In the United States, the descendants of immigrants are culturally obsessed with proving our Americanness. In Brazil, it’s completely different. People use immigrant designations over generations and generations.
It should encourage us to take seriously the continuation of the cycles of poverty, unemployment, and uneven development—often stratified along lines of class and race—that drive ordinary people to leave behind everything they have ever known in search of something better.
Would photographic documentation of inner life indicate the sameness and equality of Afro-Brazilians, loyal citizens in the making, or catalog their essential difference as an irredeemable and politically dangerous other, an other occupied by foreign powers?