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Perpetuation of Racial and Social Segregation in Brazil Essay Sample

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Perpetuation of Racial and Social Segregation in Brazil Essay Sample

Brazil has a surface area of 8.5 million square kilometers and is the fifth largest country in the world. The Portugese colonized Brazil in 1500 and after only 3 decades, began the African slave trade from Angola, Mozambique and the Gulf of Guinea. The relationship of power, patronage and exploitation began in the sugarcane plantations where African slaves worked the fields of their white masters. For generations, Afro-Brazilians were subjected to this unequal social structure until the abolition of slavery in 1888. More than 300 years of slave trade led to the exponential growth of Brazilians of African descent. The highest Afro- Brazilian populations are located in the Northeast and Southeast where sugarcane plantations were common.

Bahia and Rio De Janeiro are in these areas. Today, Brazil has the second largest black population in the world, second only only to Nigeria (United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 1995). With the growth of the Afro-Brazilian population came the growth and spread of African world view, culture, music, art, language, skills, religious beliefs and cult practices. These beliefs and practices were not isolated to Afro- Brazilian communities but have spread to the collective consciousness of all Brazilians — blacks, whites or mullatos (of white and African descent) alike.

Levine raises a question that triggers much reflection on the interlocking issues of race and religion in Brazil. “An important question about the impact of Afro-Brazilian religion among the poor, who mostly are non-white (or, in the term increasingly used in Brazil, negro), is whether these forms of religious expression inhibit (or contribute to) the development of autonomous racial pride” (Levine, 1994). Umbanda In a hillside community in Rio de Janeiro, the sounds of Conga drums or “atabaques” and rhythmic chanting resonate in the village. These chants are said to be taught by the spirits themselves and are usually on the themes of faith, charity, and the stories of the spirits and deities. Ritual offerings to the saints and deities are made – cheap wine, cider, chickens, popcorn.

Any food and beverage will be offered to please the deity. In one corner, people are engaged initiation rites. In another section, devotees are involved in divination activities which include reading of playing cards or tarot cards, or reading small sea shells or “jogo de buzios” juxtaposed in a particular way. All in the hope to find answers and resolution to their questions and problems. Strong prayers or “rezas fortes” are shared. People seeking resolutions for their problems get their advice through these activities. The feverish chanting continues until some people enter a trance and become possessed by the spirits. The mediums take in the personas of the deities and the rituals continue with even heightened music and chanting.

These spirit possessions are common place in Umbanda rituals. An atmosphere of animal sacrifice, drinking, singing, spirit possession, frenzied behavior of Afro-Brazilians — this was the early ritual practice of the Umbanda of Brazil (Brown, 1987, p.77). Since the time of the slave trade, religious practices of Afro-Brazilians have thrived in Brazil. These were comprised of cults that engaged in spirit possession, and had a network of religious houses or “centros.” A variant of the Afro-Brazilian religion in the early twentieth century is the Umbanda (Staal, 1992). Zelio Fernandido de Moraes The Umbanda religion was derived from various religious and cultural traditions – from African slave cult practices, magic from the Incas and Aztecs, spiritistic components and Catholic influences (Koch, 1969, p. 119).

Its earliest “centros” or religious sites could be traced back to Brazil in the 1920’s in the person of Zelio Fernandino de Moraes. De Moraes became paralyzed when he was in his early twenties. He underwent conventional medical treatment but failed to be cured. Eventually, his father brought his paralyzed son to the Brazilian Spiritist Federation in Rio de Janeiro is search of a cure. Through a medium, the spirit of a Jesuit priest communicated to De Moraes the spiritual nature of his illness, and his special mission. Moments after De Moraes returned home and his paralysis was healed (Brown, 1994, p. 39).

The spirit of the Jesuit priest gave De Moraes the task to establish an authentic Brazilian religion that centers on the worship of Brazilian spirits. The two types of Brazilian spirits are the “Caboclos” or Brazilian Indian spirits, and “Pretos Vehlos” or spirits of African slaves. The new religion De Moraes was to establish should regain for these spirits their lost respect. The name of the new religion, “Umbanda” was revealed to De Moraes by a mentor spirit in the name of “O Caboclo das Sete Encruzilhadas” or the Caboclo of the Seven Crossroads. Zelio de Moraes was instructed by the mentor Caboclo to establish seven more centros to serve as the new religion’s center of worship and governance.

The founding church was called “Casa Mater” and the mentor Caboclo would serve as its “guiding light.” The first Umbanda centro was built in a rented backyard in the mid 1920’s. By 1938, and after a series of transfers, the “Centro Espiritista Nossa Senhora da Piedade” or the Spiritist Center of Our Lady of Piety, the first Umbanda centro, now rests in a building in downtown Rio de Janeiro (Brown, 1994, p. 39). Umbanda Doctrine The new Umbanda religion has three major beliefs – belief in one God (the Pantheon), the spirit world, and reincarnation. Umbandistas believe in one God known as Olorum with seven divine intermediaries known as “Orixas.” Each orixa has seven legion chiefs.

These Orixas have mediator angels that are traditionally associated with the Catholic and Christian traditions. The chief orixa, Orixala, represents light and has the angel Gabriel as his mediator angel. He represents the light of God or creation. The Sun is his planet and Sunday is his ritual day. The orixa Yemanja who represents the divine feminine has angel Raphael as her mediator angel. She is the patron of fishermen and is also identified with the Virgin Mary of the Catholic religion. Her ritual day is Monday and is related to the moon. Xango, the orixa lord of justice and lightning, has angel Michael.

His ritual day is Thursday and his planet is Jupiter (Dann, 1979, pp. 209-211). The Umbanda religion categorized its spirit world into 3 dimensions – the Pure, the Good and the Impure. Spirits who have attained spiritual perfection are believed to be Pure. The Angels Cherubim and Seraphim were believed to be part of this dimension. The Good spirits are those that possess people who act as mediums. Spirits of Brazilian Indians and African slaves (Preto Velhos) who perished in captivity are in this category. Children spirits are also considered Good spirits. Impure Spirits are those considered evil or “exus” (Dann, 1979, p.211). The Umbanda belief in reincarnation is associated with the Karmic Law and self- judgment.

Those who choose to be good may become superior or undergo another round of evolution, or reincarnate to bring resolution to certain matters (Dann, 1979, p. 212). The Founders De Moraes was not alone in establishing Umbanda. Seventeen other founders came from the middle class. They were professionals in education, the military and in business. Fifteen were white, two were mulatto, and none was black. All were male. The ethnicity and collective values Umbanda’s white, middle class leaders provides the starting point of the direction this new religion whose followers are overwhelming of African descent (Brown, 1996, p. 37). Umbanda founders, including De Moraes, were former Kardecists (Brown, 1994, p. 40).

Kardecism involved spiritism and the belief in reincarnation. It also had linkages with homeopathic medicine and healings with the use of spirits and mediums. Kardecism and spiritism were also initially believed to be a fancy of the upper class in the 1860’s to the late nineteenth century (Hess, 1987). Given Umbanda’s early association with healing, these founders chose the African and Indian spirits as more powerful in healing a wider range of diseases. Ritual Sites Sites where rituals were held were called “tendas” or “terreiros.”

The earlier religious centers of Umbanda looked like houses and were located in shantytowns and low class communities that were frowned upon by the middle and upper classes of Brazil. 1941 Primero Congresso do Espiritismo de Umbanda (First Congress of the Spiritism of Umbanda In 1941, the founders initiated a move to codify the Umbanda beliefs, rituals and practices and to establish themselves as a unique religion. In the “Primero Congresso do Espiritisimo de Umbanda” or First Congress of the Spiritism of Umbanda in Rio, its founders initiated what was to be known in the succeeding decades as the whitening and purification of Umbanda practices and the “de-Africanization” of Umbanda (Brown, 1994, pp. 42-43).

This stems from the association of Africa with that which is primitive, un-cultured, and everything else that the Founders perceive that the white race is not. Whitening and Purification of the Umbanda One of the first acts in the “whitening” of Umbanda was the motion to deny the name Umbanda of its African association. Instead, its linguistic beginnings were associated with Egyptian and Indian sources, even to Greek, Aztec and Incan beginnings. The principle behind this shift was the belief that African slaves did not have even the basic elements of culture, hence the unlikelihood that Umbanda religion began in Africa (Brown, 1994, p. 42- 43).

In De Moraes’ initial revelation of the new religion, spirit of the Jesuit priest that communicated to De Moraes through a medium reinforced the belief of the Catholic Church’s association with Umbanda from its very inception. This belief thus negates Umbanda’s African origins in favor of a Catholic source, and reinforcing the notion that Umbanda originated from one of the great religions of Western civilization (Brown, 1994, p. 41). The collective effort to distinguish Umbanda from other Afro-Brazilian religions, to disenfranchise Umbanda’s African roots and to “purify” Umbanda was not only exercised in rationalizing its origins.

The Congress used language and color terminologies to create a bipolar world view that puts everything associated with goodness or Umbanda in one end, and everything evil on the other end (Brown, 1994, p. 43). According to Brown, the Congress used purifying or whitening qualifiers. The following terms were coined in the Congress: “Umbanda Pura,” meaning Pure Umbanda, “Umbanda Limpa” meaning Clean Umbanda, “Umbanda Branca” meaning White Umbanda, and “Umbanda da linha Branca” meaning Umbanda of the white line. The latter term was the most pronounced in associating Umbanda as a religious that encompasses generations of white believers.

During the Congress, the racial elements suggested by these terms were said to be so obvious that one speaker fought against the use of the term “branca” or white precisely because it hinted as condemning the blacks or Africans. With these terminologies, the mission of the Umbanda was reinforced. That is, to practice “caridade”, or charity or good acts – to seek the aid of benevolent spirits to help humanity and fight evil. All the evils by which the Umbanda is against is collectively known by the term “Quimbanda,” Umbanda’s polar opposite (Brown 1994, p. 43-44). Quimbanda: Umbanda’s Polar Opposite The 1941 Congress defined Quimbanda as “magia negra” or black magic. It was also defined as “pratica do mal” or the practice of evil.

Evil sorcery, bad spirits and African rituals were also associated with Quimbanda. Evil doers, devil-worshippers, and practices involving the ritual use of animal sacrifices, bats, lizards and frogs were categorized as Quimbanda. Brown states that many of these practices may actually have originated from withcraft practices from Europe that reached Portugal, however these were still associated with Africa due to its reputation for “barbaric” religions (Brown, 1994, p. 44). With the newly developed symbolic rhetoric of Umbanda Pura, the Congress did not only create terminologies to codify their own religious beliefs and practices. The 1941 Congress created a two-dimensional religious universe of good and evil, of white Umbanda and black Quimbanda.

According to Brown, Quimbanda was the symbolic vehicle by which the prejudices against the African religious tradition were expressed, as well as against the prejudices against the lower class religions’ popular images (Brown, 1994, p. 44). The symbolic opposition of Umbanda and Quimbanda was further defined by these opposing terms: “Umbanda da linha Branca” or Umbanda of the White Line versus “Linha negra, preta, isquerda” or the black line, the left line; “magia branca” or white magic versus “magia negra” or black magic; “caridade sem combranca” or charity without charge versus “exploracao” or exploitation; “a practica do bem” or the practice of good versus “a practica do mal” or the practice of evil (Brown, 1994, p. 44).

Pretos Velhos, the spirit of the African slave who was exalted by the Jesuit priest in his revelation to Zelio de Moraes, is both an exception and example in this paradigm. He was believed to escape the purge of African traditions in Umbanda because he was tamed and assimilated into (white) Brazilian life (Brown, 1994, p. 46). Thus, this “taming” and acculturation was prescribed as the right path for Afro-Brazilian Umbandistas to follow. The “promotion” of Pretos Velhos as the exceptional Afro-Brazilian once again indicates Umbanda Pura’s disdain for the typical Afro-Brazilian.

The need for acculturation and assimilation into Brazilian life clearly suggests a cultural inadequacy or unworthiness of typical Afro-Brazilians to be accepted in Umbanda Pura. The Umbanda notion of reincarnation allows for little optimism in an Afro-Brazilian’s aspiration for salvation in the after-life. An Afro-Brazilian who practices his religious beliefs, which could be interpreted by Umbanda Pura as black magic, is already condemned by the Umbanda as evil or Quimbanda. Unlike the Christian belief and practice of repentance and forgiveness, the Umbanda religion does not have this characteristic of forgiveness and penance.

Thus, not only are Afro-Brazilians considered evil by the Umbandistas, they is also a moral and spiritual threat that they are to be trapped in the eternal cycle of reincarnating to an inferior form. Catholic Icons in Umbanda Compared to the other Afro-Brazilian religions, in Umbanda the African spirits become subordinated by the Western religious icons (Staal, 1992). Staal’s observation could not be denied since the top three orixas of the Umbanda religion have been linked to Christianity’s most widely recognized and honored angels and archangels. The recognition and association of Yemanja with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ and a conspicuously Catholic icon, is a bolder approach in infusing Catholic influences into the Umbanda religion and undermining the Afro-Brazilian spirits and deities.

The Virgin Mary is known in the Catholic world as the most powerful mediator and intercessor between man and God. Reverence and worship to Yemanja thus translates to the veneration of a Catholic god, or at least a parallel devotion to both the gods of the Afro-Brazilian and Catholic religions. The deliberate association of the Umbanda founders with the Catholic Virgin Mary is likewise observed in the very first centro established by Zelio de Moraes himself in the 1920’s. The “Senhora” or Lady in the “Centro Espiritista Nossa Senhora da Piedade” or the Spiritist Center of Our Lady of Piety is no other than the Virgin Mary. As a biblical figure to be emulated, the Virgin Mary is known to exhibit meekness, poise and gentleness.

Such traits are not quite relatable to the Umbandistas who practice their faith in more expressive forms such as chanting and loud music. Infusing the character traits of a Catholic icon such as the Virgin Mary to the Umbanda consciousness promotes a more gentle approach in the conduct of worship and rejects the traditional Umbanda’s “rowdy” religious rituals. “Caridade” The Umbanda movement to practice caridade or charity or good acts, as established by its Founders in the 1941 Congress, is very much rooted in Christian tradition. Christian humility was interpreted to be the gauge of true spiritual revolution (Brown, 1994, p. 41). But Christian expression and practice of faith and ritual is very much different from the early Umbanda rituals. Christian rituals are more subdued, with less music and no spirit possession.

Most Christian ceremonies are held in at atmosphere of prayer. Thus for the Umbanda Founders to favor a more pensive style of worship versus the Afro-Brazilian styles of drum beating and animal offerings is to distance the Afro-Brazilian Umbandistas from the forms of worship that they are most accustomed to. The concepts of charity and humility also suggests a significant shift in the fundamental beliefs of the Umbanda religion. Charity and humility, as rooted in Christianity emphasizes the responsibility of the person towards his fellowmen. These Christian tenets express that goodness lies in the individual, and good acts must be extended to others. Therefore, salvation is also dependent upon one’s action (good or bad) towards others.

Umbanda Spirits and Deities This shift to more Christian concepts in the belief system dislocates the role of the spirits and the deities in early Umbanda religion. Spirits and deities play a pivotal and central role in Umbanda religion and the daily lives of Afro-Brazilians. Umbanda prescribes animal worship for the spirits, and consultation with the spirits for any sort of problem. Drum beating and chanting are made to please the spirits. Diseases or good fortune is said to be brought about or sanctioned by the spirits. Spirit possession through mediums is a common occurrence during their rituals. Even the inception of the Umbanda religion was brought about by the spirit of the Jesuit priest who revealed to De Moraes through a medium his “calling” to establish the religion.

It can also be said that Afro-Brazilians who believe in these spirits also depend on them for the decisions and circumstances in their lives. The shift to the Christian paradigm displaced the entire Umbandan cosmology of spirits and deities that were believed to communicate and even interfere in the day to day lives of Afro Brazilians. To ascribe to the new mission of charity and good works, Afro-Brazilians should now cling to themselves and not to the spirits. By displacing the spirits and deities by which the Afro- Brazilian Umbandistas rely on for their personal and spiritual survival, so were these Afro- Brazilians displaced from the Umbanda religion. To take away the spirits from the Afro- Brazilian Umbadistas is like taking from their their walking cane.

Their belief and reliance on spirits give Umbandistas hope and strength in their daily economic and social struggle. So to promote the new Umbanda mission of giving rather than receiving, and to be less dependent on spirits demands an extremely radical cultural change from the Afro-Brazilian Umbandistas. This moral imposition of negating their cultural beliefs in favor of Catholic expressions is another means of Umbanda Pura’s alienation of the Afro-Brazilians within their ranks. The notion of doing good works towards others may not necessarily appeal to the Afro-Brazilian Umbandistas due to their lower social and economic status compared to the middle class Founders who developed this new mission of Caridade. Being black, poor and former slaves, or descendants of former slaves, it would be difficult for Afro-Brazilian Umbandistas to embrace the mission of giving to others when their own economic and social status may not allow them to do so.

Thus the mission for charity, as developed by the white Umbanda founders, seems to be applicable only to the Umbandistas who have the capability to give – its white, middle class followers. In effect, the symbolic exclusion of Afro- Brazilian Umbandistas took place because of their collective inability to abide by and practice the new mission. Social Context of “Purification and Whitening” The social context in Brazil by which the Umbanda religion first came into being may provide clues as to the collective perspectives and motivations on the Umbanda founders. Slavery in Brazil ended in the late 19th century. Until the 1920s, employment in industrial sites was scarce. Europeans immigrated to Brazil in droves taking the jobs that could have been for the freed slaves.

The labor market at that time allowed little if no social mobility for Afro-Brazilians. Relations among races was governed by a society that was hierarchical by class and race (Sansone, 1999, pp. 8-9; Bacelar 1993). The white middle and upper class Brazilians may have lost their slaves, but have probably failed to let go of the notion that blacks or Afro-Brazilians are still subservient and subordinate to them. This brought about a collective consciousness among the middle and upper classes to strive to maintain the racial and cultural hierarchy in Brazil regardless of the political developments in favor of Afro- Brazilians.

Given this common sentiment towards Afro-Brazilians in the early 20th century, it came as no surprise that leaders of a religious organization would apply the same prejudices against Afro-Brazilians and their African heritage in the realm of religion and morality. Racial Implications and Responses With the Umbanda’s unilateral development of terminologies and symbolisms that define both Umbanda and Quimbanda, the racial implications could not resonate any louder. Black and white no longer just meant to refer to the color of one’s skin, but the color of one’s soul as well. With the symbolisms come the unequivocal accusation and social stigma that African-Brazilians who engage in the ritual activities associated with Quimbanda, are Quimbanda.

However, not all Afro-Brazilian Umbandistas kept their silence during the purging of their African traditions. Dona Marta, an Umbanda medium who prepared food offerings with characteristically African ingredients was very much revered by her fellow Umbandistas for the authenticity of her African dishes. Another Umbanda leader, Father Joao, shared an origin myth that traces the beginnings of Umbanda from a captured African slave from Congo. According to Murphy and Sanford, Umbanda is bombarded with issues involving shame and pride over its Afro-Brazilian roots and identity (Murphy & Sanford, 2001, p. 219).

Dona Marta and Father Joao are just two examples of the surge of African pride by Afro- Brazilian Umbandistas who strive to establish a moral and spiritual compromise among the various cultural and religious traditions within Umbanda. These Afro-Brazilian leaders referred to the proponents of Umbanda Pura as Kardecists claiming to be Umbandistas with little or no knowledge of Umbanda (Brown, 1994, p. 47; Freitas & Pinto, 1956, p. 15). Umbanda Pura practitioners answered back with the accusation that Afro-Brazilians really practice Quimbanda and not Umbanda (Brown, 1994, p. 49). Umbanda and Catholicism Founders of Umbanda claimed to be devout Catholics despite the Umbanda practice of spirit worship (Hale, 1997, p. 408). The promotion of engaging in good works, the infusion of Catholic icons such as angels, archangels and the Virgin Mary all reflect the Founders’ attempt to associate themselves with Catholic traditions.

As for the recognition of spirits and sorcery, the Founders examined the phenomena of exorcism by Catholic clergy. The practice of exorcisms by Catholic priests throughout Brazil were said to maintain and reinforce the notion that Catholicism accepts in its world view the existence of evil spirits, black magic and evil sorcery (Brown, 1994, p. 45). Thus Umbanda Pura’s antagonistic stance against evil spirits and black magic associated with Afro-Brazilians drew itself closer to the Catholic traditions and polarized its Afro-Brazilian members. Middle Class Terreiros After the Congress, the Umbanda’s rise in power and popularity in the decades that followed resulted in the continued alienation of the Afro-Brazilians.

The early location of religious centers (macumba terreiros) no longer appealed to the predominantly white Umbanda hierarchy. These were located in low class communities and shantytowns believed to be dangerous. Animal sacrifices and an environment of drinking and noise were just unacceptable to the white Umbanda founders (Brown, 1994, p. 40). Umbandisas adopted Catholic terminologies and expressions in the hierarchy within their teirrero. The leader of a terreiro is called “pai de santo” or father of saint, or “mai de santo” or mother of saint. Initiates are then called “filhos de santo” or children of saint.

They perform certain rituals for particular saints (Brown & Bick, 1987, p. 77). This use of symbols which are predominantly associated with the Catholic religion, at their very place of worship, once again displaces the African traditions of Umbanda. Larger Umbanda houses looked like churches. These were owned by its middle class devotees and eventually functioned as a bureaucratic unit. True to its call to dedication to charity, these terreiros served as medical clinics and child care facilities, engaged in food and clothing distribution and assisted orphanages (Brown & Bick, 1987, pp. 77-78). In effect, the large Umbanda houses became extensions of the State in providing basic services for its citizens.

Pura Umbanda strategically aligned itself not only as a religious organization but as an institution that is part of the daily lives of its believers. The close association of the large Umbanda houses ran by white leaders with the Brazilian government was a stark contrast with its Afro-Brazilian members in smaller, remote hillside terreiros. This again promoted the alienation of the Afro-Brazilian Umbandistas from their white counterparts. This collective participation and contribution of Umbanda Pura to the State coincided with the Brazilian government’s repression of Afro-Brazilian religions. In the 1960’s there were 50,000 terreiros.

By the early 1980’s, the number of terreiros grew to 300,000 (Hale, 1997, p. 409) Brazil during this time was run by a military junta which engaged in repression of black organization and civil rights (Sansone, 1999, p. 9). Sansone sums up the social climate for Afro-Brazilians during the period of state- enforced repression. “Black people who were overwhelmingly part of the lower class ‘knew their own place’ while the elite which was almost entirely white, could easily keep its ranks closed without feeling threatened” (Sansone, 1999, p. 9). Racial and Social Segregation in Context On the notion of the religion of Umbanda as perpetuating racial and social segregation, history and Umbanda’s own intrinsic practices and belief systems have reflected this.

However, Umbanda did not start racial and social segregation in Brazil. Racial and social segregation began in Brazil with the arrival of slaves from Africa. It was Brazil that slave trade started earliest and ended latest. It is the country to which the most slaves from Africa were sent. Even today, Brazil is believed to be the country with the highest number of African descendants outside the African continent. The shared collective histories and common experiences of their ancestors and slaves, and the continued cycle of poverty become a binding force for all Brazilians of African descent (Sansone, 1999, p. 6-7). From the 1880’s, forty years before the inception of Umbanda, Afro-Brazilians were not allowed to participate in Carnival celebrations in Rio (where Umbanda first started in Brazil) due to their allegedly rowdy behavior by playing drums loudly.

They even had to organize themselves to negotiate with whites for their rightful place in the Carnival (Fry, Carrara & Martins-Costa, 1988, p. 12). In 1904, requests to ban the the African drum corps from Carnival except during formal balls appeared in newspapers. Such prohibitions took effect in 1905 with the African drum corps courtesy of the chief of police (Araujo, 1978, p. 36). Afro-Brazilians then experienced the state-sanctioned pressures to inhibit their cultural expression and to limit their inter-mingling with the white Brazilians in Rio. With its post 1941 movements to “purify” and “whiten” Umbanda in its philosophy and ritual practices, Umbanda Pura contributed to and legitimized the racial and social segregation of Afro-Brazilians even after their emancipation from slavery in the middle of the twentieth century.

Unfortunately, racial and social segregation is believed to continue until recent times. Some Evangelical Christians were said to have attempted to evangelize and even persecute Umbandistas and other religions in the African tradition (Brown & Bick, 1987, pp. 74-76). Today, Umbandistas continue to thrive. The end of military rule in the 1980’s brought about a renewed social and cultural consciousness (Hale, 1997, p. 409). In present times, the Umbandistas comprise about a quarter of Brazil’s population.

They also enjoy heightened legitimacy as a religion. There is less threat to the Umbanda leaders. Umbandistas in government also contributed to more accepting attitudes towards African traditions and associations (Brown, 1994, p. 50). One of the factors that brought about the survival of Umbanda throughout the decades is precisely its religious identity of being a mixture of various religious traditions – from Europe, Africa and the Americas. Thus it was able to relate with a variety of groups and cultures within Brazil.


Araujo, A. (1978) As Escolas de Samba: Um Episodio Antropofagico. Petropolis, RJ: Ed. Vozes. Bacelar, J. (1993) A Luta na Liberdade. Os Negros em Salvador na primeira metade deste seculo. Mimeo, Salvador: Universidade Federal da Bahia, Mestrado em Sociologia. Brown, D. (1994) Umbanda: Religion and Politics in Urban Brazil. New York: Columbia University Press. Brown, D., & Bick, M. (1987) Religion, Class and Context: Continuities and Discontinuities in Brazilian Umbanda. American Ethnologist, 14(1) Frontiers of Christian Evangelism. Dann, G. M. S. (1979) Religion and Cultural Identity: The Case of Umbanda. Sociological Analysis, 40(3), 208-225. Fry, P., Carrara, S., & Martins-Costa, A.L. (1988) Negros e Brancos no Carnaval da Velha Republica, In: Joao Reis (Ed.), Escravidao e Invencao da Liberdade. S. Paolo: Brasiliense. Hale, L. L. (1997) Preto Velho: Resistance, Redemption and Engandered Representations of Slavery in a Brazilian Possession-Trance Religion. American Ethnologist, 24(2), 392-414. Hess, D. (1987) The Many Rooms of Spiritism in Brazil. Luso-Brazilian Review, 24(2), 15-34. Koch, K. E. (1969) Occult Practices and Beliefs: A Biblical Examination from A to Z. Michigan: Kregel Publications. Levine, R. (1994) The Social Impact of Afro-Brazilian Cult Religion. Estudios Interdisciplina de America Latina y El Caribe, 5(1). Murphy, J. M. & Sanford, M. (2001) Osun Across the Waters: A Yoruba Godess in Africa and the Americas. Indiana: Indiana University Press. Sansone, L. (1999) From Africa to Afro: The Use and Abuse of Africa in Brazil. Lecture presented during a tour in South Africa, Senegal and Benin organized by South Exchange Program for Research on the History of Development (SEPHIS) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). Staal, J. P. (1992) Women, Food, Sex, and Survival in Candomblé: An Interpretative Analysis of an African-Brazilian Religion in Babia, Brazil. Ph.D. Dissertation. UCLA. United Nations Commission on Human Rights (1995). Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (Item 12 of the Provisional Agenda, 52nd Session).

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