Mulatto in Brazil

6 de November de 2013

What’s up guys, smooth sailing? One question: What is a Mulatto? What does it mean to be a Mulatto in Brazil? Today’s Dica will teach us a bit about this type of Brazilian ethnicity! Let’s learn about the Mulatto people ancestry and what is their history!

Mulatto Meaning

The Mulatto is the most common type of mix we have in Brazil, and it comes from the mix between whites and blacks. For many years the word Mulatto had a very negative meaning, mainly because of its definition. The word mulato, if you are learning Portuguese, comes from the word mula. Mula is the hybrid offspring of a horse and a donkey. So, you can understand why people didn’t enjoy being called Mulatto! 🙁 Many people of this mix were judged as renegades or product of bad relationships.

Mulatto Ancestry

The Mulatto ancestry is somewhat uncomfortable. During the colonial period in Brazil, the Lords of the mill (white men who owned lands where the slaves would work and live), usually abused the female slaves from the senzalas (the shed where the labor slaves lived) because they thought they were extremely attractive. Since these abuses were so institutionalized in the colonial society, soon the mix between whites and blacks began to reach high levels. Some Brazilian sociologists, although, support the idea of the Mulatto a strong element in the conciliation between the white lords and the black slaves.

Mulatto in the Brazilian Culture

Nowadays, the Mulatto is seen as an icon of natural beauty in Brazil, and this idea grows with each passing day. This word has received a good connotation these days, mainly because of the black movement in Brazil. It was decided that instead of fighting this word, these people would embrace the Mulatto meaning as part of the Brazilian identity. The arts also helped in this, using its means to chance the perspective of this word. Let’s check out this song called Brasil Mulato, by Martinho da Vila, and let’s analyze the lyrics!

Pretinha, procure um brancoBlack girl, look for a white guy
Porque é hora de completa integração‘Cause it’s time for full integration
Branquinha, namore um pretoWhite girl, date a black guy
Faça com ele a sua miscigenaçãoMake your miscegenation with him
Neguinho, vá pra escolaBlack boy, go to school
Ame esta terraLove this land
Esqueça a guerraForget the war
E abrace o sambaAnd embrace the samba
Que será lindo o meu Brasil de amanhãThat my Brazil of tomorrow will be beautiful
Mulato forte, pulso firme e mente sãStrong mulatto, steady wrist and sound mind
Quero ver madame na escola de samba sambandoI want to see madam at the samba school dancing
Quero ver fraternidadeI want to see fraternity
Todo mundo se ajudandoEveryone helping each other
Não quero ninguém paradoI don’t want anyone stopped
Todo mundo trabalhandoEveryone working
Que ninguém vá a macumba fazer feitiçariaLet no one go to macumba to do sorcery
Vá rezando minha gente a oração de todo diaGo praying, my people, the prayer of every day
Mentalidade vai mudar de fatoMindset will change indeed
O meu Brasil então será mulatoMy Brazil will then be mulatto

If you want to get to know more about the impact of samba, you can always come with us to the epicenter of samba in Rio, Pedra do Sal, in our RioLIVE! activity.

Vocabulary for Mulatto People


And that was all about the Mulatto people! We’ll see each other on our next Dica! If you want to learn about Brazil and Portuguese language, subscribe at A Dica do Dia or follow us on Facebook for more information.
See you then folks!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
The Brazilian Caipira
The Sertanejo People
The Caiçara People