Brazil Ethnology of the Immigrant Population Part 2

Indigenous people who live completely apart are treated separately (see above). But the semi-civilized Indian is not lacking in interest, and even more the half-caste Indian. Mameluco is the name that is generally given in Brazil to this half-breed, product of the mixture with white. Sometimes the name caboclo is also used, which at other times extends to the entire Indian population, but, more properly, it would indicate, more than a racial aggregate, an economic type: that of the indigenous who thrives on his own embryonic agriculture. A more strictly defined type is the sertanejo, or man of the sertão, which abounds in the less forested northern provinces, such as Ceará; product of the mixture of the European (especially the Portuguese) and the Indian, already in the relatively remote era of the Colony, the sertanejo has sufficiently fixed features, especially in the slightly Mongoloid and flat physiognomy, in the blacks and thick hair and in the bronze complexion. It can be said that the sertenejo, even more than the gaucho of Rio Grande do Norte and every other particular formation of Brazil, show a true unity, both cultural and somatic, solidly fixed by the economic environment. The National Museum of Rio de Janeiro, located in the ancient palace of Don Pedro (Quinta da Boa Vista), has intelligently collected the ethnographic documents for the study of the sertanejo in several rooms full of weapons, robes, chariots and tools.

Diametrically opposed to the urbanist tendency of the Negro is the general conduct of the Indian and its derivatives. Even when they have established more or less extensive contacts with civil life, they flee from the cities, and their major nuclei are rural; indeed, in essence, their life is dissociated. It is true that the mestizos of the plain sometimes engage in the factories where the cattle are raised as laborers (vaqueiros). But in general they form, rather than an element of mixture and interpenetration, something like a liminal cord, fleeing step by step, increasingly retreating inward, irreducible and grim, albeit passive, in the face of the advance of civilization. We remove from Brazilian literature a description of this social type: “A fugitive man, semi-nomadic, unsuitable for civilization, although he lives on the edge of it, in the penumbra of the border area. As progress expands with the arrival of the railway, of the Italian, of the plow and of the enhancement of the land, he is quietly fleeing, taking with him his dog and the characteristic annes (the pilão, the picapau and o isqueiro), thus always maintaining its marginal, sly and silent attitude. Closely tied to his life clothes, he prefers to recoil rather than adapt. ”

From the foregoing it is easy to deduce the psychological qualities of the American blood contingent: less immoral than the Negro, however, it is also less suitable for fatigue and domestication. It has already been said that his precarious participation in the economic life of the country takes place in pastoralism and in the extractive industries, where he can better satisfy the innate tendency towards autonomy and nomadism. It is hardly reduced to another existence that is more methodical and more controlled. More than intelligence, it demonstrates a strength of a very special character, which is made up of reserve, vanity, passivity and contempt for all that we call “civilized living”. While the Negroes with their descendants admire and desire the goods of the white civilization, although inertia and lack of discipline, combined with caboclo (and no other indigenous or half-caste American, in other parts of the continent) pay homage and admiration to the goods of Western man.

Different psychologies, therefore, and different attitudes. But in one thing the two great color contingents coincide infallibly: laziness, combined with foresight. They both live on a minimum of real goods, even if we are referring only to food and housing. Caboclo hut and negro’s house are equally squalid. This is then, especially in the countryside, horribly filthy. In both you live day to day, if you feel the urge to improve your lot, much less to capitalize on energy or means: hence a negative action that makes you feel your own weight in the development of the life of the large masses who live in the country and they propose to put it in full value.

The real active nucleus is formed by the Whites, and his are both the already achieved achievements of well-being, as well as the promises of future victories, at least insofar as they depend on energy of character, constancy, will, coordinating and organizing intelligence and capitalization of forces. The number of Whites certainly does not constitute a majority, but this does not detract from its effectiveness as a management group. It welcomes in its bosom both the newcomers, that is the masses emigrated from Europe in the period of a century (1820-1920) among which the Portuguese (2,116,108) the Spaniards (1,021,028), the Germans (262,882) stand out. and above all the Italians, with 2.777.762, as much as the colonial Portuguese families, which form something like a historical aristocracy, and also the eugenic degrees of the most ancient crosses, whose origin is almost unrecognizable, and whose identification with civil life is complete. Politically, indeed, the two categories listed last play a certain dominance, in the name of tradition. On the other hand, commercially, as well as in industries and urban property, the children of the latest immigrants, or even foreigners who have recently arrived in the country, stand out. It is worth mentioning that in the Brazilian Creole mass a special representative type was formed in a relatively concentrated environment, which, due to its energetic qualities and business attitude, can be said to be a unique phenomenon compared to other peoples of the Latin America. This is the business attitude can be said to be a unique phenomenon compared to the other peoples of Latin America. This is the business attitude can be said to be a unique phenomenon compared to the other peoples of Latin America. This is the Paulist, whose tradition dates back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, at the time, that is, of the Bandeirantes, who were roaming nuclei in the interior of the territory in search of metalliferous veins, which hardened to fatigue during a long period of adventurous life, full of dangers and abstinence. From them the Paulists of today descend, and it is undeniable that the tenacity of their spirit of progress, associated with the conditions offered by the land (the “purple earth” of St. Paul) for the cultivation of coffee, and to the workforce constructive and intelligent of the Italian families established there after 1880, they have made this state the most intensely valued portion of the whole of Brazil, and which marches at the forefront of the economic and intellectual development of the country.

Whites, both Italians, Germans and Slavs or Portuguese and Spaniards, coexist under the same laws with natives, Negroes, Mamelucos, mulattoes and cafusos. The war of races has never existed, and unlimited liberalism legally mitigates any difference. Perhaps from a social and moral point of view it is not the same thing, although no citizen tries to hide the particle of mixed blood which by chance runs through his veins. As for the predictions of the future, which were so bleak in the pages of Lapouge (for which the Brazilian nation would become a nation of Negroes), today they are more optimistic by virtue of the secret that the experience and observation of the last decades has gone discovering, that is, the dominant and absorbing power exerted by the white blood on the mixed population which was produced by the colonial past. The orthogenicity that derives from the progressive injections of leucoderm contingents, while the lower strata remain numerically roughly unchanged, opens a prospect of more smiling hopes to Brazilian anthropologists and politicians. This from the somatic point of view, and also from that, perhaps more important to them, of the energy of work and of the moral character. It seems that the effect of the final mixture can already be glimpsed to a certain degree, in the somewhat longimorphic and melanoid human type that is widespread in the major cities and whose melanism is visible in more or less intensely curled hair, dark iris, colored skin. mate or tanned: a man with a Caucasian background.

Brazil Ethnology 2

Brazil Ethnology of the Immigrant Population Part 2
Rate this post

You may also like...