took my first trip to Lisbon by train, via Spain; it was the
summer of 1988. I arrived at an international station called Santa
Apolónia. Within minutes of departing the station, which was
adjacent to the Tagus River, I ran into a row of hardy-looking, no-
nonsense women fishmongers, or peixeiras.∞
Peixeiras sold many
varieties of fish from vats atop stationary tables. At first ‘‘glance,’’≤
most of them were white, Portuguese, and perhaps middle-aged
and above; a smaller percentage were black and around the same
ages. It was clear to me on hearing them advertise their fish, in a
hoarse but siren-like sound from the gut—‘‘Ssardiiiiiiiiiiiinha!’’ (sar-
dines) and ‘‘e carapauuuuuuuuuu’’ (mackerel)—that they all
meant serious business.
What struck me most about this bustling scenario was the sea
of male and female customers of every age and color. They stood
in close proximity as they haggled with peixeiras, stepping on each
other’s toes, bumping elbows, and clumsily reaching across each
other. As I made my way through the crowd, the scene made an
impression on me. I was familiar with Lusotropicalist ideology, a
Brazilian narrative celebrating the practice of racial-cultural inti-
macy among the Portuguese and those they colonized. Multiple
sources further claimed that the Portuguese believed themselves
incapable of racism because of this ideology. But I had also read
the works of Charles Boxer and Gerald Bender who, each in his
own way, argued that this ideology was in fact a myth never
actually deployed in practice. Bender tells the story of an in-
digenous woman in southern Angola who was legally married to
a Portuguese army officer. He left his post after they married.
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