Friday, July 13, 2012
Brazilian sensitivity to criticism
I was reading this post from our dear British friend living in Rio, Tom, who writes an amazing informative and fun blog about his discoveries and experiences of a London Expat living in Rio after marring his lovely Brazilian wife.
You can find Tom's Blog HERE, his blog is amazingly positive, with funny twists on the daily life of a British getting adapted to an exotic and challenging life of an expat adapting to Rio de Janeiro.
I happen to come across an absurdly unfair comment from a Brazilian called Julio on Tom's recent post about the Brazilian Sushi Experience, and in Tom's case, the Rio Sushi Experience ;)
Many of Tom's posts is about FOOD, and the exotic food discoveries he experiences in tropical Rio de Janeiro.
Many of the blogs we read on a daily basis have complains about Brazil that in many cases are not really about Brazil at all, they are often unfair and nonsensical comparisons, and the issues arise more because of the expat's complete lack of knowledge about the specific situation, and inexperience with Brazil as a new country, or whatever the situation might be, we just roll our eyes and move on, mostly because the complain often says more about the person than about Brazil.
But Tom's "innocent" remark was more than an honest criticism with no intention to belittle Brazil's Sushi culture, or anything about Brazil for that matter. It's just an expression of personal taste, he doesn't like Mango's in a Sushi for example (and neither do I for that matter), but please, come ON Julio, this is in no way an insult to the Brazilian identity, to Brazilian Sushi, or anything Brazilian.
It's like Gil saying he hates mixed juices (which he really does) Strawberries and kiwi will make him throw up right after throwing the bottle at my head (if I am the one who got him the disgusting invention) and some random American reader of our blog writes an aggressive comment of how insulted they are because Gil hates the American invention of Strawberries and Kiwi juice!!
After a brief discussion Gil and I have agreed to the conclusion that Brazilians have a inferiority complex, maybe because we are very close to being a developed country but are not recognized yet as one. We are always looking for a confirmation of our achievements and progress and principally when a foreigner complains, the reaction is not pretty.
Take notice that we Brazilians LOVE to complain about everything in our country, but don't you DARE say you don't like our avocados and you prefer the stinking little California avocados and you instantly have hit our hit list, I mean, you go into our little black book of Brazilian things hater!! :)
However, we also discussed the fact that many folks from developed nations will lash out at Brazil for other reasons, maybe they feel belittled because they sound stupid when trying to speak the ubber difficult Brazilian Portuguese, or they get lost in the new city. So, very aware of the fact that Brazilians are easily offended with criticism, it's their golden chance, and their blogs are their little corner of the world to pay back by bashing Brazilians things as a way to feel better about themselves. We also noted that many foreigners will attack Brazil in a very unfair way while rejecting any criticism towards their own country. Maybe it's the fear to feel inferior to Brazilians, we could say, many of these folks have a "superiority complex".
DEFINITION: popularly a feeling of superiority or exaggerated self-importance, often accompanied by excessive aggressiveness, arrogance, etc. which are compensation for feelings of inferiority
So when someone complains about the smallest Brazilian thing, many Brazilians will jump on your jugular with a machete and stab you to death, ok, maybe that is a little exaggeration, and perhaps is indeed what many of us wish we could do if there was no penalty for murder, so as the only alternative left, we will very often protest furiously :)
Tom, just to make things crystal clear, we don't think you have a "superiority complex" at all, please complain away about all the awful things you find in Rio ( we have noticed you rarely find awful things about Rio and if you do you don't share ;), we love your blog and enjoy your posts very much.
Plus, Gil and I are over this "inferiority complex" enjoyed by many Brazilians, maybe it's our 15 years away, who knows.
The super creative video below illustrates well the fact that Brazilians will bitch about everything Brazil but foreiners are not accepted into the "Brazil" complainers club, enjoy :)