Here’s how foreigners can piss off a Brazilian:
1. Presume that Spanish is the national language in Brazil.
It’s true that most countries in South America have Spanish as their official language, but Brazil is different. Brazilians speak Portuguese and are very proud of their uniqueness as non-Spanish speakers.
Very few Brazilians actually learn Spanish as a second language, but many of them can understand a little bit of the language due to the similarities between Portuguese and Spanish.
So, if you don’t speak Portuguese and you don’t find anyone who speaks English, feel free to try to get by in Brazil with your Spanish. But, please, don’t expect people to understand everything you say.
2. Assume that Buenos Aires is the capital of Brazil.
Nope, it’s not Rio de Janeiro either.
3. Suggest that Maradona is the greatest soccer player of all time.
As far as Brazilians are concerned, Pelé is the best soccer player ever. No room for debate here! LOL
4. Mix up Brazil and Argentina in any way.
Rush Limbaugh, an American political commentator, once said that Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina who had an affair with an Argentinean woman, “went down to Argentina to see the girl from Ipanema.” Maybe he just wanted the sentence to sound pretty, but don’t try doing that in front of a Brazilian audience.
As explained by Pablo Alabarces, a sociologist from Buenos Aires, “Brazilians love to hate the Argentineans, while the Argentineans hate to love Brazilians.” It’s a complicated relationship; don’t get the parties mixed up.
5. Ask Brazilians if they see wildlife on a daily basis.
Brazilians don’t see monkeys and snakes on the streets. Most Brazilians have never been to the Amazon rainforest either.
6. Assume that Brazilians and the Portuguese are the same people.
Although many Brazilians are of Portuguese descent, the Brazilian population is also a mix of African, Native Brazilian, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese and Lebanese descendants, among others.
7. Ask a Brazilian girl if she gets Brazilian waxes.
No explanation needed.
8. Presume that the infrastructure in Brazil is precarious because Brazilians don’t pay enough taxes.
I’ve heard this one too many times to ignore it. Just to set the record straight, Brazil has one of the highest tax rates in the world. The problem is clearly not lack of money.
9. Suggest that Brazilians are racist.
The myth of racial democracy is alive and well in Brazil. Brazilians simply don’t like to talk about racism.
10. Say anything remotely bad about Brazil.
Brazilians have the right to criticize themselves and their country pretty harshly, but that right doesn’t extend to foreigners. Brazilians definitely don’t take outside criticism very well.
Do you know any other ways to piss off a Brazilian? Feel free to leave your comments below.
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To read this post in Portuguese, click here.