Social Inequality And Colorism Within The Afro-Brazilian Community

Social Inequality And Colorism Within The Afro-Brazilian Community

Starting in slavery, how does it still exist within black communities in Brazil?

Colorism, a discrimination based on skin complexion within one’s own race, has been evolving throughout the centuries. Slaves were chained, raped, murdered, sold, and put on ships. They then were sent to different regions including Brazil. Slaves were forced to labor in harsh conditions as well as on plantations. As a result, the spectrum of skin tones among slaves and others who were legally black expanded. Slave owners granted more privileges to the lighter skinned slaves. Slave owners compared the lighter slaves to the darker slaves; Slave owners saw lighter slaves as smarter and more capable because of their white ancestry. The work on the plantation was different based on skin complexion. Some slave owners allowed the lighter skinned slaves to partake in educational opportunities or training and occasionally granted them freedom.

As for darker skinned slaves, they worked under harsher conditions, suffered more beatings, and worked outside in the scorching heat. After slavery technically ended in America on December 6, 1865, when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, slavery in Brazil continued. Brazil imported more slaves than any other country; African slaves were brought to Brazil as early as 1530, with abolition in 1888. African slaves were cheap for Brazil. As for America, institutional colorism became popular, but it was never recognized and labeled, “colorism” until late 2014.

I see it as problematic that Afro-Brazilians are treated differently based on skin complexion. In addition, the other problem is that colorism is both a symptom and system of oppression in accordance with white supremacy. It supports the white supremacy thesis considering like White people, lighter skinned Afro-Brazilians are praised, seen as more professional, are higher paid, and more easily obtain corporate jobs. In Brazil, race, skin color, hair texture, facial features, or body size and shape often lead to unmerited advantages, which connects to income inequality. As it relates, Darker skinned Brazilians are subjected to lower paying jobs in relation to this. In addition, other factors play a part in racial complexion segregation, such as education and political power.

In regards to education in Brazil, there is a great difference between the rate of equitable education for darker skinned Afro-Brazilians and lighter skinned ones, which hinders their ability to gain more lucrative employment. Within the Northeastern parts of Brazil, lighter skinned blacks benefit from high academic achievement, while darker skinned blacks face multiple limitations. Regarding political power, darker skinned Afro-Brazilians attempt to gain political mobility, but suffer from discrimination because of their less privileged economic and educational status. In keeping with the system of oppression, lighter skinned Afro-Brazilians and white people are the ones in political power. According to Minority Rights Group International, “Darker Afro-Brazilians are half of the population yet they’re only 20% of the economic GDP." Unemployment for darker skinned Afro-Brazilians is 50% higher than lighter skinned Afro-Brazilians.

Colorism is a significant phenomenon that takes place within all Black communities. For Afro-Brazilians specifically, colorism extends further and causes both internal and external conflicts. With slavery starting in the early 1530s, slaves in Brazil were cheap and the darker they were, the cheaper they were. Lighter slaves were the most expensive and treated with more respect because of they were suspected to have white ancestry. Colorism started during slavery, now we see how present it is in our black communities. As we are created equal, we must treat each other as such despite race, skin color, religion, and sexuality and break chains of social inequality for one another.

Cover Image Credit: Everyday Feminism

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9 Queer Pride Flags That You Probably Didn't Know About

The rainbow flag is certainly the most recognizable, but it isn't the only Pride Flag there is.

It's Pride Month yet again and fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies are celebrating. Normally around this time of year, we expect to see that all-too-familiar rainbow colored flag waving through the air, hanging from windows and sported on clothing of all types. Even when not strictly a flag, the colors of the rainbow are often displayed when showing support of the larger queer community. But what many people do not realize is that there are many, many pride flags for orientations of all kinds, so Natasha and I (Alana Stern) have created this handy guide to some others that you may not yet be familiar with:

1. L is for Lesbian and G is for Gay

The most recognizable letters of the entire acronym, L (Lesbian) and G (Gay), represent the homosexual people of the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality is defined as being exclusively sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Again, although the rainbow Pride flag is easily the most iconic and recognizable, there is a Lesbian Pride Flag as well. Specifically for "Lipstick Lesbians," this flag was made to represent homosexual women who have a more feminine gender expression. Here are the Lesbian Pride Flag (left) and Gay Pride Flag with the meaning of each stripe (right).

2. B is for Bisexual

Bisexuality is defined as the romantic and/or sexual attraction towards both males and females. They often go unacknowledged by people who believe that they cannot possibly feel an attraction for both sexes and have been called greedy or shamed in many ways for being who they are, but not this month. This month we recognize everyone and their right to love. Here is the flag and symbol that represents the big B!

3. T is for Transgender (Umbrella)

Gender identities are just as diverse as sexual orientations. Transgender people are people whose gender does not necessarily fall in line with their biological sex. That is to say, someone who is born male may not feel that calling oneself a man is the best way to describe who they are as a person; the same can go for someone who is born female or intersex (we'll get to that in a bit). Someone born female may feel that they prefer to be referred to as a man. Someone born male may feel that they don't mind being referred to as either a man or a woman. And someone may feel that neither term really fits. Identities can range from having no gender, to multiple genders, to having a gender that falls outside of the typical gender binary of man/woman, to anything in between. The colors of the flag are blue (the traditional color for boys), pink (the traditional color for girls) and white (to represent those who are intersex, transitioning, or have a gender that is undefined).

Okay! Here's where we get into the lesser-known letters of the acronym. You may have heard of some of these before but didn't quite know what they meant or how they fit into the larger queer community, or you may not have heard of them at all. Either way, we'll do our best to explain them!

4. I is for Intersex

Intersex people are people who are have a mix of characteristics (whether sexual, physical, strictly genetic or some combination thereof) that would classify them as both a male and a female. This can include but is not limited to having both XX and XY chromosomes, having neither, being born with genitalia that does not fit within the usual guidelines for determining sex and appearing as one sex on the outside but another internally. It is possible for intersex people to display the characteristics from birth, but many can go years without realizing it until examining themselves further later in life. Here is an older version of the intersex flag which utilizes purple, white, blue and pink (left) and a more recent one that puts an emphasis on more gender-neutral colors, purple and yellow (right).

5. A is for Aro-Ace Spectrum

The A in the acronym is usually only defined as Asexual, which is a term used to describe people who experience a lack of sexual attraction to any sex, gender, or otherwise. People who are asexual can still engage in healthy romantic relationships, they just don't always feel the need or have the desire to have sex and are not physically attracted to other people. If that's confusing, think of it this way: you are attracted women, but not men. You may see a man and think, "He's kind of cute" or "That's a pretty good-looking guy," but you still would not feel any desire towards that person, because that's not what you're into. Asexual people generally feel that way about everyone. That's the "Ace" half of "Aro-Ace."

"Aro," or Aromantic, is a term used to describe people who do not experience romantic attraction. Aromantic people still have healthy platonic relationships, but have no inclination towards romantic love. The reason Asexual and Aromantic are together is because they are very heavily entwined and oftentimes can overlap. Underneath that spectrum are also other variations of asexuality (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are asexual but experience sexual attraction in very rare circumstances, or only after they have a romantic connection) and aromanticism (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are aromantic but experience romantic attraction in very rare circumstances).

Below are two versions of the Aromantic Pride Flag (top and middle) and the Asexual Pride Flag (bottom).

6. P and O are for Panseuxal and Omnisexual

Pansexual and omnisexual people are not limited by gender preferences. They are capable of loving someone for who they are and being sexually attracted to people despite what gender their partner identifies as. The word pansexual comes from the Greek prefix "pan-", meaning all. Pansexuals or Omnisexuals will probably settle for whoever wins their heart regardless of that persons gender.

7. But what about the Q?!

The Q can be said to stand for Queer or Questioning, or both. "Queer" is more of a blanket term for people who belong to the LGBTQ+ community or who identify as something other than heterosexual or cisgender (a term that has come to describe people who feel that their gender does fall in line with their biological sex; i.e. someone born male feels that he is a man). It is also possible for someone to identify as queer, but avoid using it to refer to specific people unless you know they are okay with it; some people still consider it insulting. Questioning means exactly what it sounds like: it gives a nod to those who are unsure about their sexuality and/or gender identity or who are currently in the process of exploring it.

There's no one flag specifically for the letter Q, as all of the above sexualities and identities technically fall underneath this term.

This list is hardly comprehensive and there are a number of other flags, orientations and identities to explore. Pride Month is still going strong, and there's always more to learn about the ever-changing nature of sexuality as a whole and the way we understand it. It's a time for celebration, but also a time to educate and spread the word.

For a more in-depth description of different types of attraction and how they work, click here.

For more complete lists of gender identities throughout history, click here or here.

For a general list of commonly used words in the LGBTQ+ community and their definitions, click here.

Now go grab a flag and fly it high--you've got a ton to choose from!

Cover Image Credit: 6rang

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8 Reasons You Should Be Proud To Be An Introvert

"There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas." -Susan Cain


There is a certain stigma around introversion. Many people believe that it is some sort of hindrance to our everyday social and professional lives. Instead, it is an awesome blessing to be an introvert! Here are just a few of the strengths we use in our everyday lives.

1. We are very reflective.

I mean, what else are we going to do in our spare time? Introverts are naturally reflective as well as observant, meaning we notice small nuances or changes in emotion, especially during conversation. This can sometimes be overwhelming, as we naturally may think that these nuances are our fault, but it also helps us to understand others.

2. We are pretty creative.

Creativity can be defined many different ways. For introverts who have more artistic minds, creativity means the ability to see the world in a totally different way and put that view into words, art, or music. Conversely, for introverts with math- and science-centric minds, their unique sense of creativity leads to better problem solving and organization skills. Either way, this is a great strength!

3. We are naturally intuitive when it comes to communication.

Communication is pretty much our strong spot. We tend to understand how people best communicate with others and how we can appeal to that specific source. This is super beneficial not only in personal relationships, but in professional and school-related relationships as well!

4. We are self-motivated.

Rather than getting our motivation from social settings, introverts crave the feeling of total immersion in their work. This means that, while external stimuli can sometimes help, it is not necessarily required for us to do our best work. This means that we need very little management, as working at our own pace and in our own way is how we are able to do our best work. (We do all the work for you!)

5. We are (usually) very well prepared.

Y'know, that whole "overthinking" thing really does come in handy sometimes! Because we are able to see every possible outcome and often require exhaustive practice in certain situations, we are also able to prepare for those outcomes. This makes us well prepared in many situations, including job interviews and professional settings.

6. We are super loyal friends.

We are an instinctively careful people. We tend to think things through (maybe sometimes a little toomuch) and take into account all possible consequences of our actions. So, then, introverts are also extremely careful with who they let close to them. In other words, it's a big deal when they choose you as a friend. This also means their connection to you runs deep, so they will be sure to show loyalty to their friends!

7. We are independent.

Whether it be work, school, or social situations, introverts are fairly independent. While we can work in a group if needed, we thrive off of doing our own work in our own time. We don't mind being alone for a little while – often times it helps us to recharge our batteries and come back with a clear head and a rejuvenated sense of motivation.

8. We are great at prioritizing and managing our time.

Introverts are great at prioritizing multiple things and making sure each gets ample time. Between friends and family, work, school, and schedules, we are sure to not let anything fall through the cracks. While it may seem overwhelming at times, we are able to sort it out eventually! Even so, we are pretty realistic about what we can and cannot handle in our day-to-day lives, making us the ultimate schedule-setters.

Cover Image Credit:

Jose López Franco

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