Whitewashing history: Play in Rio de Janeiro inspired by Afro-Brazilian historical figures but portrayed by white actors!

The legendary Tia Ciata at right and actress Christiana Ubach who will play a character inspired by the likes of Ciata
The legendary Tia Ciata at right and actress Christiana Ubach who will play a character inspired by the likes of Ciata

Note from BW of Brazil: Incredible! These people NEVER give up! The latest controversy coming out of Brazil involving black (mis)representation and history is neither new or surprising. As has been the modus operandi for decades (or centuries depending on how you look at it), Brazilian society continuously comes up with new ways to make its black population invisible and whitewash its memory all under the guise of “we’re all equal” while simultaneously promoting its whitening agenda. There’s a lot of history in the backdrop of today’s piece of which our readers will need to be familiar with in order to get the full impact of this latest controversy. Start here:

On the historic persecution of Afro-Brazilian cultural practices and “ethnic cleansing” of Rio see here

On the importance of historic figure Tia Ciata, see here.

Accusations of cultural appropriation, diminishing of black representation in major media extravaganzas and stereotypical representation are as Brazilian as capoeira and acarajé have been ongoing for a number of years. But what is so frustrating and disrespectful is the fact that elite whites feel quite comfortable stealing “borrowing” facets of Afro-Brazilian culture that so many ancestors were persecuted for when they defended their very right to practice them. A blatant slap in the face, whites/elites continue to persecute black Brazilians for their “uncivilized” cultural endeavors (as we’ve seen in recent violence against Candomblé adherents) but always seem to find ways to profit from it and rock the styles when they feel the need. It seems that everything associated with black Brazil is disgusting unless its wrapped in white skin. And that goes for funk, Afro-Brazilian religious deities and imagesturbansAxé music and even asses. This besides Brazilian society’s ongoing desire to present the country as a white nation, which is in line with its century and half goal of whitening the population

All of this is also very telling as just last month in São Paulo we witnessed another controversy and debate over the right to display, accept and reject images that may be offensive to Afro-Brazilians. Now, here we go again in Rio! A special shout out to journalist Marcos Romão over at Mamapress for shedding light on this controversy!

Black artists disappear from the landscape of Rio de Janeiro, 2015. Black artists protest at Pedra do Sal

by Marcos Romão

The World Cup has come and gone, and here come the Olympics and “Porto Maravilha” in Rio de Janeiro, getting all ready to welcome millions of tourists from around the world. The removals of the black populations of PEQUENA ÁFRICA (LITTLE AFRICA) (1), that happened from the twentieth century until now, no longer count, they will fall by the wayside. If it were left to the “decree” of Rui Barbosa (2):

“Burn the archives. Eliminate the black stain of slavery”

What matters now is the New Rio, a splendid and eugenic cleaning:

Rui Barbosa
Rui Barbosa

In carrying out the will of the “Águia de Haia” (Hague Eagle) (1), the Cariocas (Rio natives) did it literally, ending the black stain removing the black inhabitants of the region (3).

In 2015, if only in the artistic “fantasy”, we have the impression that the elimination of black protagonism in the cultural landscape of Rio is confirmed. The project “Porto de Memórias” is promoting the show João Alabá e a Pequena África (João Alabá and Little Africa), where instead of a black artist, we’ll see a white artist in the protagonist role of the mãe de santo (holy mother/priestess) of the show, which in the author’s words to rebut criticism for this choice for the role, says on Facebook:

Christiana Ubach characterized as Mãe Wanda de Omulu for the spectacular João Alabá e a Pequena África, on the 20th and 21st of June at Pedra do Sal. Published in Patrícia Kogut’s column (O Globo).
Christiana Ubach characterized as Mãe Wanda de Omulu for the spectacular João Alabá e a Pequena África, on the 20th and 21st of June at Pedra do Sal. Published in Patrícia Kogut’s column (O Globo).

“Mãe Wanda de Omulu (Mother Wanda of Omulu) is a fictional character inspired by the Yalorixá who took care of my religious beliefs, inspired by the studies that I and my team have been doing to stage major facts and highlight important personalities in the history of the formation of Rio society …”

On the same page where the author defends his point of view, a reader called to his attention to the question:

“Completely unknown is the struggle of blacks for visibility and representation in the media portraying a character that historically would have obviously a black woman as a white woman. If today Candomblé generously welcomes whites, at that time it was still an exclusive religion of Africans and Crioulos (4) – and fiercely persecuted by whites. The history of black people has been made systematically invisible and, when they resolve to tell it, place a white as the protagonist!!! This is called usurpation of another’s history. It is ridiculous and regrettable. White face…I recommend that  minimally familiarize yourself with the racial debate in Brazil before attempting to take possession of something that does not belong to them.”

The producers of the piece alerted by criticisms, responded with an invitation to hear the opinions of all those interested, that in part the production considered them to be authors of intolerant and prejudiced comments:

Alexei Waichenberg
Alexei Waichenberg

“Dear Sirs and Madames,

Faced with an endless display of intolerant, prejudiced comments and truly wanting to have a chance to hear them all and be able to present the argument of our show, the concept of our project without us  being judged only by a photograph in the press, I come to call those interested in a frank chat about João Alabá e a Pequena África, to a meeting to be held in the IPN (Instituto Pretos Novos  or New Black Institute) next Tuesday, 6/16 at 4pm.”

The author and director of the play Alexei Waichenberg has so far refuted all the criticism in social networks through the press office contracted by him, including using the lawyer of the struggle against slavery, Luiz Gama.

It seems like a mere piece of reverse or negative propaganda, which is when you sell a product through advertisements and arguments that provoke scandal and protests of outrage.

This has been the method of some comedians in search of an audience share, that by making racist jokes, arouse attention and protests and so become better known.

Whatever the intentions of the producers of this show, and whatever the reasons were for not taking advantage of this to give the role to a black artist. The controversy is in the air, or online, protests are already programmed.

Mamapress and the Rádio Mamaterra network will be there to hear the opinions about the “dilemma” of white directors choosing their characters in a labor market that offers little or no room for the role of black artists. A dilemma that the production should know, goes beyond the play, because as much the play to be staged, as in life in Pedra do Sal (5), they represent a reoccupation and racial redistribution of the space of the city of Rio de Janeiro and its cultural and economic scene. And in this reoccupation and redistribution of city spaces, with certainty, black men and women are losing even the little space that could be reserved to them.

Black women have already organized an act of protest on the day of the show’s premiere:



Tia Ciata (Aunt Ciata)

In Altar gladiator times, the murder of Mãe Dedé de Oyá, by racist religious fanaticism, our ancestry suffers another blow:

The staging of a play about about a Candomblé icon, Pai João de Alabá, where AGAIN several white actors represent black men and women characters, even in one of the holiest places for us in Rio de Janeiro, which is the Pedra do Sal.

What’s next? Will we have Black Face?

Once slap from the project Porto de Memórias: black money going to the pockets of whites on top of the bones of the Pretos Novos (New Black) (6)?

They are whites who earn money from culture edicts!!! Enough!!!




*** Who was Tia Ciata (Aunt Ciata)?
Tia Ciata

Mãe Wanda de Omolu or Tia Ciata was born in Santo Amaro da Purificação (Bahia) in 1854 and at 22 took the samba de roda (samba circle) to Rio de Janeiro. She was the most famous of the Bahian aunts (in their majority, Iyalorixás – priestesses – of Candomblé that left Salvador because of police persecution) at the beginning of the century were black baianas (women from Bahia) who went to Rio de Janeiro especially in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first of the twentieth century to live in the Cidade Nova area, Catumbi, Gamboa, Santo Cristo and the vicinity. Upon arrival in Rio de Janeiro, she met Norberto da Rocha Guimarães, got involved with him then and ended up pregnant with her first child and naming her Isabel. The situation of the two went no further. She ended up separating from Norberto and to support her daughter, began working as quituteira (sweets vendor) at Rua Sete de Setembro (street), always attired with their Bahian clothing. It was in the food that she expressed her religious convictions, in other words, her faith in the Candomblé, a religion prohibited and persecuted in those times. She would go to the vending areas with her Bahian clothing, a rounded, well-starched dress, turban and several necklaces (beaded necklaces) and bracelets always in the color of the orixá to which she would pay homage. The tabuleiro (vending tray) was famous and wide, full of cakes and dishes that were the delight of passers-by of all social classes.


by Marcos Romão

Director, producer, Damião (representative of the Quilombo Pedra do Sal), at right
Director, producer, Damião (representative of the Quilombo Pedra do Sal), at right

The play João Alabá e a Pequena África causes controversy before it opens.

With staging scheduled in Pedra do Sal, in the current region Porto Maravilha, which received for three centuries, two million enslaved blacks.

Historic region of Pedra do Sal
Historic region of Pedra do Sal

That with Tia Ciata is the “Birthplace of Samba”

The production of the play brings to Pequena África (Little Africa):

A Yalorixá in white skin

In a time when Brazilian society is experiencing a climate of intolerance against religions of African origin and terreiros are invaded, Candomblé children are prevented from going into schools and assaulted with stones when attired in the streets. The publication of the photo of a white actress to represent a Yalorixá caused great anger among the residents of the former Pequena África, in the downtown region of Rio’s harbor, Yalorixás and followers of Candomblé, as well as along Movimento Negro (Black Rights Movement) organizations.

Interior of Instituto Pesquisa e Memória Pretos Novos
Interior of Instituto Pesquisa e Memória Pretos Novos

Informed through social networks, about the provoked outrage, the director of the play, asked for a meeting with the representatives of the community, from the Candomblé and the Movimento Negro.

Meeting at Instituto Pretos Novos
Meeting at Instituto Pretos Novos

At a meeting on June 16th, 2015, in the Instituto Pretos Novos, were residents of the old Pequena África region, representatives of the Movimento Negro and representatives of Candomblé, as well as producers and black men and women artists, who listened to the explanations of the producers of the play.

In the words represented by the comments of the sociologist and adept of Candomblé, Alessandra Nzinga, “We are here to denegrir, which means to enegrecer (blacken) the play,” emphasized the thought of these leaders, who said they were not there to censor anyone but to submit proposals to the directors of the show, to settle the stir and indignation caused by the publication of the photo of a white actress, exotically attired as a Yalorixá, who would represent the main role in the play dedicated to praise of the black cultural traditions of the region:

 – Public retraction of the divulging and exhibition of the photo and offensive characterization of religions of African origin that could be interpreted as racism.

 – Replacing the white actress with a black actress.

 – Or suspension of the presentation to be reevaluated.

 – A response was solicited from the production by the 17th by night’s end.

The Quilombo Pedra do Sal, represented by Maurício Hora and Damião Braga filed a request for action and evaluation of whether there was racism on the part of the production of the show, along with the Coordenadoria de Igualdade Racial (CEPPIR  or Racial Equality Coordination), who was represented by the President Lelette Couto.

Source: Mamapress


1. Pequena África, meaning ‘Little Africa’, was the name given by Samba legend Heitor dos Prazeres to a region of Rio de Janeiro understood as the port area of Rio de Janeiro, Gamboa, Saúde where the Comunidade Remanescentes de Quilombos (Remaining Quilombo Communities) of Pedra do Sal, Santo Cristo, and other locations inhabited by freed slaves and from 1850 to 1920.

2. Ruy Barbosa de Oliveira (Salvador, November 5, 1849 – Petrópolis, March 1, 1923) was a Brazilian polymath, having excelled primarily as a lawyer, politician, diplomat, writer, philologist, translator and speaker. One of the brightest intellectuals of his time, he was one of the organizers of the Republic and co-author of the constitution of the First Republic along with Prudente de Morais.

As delegate of Brazil at the Second Peace Conference at The Hague (1907), notable by the defense of the principle of equality of states. Barbosa’s performance at this conference earned him the nickname O Águia de Haia (The Hague Eagle). He played a decisive role in Brazil’s entry into World War I. At the end of his life, he was appointed to be a judge of the International Court of The Hague, a position of enormous prestige, which he refused. eferred to slaves after the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. Many have long believed that Barbosa did so to rid the country of the “mancha negra”, or “black stain” from Brazil’s history. Other sources reveals that he did this not to destroy the traces of the lives of the slaves. According to Ciencia Hoje, Barbosa did this because when slaves were freed in Brazil on May 13th, 1888, the law established that former slave owners would not be compensated for the loss of their property. The former slave masters didn’t easily accept this decision and if it were up to them, slavery would have continued and they demanded compensation for their loss. Barbosa thought to the contrary: he thought that if anyone should have compensated , it should have been the ex-slaves that worked their entire lives without receiving anything.

3. See “The de-Africanization of Brazilian samba: Racial politics behind the most Brazilian of all rhythms

4. After the arrival of enslaved Africans in Brazil, their descendants born in Brazil were referred to as “crioulos”.

5. Pedra do Sal is a historical and religious site in Rio de Janeiro, in the neighborhood of Saúde. The site was originally a quilombo village. An association group still lives there: Community Descendents from the Quilombos of Pedra do Sal.

6. The so-called the Cemitério dos Pretos Novos (New Blacks Cemetery) was, between the late eighteenth century (1772) and early nineteenth century (1830), a shed of the old slave market located in Valongo, of the Rio coastline reaching from Prainha to Gamboa. In this place were “deposited” all slaves that arrived in the long journey of slave ships.

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


  1. Do you think blacks taking part in white culture (classical music, football, physics, chemistry, medicine, etc) is inappropriate too? Or is it only whites taking part in black culture that you find disgusting?

    • @Hjtyu: Thank you for the question. The issue here is not the fact that a group outside of the originators performs the art form. The issue is when a group has the power to diminish the contributions in schoolbooks, history books and media to the point that people believe that the copiers are the originators. Europeans will never allow that African, Asians or indigenous peoples be seen as the originators of Classical European music. It will ALWAYS been associated with Beethoven, Bach, etc. The issue is not simply copying something. The issue is copying something while having the power to make another group invisible and not giving credit or any respect for the origin. Europeans and their descendants are the youngest group on the planet and have stolen and pillaged nearly everything on earth yet and still the average child only knows European History. The hundreds of thousands of years of pre-Euro history doesn’t exist on TV, in the books or in the schools! THAT is the question! Thanks again.

    • Medicine, chemistry, and physics is not white culture. ..lol are you kidding all cultures produce those things and it all started in africa anyway

      • ? Can you give, an example of African contribution to physics just for the sake of argument? And no, it did not start in Africa, as much as I would like to. Modern physics and chemistry for example exist only very recently in human history and nothing alike was developed in Africa (would be nice, but it is simply not true). You won’t be able to name any African physicist because modern day physics has its origins in Greek natural philosophy (and even that being the case, no one dares to call these old philosophers “physicists”.) .

        You could make a case for medicine since this is a general term, but modern western medicine is predominantly (all, I would say, but you can offer a counter example) white. The scientific method is an European invention.

      • I have a better idea. I have already studied this topic and I don’t feel the need to debate this topic on a message board. Why don’t YOU search for this information outside of what the mainstream media, school books, anthropology and history books will acknowledge. I leaned a long time ago that our education and information is controlled like everything else. As such, only half of what we think we know is true and the other half is half true. If you do some research beyond what you’ve been taught and with an open mind you surely come to the same conclusion.

    • This is more than “taking part.” This is a play that has to do with representation of a priestess in an Afro-Brazilian religion in the past. I don’t practice any of those religions so I don’t know firsthand who would be a mãe de santo TODAY, but 100 or 200 years ago, I would bet it was someone who was darkskinned. The religion came from Africa. If we were talking about a Nordic country producing this play, where they don’t have many black people, then I could understand using someone white. But in Brazil it just doesn’t make sense. The audience is going to be confused or else think that they had white mãe de santo back then.

    • It wouldn’t be disgusting if black people took part in “white culture”, too, but it doesn’t happens at all.

    • If I may chime in here, I think you first need to do some research on what was being taught in Northern Africa thousands of years ago and who was teaching it, when you want to mention things like medicine and what not. It doesn’t matter who the director or writer is or whatever… The issue is and has been for quite some time ACTUAL, historical black figures are being portrayed by whites. White people were upset because Michael B. Jordan played the human torch, and Quvenzhane Wallis played Annie. But these are fictional characters. There’s a movie in the works called, The Gods of Egypt, and it has an all white cast. Does that seem right or fair, let alone accurate to you? We’re talking about ancient Egypt… you know the one in Northern Africa. You don’t think people have the right to be upset about that? What if I did a movie about the holocaust and every Jew in the movie was Hispanic… Do you think the Jews would have a right to be at least a little upset?

  2. Why would they do this? The woman was a mãe de santo and from the photo obviously darkskinned. It just makes no sense. Do they just not want to give a black woman a role? It is historical and the background of the character makes a difference. I can understand colorblind casting if race or ethnicity doesn’t matter in the plot, but in this case it does.

  3. @ Gatas – I have posted a reply that is awaiting moderation – maybe because I have added some sources for one of the posters to check out

  4. @gatas

    Thanks your answer. Sorry for being provocative, I was indeed acting as devil’s advocate in order to get a reaction. No need for a long discussion, but would be really interested to know your opinion anyway.

    First, let me explain where I was coming from with my original question. I once met a black Brazilian couple, who had a fight over what the man was going to study. He wanted to study medicine, but the woman was against because she thought in doing so, her partner was trying to “whiten himself”. I was wondering if this was general or just a isolated case.

    Concerning sciences, I happen to know a lot about it. I confess I know much less about medicine, so was hopping I could be corrected there. But in physics and chemistry, this would be harder as I did search outside mainstream sources, for a LONG time and came to very disappointing conclusions. The material I have found so far can be roughly divided in two ways: 1) Quotes of Egyptian contributions as being the same as black (and even when that is the case, if you take a deep look at what these contributions are they are still a world apart from modern science) – I have zero interest on this, my interest is solely on sub-Saharan Africa; 2) conspiracy theories with highly dubious or no sources at all (the internet is a paradise for this).

    Let me finish saying I am a person of African descent who would simply be DELIGHTED to be proven wrong!!! But in having an open mind, don’t expect an empty mind. I my provocation I of course oversimplified that Europe is solely responsible for all of science. There is good argument to be made that Asians and Arabs gave also deep contributions but nothing even remotely comparable to Europe. Also, modernly, African Americans DID give contributions to physics and chemistry (e.g. Percy Lavon Julian) but nothing yet comparable to the work of Europeans.

    Blacks are capable of beating whites in their own game, just as they did in football, but we should stop living in denial first.

    • @ Hjtyu – I would suggest that you begin your search for African/ Black contribution with the list that I have provided for you (rather than continuously changing your definition of what is acceptable as “African” ). Then, you will need to do a bit of research about ancient African societies (including sub-saharan Africa) and learn about how they functioned, and how there was a lot of communication, trade, and travel between Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa. Then you need to expand your mind to understand that Africans (both sub Saharan and Saharan), existed long before Europeans showed up to steal from the land. Again, do not expect for any white people to give you this information. You may even need to travel to some sub-Saharan African countries if you are, indeed, very interested in knowing about Black / African countribution, rather than relying solely on what white people tell you.

      Lastly, I would encourage you to learn how to do research as someone who is truly interested in finding answers, rather than a lazy person who is secretly convinced that “white is right” and will, thus, not attempt any real search for knowledge of African / Black contributions. Then, I would encourage you to not dismiss Black acheivement when you DO find it. I almost laughed my ass off when you immediately dismissed Neil DeGrasse Tyson as just “some guy” who hasn’t really done anything! Since it is the year 2015, and scientific discovery began thousands of years ago, it would be difficult for him to make contributions to scientific ‘fundamentals”, wouldn’t you agree? By the way, one of his most significant contributions is that he discovered that pluto is a dwarf planet rather than a planet. Before you dismiss this as being “irrelavent”, you will need to research the history of our modern understanding about what planets are. Then you will need to read his work that the supports his assertion that Pluto is a dwarf planet, rather than a planet.

      Just out of curiosity, did you attend publich schools in Brazil? Have you ever formed a hypotheses and tested the theories using real research methods? I ask because you claim to know a “lot” about these scientists, and yet do not seem to grasp the fundamentals of seeking out answers to the questions you have, or using the internet!

      In any case, good luck on your journey, learn how to do REAL research, and PLEASE quite being so lazy. It is exhausting to people who have to try to engage you in real discussion or debate. 🙂

      • Hi Bama,

        Sorry if I have offended. I did not dismiss Tyson as “some guy”. He is, as I said a fine scientist.A very fine one if you like and I do know his reserch as I did my PhD in a very close field to his (reason why I ended up meeting him). But if you were a scientist yourself (I’m sure you’re not…) you would perhaps understand that there is still a world of difference between Tyson’s discovery about Pluto and Permulter’s et al discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. There is absolutely no way to compare both, with only one of these classified as outstanding. Examples like these are simply abundant.

        Part of being a scientist is to accept the evidence not matter what you want to believe. Also, I never said I believe “white is right” and did not chose to believe European contributions in the sciences are overwhelmingly superior than African’s – I concluded it based on evidence. I did not dismiss your material, but unfortunately, you did not provide any reference I didn’t previously know. Thanks.

  5. Thanks kindly for your reply. It is interesting you mention N. D. Tyson, as I met him personally twice. He’s a fine scientist and outstanding science communicator, but this is a different thing than making an outstanding discovery in fundamental science. I’m sure he would himself agree on that.

    In any case, I know these achievements and they are important, but they very much corroborate African contribution are not yet comparable to European’s. Further, inventions, while important, are very different from discoveries. And if we would separate both and make a new list comparing solely inventions, than Europeans would win again and by very far, both in quantity and importance of the inventions. I suppose we agree on this much.

    • That’s interesting – in your original post, you erroneously described chemistry, physics and medicine as aspects of “white culture” in which Black people partake – rather than correctly characterizing them as fields of study. Then you assume that classical music (which -lets be honest, most Black people do not give 2 fucks about, and are not known to participate in at high levels anywhere in the world), and football are European creations (despite evidence that supports the fact that the precursors to both were started in Africa).

      Then, you are not able to distinguish between partaking in another culture, and cultural appropriation (which this article is about).

      Then you have chosen to simply not believe the evidence that much of the fundamentals of modern math, chemistry, and science, was, indeed, practiced in Africa before Europeans stopped living in caves. Do you only have faith in sources that come from white people? If so, it is clear that you are not searching for “proof” of Black/ African contribution to the world, or you do not understand how white supremacist attitudes work.

      Interesting indeed!

  6. @Hjtyu – oh GOD! Are you a “scientist” who has only “studied” 1 other scientist because of a Ph.D. that you supposedly got? Or are you an internet troll who will suddenly be whatever he needs to be in order to lend legitimacy to his/her weak argument?

    Your lack of nuance and your apparent lack of general research ability coupled with your bafflement at how to look for things using the internet, and your lack of specificity in declaring what kind of “scientist” you are lets me know that you are probably not really a scientist, but good try 🙂

    However, if we are gonna play this game, I have a doctorate in Molecular Biology from MIT and saw Stephen Hawking once at a conference. Even said “hello” to the guy! That means that I really know what I’m talking about in ALL things “scientific”!

    So, are you only interested in astrophysicists, or do we also get to talk about chemists, biologists, physicists, researchers, and computer scientists? Or are you going to keep moving your internal goal post and saying “that’s not what I meant” each time your assumptions about Black / African contributions are shattered? Also, are you interested in the work that Blacks have done, or are you only wanting to prove that Blacks do not have as much recognition in modern science as Europeans? In addition, how “awesome” do the discoveries/contributions need to be in order for them to be up to your “standard?” Do they need to be generally unfathomable or obscure to the average person to be considered worthy by the likes of you, or can they be sciences and discoveries that more people have heard of? LOLOLOL!! What are your rules man? Are you making them up as you go along?

    In conclusion, I would like for you to definitively prove that Europeans have made more scientific contributions than Blacks and Africans. I do not want lists of inventions, I want real scientific discoveries! If you post someone’s name, I would like to see a link to his/her actual work, and then I want you to demonstrate that the work has not been plagarised, or that no Black person was participated in the discovery. That means that you cannot cite a work as Hawking et. al. Rather, you must provide the full names of all who participated in the work. Furthermore, if it is a white person’s work, you will then need to provide me with difinitive proof -beyond a shadow of a doubt – that a similar work does not already exist in any other places around the world in any other language besides English. If I am not happy with the source that you have provided, I might ask for clarification and a picture! Got it? . 1-2-3….GO! 😀

      • It’s fun! Also, I know that other people, besides this ignorant person ,read pages like this one. Many have “arguments” similar to @Hjtyv, and have developed lazy assumptions throughout their lives. The level of academic/intellectual laziness is quite fascinating to me, and I enjoy countering that laziness for this person and others who might read the comment section. Also, arguing with dumb people helps me sharpen my own debating skills at 2 a.m. when I’m not able to sleep 😀

      • 😀 I suspect it did come from a Brazilian / South American university that is not particularly known for its contributions the scientific world. You NEVER hear real scientists who are true contributors to their fields not specifying their exact field of expertise, or using their “Ph.D” as “proof” of …well..anything! The “I have a degree in this so I know something about it” is a typical Brazilian mechanism for argument. But those of us who live here know that a Ph.D. can mean that you actually studied something to get it, or that your parents bought it for you, or that you have a friend working at a university somewhere who helped you get it, or that you simply downloaded it from the internet and copied it at the grafica next door, because no one is REALLY gonna check where it came from anyway!

        That being said, we also know that the REAL Brazilian scientists are known for more than the paper that they bought from a “university”.

  7. @bamabrasileira

    So true.

    My field is particle physics and I gave outstanding contributions (that everybody knows… 😀 ) to the discovery of the Higgs. But of course on great scheme on things I am no Carll Sagan or Neal DeGrasse Tyson. I’m so, so happy, we’re getting intelligent students from Brazil here in Scandinavia. Fora a looong time I thought all Brazilians were really dumb, but things are changing…slowly.

    • @Brazilian – I am sure your contributions are stellar! Where in Scandinavia are you?

      On the “dumb” issue, I think it is a complex one here! Where I live in the northeast, the majority of the students who are able pass the vestibular and go to free university are white people who went to private schools their whole life. And we know that private schools here “teach to the test”, rather than encourage critical thinking skills. In addition to being spoon-fed information for much of their lives, these upper-class (usually white) students are typically coddled for their whole lives, such that they do no learn basic life skills like scheduling and planning, personal responsibility and accountability, how to walk around outside (not kidding on this one!) or how to keep a monthly budget!! Then, they spend a life-time in the Brazilian world of jeitinho/ quem indica, such that they never have to learn ANYTHING if they do not wish to!! That world allows them to inherit ungodly amounts of wealth, government jobs, businesses (that they usually destroy when the matriach and patriarch of the family dies)…you name it!! In short, the whole society is set up to move dumb, rich, white people forward in life! There is a reason that the Lula, who was from humble beginnings, was MUCH better at managing a complex nation like Brazil than Dilma – essentially, a rich white girl who became president.

      I am hoping that the Affirmative Action policies will help more Black and poor people move forward in the society, because they typically are MUCH better at critical thinking, deductive reasoning, creative thinking, and general problem solving. In time, I hope there will be more of these great potential minds rising up to contribute critically to their fields, work in positions of authority, etc. Time will tell!

      • I thought you would remember where in Scandinavia I am, since we have discussed in this blog before … 🙂 ….

        But never mind, you’re the BEST.

  8. Ah yes, I remember! you are the Brazilian guy who looks Black only when his hair is growing! Am I right?? Well, I must admit that I did forget where u were living, but I remember. Hopefully, you are kicking ass over there (even if the people dont know that u are Black :-D)!! (just joking)

    • All in all, I am probably the one who profited from this discussion. I wonder, which book would you recommend for someone to start (I know nothing about it, shame on me) to know more about African contributions to science? There is a lot of material on the links you’ve sent to hytuj. There is probably one book that you would say “you can’t miss that one”?

  9. If you prefer to read books, I would suggest the following (all quite valuable, in my opinion):

    Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern – by Ivan Van Sertima

    Africa Counts by Claudia Zaslavsky, Prindle, Weber, and Schmidt

    The Dawn of Astronomy by N. Lockyear

    • Which documentary did you see? Yes, when you keep African history in the proper context, you see how expansive and profound our true history actually is!

    • Yeah that one is pretty awesome! There is a LOT more info on them, but I dont want to put too many films on this comment section, as Gatas has been gracious enough to allow this discussion to happen. Be sure to check out the others when you have time. The second one {Return to Glory} has 5 parts and is about 45 min! Keep goind down the rabbit hole 🙂

  10. Saw all the docs. Got a bootleg version of one of the books and bought the others. Great material. I have written some pages of the English Wikipedia for physics and I of course added up all I knew about Brazilian achievements (not many, but more of a reason to mention them). In case of African accomplishments Wikipedia is a shame. I wonder why that is, but all of my other articles were welcome. If my changes (with references) for Africa are not accepted I will like to understand why.

    Van Sertima is a GREAT intellectual, the best leader Africans could have.

    Gatas, my apologies to use your blog. I wonder if you would be interested in creating a forum here? Anyway, thanks for this blog.

  11. Since it’s ok for this I guess the people in the play and it’s writer wouldn’t have a problem with someone painting the Jesus statue overlooking rio black.

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