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Wed Apr 20, 2016, 12:12 PM

Some Diaspora News: Black in the USSR and Race and Place in Brazil

“When people ask me about my background I usually start by explaining how my mum is Russian, my dad is Ghanaian and that I was born in Bulgaria,” says the photographer Liz Johnson Artur. “It often becomes a long explanation.”

Johnson Artur spent her childhood in Bulgaria and then Germany and has been based in Britain since 1990. Her father was unable to return to Bulgaria and is now settled in Ghana. She only met him for the first time in 2010. After doing so, she felt moved to start documenting the stories of other Russians of African and Caribbean origin. “Most black Russians that I met in Moscow and St Petersburg had also grown up without their fathers. Some had been fostered or grown up in children’s homes and had never met their mothers. But we all agreed that we felt Russian as well as African.”

Most of her subjects, who often describe themselves as Afro-Russians, had grown up without much contact with other black people or with little of the shared culture and identity familiar to African-Americans and black Britons. “The amount we know about our African heritage varies from individual to individual,” says Johnson Artur. What they do have in common however, is a history of struggle against a commonly encountered resistance to the presence of black people in Russia. “Those who grew up and live in Russia still have to justify on a daily basis the fact that they are Russians too.” Johnson Artur hopes her project will go some to connecting and making visible the generation of black Russians that have grown up calling the country home.

Rita de Cássia Pereira Costa, a 31-year old maid that passed the OAB (Brazilian Lawyer's Guild) exam

Brazil is a society constructed very much upon class and race. There’s simply no way to deny this (although people still try). Perhaps no better evidence of this is elite reactions to seeing traditionally poorer, mostly black classes ascending in life and frequenting places where previously only those elites and their families frequented. We previously touched upon this in a piece entitled “80% of Brazil’s new middle class is black and upper and upper-middle class consumers are none too pleased about it”. We’ve also made reference to the rejection of those deemed “out of place” by privileged classes who have voiced their discomfort with this presence in the racist graffiti that has been found in numerous university campuses throughout Brazil, most recently at the University of Campinas.

This resentment is real as college student Lorena Cristina de Oliveira Barbosa came to see it when she was told that “she’ll only be a maid, or will need to use her black sexuality’ to move up in life” or as Matheus Pichonelli documented well in his article “The maid has a car and travels by plane. Then why did I go to college?”

This is to say that, being part of Brazil’s elite is not only based on one’s economic status and means of frequenting certain exclusive areas, but also enjoying the fact that so many others cannot. https://blackwomenofbrazil.co/2016/04/20/the-resentment-of-studying-in-the-same-classroom-as-the-black-maids-daughter/

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Reply Some Diaspora News: Black in the USSR and Race and Place in Brazil (Original post)
Kind of Blue Apr 2016 OP
Blue_Tires Apr 2016 #1

Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 12:23 PM

1. bookmarked...

thanks for this

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