From a very young age, Irma Castañeda has braided her curly hair and cared for it with natural recipes inherited from her mother, ignoring the widespread conception that black women’s hair is “ugly” or “bad”.
Carla Vilas Boas is of mixed-race descent – African, European and indigenous - like a majority of the population of Brazil. But she spends hours straightening her hair, trying to look more like the blond, blue-eyed women she sees in the mirror of television.
A Nigerian diviner dances and sings next to a Brazilian priest of the Candomblé religion, brought to this South American country by African slaves, that is now being rescued from oblivion in school texts on national history and culture.
If a black woman and a white woman both need emergency obstetric care, a Brazilian doctor will assist the white woman because of the stereotype that black women are better at handling pain and are used to giving birth.