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Monday, February 17, 2014

(Part II) Brazil: Multi cultural, multi colorful Brazil... PLUS: Something valuable FREE!

Race, color and culture mark South America's largest, and only Portuguese speaking country as remarkable. Brazil is the 5th largest and 5th most populist country in the world. But even more interesting is its ethnic mix-- White at 48%, Pardo (multiracial) at 43%, Black, Asian and Amerindian--and here, it gets interesting.

--> My anthropologist son-in-law Michael Baran, spent the better part of two years in Brazil examining how race is perceived. Both he and his wife/my daughter Jill are anthropologists--so ask about the Galapagos fishermen and she's got that covered... giving us a grand reason for two most fascinating travel itineraries. 

“Lots of social scientists like to compare race in Brazil to the United States. They think that unlike the United States, in Brazil, ethnic definitions are referred to in hundreds of racial categories that are really based on looks," says Baran. "And they can be based on things like different shades of brown... or creative things like 'coffee with milk.' Some say that the soccer great, Pele, even has a racial term named just for him. Other anthropologists, however, say that’s just Brazilians being creative. While there is certainly racial discrimination, race in Brazil is ethnically and colorfully acknowledged... and complicated.”

And to drive that point home and show how people really see themselves, Baran has created two very popular interactive apps for iPhone and iPad. One is increasingly seen on corporate websites by companies large and small to emphasize the business world's commitment to racial diversity. It is called (Don't) Guess My Race . Read the reviews below then you can try it yourself by clicking the website. You'll see why it is deemed so vital to our understanding. 

There is also a young person's race awareness game, Who Am I? available free. Here is Baran's

How good are these apps and why should you/your  kids have this experience? Read the reviews, try the game and decide for yourself:

"After years trying to get Americans to wrestle with a subject that makes most of us cringe, Baran hit on a strategy trusted by parents everywhere to get kids to eat vegetables and brush their teeth: He turned race into a game…By combining gaming, art, the subjects’ own poignant words and bite-size nuggets of anthropological insight into how race developed – or rather, how we developed it — Baran is turning a conversation stopper into a conversation starter.” The Boston Globe

"I had my doubts about this. More than doubts. Who’d believe that “there’s an app for that” could be anything more than a joke in the context of talking to kids about race? When we put the iPhone down, I expected a shrug from my kid-the kind of reaction I get when I tell him something he already knows or wants to pretend he does or just isn’t really interested in. Instead, I got “I loved that!” The look on his face, the tone of his voice-he reacted as though I’d opened up something that explained the mysteries of the world, and maybe I did.”  Slate

"I was surprised by how delighted my children were with the apps, and with the freedom to ask questions that they conferred. We’ve had plenty of direct conversations since, and unfortunately, current events constantly provide us with the opportunity to have more.” New York Times

Yes, Brazil is most colorful and should produce a quite a feast for the eyes of the rest of the world as Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2014 World Cup AND the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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