« Yes We Can | Main | Cringeworthy »

July 18, 2010


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Access Denied:



Yuck. Sorry you had this experience, and it's nice that you can point folks to other, more welcoming alternatives.

While the US and Brazil both have their own issues with racism, I wonder if some of this has to do with all things Brazil becoming exclusive and "chique" outside of Brazil (and thus more "gringified" in it's presentation) -- that's certainly what I saw in Rio last month (first time back in 2.5 years... a lot of changes).

Ray Adkins


This is awful, it sounds like a juicy lawsuit waiting to happen.
Aren't you guys gonna do anything about it?


James Miller

Brazil actually has a lot of racism. I've seen it during my 7 months here. The difference is in Brazil you can't talk about it in public.


that's ridiculous!! honestly, it's brazilians thinking their bar/party is "too good" for regular, hard working, brazilians in the city. that kind of brazilian person in the US disgusts me.

on a lighter note!!

1. don't forget astoria :-P
2. there's a great little bar in alphabet city called "Baraza," that's super cheap, plays great latin music and although not "authentically" Brazilians, plays lots of great Brazilian music... however, i've heard rumors that it's been closed, but maybe it was just under reformations or something when i was told this? worth researching!



That really sucks, boo on them. I had breakfast there last week, and except for a brand new waitress who was incredibly sweet, the rest of the staff there was reluctant and pouty. But this goes beyond that - really horrible, pretty people.

Another place is the Zinc Bar on West 3rd Street, near NYU. It's basically a jazz club where there are frequently Brazilian jazz musicians playing, notably Cidinho Teixeira on Sunday nights.

Melo Franco

Hey James, why can't you talk about racism in public in Brazil? Your comment is way too short; what are you implying?



Have you been to the cruise party? Any details?

In addisiton to your excellent list there's Nublu wednesdays


and agua nyc parties (now on hold - check their facebook page)



Sorry for this, Rachel. I really wish I would have warned you about the Coffee Shop in Union Square. That place sucks big time... they are awful. You should try the restaurant Favela in Astoria. On Saturdays, I think, they have live music. ;-)

James Miller


I'm just going off of what Brazilians told me. However, I can see for myself that their is a lot of racism. I guess what I am implying is that is that just like Brazilians don't want to recognize that the favelas exist (which is why only Rochina shows up on a map) they don't want to recognize that their is a lot of racism in Brazil. Although, I will say that being a dark brown tone like myself has its advantages in Brazil. One of the advantages being that I don't have to worry as much about getting robbed as much as some of my white American friends have here, and have left Brazil as a result of being robbed, one of them multiple times. The criminals think that I'm just another poor black Brazilian and I'm not worth robbing. The down side of being black or brown here is that the only people who speak english here are the educated white people, and if your trying to date or have a social life with brown or black skin here then that is to your disadvantage because the educated white women who can speak english won't talk to you.



I'm so glad you put this up. As a Brazilian-born person, I am not at all surprised this is happening. If anything, I speculate that these Brazilians are perpetuating this on unsuspecting countrymen because it's done in Brazil and because many Brazilian clubs back in the old country do have legal drink/consumption minimums. I surmise that Brazilians who are new here in the United States and visitors form Brazil may not realize that these drink minimums are not common in NY-area establishments.

I'm going to write on Yelp, New York CitySearch, and any other online review forum about this and warn everybody to stay away from this racist and corrupt establishment. With your permission, I will use your blog on every entry I make.


Rachel, I would like to share an incident which happened several years ago, and while not necessarily similar to this story, it may shed some light on how some Brazilians treat their fellows here.

Several years ago, my sibling, who came here very young and no longer speaks Portuguese very well, contacted the Brazilian consulate to renew his passport. He wasn't very nicely treated on the phone; they were short with him, and on a visit there, they were rude to him too.

I wrote to them, sending a scathing and very angry complaint, but in polite, business Portuguese, condemning this condescending and poor customer service, and I went as far as to say that they often treat Brazilians this way because many of the Brazilian expats here are poor and even illegal. Not all Brazilians here are employed by multinationals or living in handsome Manhattan areas.

The next day I received an equally polite response from the consulate, wherein they denied any kind of discrimination towards any Brazilians based on any perceived socioeconomic level. To their credit, in my last visit there a few years ago, I was treated well enough - but that may be in part because unlike my sibling, I retain my Portuguese, and speak it without an accent.

It may have been that my sibling was unlucky - but I still think that email was completely justified.

Rio Gringa

Thanks all! I've updated the post with your suggestions. Poly, Baraza is in fact closed :( Zinc Bar sounds really cool, I want to check that out! I appreciate all of your input.


Guys this has nothing to do with Brazilians... this attitude is universal. Besides The Coffee Shop is terrible. Crappy food and service + bad attitude no matter what your color, nationality, race, etc. Believe me, I've been there and I am not dark skin and have heard the same from other people, including White (Caucasian) Americans. That place is for stuck-ups, even though the place is really nothing special. Go figure. Avoid it at all costs if you are not into models and B.S.


Rachel, you should totally yelp this and thank you for being honest. I'm sorry you & your husband had to go through this. It's ridiculous to me, for the lighter brasileiros to inflict this, given the country is on a Latin continent. I have many Brasilian friends (light, dark, moreno, branco) who have spoken of being discriminated against in Portugal for being Brazilian, or in the US for being Latin. I hear the lighter, German-background Brazilians are more racist.

Btw, in response to Carlos, that happens to Korean Americans in Korea. We're only treated decently if our Korean abilities are in tact.


Newsflash - people (not all) from country full of prejudices (such as class or race) continue their prejudiced ways after they immigrate. I hope they don't get away with this and that people hear about how they treat customers (will be interesting to see them try to spin this and make it like they are the victims)

Simone said that discrimination is universal. I would add to that and say what separates successful, trustworthy societies from toxic, low trust ones is the ability of its people to keep in check negative behavior from becoming the norm.


Yes, Jolly like in the US, right? Never mind all the racism against Obama before the elections, just to give you one VERY recent example. Amazing how Americans are quick to point the finger onto others qualifying "them" as bad... like you could trust a nation with a recent bloody history of racism. Not to say, however, that a big step has been taken with Obama's victory but still there is plenty of room for debate on discrimination in America. Take for instance, the prejudice against immigrants. Yeap, plenty of questionable behavior yet that does not say much about the entire America society, or does it? That's why generalizations are terribly unjust. If it were the case for comparison, I may say that the US is perhaps just as racist as Brazil.

James Miller


At least there is a black middle class in America, and based on my time here in Brazil I've observed that the black people in Brazil still clean the toilets in the office buildings. And when you walk around Praia de Botafogo or downtown at lunch time I don't see any black people in suites. When it comes to immigrants the United States is very generous. When you count all the illegals that we have taken in and all the legal people that we take in every year that is much more generous than a little amnesty program that Brazil does every ten years. In America were just getting a little upset with the immigrant situation now because we can't take in the whole world, find jobs for all of them, and still take care of our citizens at the same time.



interesting how you turned a discussion about a case of discrimination among brazilian immigrants into a "america is just as bad as brazil" discussion.

let me guess, by saying america is just as bad as brazil you mean to say "dont comment on our problems outsider". well dont forget that the incident took place in America. you live near Rio Gringa? then maybe you can visit her and her husband and tell him to cheer up because american is just as bad and obama and the tea party and the bloody history like in the movies (bring some kkk movies to watch!). and i hope you dont get lynched on the way to her house since you are an immigrant (usa is probably one of the most xenopohobic countries right?)

All of the things you mentioned, Obama election and presidency, immigration, recent history - Brazil is waaay worst compared to the US in all those categories. In the US, incidents like these are discussed and solutions proposed for it not to happen again (Beer summit?). In brazil it doesnt even make the news and thoses who complain are seen as subversives or crybabies.

like i said in my previous post i hope people hear about this so that it impacts their business forcing them atleast to reconsider their behavior.

Ives Semprebom

Come on! Anything compared to racism in America doesn't come close to Brazil. I'm really sorry to hear of what Rachel told us, but racism history in America is marked by a bloody offensive hatred frame. Thanks to God for what black people and other minorities have got and won through the last decades in the U. S., but when racism is analyzed historically in both countries it's not fair to say that Brazil is similar in racism to the U.S.

Maciel Grecco

Hey! Who told that racism or racial ethnic prejudice or prejudice in any other form is exclusivity of just a few countries as U.S.? it happens evrywhere, including Brazil. It's so known the prejudice that Brazilians themselves have against people from Northeastern of that country (nordestinos), generally brown/black, poor, semi-illiterate people. Not to mention the rivalry in Brazil between north (most brown and mestizo people) and south (most European descendants), or beteween sulistas (south) and southeastern people and so on. What to say about this?

Ray Adkins

James Miller,

I want to understand how did you manage to turn a post about racism in New York into someone you know being robbed in BRAZIL "multiple time"? I will buy being robbed in Brazil, which is not that common, but it happens, but you lost me at "multiple times" and not only that, but this is the second Blog I catch you writing the same BS sob story about being an African American in Brazil who is being treated like crap because of your race and you know other Americans who have been robbed MULTIPLE TIMES? Come on, really?
Give me a break!
What is your agenda? Bash Brazil at all costs by making up, distorting and exaggerating facts?
Are you that bitter about Brazil?
Get a life!

Ray Adkins

James Miller,

I want to understand how did you manage to turn a post about racism in New York into someone you know being robbed in BRAZIL "multiple time"? I will buy being robbed in Brazil, which is not that common, but it happens, but you lost me at "multiple times" and not only that, but this is the second Blog I catch you writing the same BS sob story about being an African American in Brazil who is being treated like crap because of your race and you know other Americans who have been robbed MULTIPLE TIMES? Come on, really?
Give me a break!
What is your agenda? Bash Brazil at all costs by making up, distorting and exaggerating facts?
Are you that bitter about Brazil?
Get a life!


Now that I think of it, the last time I ate at Coffee Shop, we were treated rudely and with some disdain. I thought it was because we were too old and too not-hip to be there. But now, it looks as if it's because that's how they treat EVERYBODY.
Lesson: Never go to Coffee Shop, EVER.


Hi James Miller,

I thought it was interesting to hear what you had to say about living in Brazil as someone with darker skin. I have heard similar stories from a few friends I have in Brazil. One of them (African American, New Yorker) regularly gets questioned when she attends high-profile events in Sao Paulo, because it's thought that she's not supposed to be there/she's not on the list/she doesn't have proper credentials.

My in-laws have best friends who are considered "very black" in Brazil (that's how they describe themselves). They have a daughter who learned English at Cel-Lep, and they came to visit me in America two years ago. Anyway, I found out just this month that the couple and their daughter were afraid of how they would be received by my family in the U.S. They almost didn't travel because of this fear. That really surprised me.

One last thing: my husband and I live in Miami. The door policy is random and touch-and-go. If the doormen can think of a way to keep two guys out of a club, they will. Having a high male ratio in any club is considered a no-no, and if two guys come without girls, it's nearly impossible to get in (no matter what color their skin is). Just a thought, although I am NOT excusing the behavior in NY or denying the fact that something fishy was going on.



Some comments here have proven that this place treats ALL customers badly. No matter your race, age or nation. The initial implication of racism and classism is dismissed. Case closed. NEXT.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.