That moment you look in the mirror and realize you’re black

That moment you look in the mirror and realize you’re black


Tim Rogers, Senior Editor

Brazil’s Black Awakening

SAO PAULO, Brazil— Jessica Moreira was 21 years old when she realized she’s black. Natalia Paiva had turned 20 before she made the discovery. And Cleyton Vilarino dos Santos is sneaking up on his 26th birthday and says he’s still not sure if he’s black, white or what.

Welcome to Brazil, one of the most racially intermixed countries in the world. Racial identity is a complex issue anywhere, but perhaps nowhere more so than here, where the difference between black and white is not so black-and-white.

Generations of interracial marriages have led to a rich tapestry of phenotypes and skin tones in every conceivable hue. But it can make racial identity an evolving or fluid situation that can change as a person gets older, learns more about the world, and their relationship to it.

As a result, it’s not uncommon for young people to spend the first 20 years of their lives looking in the mirror without fully understanding the race of the person staring back at them…

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