Brown University

Even at anything-goes Carnival, these lyrics raise eyebrows

The typical notion of Carnival in Brazil is that anything goes: no headdress too big, no outfit too small, no song too ribald. This year, some organizers of the world's best known street party are saying: "Enough!" At least to the lyrics.

A growing number of "blocos" — a term Brazilians use to refer to Carnival street parties and the singing and dancing groups that organize them — are defying tradition and refusing to play a handful of songs that have lyrics considered sexist, homophobic or racist.

If you think Brazilians have met that with their trademark easygoing, live-and-let-live attitude, then you don't know how seriously they take...