Brasilia - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Brazil has a "machismo" culture and women can be relegated to certain roles. Some Brazilian men have very strong opinions about women holding leadership roles. For example, only 22% of Brazil's diplomats are women. There are racism issues here, and I'd recommend learning about Brazil's history to understand the nuances. "Brazil on the Rise" is a good book, but a little dated. - May 2017

Not that I am aware of. Brazil still has a rather male-dominated culture though. - May 2017

Very traditional culture, fairly religious. - Mar 2017

Not that I know of. - May 2016

Living with two people of color, one of whom is Muslim, we haven't noticed any prejudices. But we are foreigners, and Brazilians are generally very friendly with foreigners. Not sure what it is like for the Brazilians. There's a mosque and a synagogue, lots of churches of all kinds, a Buddhist temple, and many spiritual places. - Aug 2015

There is a subtle racial problem that I think is partly tied to the locals' views on socio-economic status. Generally, most of those in the service industry are darker skinned, while those with white/lighter skinned tend to be in the white collar industry. If you pay attention, you notice the difference in how the lighter skinned/whites are more respected than those with darker skinned. I've heard of people mention that they because they're darker skinned, they tend to dress up a bit more so as not to be treated like or mistaken for a maid. Basically if you're white, you're good to go, but if you're brown or of any other race, dress well for respect. - Aug 2015

I haven't seen any. The locals come in all colors. The lighter the skin, the more likely a person is well-to-do, but I don't see outright racism. - Aug 2015

They are very rarely explicit, but certainly structural. Most Brazilians truly are colorblind and can't figure out why Americans spend so much time thinking about skin color, but the occasional upper-class Brazilian might have problems with their son or daughter dating someone of a darker skin tone or poorer social class. There is also a latent disrespect for people from the northeast or of indigenous descent that creeps into popular folklore and barstool humor, and tragically, becomes an occasional hate crime. The current government is taking strides to increase access to services by the poorer social classes through measures like quotas at state universities; these will benefit darker-skinned Brazilians and are widely-supported, but don't be surprised to hear affirmative action being criticized as "racist" by those who believe in a strictly merit-based selection mechanism. - Sep 2012

It hasn't been my experience. - Dec 2011

I haven't seen them. That doesn't mean they are not there. - Aug 2011

There are no racial tensions. However, the vast majority of rich people are white, while the majority of the poor are mixed. - Dec 2009

There is one english-speaking non-denominational church that we attended. I believe it calls itself baptist but so many expats from all donominations attend that it didn't feel baptist. It was a bit crowded as the building was too small for the people. It has a good sunday school program and weekly bible studies. As for prejudices, they exist. Certainly there are classes, and generally whites are in the higher class than blacks. - Nov 2009

No - Jun 2009

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