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Africa, Culture, reblog, South America

´Highlighting Brazil’s Complex African Identity And Race Issues´… My response

Retrato do Professor Ernesto Carneiro Ribeiro.

This is a comment I left on The African or Black Question TAOBQ blog; ´Highlighting Brazil’s Complex African Identity And Race Issues`

Thank you for referencing my post ´a lighter shade of black…`

I´d like to give my opinion on a point made
´But what’s up with the Brazilian love for the word “Afro”, which in places like Britain is often associated with the Afro comb! And as all humanity descended from Africa, they ought to consider using African heritage instead

Firstly, I don´t see the problem in using ´Afro´ as a prefix link to Africa. And it´s not only used in Brazil- Latin America in General; ´Afro-Latino’.

Does one have to call themselves specifically African-Brazilian, African-Latino etc to prove their acceptance of their African heritage? (“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” W.Shakespeare) Having options isn´t such a bad thing because you can´t please everyone. Someone might prefer Afrodescendente, another Afro-Brazilian. The point is to get Africans to identify with their African ancestry to ´empower´ themselves. Debating which phrase we use to do so is fighting the same battle as far as I´m concerned.

I am Afro-Brazilian, Patricia in her home town Novo Iguacu, Rio

I am Afro-Brazilian, Patricia in her home town Novo Iguacu, Rio

I´m working on a photo-documentary called ´I am Afro-Brazilian`. Despite meeting many people proud to be ´black´ in Rio, I have only met one person actually calling herself ´Afro-Brazilian` in 1 month of being here! Lets not knock the efforts of African Brazilians/Latinos using ´Afro` as a prefix to their ancestry.

And regarding ´places like Britain (Afro) is often associated with the Afro comb!´
Is that a bad thing for an African descendant to associate their African ancestry to the `Afro Comb´? The Afro, which in its self is a political symbol of ´African Pride´… What would be the wrong in that if that was the case?

And lastly, speaking of Britain. In some ways we (Africans in Britain) have further to go than the `Afro`-Brazilian/Latino community. Because where as there is the option for Africans in S.America to pre-fix a direct link to Africa in which ever way one chooses to, in Britain what do we have? BLACK!

Just a few months ago I was proudly wearing the label `Black British´ (I still haven´t completely shed it off, however I now prefer to just use African). Thank you TAOBQ for opening my mind to the African or Black question! We have a long way before `African British` will flow with ease from the majority of African descendants in the UK but at least the debate is out there and getting people THINKING and QUESTIONING!

One last point! I understand why people dislike labels- why should they?! However, calling ones-self African descendant (in which every way one chooses to) shouldn´t purely be for the sake of identity purposes. As you wrote; ´And as all humanity descended from Africa…` (which I think is a bit of a `cop-out` in many contexts!) I think the correct acknowledgement should be ` we all have some mixed ancestry along the line (which in many cases links back to Africa)`.

How can we define ourselves with just one ancestral link? I for example: I am a dark-skinned British-Born Ghanaian… With a German surname! But it isn´t my surname that defines me. I choose being African to define who I am to EMPOWER myself.

Thank you for the opportunity for me to voice my opinions! Keep the debate alive! The fight is for a good cause!

Kai
travelmakerkai.wordpress.com

Please feel free to join the debate!

20121231-024447.jpg

a mobile pic from TAOBQ debate, London

About @makingkai

Life is a bit more colourful since I discovered blogging! thanks for following my journey! #MySohoTimes #LetsDoLunch #TravelMakingKai #TheEFedStudent

Discussion

7 thoughts on “´Highlighting Brazil’s Complex African Identity And Race Issues´… My response

  1. “Just a few months ago I was proudly wearing the label `Black British´ (I still haven´t completely shed it off, however I now prefer to just use African)….We have a long way before `African British` will flow with ease from the majority of African descendants in the UK.”

    I am American and I was among those who resisted “African American” when it started to gain momentum about 20 years ago. Today, although some people resist the term, it has gained mainstream acceptance and most people use the term with ease.

    Posted by newyorkman | January 3, 2013, 6:35 pm
    • thanks for your comment.

      I think many ‘black’/African’ Americans feel pre-fixing African will out-weigh their Identity as American. Whereas in Britain, most ‘black’/African can link their heritage to Africa or the Caribean (or in deed else where), in America this isn’t so much the case. So being ‘American’ is an identity in itself.

      I can only see the positive side of this ‘mainstream acceptance’. It did no harm when there was ‘black power’ and ‘I’m black and I’m proud’, so calling oneself ‘African-American’ is hopefully empowering blacks/Africans in America.

      Posted by findingme | January 4, 2013, 3:08 pm
      • “Firstly, I don´t see the problem in using ´Afro´ as a prefix link to Africa. And it´s not only used in Brazil- Latin America in General; ´Afro-Latino’….I can only see the positive side of this ‘mainstream acceptance’. It did no harm when there was ‘black power’ and ‘I’m black and I’m proud’, so calling oneself ‘African-American’ is hopefully empowering blacks/Africans in America.”

        I oppose extreme ethnocentric ideologies such as “black power” and “white power.” However, I agree with what you said about the term “Afro.” Despite one context referring to a hairstyle, it is also understood to be an abbreviation for African.

        Findingme, does your “I am Afro-Brazilian” photo-documentary also include light skinned and/or multi-ethnic Brazilians? It is my understanding that Adriana Lima, although she has very mixed ancestry, identifies as Afro-Brazilian.

        Posted by newyorkman | January 9, 2013, 1:38 am
    • hi newyorkman!

      my project ‘I am Afro-Brazilian’ includes anyone who chooses to call themselves so. Dark skinned or light skinned…

      This project is inspired by people i randomly meet.

      Posted by @makingkai | January 10, 2013, 2:47 pm
  2. I’m an african descendant
    I am very proud of my ethnicity.
    But that only happened after I began to read about the history of Brazil.
    Here in Brazil, we do not know anything about the African continent.
    When talking about Africa: a reference and we have a very misseravel. . Where has so much misery and hunger
    unfortunately here in Brazil and the only reference we have.
    I think the African continete should be shown differently, and how he really.
    When it comes to african decentente the first thing that comes to a head and black (I’m a son of a slave)
    Nobody wants to be the son of a slave!

    I’m happy to be a descendant of a slave *

    Slave to me means: A large guereiro
    So, I’m imagined, it was someone in my land where my father was a King who defended his people and defended to the death.
    Someone who is not fought like a man, as an equal
    but fought like a coward.

    I am happy because I am not a descendant coward blue blood
    we need to know more about where we are descendants of contintente
    to tell a story better for this new generation.

    Posted by Patricia Castilho | January 4, 2013, 3:56 pm
  3. Eu sou uma afro descendente,
    Tenho muito orgulho da minha etnia.
    Mas isso so aconteceu depois que comecei a le sobre a Historia do Brasil.
    Aqui no Brasil, nao sabemos nada sobre o continente Africano.
    Quando se fala sobre Africa : a referencia que temos e de um lugar muito misseravel. .Onde so tem fome e muita miseria
    infelizmente aqui no Brasil e a unica referencia que temos.
    Eu acho o continete africano deveria ser mostrado de forma diferente, como que realmente ele e.
    Quando, se fala em afro decentente a primeira coisa que vem na cabeca de um negro e (eu sou um filho de um escravo)
    Ninguem quer ser filho de escravo!

    Eu estou feliz por ser um decendente de um escravo*

    Escravo pra mim significa: Um grande guereiro
    Entao, eu fico imaginado , alguem foi la na minha terra onde meu pai era um Rei que defendia seu povo e defendeu ate a morte.
    Alguem, que nao lutou como um homem, de igual para igual
    mas lutou como um covarde.

    Estou feliz , porque nao sou decendente de um covarde de sangue azul
    precisamos conhecer melhor o contintente de onde somos decendentes
    para contar uma historia melhor para essa nova geracao.

    Posted by Patricia Castilho | January 4, 2013, 3:56 pm

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