UPDATED: Should a 7-Year-Old Be a Samba Queen?

Brazil is all a-buzz with the idea that a 7 zzrbtadind
year old girl may be one of the samba queens
in its upcoming carnival. In fact, the  matter now rests in a judge’s hands. But somehow, the idea of this talented little girl dancing her sequinned heart out makes me cheer, while the idea of  the “kiddie lingerie” line we were discussing here the other day does the opposite. Why?

Because the kid has a talent. She has worked hard practicing the national dance and now she gets to show the world what she can do. She’s like Shirley Temple. Meanwhile, the “lingerie” line is just plain old tutus mixed with suggestive clothing (fishnets, leopard prints), being peddled — at $90 an outfit –to the girls who’ve outgrown their princess gear. At best, it’s super-expensive dress-up. At worst, it’s skeevy.

The samba tot is celebrating her talent and love of dance. It’s a sorry state of things when all little girls are seen as jail bait when they just want to twirl.  — Lenore

UPDATE: The judge in Brazil has approved of letting the girl dance. However, I myself am having second thoughts about her parents and their motives, now that I have read that her father and his samba school recently tried to host a Holocaust-themed float. According to the New York Times:

The sentiment that Mr. Lira’s school is actively courting controversy in a bid for attention is reinforced by the fact that just two years ago, the same school was blocked by another judge from presenting a Holocaust-themed float, adorned with a pile of naked mannequins representing concentration camp victims and led by a dancer dressed as Hitler.

That idea is so nauseating to me, I feel sorry for any child growing up in that family, dancer or not. Poor kid. Disgusting dad.  — Lenore

A somewhat older samba queen! CREDIT: Fabiogoveia

52 Responses to UPDATED: Should a 7-Year-Old Be a Samba Queen?

  1. leah February 11, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Oh phewf! For a second I thought that image was the 7-year-old! I guess I can shelve my tirade on WHAT KIND OF HORMONES ARE THEY PUTTING IN THEIR FORMULA?????

  2. Ruth M. February 11, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    On a completely different note, just read this and thought of this website.


  3. Mae Mae February 11, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    I don’t see how this is any different from the dress and routines of pageants for kids her age. I also don’t think it’s any worse than what some child actors do. What’s the difference?

    BTW – I would never allow my child to do any of the above but that doesn’t mean other kids shouldn’t be allowed to.

  4. Shelly February 11, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Just watched the video, and I must admit, it creeped me out a little. Not so much the dancing as the outfit. Maybe there’s a compromise here, modifying the costume so it’s not so revealing.

  5. Mae Mae February 11, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I agree, Shelly. The outfit was all that really concerned me about the video.

  6. SKL February 11, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    My reaction was similar to yours. Dancing doesn’t turn a little girl into a sex object, provided the choreography and costume are age-appropriate. It almost seems like people are offended because one of the samba queens is NOT a sex object, for a change.

    If they decide they need an age limit, fine, they should include that in the rules for next year. It’s not fair to impose a new age restriction that wasn’t there during the competition. This little girl doesn’t need to be punished for working hard.

    I bought a kiddy dance video for my kids, because one of them is intensely interested in dance. It says it’s for ages 4-6, but the “junior jazz” part (which is way too hard for me) has the kids wiggling their butts like anything. Now, when I wiggle my butt, it looks one way (scary, mostly), but when my 3-year-old does it, that’s just cute. Even when she dances nekkid after her bath, she’s still just cute. People need to get a grip.

  7. Michele February 11, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Dance? Yes!

    “Bikini” combined with dance? No!

    Let her dance but put some clothes on her first. Her great talent will still be seen with a more age appropriate outfit. She is 7 afterall, not 27.

  8. Floyd Stearns February 11, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    Good grief! Little girls that age wear less to the local swimming pool and the beach! What’s the problem?

    My daughter started tap and ballet when she was four and her costumes weren’t much different than this girl’s. And I’m talking 20 years ago.

  9. erica February 11, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    I’m not really sure what the big deal is. I watched the video. The costume is appropriate. When I was in dance, well over 25 years ago, I wore a one piece leotard. Kids wear bikini’s and mini skirts during the summer. The comment by James on the CNN site says it all –
    February 8th, 2010 9:51 am ET

    “I think adults are acting like children.
    This young girl just wants to dance. Its completely innocent to her and she’s having fun. All of you children yelling about how its inappropriate are what makes it inappropriate so grow the heck up and stop acting like children,. If it wasn’t your for your bad thoughts, this would be a young girls chance of a lifetime and something she would never forget!
    You people are destroying a wonderful experience for this girl and I think its terrible!!”

    If you treat a little kid like a sex object, that is what he or she is going to make that correlation. It reminds me of Footloose…just let the kid dance!

  10. nicole February 11, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    I’d like to see her wearing a one-piece, just to draw a public line between this little girl dancing and the sensuality of the adult form of samba, but it seems pretty cool to me.

    First, enrolling your little girl in samba school in Brazil seems to be on par with enrolling them in ballet in the US (I’m an Aussie, but things are pretty similar here). Nice & normal. Sweet.

    Second, the motivation seems to be coming from the little girl, with her parents’ support. No baby beauty queen this little one!

    Third, unlike our little girls dressing up all ‘sexy’, which is caught up in messed up cultural ideas of sex and ‘femininity’ and marketing, the samba and carnival are an entrenched part of brazilian culture. She may be wanting to do something ahead of her years but at least it’s something which is respected and prized?

  11. Ali February 11, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    Did everyone miss the comment that “there is a problem with child exploitation” in Brazil and they’re a tad worried that pimping out a 7 yo to dance at 3am just encourages the problem?

    Would ‘we’ be OK if a kid wanted to host a beauty pageant full of 7yos on Bourbon St at 3am on Mardi Gras?

  12. lunzy February 11, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    I really don’t see the big deal. Latin culture is very different from American culture (I’m half Mexican and walked that line many times). She’s dancing (and she loves it), she’s wearing a typical dance costume (actually pretty tame in the Samba world) and she’s up late (not an issue in many Latin American cultures).

    Kudos to her for her dance talent. Samba is HARD!

  13. Jewellya February 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    It’s not the outfit. it’s not the implication of sexuality in dance. it’s not even the wee hours of the morning in to which the kid will be dancing…it’s whether the frame of a seven year old has what it takes to dance for that long (intensely, for hours) or are they pushing this girl to her physical limits? it would be a shame if she passed out because she was so focused on her dancing that she wasn’t drinking enough water…the pressure to perform, once she’s out there, could be such that she will not view her own needs as a priority.

  14. Joette February 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    If you’ve seen the typical samba outfits, I find this little girl’s costume to be perfectly tasteful. She’s adorable, and she’s good. She should be allowed to be the samba queen.

  15. Nicola February 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    It amazes me the level of judgmental comments right here on the free-range kids site! This little girl is dancing the national dance of her country. She is dancing it in a costume similar to what the adult women wear when they dance. This is part of **their** culture not the US culture. It was said on the site:

    “We visited Brazil over Christmas and expieranced [sic] a Samba club preparing for carnival. This is thier [sic] national dance. Let the poor girl alone. There is nothing wrong with her dancing. Just because we as americans don’t approve, it is not our place to judge other cultures because they are different that ours or because they don’t conform to our customs.”

    Yes – Brazil might have pedophiles out en mass to see this girl… but guess what? Just like here, they’ll find any kid to look at, clothes or not. Additionally, these guys aren’t going to rush out of the crowd, grab this girl, and sexually molest her in the middle of Carnival. This little girl is getting to live a dream and imitate the “grown up” women that lead the parade. She’s not wanting to imitate strippers and prostitutes – she’s imitating someone who is seen in that country as special and following in the footsteps of her traditions. We, as Americans, have to learn NOT to apply our own standards on other countries!

    And there were a lot of comments on the CNN site that brought up beauty pageants. While I can’t stand some of the mothers that let their daughters act like mini-strippers, not all pageants are bad – and even though Jon Benet was murdered… that’s the only girl in the history of pageants that was ever so high-profiled and possibly the only one ever murdered. She’s not a very good example of why not to have pageants – just like stranger-danger isn’t a good reason to keep your kids inside.

    Go little Brazilian girl, go. Dance your heart out at your parade, lead it in your traditional costume, and have the chance of a lifetime under the watchful eye of your parents and all the other wonderful dancers who will undoubtedly be keeping an eye out for you as well.


  16. Aysegul February 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    Until I read the NYT article about her, I didn’t see an issue about this little girl who just loves to dance and I just LOVE to dance. But when I read that it’s actually her father’s samba school and that Samba school’s past controversy (wanting to feature a Holocaust theme float complete with a Hitler look-alike) it just felt like yet another parent using a kid for his own publicity.

  17. Christina February 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Her father is the president of the school. ‘Nuff said.

  18. Sierra February 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    hey! I love the new look – I guess I’ve been under a rock for awhile and just noticed it.

    Anyway, I feel like at least samba is a skill you have to spend a long time learning. A kid who gets really good at it probably at least has some real personal interest.

  19. helenquine February 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    I have mixed feelings on this one. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with the girl in that role – as people have said it’s their national dance and a prized role that probably pretty much every girl dreams of in Brazil.

    And while Samba queens are generally chosen with a keen eye for their sex appeal the way you change that is by choosing queens without valuing their sex appeal. I don’t think it sexualizes the girl so much as desexualizes the role.

    But the father being the head of the school and the school’s past courting of controversy makes this look like a stage dad pushing his daughter for his own glory. Which I don’t really approve of, and don’t see as free range, but I don’t think should be outlawed.

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  21. Joe February 11, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    I think the real story here is that in Brazil a judge gets to decide whether your daughter can dance. How messed up is that. Can we all agree that no one except the parents should be allowed to make that decision?

  22. SKL February 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    The topic of what judges can decide for children opens a whole new can of worms. We get plenty of that in this country too, beyond what is needed to protect society.

    As for the father being the president of the school, I don’t think that’s relevant to the controversy over whether it’s safe / healthy for the girl to perform. Again, if they want a rule against that, let them make a rule prospectively, but don’t punish this girl for her hard work.

    For the record, I didn’t see anything wrong with Noah Cyrus copying the dances she sees, while clothed and among family and friends. It’s the same thing all kids do. Stupid to put it on YouTube, but frankly, I am annoyed by the pettiness of some of the comments from adults. Even if her dad is a nut, it seems wrong to focus so much negative attention on a 9-year-old.

  23. Jen Connelly February 11, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    I won’t comment on the float thing but the article I read the other day said the dad said they were planning on a less racy outfit for her. It does seem like attention whoring from dad and the school but the girl can dance and probably has no clue about the power play going on. Let her dance and be herself.
    I watched the video of her dancing and the outfit she wore is less revealing then some of these pageant outfits I’ve seen here in the states or even the dance outfits my daughter’s 10yo friend wears.

  24. Lola February 11, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    Joe: IMO, it’s not that messed up. Samba queens are expected to spend the night dancing away, in a physical effort that leaves trained, fit adults practically exhausted. Personally, I wouldn’t want to put my girl through that, for her own good.
    Here in Spain, minors have just recently been forbidden explicitly to participate in the Encierros (you know, sending the fighting bulls through the streets, chasing people till they get to the Plaza; San Fermin in Pamplona are the most famous, but you get encierros all throughout the country). It was because of a reckless dad who took his willing 12 yo boy with him, and appeared on the news. Many talented 16 yo boys are outraged, but there you are.
    We have instituted fake kids’ encierros instead, where toy bulls are pushed by men, chasing little children around (and “trampling” some, if they’re not fast enough). I would be extremely surprised if they haven’t got a kiddie version of the samba parade in Brazil, where this girl could dance and got to rest when she needed it.

  25. andreas February 11, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    this is all about the “grown-ups” and not about the kid at all. Little girls like to dress up in costumes and dance on the coffee table. Adults are amping it up in every direction–crowds, costumes, inclusion in the event.
    She is being packaged for consumption, though, no mistake.

  26. NJMom February 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

    There are two issues here:

    One, it’s a crazy country and a crazy holiday and a crazy dance school that creates a Holocaust-themed float. Yikes! Yuck!

    Two, the question is whether the two girls, Noah and Julia, are being exploited or not. And I do think there is a fine line about what exploitation is. In my opinion, Noah is just over the line because I can’t really see why she was standing around looking like a tiny, sexy Morticia. Was it to promote a new show? The clothing line? Yuck and I didn’t really care. On the other hand, Julia IS a dancer. And Latin Dance is sexy; it just is. So I agree with Lenore that “the samba tot is celebrating her talent and love of dance.” And a little bit exploited, but in the same category as young gymnasts, ice-skaters, and the hurried child…

  27. Nicola February 11, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    I have to say, the dad owning the school doesn’t really matter. We get to buy commercial time here in the states to advertise our businesses, web ads, newspaper ads, etc etc. The dad doesn’t own the parade, and it’s relevant to what he’s selling. Schools here in the states do the exact same thing. If you go to a college/minor league soccer game, they may very well have the “little league” entertain at half-time and they’ll certainly tell you where the school is from. With our capitalistic American society, we have absolutely no room to judge on this part.

    The float absolutely makes me disgusted. That – apart from the girl or the school – definitely makes me wonder about the father’s sanity. I will hope it’s just a situation where it’s a REALLY bad idea had in passing and not his constant frame of mind.

  28. pentamom February 12, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    I think there are two questions here — whether it’s actually healthy, and whether it’s so unhealthy or otherwise harmful that it’s anybody’s business to stop it.

    My personal feeling is that it’s not healthy for seven year old girls to be this front and center and have this much attention focused on her in any venue (and yes, that means pre-Olympic gymnastics and national spelling bees and the whole deal) but that it’s not criminal or anybody else’s business, just not a decision that I would make as a parent.

  29. Lisa February 12, 2010 at 2:01 am #

    When I clicked on the link for the article & video about the girl, some curious text appeared. The site is conducting a poll on whether or not the girl should be allowed to dance, and the text reads like this: “She’ll wear a mini-skirt and make-up, stay up late, and dance a dance most would call suggestive. ”

    I agree that the mini-skirt and make-up aren’t a problem if the kid is actually dressing up because she has real talent and is going to perform. But I found it curious that they’d lump having a 7-year-old wear a mini-skirt, wear make-up, and perform a suggestive dance in with “stay up late.”

    This reminded me of how weird the helicopter moms really are. They may think nothing about getting their child into intense sports trainings that can injure their young bodies, buy their girls age-inappropriate clothing, take their toddlers for manicures–but OMG, the kid has to be in bed by 7 pm, end of discussion.

  30. Lisa February 12, 2010 at 2:17 am #

    I think that there are somethings in life that come with age. Yes, the little girl is a good dancer, I don’t see an issue with her outfit, I don’t think that millions of pedophiles will be coming out to see this little girl. But it isn’t necessary to rush every life experience. If she is this good at 7, she will be even better at 19 or 20.

  31. Randy February 12, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    Personally I find the situation a little icky, but I’m not about to run out and denounce it. It’s naive at best to pretend that sex and sexuality can be separated from Carnival and the role of Queen in particular, but I share pentamom’s (you rock) sentiments that perhaps this is a step away from sex for them, rather than a step towards child sexuality. I hope. I have my doubts, but it would probably be a step in the right direction.

    As far as “Brazil’s child exploitation problem” that the news goes on about, give me a break. Yes, they have a huge problem with child exploitation on down the line from child labor to child prostitution, just like MOST of Latin America. It takes a special sort of person to try to pin that on an event like Carnival, though.

    Is the kid being exploited? Kind of a loaded question, if you ask me, since all parents “exploit” their children to some extent or another just by being good parents and trying to mold them into good / responsible people. A better question is, “Is she being harmed, and if so, how much more is she being harmed compared to the average child in Brazil?” I’m still with pentamom, celebrity status at this age wouldn’t be something I’d want for my kid. Attention, spotlight, controversy… even if she wants it, it’s probably not the best thing in the world.

    So yes, maybe I’m a horrible person but I’m not overly outraged at a 7 year old Brazilian girl dancing for an event that is, and has traditionally been charged with sexual overtone. This is NOT tap dance or gymnastics, or even anything close. Yes, it seems a little corrupt and sleazy that her father is in the position he is in at the school. All of that makes me a little sick, but how much danger is this kid really in?

    Besides, Brazil and the rest of our neighbors to the south have bigger problems that need world-wide attention and newsprint inches. And I’d say the same if they were planning on cutting this girl’s head off on stage.

  32. SKL February 12, 2010 at 3:28 am #

    The Holocaust thing has been brought into this now. I would hesitate to jump to judgment on this. Please keep in mind that in most other countries, the Holocaust doesn’t have near the significance it has to Americans. I’d venture to say that most people outside of North America, Europe, and the Middle East don’t actually know what the Holocaust was. To the extent they do know, they may be hearing an entirely different message than we are hearing. Furthermore, can you tell from that tidbit of information what the float looked like, what message was intended, and what message was in fact received? I can’t. We have a Holocaust museum and lots of Holocaust-related art (performing and otherwise) in the US, which doesn’t seem to offend too many people. We just don’t know enough to judge this man in this respect. I think if we’re going to make a judgment at all, it should be based on the facts we know about this year’s contest.

  33. Jacqui February 12, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    Am I the only one who feels like the samba outfit is LESS appropriate for an adult to wear in public and NOT sexual at all when a seven-year-old is in it?

    Why do these comments make me feel like I’m the unusual one for feeling like a child’s body is NOT a sex object no matter what clothes are on it?

  34. Mae Mae February 12, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    Jacqui, I was one who commented on her outfit. I don’t think that it makes her a sex object just because she’s wearing it. My concern was modesty, my daughter would never be allowed to wear that but then again she can’t wear a lot of things out there. I realize that this is something that not everyone worries about which is why I think if her parents are ok with it then who are we say otherwise.

    However, I don’t think the standards should change between ages. Why can’t an adult samba dancer wear that as a traditional costume if a 7yo can? If we are expected to look at the girl as just a dancer then why can’t we look at the woman as just a dancer?

  35. fal February 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    jacqui – assuming you are a woman – you don’t understand male sexuality at all, or man’s fallen nature – say it’s perverted – you’re right

    don’t dress your daughter like a tramp – don’t dress like a tramp yourself – have some dignity and self-respect

  36. Rubies Costume Co February 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    Samba Queen

  37. Ben February 12, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    I’m surprised you are having second thoughts, Lenore. Just because they made a questionable judgement before regarding a float, doesn’t mean their judgement regarding their daughter isn’t solid.

  38. Dragonwolf February 13, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    My thoughts on it:

    The outfit — Pretty typical among the dance arts, especially non-American ones. A ballet outfit isn’t much different (particularly the skirt), and a bellydance (Middle Eastern style of dance) outfit is simply that, but with a longer skirt. The dance arts are a celebration of the human body in general, and do great at instilling self-confidence.

    Staying out late — One thing people seem to forget about Latin culture is that it’s social time doesn’t often start until 11pm. In “American culture time”, 11pm is more like our 7pm. So four hours after, and that’s 11pm. While one might still consider that “pushing it” for a 7-year-old, you’re also looking at a special occasion. It’d be like saying that staying up past midnight on New Year’s Eve is abhorrent.

    Sheer amount of dancing — Again, special occasion. Yeah, she’ll be exhausted afterwards and if she did it all the time, it would be detrimental to her health and growth. But so is getting smashed on booze to the point of vomiting. With either, doing it once in a while isn’t necessarily going to kill you. From the looks of her, I doubt she’s doing the kind of training high-end ballet schools are known for. I don’t know about anyone else, but I couldn’t see the girl’s ribs. And did people forget how much energy a 7-year-old has? I played basketball in high school and still couldn’t keep up with my 7-year-old babysitting charges.

    Father’s role as a Samba school head — I think that it is relevant to the situation as a whole, but not in regards to the girl dancing. It appears that she does enjoy it, and she’s certainly good. Does she enjoy it simply because she’s expected to enjoy it, or does she genuinely enjoy it? We don’t have enough information to know that, so we can’t judge. I hope she enjoys it for its own sake. However, I do question whether competing in the Canival was her father’s idea or someone else’s. If the father is known to create controversy for the sake of publicity, then I wouldn’t put it past him to get her into the competition because he knew it’d cause controversy. However, all that doesn’t really affect whether the girl is enjoying herself, doing what she loves, and is encouraged to continue dancing for dancing’s sake.

    The Holocaust float thing — Since a few people brought that up, bear in mind that the judge threw that float out of the parade. However, as someone else mentioned, the Holocaust doesn’t hold the same connotations to other people as it does to us. The simple fact is that we don’t know the full details of that issue, and for all we know, it could have been an attempt to convey one message, but was received as something else. What it shows is that the father is one who will do things that are controversial even in Brazil, which takes me back to the previous point, but that doesn’t have much bearing on the child if she enjoys dancing.

  39. Jacqui February 13, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    Hi Mae Mae: I feel like the standards do indeed change between ages. A pre-pubescent girl is different than a grown woman in terms of personal sexuality, wouldn’t you agree? For adults to look at a seven year old girl and apply the same standards of sexuality to her that they would to a grown woman is what’s inappropriate. Dancer or not.

  40. Sky February 13, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    “For adults to look at a seven year old girl and apply the same standards of sexuality to her that they would to a grown woman is what’s inappropriate. Dancer or not”

    True, but it becomes increasingly difficult for adults to naturally apply different standards of sexuality to children and women when we start dressing up girls like strippers or street walkers AND encouraging them to dance dances traditionally deeply infused with sexual overtones such as the samba and hip hop in public before audiences.

  41. PartyPiper February 13, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    I think I agree with what a lot of other people are saying here. Brazil is a different country with a different values system and cultural identity.

    As far as the girl staying up late, my nieces BOTH have been known to stay up REALLY late on special holidays and occasions, like Christmas, New Years, ect. They’re both fine. I’m pretty sure that little girl will sleep late both the day of and the day after the dance.

    Like most people here, I don’t think her outfit is any worse than the outfits I wore when I was in dance classes. I didn’t wear many two pieces when I was under 10, but I did wear some. Remember, this is a country with topless beaches. It’s also a tropical country.

  42. MarvinMerton February 13, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    I haven’t read the responses, but one thing that does come to mind with this: When a child is (apparently) pushed (however much she might enjoy parts of it) toward such an endeavor by her parents, isn’t that the antithesis of free-range parenting. As for the father’s additional bizarre behavior, the whole thing does bring back memories of the balloon boy.

  43. MarvinMerton February 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    SKL: I don’t think you know much about South America. Many Nazis fled there in the wake of WW II. And one who travels there can often find some very interesting conversations with people who have relatives who arrived in the late 1940s. That’s what makes this whole holocaust issue an issue.

  44. SKL February 13, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    Marvin, I am not saying I know a lot about South America, though I’ve been there (including Brazil) a couple of times, and I have a good friend who was born & raised in Brazil (mixed background). I do know lots of people from many countries. Just pointing out that the “Holocaust” (which is a loaded, potentially confusing term to begin with) isn’t seen with one universal view. And furthermore, I was trying to say that the guy might have been actually protesting the Holocaust (or saying let’s learn from it), not agreeing with it or laughing at it. Unless you know this individual, how do you know what his point was? Furthermore, if your point is that Brazilians may have a favorable/benign view of the Holocaust due to hearing mainly the Nazi point of view, would it not be understandable if that view influenced this particular father? Believing local mainstream teachings doesn’t make one a psychopath. Neither does satirizing them. I’m just saying it’s wrong to judge without (a) knowing this man’s intent for sure and (b) knowing the context in which his ideas were formed.

    I’ve seen Cuban children’s programs that were compiled to imply that the Holocaust actually occurred fairly recently and in the USA. So you can see how different local political messages can be. We can’t blame the recipients of the messages.

    I do think we can see this guy isn’t shy of controversy. But it does not follow that he’s a bad parent. (I mean, by that standard, what would that imply about the writer of this great blog?)

    I agree that this situation doesn’t appear to represent free-range parenting. I think the free-range point is that parents know what their kids are capable of / ready for. Not the neighbors, not the authorities, and certainly not people from an entirely different culture.

  45. SKL February 13, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    Just read the linked story regarding the prior year banned float, and these excerpts suggest maybe the school didn’t have any anti-semitic intent:

    “Viradouro officials have said the float was “extremely respectful” and was meant as a warning about the horrors of the past so that they never happen again.

    The school’s parade theme is “Shockers” and it includes floats depicting the shock of birth, the shock of horror and the shock of cold.

    On Wednesday, another samba group agreed to remove the swastika symbol from uniforms that its dancers planned to wear in its Carnival parade about the predictions of Nostradamus after complaints from the Jewish federation. The Estacio de Sa group also said it would drop a section of the parade named after Hitler.”

    We have to keep in mind that sometimes art is “shocking” and the element of shock is often used by artists to educate.

    I also heard they have banned funk and rap music this year, so I am not sure what criteria they are using to ban stuff.

  46. MarvinMerton February 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    SKL: My post simply focused on your statement that appeared to claim that people around the world don’t see the holocaust as a holocaust, or don’t really know the history as well as others. I made no claims on the intent of this guy or on Brazilians in general, but from what I’ve dug into since then, and from seeing photos of the float, it’s difficult to see how this particular individual thought it would be a good idea to produce the float he did. It’s not as if synagogues haven’t been bombed in South America. (Yes, there is a very active Jewish community in South America, including in Brazil, which has the oldest synagoge in the Americas.) Last year, in Brazil, police stopped a plan by neo-nazis to bomb several synagogues. In other words, most Brazilians appear to be very tolerant, but, as in the rest of the world, bigotry does reign in small minorities. Thus, the float that was banned brings up some very big issues about this individual, no matter the actual underpinning of those issues.

  47. SKL February 14, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    I wasn’t saying that nobody outside US is aware of what the Nazis did (obviously if they made a float about it they have heard of it), but at the same time, it’s wrong to hold something done in a very different culture up to a US political correctness test.

    My best friend, from a country similar to Brazil (which also has a significant Jewish population), had literally never heard of what we call the “Holocaust” (she was 30 when we met and is a very intelligent, accomplished woman). The event got/gets a lot of attention and sympathy in the USA partly because a large percentage (roughly half) of the current Jewish world population lives in the USA, concentrated in the New York area. So they are a powerful voice here, compared to most other parts of the world. Our PC rules are different as a result.

  48. MarvinMerton February 15, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    SKL: So you’re basing your theory on a single anecdote. That’s not likely to be very accurate. Sorry, but your assessment on this issue is way off base.

  49. SKL February 15, 2010 at 4:59 am #

    Marvin, I am not sure why you want to argue about this, but I am done with this argument. Just because I mentioned only one anecdote in my most recent post, that doesn’t mean I have no other support for my point. Why is this particular topic always such a stinkin’ hot button anyway? I have Jewish ancestors, and I don’t have a hissy every time someone gets a little creative in bringing up what happened in Europe in the first half of the 1900s. There needs to be a companion site to free-range kids: anti-PC internet!

    Have a wonderful day!

  50. Michele February 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    Update on story:


  51. car review September 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    If you’ve seen the typical samba outfits, I find this little girl’s costume to be perfectly tasteful. She’s adorable, and she’s good. She should be allowed to be the samba queen.

  52. Dolly Jenks November 12, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Hurray! Happy 4th of July! Better late than never.