people will believe whatever is drilled into their heads. At this current point in time, there is a push for miscegenation and “mixed” identity in the same way that “one drop” was the rule years ago. I don’t subscribe to any new theory without sound debate. I also stated in the previous post that this blog comes more from the classification angle rather than personal identity, which is not a disrespect to you or anyone else.
To finalize, you didn’t respond to my point: if you argue that “races” do not exist, you cannot argue in favor of “mixed race”. PERIOD!
I am in total agreement with this person. Your (the site moderator) claim about numbers has no weight to it, for if this is your opinion on the matter, then you are wholly undemocratic. People who do not listen to the will of a people – this person is correct about the censuses and mass movements of mixed/biracial citizens all over the world for example – but will only follow illogical rhetoric such as your own, then this amounts to being undemocratic. You simply do not listen to nor understand what directly affects mixed people, vying to pursue your own irrelevant agenda in an attempt to OWN a separate demographic. So I too see why you are a proponent of the One-drop Rule.
Quite frankly, I’ve made my point here. I have already written twice that my argument rejects the so-called “one drop” rule and by you continuing to make the accusation it is pointless to further this debate.
Either address the points I made directly in my previous two responses or this dialogue is over. Your failure to address the basic points of my argument are tantamount to the politician who simply belittles his/her opponent with ad hominem attacks while refusing to address the issue. If you cannot do that, this debate is done.
Thank you for your comment
Number one, the article is about Neymar precisely to discuss his image, success, etc. Neymar, has every right as any one else to define who he is. And just as true, anyone also has a right to interpret and study the meanings of these things. Everything is subject to discussion, so what is the problem with this?
And as far your previous statement, I will remind you that this blog has repeatedly stated that classification and identity are not the same thing. As we have pointed out in a previous post, the vast majority of “pardos” don’t identify as “negros”, but as you will also see in that previous post, many who study the question of “race” in Brazil classify pardos and pretos as negros.
Often times, the understanding of those who study whatever issue will be different than that of the general public. As such, the general public believes a number of things that may or may not be true. There are those who agree and also disagree on this topic. No problem. Americans, for example, may believe they live in the “greatest country in the world”, have the smartest, most educated people in the world and live in a “free democracy”. But belief in something does not necessarily mean these things are true. Brazilians, and increasingly Americans, believe everything is equal in terms of “race” when reports and investigation show otherwise.
In terms of your remarks on democracy, I would say that there can never be a TRUE democracy because people will ALSO disagree on things. If one wins an election by a margin of 51% to 49% does that mean that the aspirations of the 49% should be ignored because they are the minority? If so, is that a true democracy?
On the whole Obama issue, that is long, complicated discussion. But to speak directly to your point, I disagree. In American politics, if a black candidate is viewed as “non-threatening” and not too committed to the black population, I DO believe a person with two self-identified black parents could become president if the power and money of the establishment were behind them. Political success of black mayors in which the black population is the minority shows it is possible. I believe Deval Patrick, the black governor of Massachusetts, who is very much like Obama, could have easily won the election in the same situation.
“Grow up”? Very cute but is that how you deal with opposing viewpoints? In my view, THAT is in fact very childish!
Thanks again for the comment!
Don’t get me mixed up with the original person making their riposte to you. I am in agreement with them though. Entirely. You are not a proxy to speak for a group of people that have different perspectives. Stop being an oppressor and diminishing their voice; the voice of the mixed. It is a different lens and a different voice. Get over yourself!
The voice of the mixed has never existed and you sound like a fool for saying a phrase like, “the voice of the mixed.” Get over YOURSELF!
I am half White Norther European, and half Black Caribbean. Do not talk out of your backside, Nelson.
Too bad that this “Anonymous” chose to be anonymous. That destroyed any possibility for real interaction, or for any real accountability and ownership of a remark that is so negative toward, and insulting to, Black Americans. Realmente incrível. (“Really incredible,” in Portuguese.)
And a Twitter-Account makes you better in any way? It’s sad that a person thinking twitter is a decent form of communication denigrate a persons contetion by beeing anonymus in the internet. When you have no point you judge the frame, please get your reasoning straight.
I don’t know what all this hullabaloo is all about. I think Neymur needs to work on his esteem. I mean “and forgive me for any prejudices I expose here”. For crying out loud if two (and not unattractive) white women , one who has had no qualms being his mother and the other agreed to bear his progeny have not expressed or displayed racist or hateful tendencies towards him or displeasure at being associated with him, now who else is he trying to impress? The white male ? What can he gain from him? He already has two of life’s greatest treasures! In addition to his soccer skills. Even the bible says so I.e whosoever finds a white (my emphasis:))wife finds a good thing. There is nothing he use the white man for! He is just greedy!
my opinion as he get older he look more brown than black or biracial
i disagree with some of his actions “bleaching” and clearly he has a degree of identity crisis . but most people around in the world has this issues too
great post btw
Mr. Neymar should be himself. He is a young and promising footballer. Some of his comments might offend Africans and people of African descents as well as neutrals who do not have racial prejudice. Denying once ancestry is disgusting and it is more for popular icons like him.
Scientifically, and from an anthropological perspective, isn’t race an invention of the human mind? Isn’t it somewhat arbitrary and made up, as in non-existent? Cultural identity seems to be more accurate/credible and dependent on the individual, their location, and personal choices. Skin color is simply a genetic variation, from biological mutation, and varies with chance, locale, and even seasonally, as does mine. Aren’t we all mixed? Don’t we all originate from Africa? I am from the U.S., and have never been to Brasil, so I do not understand this seemingly Brazilian perspective. I am white because I have always been told so, and because I have no other options, as my known ancestry is entirely European, including ‘Black Dutch’, which is another interesting label. How can I better understand? Let’s educate; not only others, but ourselves, as well.
I agree with the person who wrote this article. I myself am latin american( so excuse my English) and mixed( half black/ half white) like Neymar is and can talk about this racial issue based on my own experience and knowledge of latin american racist culture.
First of all, I don’t like Neymar because it is clear that by straightening and dying his hair he’s showing his hate to his black ancestry, which I consider rather racist.He should be an example for minorities and not a puppet who does everything that powerful people want him to do. However, I understand that he probably doesn’t have the balls to fight the power because it takes either an idiot or a real hero to do so, and Neymar is neither of those. He’s just a soccer player and that’s fine, but he should at least keep his natural hair and not try to look like something he’s not(a white person).
It is true what the author of this blog says about mixed people being seen as blacks in Latin America( most Latin Americans love whites !!!). I am just another victim of racism, and whites, as well as other races such as indigenous, have directly or indirectly called me “negro” as an insult many times; and I have to tell you that my skin is lighter than that of many indigenous or what we call “mestizos” or “cholos” — who result from the mixture between white and indigenous people– here in South America.
Although everyone where I live wants to appear as they are not racists, they do are! (and in very subtle ways too).For example, they are racist when it comes to dating and marrying. They wouldn’t marry a black person because they think it would “spoil their race.”Meaning they don’t want to have mixed children ( so once again they are showing that they dislike mixed people almost as much as they dislike blacks). Conversely, they think that if they marry a white person(especially blondes with light eyes) and have children with them, their race would be considerably improved. What a stupid asumption on their part, but that’s what most people think at least here where I live, and I dare say that in most South America, too. Most people here wouldn’t even date a black person, and I don’t think this is a matter of preference only. Even though most of the people who don’t date blacks won’t admit it, their so called “preference” implies a subtle racism indeed.
Another example of racism againts mixed people in latin america is that if you have some black features and kinky hair, everybody notices it and immediatly think that you are low class because of that. There are lots of hypocrites, who are always laughing at blacks and mixed individuals and making fun of them whenever they can just because of their race. Then when you face them and ask them why they laugh, they say they are not being racist; acording to them, they’re just being funny… Society is very hypocritical.
The truth that some white and black people don’t want to address is that black and mixed black-white people are still considered inferior, almost like subhumans. In fact, not only whites but also many other racial groups in the world such as chinese and indigenous people generally see most blacks as ugly, stupid, and disgusting beings. This reality got me to the point of trying to hide my kinky hair by wearing a cap from time to time because I didn’t want to be seen and treated differently, just because people notice that I have curly hair. I must admit that the racism in my country and in the world led me to self-hate in the past, and I guess that’s what’s happening with Neymar and many other people around the world, who try to hide their racial features. I don’t know if all this hate is the result of brainwashing into thinking that whites are a superior race, or perhaps it’s just human nature to be racists, but it’s very disgusting to live in a world in which you are constantly segregated and rejected just because you were born mixed or black. Yeah I know I’m not full black, I’m pretty mixed indeed, but that doesn’t make any substantial difference in the way people treat me, so who cares about new racial labels if the real problem, which is racism, still affects almost equally to both blacks and mixed black-white people ?
“New racial labels”?
Terms for different mixes of races and ethnicities have been around for centuries, especially in South America. Are you sure you are from ?
Are you really from Latin America ? I am sure you are not from South America. In Latin America the one drop rule does not work. If you are part black and part white, you are both races, so you can identify with either one, or both. Is very insulting to a mixed race Latin America to be force to deny part of his heritage. A mixed person feels very proud of both his/her African ancestry, as well as his European ancestry.
This is a response to both of your comments.
1) This blog has NEVER viewed “race” from the perspective of “one drop”. If it was known that Gisele Bunchen, for example, had very distant African ancestry, she remains a white woman.
2) In responding to a previous comment you asked the question, “are you really from Latin America?” This question really doesn’t matter. By you asking this question you apply that if one is born in Latin America they are expected to identify with the “multi-racial” ideology. But if you’ve read a number of articles on this blog you would see that there are many women of the so-called “mixed” racial ancestry who identify themselves as black because after identifying as “pardas” or “mulatas” for many years, their experiences with racial situations showed them that it is their African ancestry that subjects them to racist actions. They realize that after many years of believing in the “mixed” race ideology, it is not being white rather than being “mixed” that subjects them to racism.
In the same way that you cannot reject the choice of a growing number of Americans (United States) proclaiming themselves “mixed race” in a “one drop rule” country, you cannot simply reject those of “mixed race” in Brazil who developed an “identidade negra” after they felt that “mixed” simply didn’t define their experiences.
3) It is ridiculous to get into this question of 75/25% or 50/50%. Racism is not based upon percentages. If a person discriminates against another person based upon physical appearance and proximity to blackness, they don’t ask for that person’s DNA results. Brazil has ALWAYS wished to be a white nation and “mixed” race only represents a necessary step to whiteness. As such, percentages don’t matter. Example: I don’t completely accept the validity of DNA tests, but singer Neguinho da Beija Flor’s DNA results revealed him to be 67% European; gymnast Daiane dos Santos’s results showed her to be 61% non-African. Now, forthe sake of argument, let’s assume these DNA results are true, are you going to say that those two people are not going be treated as black? Ridiculous!
4) I disagree with the argument of “forcing one to deny part of his heritage”. If you have one parent with blue eyes and one parent with dark brown eyes and you have light brown eyes, does this suddenly mean that your blue-eyed parent doesn’t exist? No it doesn’t. It simply means that the parent with the brown eyes are more apparent in your appearance.
5) I don’t necessarily agree with the statement that “a mixed person feels very proud of both his/her African ancestry, as well as his European ancestry”. Sometimes it is quite obvious that “mixed” people would much more prefer to be white. Many only identify as “mixed” because they will not be accepted as white. Some of these people, even having clearly visible African ancestry, actually see themselves as white, thus completely distancing themselves from a connection to Africa.
In the same way that you want to continue the accepted belief of how race works in Latin America, you cannot simply ignore the fact that millions of people reject African ancestry, are ashamed of African ancestry and thus contribute to widespread denial of how race works beneath the surface of this idea that Latin America is completely proud of its mixed race heritage. The very fact that so many countries promoted racial mixture to eliminate the African and Indian physical appearance proves the true intent of the “mixed race” idea.
Uuuummmm. My boyfriend is mixed (afro latin and white). He was raised in California. We went all over central and South America and don’t get it twisted, we were treated with a lot of discrimination. People assumed we couldn’t afford nice restaurants and to shop at nice stores. Funny thing is we probably have more money than they’ll see in a lifetime. Its was sad actually. I experienced more racism in Latin America then I have in my entire life in the U.S.
That is a very good analogy you wrote. And your experience as a mulatto (half Negro and half Caucasian), makes a lot of sense and I can relate to what you are saying about the hypocrisy that you have come across and faced in life.
Neymar could learn a great deal from you.
I think new Brazil manager Dunga who has been publicly slating Neymar for dyeing his hair blonde, should give Neymar the signals; to wake up a little and to remember that Dunga did not select him and the great soccer star Ronaldinho for South Africa.
Do not let anyone take away your pride… And stay strong and blessed.
I agree with Pacheco in that race is just an human invented concept that does not really exist. In truth there is just the human race and that’s it! Historically race was conceived as a means of enslaving or subjugating whole groups of people whilst trying to retain some sort of moral acceptance for this, i.e if you categorise other people as different then you can argue that the same rules don’t apply to them, so you can then exploit them with less guilt. The most abhorrent and at the same time ridiculous outcomes of this kind of thinking can be seen in the holocaust and in the slave trade and in lesser extents in colonisation and apartheid.
The the one drop rule in America descended from the same condition with an economical twist. In the case of America; the more people that you could label as black, irrespective of parentage then the more slaves or cheap labour that you could get and all this with less guilt than if the truth of the matter had been faced i.e that whole groups of people with just as much rights as anyone were being horrendously treated and exploited. Obviously this could not be sustained because it was fundamentally based on something that was not true in the philosophical sense of the word.
The evils of this period are past and the majority of the world has acknowledged this. So with the end of slavery and overt exploitation it becomes increasingly obvious that race is a) just an invented concept but also b) no longer relevant.
This is the main point; it is no longer relevant! Increasingly over time these distinctions will fade. BUT since old habits die hard, if we ARE going to refer to race (for a while longer), then at least get it right. If you will refer to black and to white then have the decency to refer to mixed too. If white and black exist then so too does brown.
From this perspective I entirely agree with JJL and LTS and you definitely should not take the stance of describing someone else’s ethnicity. If you see black as different from white then its absurd that you should lump brown (and indeed any other varying shade into black). Having said that I do think you made a good point about Denzel. But this just highlights the argument. People are mixed anyway, especially the US population. Thus you will always run into trouble labeling people with a concept that does not exist anyway.
In the end I’m sure you can see the problem that you are creating by sticking with labels that were never based on the truth in the first place. How do you describe someone as one thing when they are many things and in fact they are so much more (as we all are) than a convenient label that you might want to use to help you feel that the world is less chaotic than it actually is.
People have the right to identify as they wish and someone who has mixed parentage should definitely have the right to express that, whether that’s in the way that they label themselves or in what they choose to do with their hair.
This does not mean they are denying any other part of their (African or otherwise) heritage. Incidentally styling your hair in a certain way because you like it does not ALWAYS have to do with race!
You are missing the larger point. First, Indians, the Moori and many other people refer to themselves as brown. You are attaching the author for addressing the bigger issue and that is the continued bigotry and discrimination directed to people who are black or appear black. His straightening of his hair is his business but it is indicative of the challenge those people as such face. To play that down and diminish that into a simple issue about race not existing or the author is being too critical of people not claiming multiple heritage misses the point of the pain, humiliation, discrimination (institutionalized and sporadic). Shame on all of you who remain ignorant as such or who hide your self hatred, hide your head in the sand or run for the hills, instead of helping to take a stand against any sort of bigotry
Ha ha, everyone who disagrees with the author is in denial or a self hater.
How dare you have a different opinion to the author!
Also, humans are a specie, not a singe race. Regardless, when it comes down to it humans will always find a way to create separations. Suggest you look up the history of the gapalgos or easter island where the people there was homogeneous and found a way to differentiate themselves and then subsequently levy bigotry and barbarianism to the lesser class. One couldn’t tell them apart but that the ruling class was allowed to wear jewelry. So, even if your noble sentiments were correct, you fail to recognize or acknowledge the simplest of fact. Frankly it’s these sort of naive statements that help to perpetuate racial discrimination because instead of standing up for the what is right, people like you run to the hills claiming that these things are not a problem
I don’t think you understood their post. It’s Man creating the concept of race in the first place that enabled racism to exist in the first place. Not that racism doesn’t exist; it clearly does even if not to the degrees of the past. Yes people will always find ways to sub divide and to argue whatever they call and define those groups- just look at this post!
Neymar is innocent . That’s it . By the way, he’s not that black anyway. And he actually doesn’t disturb anyone (he didn’t colouring his hair white and take a photo while put the caption ‘ I’m a rasicm person. I don’t like my own black race’. Its mean that he never making a statement like that. So why bother about him colouring and straight up his hair?
A brilliant article. Those who don’t understand what the author is saying must be incredibly politically naive or just idiots. What a stupid statement about “Neymar acknowledging the white in his being”, in what world does the person who wrote that nonsense living? I am reminded of Nina Simone’s comments some time ago whilst visiting London ” we are the only race of people who don’t love ourselves”. I am just a shade darker than Neymar and proud of my African ancestry – it has served me well and helped me to bestride the world with confidence and deeper understanding.
Ps; he straightens his hair because he wants to be white – period – he has internalised Brazilian racism. Everyone of African descendants knows this and has faced this battle on this planet earth. IN THE WORDS OF BOB MARLEY (who understood this dilemma perfectly) “emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”. or again check Ismael Rivera’s “Las Caras Linda de Mi Gente Negra….”
Yea, he should hide his white ancestry!
Jermaine, come on! To not hide his white ancestry, he had to use either chemicals or a flat iron, to straighten his hair. To not hide his white ancestry, he OBVIOUSLY has to bleach his skin? Why does he have to alter his appearance to reveal his white ancestry? Does your comment and your implied reasoning make any sense to you?
I PERFECTLY and TOTALLY agree with mixed people wanting to be proud of ALL the ancestries they’re the result of. As a dark-skinned African woman, I would love to be nothing more than a human being whose skin color should be irrelevant and shouldn’t be judged solely on that account. YET, we do not live in La-la land and instead of filling my head with delusions about color blindness and race being a social construct, I get it to my head that the fight ain’t done. I’m not gonna put my head in the sand and pretend that there’s no problem. So, I don’t get why mixed people like to kid themselves into thinking that they’ll easily and favorably SEEN as part of the dominant culture or exotically CONSIDERED as mixed by them. Please don’t give the example of the nauseating apartheid regime! Only an ignorant fool would refer to such regime as a valid reference!
Nobody’s telling anyone to hide any part of your ancestry. However, if you have to alter your predominant physical features to demonstrate any ancestry of yours,, it seems you do have some problems determing your identity. Besides, if more and more white parents of mixed kids, sadly realize that still in 2014, their kids might be identified by society as belonging to their non-white side, what’s up with the pink glasses? Do you want to experience firsthand discrimination and/or racism before ditching them? SMH!
It isn’t the color of skin that makes you ugly, it’s that ghetto attitude that drives men away from black women and people in general away from blacks (in America). Now there are exceptions and those blacks are welcomed in any non-ignorant crowd. But when you act like Spike Lee and Jamie Fox and hoards of black women out there, then the decent black folks want to be non-black and I can’t blame them.
I don’t know why but I bet not only you’re less educated than the author of the post hence the “ghetto attitude” reference (projecting that much?) but I’m also sure you haven’t travelled that much outside of the USA because telling a non-US woman that she has a “ghetto attitude” is an “oxy-moron” ( pun intended). Isn’t the whole “ghetto attitude” a pure US social construct and reference?
he may well use bleaching cream, and since the slave sjip made several stops we have a connection. We may be related!
Question for the day, does it really matter? Seriously, it’s his hair people! Black woman straighten their hair every day and no one bats an eye. When a guy does it, “Ohhh man, he’s trying to disregard our race, oh woe is me.” Get over it.
ITDOESNT MATTER…JUST BE PROUD OF YOUR BEING AND RESPECT OTHERS ,LIVE LOVE BE HAPPY !!! DO WHAT EVER YOU WANT ,YOUR HAIR
OR COLOR DOESNT DEFINE YOU… RACE PROBEMS ARE HERE TO STAY… SAD BUT A FACT OF LIVE NILZA 7/7/14
In Latin America, people of African descend do not blame the white race for their past slavery; they blame the oligarchy. The poor and middle class white fought for their freedom.
Americans both blacks and white, have to accept that the “one drop rule”, created by slave traders, does not have any validity in the rest of the world. In the rest of the world if a person is 1/2 black and 1/2 white is bi-racial, if a person is 75% black and 25% white is black with white genes, if a person is 75% white and 25% black is white with some black genes.
To call Neymar “black” means he has to deny his white family, and to call him “white” means he has to deny his black family. He loves both sides of his family.
“The poor and middle class white fought for their freedom.”
I’ve never heard of white folks dying en masse, for the freedom of the Africans that they oppressed for centuries, so I’m not buying that.
Yes, thats what i’m trying to say here. Let he be himself dude. You’re no ones to judge who he is just by looking at his appearence. He can just straighten his hair cause he’s half-white people. So what’s wrong with you people who trying to make him ‘accepts’ the way he was? Are you trying to say that he is denying that he’s black people? Oh man! Please. He’s half white and black so just be with it. Let him dress himself up the way he likes it. If he likes to straighten his hair cause that way he thinks he will look nicer so just let him be. People who always say ‘Just be yourself. Do not straighten up your hair’ and such in my opinion is the one who are being racism here !
O come on his mom is really light skin I don’t think he is bleaching,am black and do not have a issues with that but I don’t say am African am Canadian first yes am of African descent but black people need to love our blackness
Hey guys i just wanted to leave a friendly remind that ALL humans have 99.9% the same DNA.
Eurasians have 4-6& neanderthal dna, so that statement of yours is not accurate.
Yeah, yeah,yeah….he clearly doesn’t seem to like his african traits much.
Here’s a simple definition of a black/african person:
-You have brown skin (ranging from chocolate brown to DARK brown, with, in some cases, a medium brown or reddish undertone.
-Your hair is very coily, like peppercorn and its color is black
(Albinos of people who look like what I described are also black/african)
– You have somewhat dilated nostrils, and possibly full-lips.
These are the traits that the ORIGINAL peoples of Africa possessed. If you don’t possess these features, or lack some of them (i.e curly/wavy hair instead of kinky “4c” peppercorn hair, or lighter skin) , you are no longer black/african.
It’s as simple as that.
What a load of bollocks. Please do some research and don’t spew that nonsense anywhere.
Really why do we separate ourselves from people I’m white could not care if i was purple don’t care I love Brazil Culture and Passion and so do a majority I am sick of the racist bubble we love you!
shame, this information is utterly disturbing. black people are called monkeys? ghhh wow to think that some people are christians out there. infact they are just fucking racist dirt bags
I thought there was no black people left in Brazil! I have been watching the melting pot people of Brazil for quite some time.
But, seriously; it’s nice to see a Black conscious Brazilian ladies’ site here…
We all know that Pelé never dared dated or even looked at black women once he became famous after the 1958 World Cup… This is just well known facts.
I am aware that Brazil claims to be a “racial democracy.” But I also informedfrom first hand sources, that one only has to visit the favelas (ghettoes) to find that is not really the case, amid reports of so-called “ethnic cleansing” in Rio’s favelas for preparation for the 2014 World Cup! A racial democracy?!
It seems that once blacks or mulattoes become famous (like Pelé) in Brazil, they go to great lengths to hang with mostly whites, trying their bit to improve racial relations. I guess that is just the way it is in Brazil.
As soon as the new Brazilian soccer manager Dunga was inaugurated, he started out to slate Neymar for dyeing his hair blonde, then he said that Neymar has to earn his spot for the Selecão and just last week I heard Dunga was at it again about saying Neymar will not be a star until he wins the World Cup. What is the matter with this Dunga?!
Neymar aught to listen to what Dunga is saying about him, and he seriously need to wake up and smell the coffee. To me, Dunga sounds really dodgy about Neymar.
Dunga never even called Neymar up for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa (Dunga even went against Pelé’s advise to call Neymar), and Dunga also left out the great Black soccer star in Ronaldinho. Sounds dodgy, right?
Finally, I would like to state that, I also thought that I was alone in questioning the authenticity, of whether Neymar’s so-called blonde haired son, really does belongs to him. For one, his kid’s hair is too straight and too blonde to be true!
The whole planet knows, Neymar dyes his hair and his beard blonde, as well as he straightens his hair. This sorts of implies, that he has a severe identity crisis. I don’t know.
I mean, I have mulatto families who married whites, and even all their kids look more Negroid looking than Neymar’s son. I can only guess or speculate. But other than that he’s a superb specimen of a classy soccer player; and that no one can take away from him. He has a lot to offer in the soccer world. God bless him.
Im a educated Person from europe and so don´t talk bullshit with me.
The truth is hard to believe but truth is truth : Neymer is a fucking nigger who will trying to get out of his race much as he can , look at his pictures of 2008 ,2009 , and 2014 how it changed , fuck another Michael Jackson .
May I say, you do not sound European!
Like I commented, Neymar is a superb footballer. He helped Brazil beat Columbia last week and Ecuador this week. And that is no bullshit.
I know all about Neymar since 2008. His paternal folks are a mix of Negro and Caucasian. His maternal folks are a mix of Amerindian, Negro and Caucasian.
So, you define him as a nigger?! If Neymar does not consider himself a Negro; then he is entitled to. Despite, the fact, that they have a lot of strange things happening in the celebrity world of Brazil, I doubt very much that he will go the extremes that Michael Jackson took. But, at least his last actress girlfriend is a light skinned Mulatto. So, there must be a shred of humanity in Neymar, somewhere.
I do know that he has been called “nigger” in Brazilian Portuguese on the pitch in the past, but denies that he has ever faced racism. And like many Black or mixed race Brazilian footballers, they pretend that they do not know about the ethnic cleansing that literally took place in modern day Rio de Janeiro to supposedly clean up the “favelas” for the World Cup in Brazil.
I don’t think being called a monkey is a racial insult as there is no link whatsoever between the Negro and an ape that is absent in the other races. Having said that, I would like to say that people calling people of African descent monkeys is something we cannot stop, but it is something we can choose to ignore. Complaining about it, only goes a long way to showing that we are insecure about something. Hence, let us let the troll troll and die. There are so many things white people can be called, but they pretend like it doesn’t get to them, and it slowly dies out.
I have been called many things; as far it is only said, then, they can express their insecurities by trying to make me feel bad, let us see how it works out for them.
Black Brazilians think they are not black that seems ridiculous to me and maybe if in Brazil they stop calling black people monkey they will be proud to be black and I has to be a real problem because Brazil have the most black people in the world other than Africa ,to me it’s just pure arrogance and stupidity or maybe because am from America thos whole article seems really weird to me in America if your mix with black even if your skin tone is not dark your” black”I guess the good thing is in America black people don’t have a problem with been call black …….we r all different we are all beautiful and none of us humans are better than none we all have red blood and when we die be become dust ……
Big fan of Neymar love you
Maybe its different in Brazil…. Actually I know its different. I saw latin people who were saying they were white, when in reality they didn’t look white at all. In America and even more so in Brazil, black people are typically of mixed background. HIs father is clearly mixed and his Mom look more white but as if she has African ancestry as well. Yes, he is mixed but he clearly looks of African descent. What the article points out is that he is ashamed of his African heritage. No one is arguing his mixed race.
whatever you say , hmm the fact is a lot of Blacks hate their Own race .
Please look at the Top Negro Athletes from all over the World , when they get Money and Popularity they trying to be with a Blond White .
So Please tell me how many Top White Athletes marrying your Negro Women ??? i thing about 5 % even less . and that will never change .
Of recent times, It’s becoming a frequent sight in the USA with more Black athletes and Black celebrities marrying whites more ever than in recent times in country that still practices remnants of the Jim Crow Laws, today.
Nowadays, I have noticed there are a lot of young Black (including Mulatto) Brazilian athletes who now have Black, Mulatto, or Mestizo wives, more so, than ever before. They are now becoming more culturally aware of themselves and more proud of who they are.
Pelé (a renowned Brazilian uncle Tom) never spoke up about the racism that took place in his footballing era, when he should have done, been that he was married to a white lady and he could not be seen with her in segregated areas of Brazil, even though he was famous. Jairzinho spoke out about racism in Brazil when he went to play football in apartheid South Africa.
Romário, a former great footballer who is now a politician, recently criticized Neymar sometime earlier this year, for not recognizing his Black heritage. So, this is evident that there are some Black pride still in existence in Brazil. Romário is well know for criticizing Pelé in public for not speaking up for the poor communities.
My dad was white, my mother and my entire family is black, but i have never claimed myself as being mixed. It comes from low self-esteem americans, who claims t be ‘mixed’. Once, one of my american friends said to me: you aint black, you’re brown; I replied: damn Im black, ask any racist..He was silent.
I enjoy reading this blog everyday, cause im brazilian and im black; not mixed or brown, even though people say, my hair is ‘good’, im not that black etc.I’ve never wanted to straight my hair or be white. But this blog sucks! so many shit mentioned isn’t racism, but they call everything ‘racism’, instead of help and motivate black people with positive stuff..
Hmmm…Intriguing. You say “I enjoy reading this blog everyday” but then “this blog sucks!” That’s a study in itself!
I see nothing wrong in him saying that he’s mixed. He is mixed and that’s that. In my native country, mixed individuals say that they’re mixed and I see no problem in that at all. I wouldn’t want to place someone in a box simply because I feel that they ‘belong there’.
But then again, in my home country there is no such thing as a black person as we go by tribes. I only learned of it when I moved.
“Black” people is a term applied to the Negroid race, of African ancestry with black skin, who are NOT mixed with other races. White refers usually to Caucasians, but skin color can vary. The mix of White with Black results in MULATTO, the term specific for such mixture, like MESTIZO is used for the mix of Caucasian and Mongoloid, such as Indian of America. Mulatto and Mestizo are terms used precisely to indicate that FACT: that they are a mixture. Period.
Now, going from that generic use, and jump to using it as an insult, or giving it a pejorative meaning, lies a huge difference; only people with distorted, perverse mind, use them as insult.
Indeed, like it or not, human races DO exist, but that does not mean one race is superior to others; mixed races are also not superior nor inferior either.