Can Barack Obama Help Blacks in Brazil? has a wonderful piece on Blacks in Brazil, racism and the Barack Obama effect.

"Racism is camouflaged. People call you 'neguinho' [a diminutive of 'negro'] and they think they're being affectionate. They call you 'black with a white soul.' We still haven't accomplished in our society what black Americans have in theirs…

As much as black people, regardless of continent of birth or native language, choose to deny their blackness. They are who they are and nothing will change that.

The after effects of white supremacy in a country of which the majority of people are actually people of color yet most do not identify as black is worthy of discussion, analysis and change.

From Merriam-Webster's Atlas





Official name: República Federativa do Brasil (Federative Republic of Brazil).

Form of government: multiparty federal republic with 2 legislative houses (Senate [81]; Chamber of Deputies [513]).

Chief of state and government: President.

Population (1998): 161,766,000.

Population projection: (2000) 165,561,000; (2010) 181,918,000.

Natural increase rate per 1,000 population (1996): 11.6 (world avg. 15.7).

Gross national product (1996): U.S.$709,591,000,000 (U.S.$4,400 per capita).

Land use (1994): forested 57.7%; meadows and pastures 21.9%; agricultural and under permanent cultivation 6.0%; other 14.4%.


Related Links:

For Which It Stands: Brazil

The history of race and racism in Brazil




© 2009, on the black hand side,

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Mongo Santamaria, Latin Jazz and other musical things

Ramon "Mongo" Sanatamaria was one of the greatest percussionists of our time. I met him through a mutual friend during the mid-1980's and at the time did not know what a legend he was in jazz, especially Latin jazz. You may already know his sound from jazz classics such as Watermelon Man and Afro Blue.

As a child, there was always music in my home. My mother taught dance: modern; jazz and African, so there was music. While there were different types of music my Dad preferred jazz. So, without really knowing who the people were, I loved looking at the album covers of and listening to Sarah Vaughn, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton and other well-known musicians.

Although I recall hearing various rhythms as a child, Santamaria was my introduction to Latin jazz. I think I am naturally drawn to the beat of the drums but whatever the reason, I came to enjoy the works of other Afro-Cuban artists such as Celia Cruz, La Lupe and Candido Camero.

Mr. Santamaria was kind, humble and unassuming during the few times I was in his company. I was amazed by his passion and energy when he played congas. He transitioned from this world on February 1, 20003 at Baptist Hospital in Miami. You'll find his biography in many places throughout the internet but I find the bio by Richard Ginnell most extensive and well-written.

Here's a video of Santamaria with Ray Barretto.

Black People Can ‘Hang Ten’

Chances are if you've heard of the stretch of Santa Monica Beach known as "The Ink Well", you may also know the name Nicolas "Nick" Rolando Gabaldon, Jr. Who is he? He is believed to be the first black surfer in California and possibly the first in all of the United States. Yeah, surfing is not just for white guys.

Several months ago I'd seen an article in either Essence or Ebony; I really don't remember which one, about black surfers. I thought it was really cool. I'd previously written about a young African surfer who was breaking all sorts of surfing records but back to Gabaldon.

He was born to Nicolas and Cecelia Gabladon on February 23, 1927. He was of a few blacks who attended Santa Monica High in the 1940s. He is described as tall and handsome. Gabaldon first learned to surf by borrowing the board of a Caucasian lifeguard in the area.

Of African-American and Latino descent, Gabaldon and other blacks were restricted to the 200 foot roped area of the Ink Well. After segregation ended, he would travel several miles to surf the perfect waves of Malibu.

Nick enlisted in the Navy after graduation and fought in the latter part of World War II. He enrolled in Santa Monica College and continued to hone his surfing skills.

Gabaldon met an untimely death as he rode a 10 ft. wave, crashed into Malibu Pier and died on June 6, 1951.

Today, the legend of Gabaldon and other pioneering black surfers such as Frank Edwards, Stanley Washington and Walter "Tiger" Daniels live on and are preserved by organizations such as the Black Surfing Association. Black surfers such as Rhonda Harper who spearheaded the establishment of the latest memorial for Nick Gabaldon and Ink Well Beach, the Caribbean Surf Network and South African professional surfer Kwezi Qika are blazing new trails to expose more blacks to surfing.


For information check out these sites:

Where are the black surfers?

Black Surfers Bring It Back Home

Ocean Size

Legendary Surfer: Sharon Schaffer


A shout out to Matt from "A Bowl of Stupid" who inspired this post. He promised me surfing lessons while he was living on Miami Beach but later he quit his lawyer gig and decided to do some world traveling. Now he's on the other side of the world fighting dengue fever, viral infections, rugged terrain and all sorts of craziness. But, dude is being true to himself and that can't be wrong. Anyhoo, this Bud's for you.

"White" couple sues over Black Baby

A New York couple is suing a fertility clinic because of a sperm mix-up. Their youngest daughter is not the offspring of the husband. She is noticeably darker than the rest of the family.

I’ve read of several problems with fertility clinics recently from sperm samples being lost to some discarded in error. The desire for a child is a serious matter. I don’t trivialize it but take a look at another issue regarding this latest family.

The couple claims to be white although the mother is from the Dominican Republic. It seems as though this might be a major problem for this entire family. Although they proclaim their love for the child, there is an obvious denial that the mother is Black. I know a lot of Dominicans. I don’t know one that I would consider white. Black is a color not an origin. Get over it. Denying your Blackness doesn’t change who you really are.

How mentally healthy is that home environment for this young child? Just looking at the photo of the family, it’s clear that the mother is not white. She says she is but she is not.The child needs to be taught to be proud of her Blackness and so does the mother. That’s the way I see it.

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