U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff

*From a visit to Rio de Janeiro’s most infamous slum to a national address amid the gilded elegance of a celebrated theater, President Obama on Sunday sought to underscore the shared histories and futures of the United States and Brazil, reaching out to the people of one of the most racially diverse countries in the Americas.

But Mr. Obama, on the second day of a five-day tour of Latin America, once again seemed to sidestep mentioning his own racial background in appearances here, even as Brazilians who gathered at a plaza trying to catch a glimpse of him said that he had inspired millions in this country because of his African heritage.

“Because he knows the reality of discrimination against blacks, it would be very important for him to pass on the message that it is possible to get somewhere, to be someone, in spite of all the difficulties,” said Célio Frias, a 46-year-old businessman. “He is an inspiration.”

From their first public comments together on Saturday in the capital, Brasília, Mr. Obama and Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, have been a study in contrasts in how they handle the historic nature of their presidencies.

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