Comments from Joseph Low on my review of “They Don’t Speak Spanish in Brazil”

I am posting below an e mail that I received from Joseph Low regarding my review of his and Claudia’s book.  More comments are always welcome.


Hi Steve –
Again, thanks much for taking the time to compile the unsolicited review.  It’s sincerely appreciated.  We, too, would also very much appreciate in advance your endorsement of its contents on LinkedIn, your blog, and on the Amazon/Kindle review portion.
First of all, we appreciate your written acknowledgement of the fact that the book was written prior to all of the recent protests taking place in Brazil.
Regarding one point noted in the introductory portion of the review concerning Brazil’s economic transformation (paragraph 5), you note in one sentence that a “listing of the increased private debt numbers and people falling behind on their payments…”  Keeping that point in mind, I would ask you to re-read and subsequently re-consider the pages focused on the “Credit Bubble” portion of the book located in the latter part of chapter two.   There, we discuss the imminent dangers of the ever expanding consumer credit bubble in Brazil.
Regarding your last paragraph of Chapter 2’s review, you write:  “Race and racism are examples of this pattern, but are not discussed in the book.”  Here, I would ask you to re-read the latter part of Chapter 2 in the section “Digging Through The Social Strata.”  There, keeping length and overall focus of the book in mind, we briefly mention the phenomenon of Brazilian nurse maids being brought to Brazilian country clubs but allowed entry only if dressed in white so they may be “distinguished.”  We also make note of “social elevators” and “service elevators” and how they’re commonly utilized by Brazilians.
Regarding your Chapter 4 comments, the principal point we are conveying is that the majority of the nations in Latin America do speak Spanish.  While there are Japanese, Italian, and German immigrants in many Latin American countries, in my over 20 years of working throughout Latin America, I have yet work with anyone who has tried to use their high school Italian or German with a cab driver, bus boy, or hotel employee in either Caracas, Santiago, or Quito.  Yet, strangely enough, I have been in innumerable situations where the proverbial round peg of Spanish has been forced into Brazil’s (Brazilians) square hole. And, in our view, that’s just not right.   Or, in other words, learn a little (or, preferably, a lot..) about Brazil prior to going there!

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