Laughter Out Of Place: Chapters 2 &3

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Laughter Out Of Place: Chapters 2 &3 by Mind Map: Laughter Out Of Place:  Chapters 2 &3

1. May 1995, return visit to Rio, with Gloria and daughter Soneca

1.1. At the home of "Dona Beth", Gloria's employer, Middle class woman in her 50's.

1.1.1. Beth's cabinets well-stocked with international products, typical of middle class people.

1.1.2. Goldstein would help Soneca and Gloria Translate the English labels, while Gloria utilized her cooking skills.

1.1.3. Gloria knew of a letter that had upset her employer Beth, and the women decided to read the letter despite privacy concerns. The letter was from Beth's daughter who was attending college and despite her love for her mother she was enjoying her independence. Gloria herself wanted "independence" from her many children, so this letter inspired laughter. Decent jobs were hard to come by for the girls due to their race and class characteristics. Domestic work is one of the few jobs available for Afro-Brazilian women, dark skin is discriminated against in many occupations.

1.2. "The Struggle to Earn a Living Wage"

1.2.1. Gloria was offered 5X the minimum monthly wage to work exclusively for Beth, which transformed her and her children's lives. Beth had a wealthy husband, and could afford to pay Gloria this salary. Beth also worked as a social worker at a home for street children and empathized with Gloria's plight. The women had an affectionate relationship where Beth helped Gloria on many occasions, and did not get upset when Gloria could not work on occasion, provided there were pre-cooked meals ready.

1.2.2. Previously Gloria had worked 15 hour days with several hours of travel back and forth, traveling to several different employers in one day on the bus. She would clean the houses from top to bottom, take care of laundry and cook. Gloria earned only 6 dollars a day, and was paid on a daily basis which afforded her the ability to shop for her family in small amounts. She worked for mostly gay and lesbian AIDS activists. Most women work for a "subsistence wage", or just enough to get by day to day. Gloria did not attain her higher wages until her late 40's, and she was considered an anomaly.

1.3. Gloria spent part of her childhood in the interior state of Minas Gerais, working as a servant on a farm.

1.3.1. The family later moved to Rio in the 1950's

1.3.2. Gloria worked as a child with Eliana, who whe is now neighbors with in Eterna. The girls were aware that they had "experienced childhood in a role most similar to slaves". (97) Complaints of the era were that the servants did not eat the same food, or same amounts, as the employers....which is not the case in more recent times.

2. Poverty in Brazil and Rio

2.1. Rio is Brazil's second largest city and second largest port next to Sao Paulo, which is Brazils most prosperous city.

2.1.1. Rio's economy has been in decline for many years. (94)

2.1.2. There is "gross poverty directly alongside incredible showcases of wealth". (95)

2.1.3. Economy in Rio becoming more feminized and there is a growing participation of children as well. Migrants consist of 22% of total population.

3. Comparison to Slaves

3.1. Domestic worker is associated with "dirty work done in a household".(98)

3.2. Domestic work associated with dark skin, "dark skin with slavery, dirt, ugliness, and low social standing". (98)

3.2.1. There are lighter skinned women who work as domestics, but the dark skinned association still remains.

3.3. Domestic workers are often "fondly venerated, even cherished, in the households of the middle and upper classes, appreciated for her care taking activities". (99)

3.3.1. Middle and Upper class Brazilians speak of their domestic workers with love and appreciation. (111) There is also a sense of uncertainty and distance between domestic and employer.

3.4. Associations between domestic help and slaves "solidify a particular form of domination by the middle and upper class". (99)

3.5. "Slave women held a special place in the sexual life in colonial Brazil, both as mistresses of the planters and as sexual initiator of their white sons". (99)

3.5.1. Even after the abolition of slavery, domestic servants were expected to provide these services, among others.

3.6. The middle class wanted to be seen as civilized, and abolish slavery and disassociate themselves from it, but they still wanted to be able to hire others to perform the same tasks.

3.6.1. Becomes a "necessary evil" by way of the fact that they are "doing a good thing by helping the unemployment situation in their country". (101)

4. Gloria & Soneca's Relationship

4.1. Soneca would ocassionally accompany her mother to work at Beth's, to learn how to do the job.

4.1.1. Soneca did not want to follow in her mothers footsteps and was an exemplary student. Soneca could not attend her computer courses (payed for by Goldstein) due to the fact she had to tend to all the younger siblings in her mothers absence. Soneca also ended up getting pregnant by Silvio, a local boy. Silvio was not interested in providing support for the child and Gloria did not want to support a child and grandchild Both Beth and Goldstein tried to help Gloria with Soneca in different ways, but the employer-employee and informant-friend relationships complicated matters.

5. Power Relations

5.1. The masses are reminded that they are "less...somehow less civilized,less worthy as citizens, less human, than those belonging to the privileged classes". (114)

5.2. "Brazil has a vibrant consumer culture that caters to the middle and upper classes, and the mass media encourage consumption habits that the majority cannot possibly adhere to". (114)

5.3. The poor are pushed to the outskirts of the city, and were to remain out of sight except when performing their roles as service workers. (114)

5.4. Paternalism: "The poorly paid service work is the outcome of the country's third world status....and domestic workers are actually better off as workers in (the middle and upper class) homes, where there is adequate food, shelter and protection". (114)

6. Cultural Capital

6.1. "The academic credentialing system does not really lend itself to social mobility, especially in Brazil's high class-segregated school system". (117)

6.2. Cida's employer worked with her to accommodate her secondary school classes she attended at night.

6.2.1. Her mother Renata realized that there were many obstacles that would prevent her daughter from being successful in attaining social mobility via higher education even under ideal circumstances.

6.3. Handwriting, bodily movements, and ways of behaving are distinguishable parts of one's general cultural capital and are indicative of their social class.

6.4. "The working poor do not always know how to act appropriately in many of the naturalized public spaces belonging to the middle and upper classes". (118)

6.5. Public space for the wealthy is becoming more limited because of crime, and there is an outrage about their own class privileges being eclipsed rather than about the perversity of class differences. (118)

6.6. Gloria and her children were uncomfortable in many public establishments and "did not know how to behave" in these situations. (119)

7. Academic Capital

7.1. Educational capital closely related to academic capital.

7.2. Brazil's school system is "classed", public school system for the masses and "differing levels of private school education that cater exclusively to the middle and upper classes". (120)

7.3. Maintaining focus in the classroom and acquisition of basic school supplies is difficult.

7.4. Poor children are expected to do chores while upper and middle class children are not encouraged at all to participate in household chores.

7.5. Wealthier children are therefore able to focus on school and do much better than poor children, and find it easier to advance into higher education.

7.6. Educational structure is more tightly restricted than the social structure of Brazil.

8. Resistance

8.1. "There are signs of resistance and a growing backlash against the most blatant holdovers of the kinds of relations associated with slavery". (122)

8.2. Women in their late teens and early 20's do not want to work as domestic workers, but instead choose to work in industrial areas.

9. Issues of Color

9.1. Old Brazilian saying: "White woman for marriage, Mulatto woman for F___ing, Negro woman for work". (129)

9.2. Eliana's grandchild Fausto was light skinned, his mother was dark skinned and his father was white.

9.2.1. When out in public people assume its a nanny-child relationship, not a mother/grandmother-child relationship due to the fact that the social hierarchy dictates dark=servant and white=upper/middle class.

9.3. In the US we don't think of things as class-based in regards to power, but we do address racial perspectives with respect to poverty and power.

9.3.1. In Brazil people are uncomfortable talking about race and racism. In Brazil, "blackness--dark skin color and African racial features--continue to be associated with slavery and are considered ugly". (130) Many aspects of race were blended together, leaving some dark skinned aspects as undesirable.

9.4. In Brazil, "Race is embodied in everyday valuations of sexual attractiveness, and this attractiveness is gendered, radicalized, and class-oriented in ways that commodify black female bodies and white male economic, racial, and class privilege". (131)

9.5. Brazil "evaluates race primarily according to appearance, offering a plethora of fluid and ambiguous categories". (131)

9.5.1. Words used to describe race include: Black (preto,negro), Brown or mixed (moreno, mulato), Dark (escuro), Light (claro), closed (fechado) and freckled (sarara). (132) Brazilian saying "money whitens".

9.5.2. Brazilians celebrate a color-blind sexuality. (134)

9.6. In the US there is a bipolarized (black and white) vision of race, one is legally black or white. (131)

9.7. Ana Flavia Pecanha Azeredo, was the daughter of the governor of Espirito Santo, yet she was assaulted for being black and holding up an elevator since the group judged her class and status by her color.

10. Light Skin & The "Coroa"

10.1. Those living in the favela who have lighter skin are thought to have better chances at succeeding in life, despite the statistics not bearing this out.

10.2. Many impoverished women believed that their best opportunity to get ahead was to "seduce older, richer, whiter men, whom they referred to as coroas". (134)

10.2.1. Coroas could be used to obtain favors from or to procure long-term economic sustenance, or in the best case scenario to move in with the older richer man. (134)

10.2.2. It was believed that these type relationships showed that there was no racism present since the female was dark skinned....but the age of the man was a factor that needed to be considered in this scenario.

10.3. Goldstein (who is white) would receive "two kisses" on each cheek from the rich white man, while her black friends from the village did not.

10.3.1. Gloria expressed to Goldstein that this felt like this was a form of racism to her. Gloria felt that the lack of kisses was a racist gesture, yet the sexual interest was an indicator of the opposite.

11. Black Female Sexuality, US and Brazil

11.1. 4 American stereotypes of black women: Mammy, Matriarch, The Welfare Mother, The jezebel. portrayed as sexually aggressive. (137)

11.1.1. In Brazil the sexually "hot" mulata is a popular image of black women, that is also sexualized but in Brazil it is thought of in a more positive way.

11.2. The "black mother", similar to the "mammy", is a Brazilian example of a "caretaker, a desexualized slave, or a domestic worker". "(139)

11.3. Mulata similar to jezebel image, ideological justification for sexual attacks on slaves/domestic women. (139)

11.4. Mulata dancers who worked in the tourist industry were expected to: have some mixture with white, dance samba, have certain size and shape to the buttocks, be seductive.

11.5. "Poor brazilian women have become increasingly identified as elements in a growing sex trade on a global scale, in part due to the tradition of romanticizing and not talking about predatory patriarchy". (140)

12. Brazilian Sexuality

12.1. Gilberto Freyre: Describing love affair between white male colonists and indigenous females in the early days of colonization: "A celebration of interracial sexuality as well as an argument for how Brazil was different from, and indeed, morally superior to other New World countries such as the US". (141)

12.1.1. Thomas Skidmore asserted that Freyre's perspectives were "harnessed by Brazilian elites at the time to promote the whitening ideal--The belief in and desire for a gradual racial purification process that would whiten the population" (142)

12.1.2. Freyre did not emphasize rape, but instead suggested a level of mutuality between plantation owners and slaves.

12.2. Ann Stoler described the colonies of the time as "racially uncivilized places of chaos and sexual and moral abandon". (141)

12.3. For a long time writing about the politics of race was taboo in Brazil. (146)

12.3.1. "It is difficult to talk directly about race and sexuality together because of the ambiguities involved in the sexualization of racialized bodies" (146) Due to the difficulty in talking about race and sexuality, "people resort to silence and also jokes, stories, and innuendo that form a hidden discourse within daily interactions". (146)