For the first time, blacks outnumber whites in Brazil

For the first time, blacks outnumber whites in Brazil

Miami Herald

Taylor Barnes, Special to the Miami Herald

Brazilians are no longer reluctant to admit being black or ‘pardo,’ experts said.

RIO DE JANEIRO—In the past decade, famously mixed-race Brazilians either became prouder of their African roots, savvier with public policies benefiting people of color or are simply more often darker skinned , depending on how you read the much-debated new analysis of the census here.

A recently released 2010 survey showed that Brazil became for the first time a “majority minority” nation, meaning less than half the population now identifies as white.
Every minority racial group—officially, “black,” “pardo” (mixed), “yellow” and “indigenous”—grew in absolute numbers since 2000. “White” was the only group that shrank in both absolute numbers and percentage, becoming 48 percent of the population from 53 percent 10 years ago.

Experts say the shift reflects a growing comfort in not calling oneself white in order to prosper in Brazil and underscores the growing influence of popular culture. Paula Miranda-Ribeiro, a demographer at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, said another factor was the increase in bi-racial unions with mixed-race kids.

While Americans look at race as a question of origin, Brazilians largely go by appearance, so much so that the children of the same parents could mark different census categories, she said…

…Activists and artists here say they’ve seen a greater mobilization for mixed-race Brazilians to call themselves black or pardo in recent years.

“The phenomenon I perceive are people getting out of that pressure to whiten themselves, and assuming their blackness,” says visual artist Rosana Paulino, whose doctoral work at the University of São Paulo focused on the representation of blacks in the arts.
She sees a rising self-esteem on the part of mixed-race Brazilians who stop using middle-ground terms like “moreninho” (“a little tan”) or “marrom-bombom” (“brown chocolate”) and simply call themselves black…

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