Empower Your Trip : 5 Insider Tips For Thriving As A Black Traveler

Understanding the history of Afro-Brazilian resistance against slavery is crucial for comprehending Brazil’s culture, society, and economy. This historical perspective is necessary to gain a fuller understanding of the country, appreciate its culture and people, and to be aware of current social issues affecting the Afro-Brazilian community. Here are some Insider tips I believe all black travelers should know about Brazil before visiting it.

Live the Black Culture in Brazil

Afro-Brazilian culture is not simply a derivative of European or indigenous cultures, but rather a unique expression of the African heritage brought by enslaved Africans.

This cultural heritage is a symbol of resilience and resistance against the oppressive structures of slavery and racism that have shaped Brazil’s history. It is a way for Afro-Brazilians to celebrate their identity and assert their presence in a society that has often excluded and devalued them.

The influence of Afro-Brazilian culture can be seen in the arts, music, dance, cuisine, religion, and customs of the country. African-inspired rhythms, movements, and expressions are ubiquitous in Brazil, from the samba of Rio de Janeiro to the maracatu of Pernambuco. Afro-Brazilian religious practices, such as Candomblé and Umbanda, have gained widespread recognition and respect as important expressions of spirituality and cultural heritage.

By appreciating the depth and richness of Afro-Brazilian culture, you can better understand the complex history and social issues that continue to affect the Afro-descendent population in Brazil. Both Brazil and the United States have a long history of racism and inequality that has disproportionately affected Black people and other people of color. In the US, slavery and segregation have been major tools of oppression and have resulted in ongoing disparities in wealth, education, health, and criminal justice. Similarly, in Brazil, slavery was a major part of the country’s history, and the legacy of racism and discrimination has continued to affect Black Brazilians in various ways, such as limited access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities, as well as police brutality and violence.

Overall, the ongoing struggles for social justice and equality in both countries highlight the urgent need to address the legacy of racism and discrimination and promote greater equity and inclusion for marginalized communities.

Get to know a Quilombo

Abdias Nascimento, a prominent Afro-Brazilian intellectual and activist, emphasized the importance of recognizing and valuing the contributions of Quilombola communities in Brazil. Quilombos, as settlements founded by enslaved Africans who escaped oppression and established their own communities, represent a powerful symbol of resistance and struggle against the legacy of slavery and racism.

Nascimento argued that the preservation of Quilombola culture and traditions is crucial to promoting greater social justice and equity for Afro-Brazilians. By visiting Quilombola communities, we can learn about the rich history and culture of Afro-Brazilians and support their ongoing struggle for recognition and inclusion in Brazilian society.

Quilombola communities serve as living examples of the resilience and strength of Afro-Brazilian culture and community. They have preserved their traditions and customs despite the many challenges they have faced, including racism, discrimination, and land dispossession. By recognizing and valuing the contributions of Quilombola communities, we can work towards building a more inclusive and equitable society for all Brazilians, regardless of their background or ethnicity.

Discover how deep are the roots of racism in Brazilian society

Despite progress made in recent years, racism remains a present problem in Brazil, as it is a consequence of the country’s history of slavery and the ongoing discrimination faced by Afro-Brazilians. Kabengele Munanga, a renowned Afro-Brazilian scholar, has highlighted the deep-rooted nature of racism in Brazilian society.

Understanding the historical and societal roots of racism in Brazil can provide a better perspective on the challenges that Afro-Brazilians face and recognize the persistent nature of racism and discrimination.

Discrimination based on skin color and ethnicity affects various aspects of life in Brazil, including access to education, employment, and housing. As a result, it is important to be aware of this issue and prepared to deal with possible instances of discrimination to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Try a new perspective from Favelas

Drawing from the research of Nei Lopes, favelas, often referred to as informal settlements or shanty towns, are often unjustly stigmatized as dangerous and impoverished neighborhoods. However, they are also a testament to the rich cultural heritage, history, and resistance of the Afro-Brazilian community.

Favelas are home to a diverse population and have developed their own unique culture, expressed through their music, dance, art, and cuisine. They also have a rich history of resistance and social mobilization, as the inhabitants have organized themselves to demand better living conditions and to fight against the discrimination and marginalization they face.

Moreover, favelas are significant cultural and social centers for the Afro-Brazilian community, reflecting their resilience and creativity. As such, it is important to recognize and appreciate the richness and diversity of these communities, and to challenge the negative stereotypes and stigmas often associated with them.

Learn and Engage

It is crucial to actively seek out opportunities to learn about and engage with Afro-Brazilian culture and history, as well as to confront and challenge the systemic racism and discrimination that continue to impact these communities. By doing so, we can promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of the richness and diversity of Afro-Brazilian culture, while also standing in solidarity with those who continue to fight for social justice and equality.

Furthermore, it is important to recognize that our engagement with Afro-Brazilian communities should not be limited to surface-level experiences, but should involve a commitment to meaningful, sustained engagement and support. This means recognizing and respecting the agency and autonomy of these communities, and working to support their efforts towards self-determination and empowerment.

In summary, being open to learning about and engaging with Afro-Brazilian culture and history, while also actively confronting racism and discrimination, is not only an enriching experience but also a necessary step towards building a more just and equitable society.

Explore Brazil through our lens