So, it happened. I had heard about Brazil’s many definitions of Black, but I personally hadn’t experience being called anything other than , Black while I was here. But, when my friend (I made friends w/ only other Black woman in my program btw) and I went to the beach, we ran into this Black Brazilian guy. He said he gave tour guides, so he knew some English. He told us that he had rarely seen a Black American woman in Salvador before, most of the Black Americans he encountered were men.
Anyhow, he said he would take us to these shops along the beach and help us talk the prices down IF we agreed to have a drink with him afterwards. So, we were talking, shooting the breeze etc when he referred to us as Morenas…
We’re both Black women. So, we asked why a sub-definition of our race would be Morena, and not just Black. He basically said that Morena was like a compliment. It was like a pretty brown-skinned woman or something. I had to wonder WHY morena would be more of a compliment as opposed to just Black being a compliment… I said in the US, we just have one term for Black pretty much…Black.
In Spanish, Morena means brown-haired, so it was odd to have someone refer to me that way. I personally prefer to be African-American or negra.
Anyway, after we got to the store, he did talk down the price of the shirts, flip flops that we wanted and we got a good deal. However, my friend didn’t want to have drinks with him afterwards… So, she told him that we may not be able to have drinks because we had already planned something with the rest of our group, which was sort of true. She told him please don’t be offended if we don’t show up, it’s not that we don’t want to see you, it’s that we just had already made plans.
Anyway, we didn’t end up going for drinks, maybe next time.