the US Majority Culture and Brazilian Culture
The characteristics and trends that are attributed to the
U.S. majority and Brazilian cultures are not presented as
definitive descriptions of behavior, custom or practice manifested
by every member of either society. Culture is a dynamic, constantly
evolving, highly subjective phenomenon, and each individual
within either culture may (or may not) demonstrate varying
degrees of conformity with such characteristics or trends.
Brazilian culture, in some crucial respects, is fundamentally
different from that of the U.S. majority culture. According
to Silvana Watson (2000), a Brazilian-American renowned for
her expertise on the impact of culture on educational strategies,
personal qualities such as independence (acting alone or standing
apart from the crowd) and reward based entirely on effort,
are not the qualities that Brazilians deem necessary for success.
Brazilian’s are more impressed with those who have the
means and personality to achieve results. This characteristic
or ability is known as “jeito.” “The
Brazilian hero does not exhibit merit; that hero exhibits
natural gifts. The hero does not earn a place in society;
that place is simply recognized” (p.59).
The sense of entitlement that is assumed by those with material
means or other forms of power (and conferred on them by those
who do not) inevitably creates a more pronounced class structure
that has its inherent bias. Even middle-class families have
lifestyles that rely on employees (very cheap labor in comparison
to the U.S.) to do most of the physical work involved in daily
housekeeping chores (Watson, et al, 2000). “Manual labor
is not valued in Brazilian culture” (p.66).
This website is attempting to identify general patterns
of conduct that may assist teachers in classrooms to understand
their students’ knowledge base and learning styles,
so as to be able to recognize and distinguish learning differences
that can be attributed to cultural factors from those that
are genuine disabilities. The contents of this website
are NOT intended to create stereotypes, and each child should
be considered unique.