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2016 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

Brokering Black Brazil or Fostering Global Citizenship? Global Engagement that Empowers Black Brazilian Communities

Author: Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman

Published in: Race and the Politics of Knowledge Production

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US

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I waited somewhat impatiently in a perpetually long line to use the restroom at Sankofa African Bar & Restaurant in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and when I glanced around, I saw two black women behind me whispering to each other and smiling. I later learned that one of the women was Brazilian and the other was African. Quite casually, one of them asked me (in Portuguese): “Where are you from? Are you from Brazil?” Before I could answer, the other smiled and chimed in: “See, I think she’s African, maybe from … Angola?” The other responded quickly: “Look, she has a long face, and that forehead.” The other interrupted: “But her lips (looked at my lips and frowned) are too … (shook her head no).” Curious about the interaction, I remained quiet and smiled coyly, refusing to speak in order not to reveal my accent and/or my identity. When the anticipation (and my discomfort with them deconstructing my facial features) was too much to bear, I revealed: “I’m from the United States.” To which one of the women said to the other: “See I told you! But, you (referring to me) look like you could be from here [Brazil].” This brief interaction alludes to what happens when diasporic groups meet: misidentifications may complicate coalition building, but expectations of solidarity and similarity are also suggestive of the possibilities of diasporic engagement.

Metadata
Title
Brokering Black Brazil or Fostering Global Citizenship? Global Engagement that Empowers Black Brazilian Communities
Author
Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman
Copyright Year
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137553942_4