Is there racism in Brazil?

Is there racism in Brazil?

It depends on who you ask.

This girl has become one of the most recognizable faces in Brazil, and not for a good reason: she was caught on video yelling a racist slur at a black player of an opposing soccer team. (video is in Portuguese)

First, some background: Brazil shares some parallels with the U.S. but race relations have developed differently here. It imported the most of all slaves brought to the Americas in the transatlantic slave trade, and was the last country in the region to fully abolish slavery. (Most Brazilians don’t know that.)

It didn’t abolish slavery in the context of civil war we we did, and didn’t undergo the kind of violent segregation we went through in the U.S. It also didn’t have our civil rights movement, our landmark lawsuits, etc. But like in the U.S., slaves were freed with no resources, and so many became part of an underserved and marginalized lower class which still exists today, and is actually more exaggerated than in America–the upper classes of Brazil are almost exclusively white.

Meanwhile, Brazil has barely acknowledged its history with slavery and racial inequality until very recently. (They have not required black history to be part of education until several years ago.)

So if you’ve met a Brazilian, especially if the Brazilian you met was white and wealthy enough to travel outside of Brazil, you may have been told that Brazil is a country where the races mix and everyone is happy in a raceless-paradise. That’s a common myth among Brazil’s mostly white elite, and used to be widely propagated among black Brazilians as well, and it’s half true–while the U.S. and other countries tried to separate the races, the Brazilian government encouraged interracial marriage.

But it wasn’t always with happy intentions–Brazil’s miscegenation policies were developed with white supremacist principles. In 1911, they sent a representative to a race conference in London to present a paper on how “sexual selection” was going to eliminate the black race in Brazil and turn it into a superpower within 100 years. Yup. Most Brazilians don’t know that either. (Link is in English.)

So anyway, I’m writing today about this girl because she is a sign that things are changing. She is not the first, and probably won’t be the last, to shout “Monkey!” at a black soccer player. But what’s different is that now, people are increasingly calling racism out in Brazil. People are recognizing and speaking out about obvious inequalities in education, economics, politics, and media. And it’s about time.

This chick has become a national pariah, to the point where she felt compelled to go on TV and “apologize,” begging tearfully for forgiveness. You almost want to feel sorry for her watching it, until you listen to what she’s saying, which is that she is NOT a racist. She gives the classic “Sorry if I offended you apology” which, for those of us who follow race issues in America and who are anti-racism, is not an apology at all, it’s a cop out. Like, ‘Oh, did I hurt your feelings? That’s not my fault, so stop picking on me!’

Check out this exerpt from a Q&A she gave in which she says even more eye-rolling things:

Você se considera racista?
Não. Eu sei que não sou racista. Já fiquei com um cara negro. Eu estava levando muito em conta o fanatismo pelo Grêmio, só que nunca fui de ofender. A torcida do Grêmio não é racista, não é.
Do you consider yourself a racist?
No. I know that I’m not racist. I’ve been with a black guy. I was taking into consideration the fanaticism for Gremio (her soccer team), I never meant to offend. The fans of Gremio are not racist, they’re not.


I have two things to say about this. First, for those of you who are new to this topic, this needs to be said: if someone ever calls you a racist, get over the fact that you’re being called a racist and consider what you actually think, said or did. You could be the nicest person in the world with 100 friends from all colors of the rainbow who never means to offend anyone, and guess what? NONE of that is relevant to the question of whether or not something you did was racist. You yelled a racial slur at someone, so you are a racist. So stop whining and start thinking about what are you going to do about it.

Second, as ridiculous as she sounds, and though I’m glad people are actually reacting to and speaking up about racism in this country, I really do not think that bashing her mercilessly and torching her house (oh yes, someone did that) are going to make Brazil a less racist place. People like this woman need to be educated–after this whole thing blew up, someone needed to sit her down and explain to her why what she said was not ok, even if she was just expressing passion for her team, and even if she’s “been with a black guy.” (still SMH at that comment.) Though I understand the anger, and feel anger myself, her thinking is not uncommon and I think the problem starts with elementary education and the tendency of some demographics of Brazilians to act like racism does not exist in their country, when it clearly does.

This whole incident is part of a learning process, though. And the first step is acknowledging that there is a problem.

Next Mission: Stylish Ski Gear. WWRD?

So if you saw my last favorites video, then you know I completed my mission to find the perfect camera bag (“perfect,” as in functionable and something so beautiful that I’d want it even if it weren’t a camera bag). It wasn’t easy … camera bags are one of those things 99% of people/companies have failed to make fashionable.

Well I might go skiing when I visit home for the holidays, and I’m on a new seemingly impossible quest to find cute snow sport clothes, specifically ski clothes. I ski and snowboard, but this time it will most likely be skiing and anyway, snowboarding gear is already pretty awesome looking. I think it’s because snowboarders like to wear colorful, loose-fitting clothes for movement and their boots are 1,000 times more comfortable and attractive.

Let me clarify here–I don’t want something that’s “cute for ski clothes.” I want something that’s just cute, period, and obviously waterproof and warm and all kinds of functional. If you don’t believe me that ski clothes are just plain ugly, look at this collection of photos of celebrities in ski gear. These are women who make you want to buy and wear basically anything that they put on, women who make you wonder if you can pull off pajamas and slippers in public because they look so damned cute when they do it … and yet they all look, at BEST, boring!

Just read the captions and look at how OK Magazine struggles so hard just to make it sound like these ugly, shapeless black, grey and red ski jackets and pants, plain old beanies and chunky fleece layers are actually flattering and attractive. I don’t blame them, there really is not a lot to work with here.

The only celebrity who’s managed to make skiing look fashionable has been Rihanna, as far as I can tell–and guys, if you didn’t worship her before, look at these photos and consider how she has pulled off what NO ONE ELSE ON THE PLANET has been able to pull off, which is make ugly-ass ski outfits look sexy! When you look this good, will anyone else on the slopes really judge you if you’re wearing bright lipstick and smokey eyes to go skiing? Probably not.

Too bad she’s basically decked out in Moncler from head to foot so each of these outfits would probably cost several months’ salary for me.



And here I thought two WWRD (What Would Rihanna Do?) blog posts were already maxing out the limit of my Riri fandom. Nope. (more photos here)

So here are some thoughts on these outfits:

1. She goes for COLOR. Conventional wisdom would have you believe that ski clothes = bulky and therefore black is the way to go, because it’s slimming right? Well black is what made Kim Kardashian, above (another one of my favorite celebrities with style), look drab and frumpy. And if she can’t pull it off, I probably can’t, either.

2. Note, also, that it’s not just that Rihanna uses color, but she goes for rich, luxurious looking jewel tone colors, not the bright primary colors that are most common on the slopes. I’ve been to a lot of ski shops in my life, and truth be told, this is not easy to find, especially if you’re on a regular person budget. But it is definitely something to strive for.

3. She makes it look even MORE lux by wearing the colors in contrasting textures–One of the Moncler pieces she’s wearing in the top, though you can’t tell, is a puffer with knit sleeves and pocket detailing. The darker-colored lining is also a nice touch, plus that beautiful fur bomber hat bring the whole outfit to life. She looks so fabulous that this is probably one of my favorite outfits I’ve ever seen her in, period–and that’s saying a lot. The second furry outfit is also BEAUTIFUL but completely impractical … I think it’s safe to say she didn’t get much actual skiing done.

4. She didn’t fight the bulk. If you notice in the OK Mag slideshow, a lot of the world’s most beautiful women seem to try their best to get the slimmest possible ski gear, probably because they have bodies they work hard to maintain and normally like to flaunt. But let’s face it — you can’t exactly go skiing in skin tight clothing. So what they end up with is yawn worthy body-hugging padding. Rihanna was basically like PHUQ it, and just layered it all on all over, EXCEPT in the waist area. The result is a sexy–albeit bulkier than usual–snow-friendly hourglass silhouette. and she doesn’t seem to have had to sacrifice any warmth at all. Well played.

5. I know I made fun of her makeup, but it is as much a part of the outfits as the gear. I don’t care what anyone says, the next time I take to the slopes I’m gonna do it, too.

So with these observations in mind, I am now on the hunt for hot ski gear (that will not cost me thousands of dollars). I will document my findings, of course, or if you guys have any suggestions please do send them my way. There’s still a few months to go and most of the latest lines are not yet out, so there’s plenty of time. :)


Making the perfect work tote

I really wanted a large, white saffiano leather bag earlier this year and my mom got me this one (the Newbury Lane Cadene  from Kate Spade for my birthday in June:

The sides of the bag look more winged in person than in the photos, so it’s not just a square, and I love the stiff feel of the saffiano leather. It has two zipped compartments on each of the front and back panels. I’ve been using this as a work bag, and it fits all my notebooks, papers, my tablet etc. perfectly.

My one gripe about the bag though has been the lining. This is an older Kate Spade model (still available from some sellers, like on Amazon and in the outlet if you’re interested) and it has this colorful striped lining:

I don’t know if it’s just a seasonable preference thing and I’m just over these colors, but I don’t think I would ever enjoy neon-pink, electric blue, apple red, and that bronze-ish color together, ever. What I usually love about Kate Spade is that their collections always feature beautiful, vibrant color combinations and they’re usually really on point with these things. But this lining is so jarring, even more so since the tote itself is a stark white color.

Basically the bag stands beautifully and luxuriously upright on my desk and I love just looking at it when I’m sitting down and it’s at eye-level. Then when I stand up these neon stripes peaking through nearly blind me.

I’ve done some research on my options and I think what I’ll do is have the lining replaced by a good cobbler, like this one, which I’ve never used but seems to be recommended including by Kate Spade itself. I’ve gone to cobblers before to repair leather damage on bags, but never to replace the lining on a bag that’s practically new.

If I can get a really beautiful dark–maybe black or navy blue–lining in this bag, I think it’ll really be worth it. It’s really a great bag, and if you see it in person you’d see it LOOKS like it was made to be paired with a solid, or very subtly printed, rich muted color … not candy stripes.

I’ll let you guys know what happens!

New Video (edited): Nudes and sex tapes

Jennifer Lawrence nudes? Iggy Azalea sex tapes? It’s almost a non-event these days to hear about this stuff because–and I think it’s safe to say this–pretty much everyone strips for the camera, which includes regular non-celebrities, too. Don’t lie!

If you’re going to join in, though, be sure to be smart about it; remember these five tips:

How to style: a white shirt + denim

A white shirt paired with denim is a combination that is always in, in some shape or form. Two ways to wear it:

1. Harden the look a little with black leather, and add some fun and color with iridescent details:

End of summer 3 - reflections




2. Let the classic combo peek through a light and flowy short-sleeve coat, and spice it up with statement accessories while keeping the palette neutral:

Fall camo sleeve peek

How to style: a t-shirt dress

A short, leg-baring t-shirt dress is so comfy and versatile that it makes a great wardrobe staple. The styling possibilities are endless. Here are a couple of weekend looks:

1. Dress it up with a little with an exquisitely printed scarf and heels:

End of summer 2




2. Or keep it casual with some sporty accessories:

End of summer