Note from BW of Brazil: The report I bring you below is the latest in a progressive shifting of atttudes that I have been following for several years now. As I’ve explained, traditionally, Brazil has always been a country in which its citizens were believed to fully support romantic unions across lines of race and ethnicity. But as I’ve known for years, this supposed full acceptance of such unions is really just the tip of iceberg and for several reasons:
1) Several books have detailed that beneath the rhetoric, there is also rejection of such unions, partricularly among well-to-do white families. 2) Unions across racial lines are increasingly rare among middle and upper class white families. 3) With the promotion of interracial unions as a means to diminish the black population, generally, prominent blacks seek to use the educational and financial assets they have achieved to secure white partners to ensure their upward mobility and 4) Even within these interracial unions, racist sentiments sometimes STILL exist on the part of the white partners in these unions.
I will reserve my comments and analysis of the reactions to actress Erika Januza presenting her new love to her followers in an upcoming post. For now, below is how Ana Carolina Pinheiro approached the topic.
Why was Erika Januza criticized for dating a white man?
The actress was called ‘palmiteira’ by mostly male followers when posting a photo with her boyfriend.
By Ana Carolina Pinheiro
On March 16, actress Erika Januza, who was on vacation in Orlando, first posted a photo with her boyfriend, businessman Victor Evangelista. The publication btought given criticism to the couple, especially the actress, who is black and is dating a white man. That is, we have an interracial relationship and a discussion that goes beyond the different ethnicities.
One follower congratulated the actress on the relationship, but said she “expected to see her (Erika) with a black man.” YouTuber and stylist Patrícia Alvino asked: “When it’s (singer) Léo Santana with the white dancer, nobody says anything.” Among male followers, Erika was called “palmiteira.” And, as noted by user Matheus Moreira, most of the comments repudiating the actress’s choice are from male followers. From that, we begin to understand what lies behind all the assumptions about Erika’s relationship.
The expression “palmitagem” was created by mulheres negras brasileiras (black Brazilian women) to identify heterosexual black men who are in relationships with white women. If we imagine a social pyramid, divided into gender and ethnicity, the black man has a greater acceptance than the black woman, thinking in this context of relationship. Therefore, in many cases, they prefer to get with, date and marry mulheres brancas (white women). According to experts, the black man may unconsciously create a preference for white women to have the sensation of conquest and acceptance, since the Eurocentric model is still so valued in relation to the black. And that would be a rather problematic way of repairing their self-esteem that had been shaken up by racism. It is worth remembering that, like the black woman, the homem afrodescendente (man of African descent) is also hyper-sexualized and carries the stereotype of “sexual object”.
Meanwhile, the afrodescendentes (African descendants) are deferred, that is, they have difficulty being affectively reciprocated. And then another problem arises: a solidão da mulher negra (the loneliness of the black woman). If the black man most often has relationships with white women, consequently the opportunities of women of African descent to enter relationships are less. Obviously this does not mean that there are no relacionamento afrocentrado (Afrocentric relationship) (two black people) and that black women only get with homens brancos (white men) due to a lack of choice. But you can’t generalize. But these factors do impact on our relationships. In one of the comments in Erika’s photo, a black follower told her that in her case, the dating of the African descendant men did not happen because they chose white women. And, unfortunately, this is very common for black women.
In the real world, especially in Brazil, to say that “o amor não tem cor” (love has no color) is a joke for all the points that have appeared so far. But this too can not be a barrier in creating relationships. Interracial couples will go through situations in which the white person will not always understand what the black woman is thinking. Afro-centric relationships (see here and here), however, have a political significance, even though they are not exclusive synonyms or models of eternal happiness. The important thing is to be aware of all the links that bind you to each other.
So when a black woman is questioned for dating a white man, while the black man usually goes unscathed, what is at stake is the machismo and the solitude of the woman. We blacks also reproduce the oppression we experience daily. So doing the exercise of not passing it on and therefore not attacking each other is essential. But sharing even different ideas and experiences with respect and affection helps a lot in our individual and collective growth and empowerment.
And you, do you want to tell any situation about relationships or their absence? Send your opinion by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or directly on social networks, which will be listened to and make this exchange of experiences. Oh, and feel free to submit suggestions for the “O Nosso Lado da História” (Our Side of History) column as well.
josiivenerando @erikajanuza I confess that I expected to see you with a beautiful black man like you! But… The choice is yours. Be Happy!
patriciaalvino: When it’s Leo Santana with the white dancer nobody says anything! Ericka, wonderful. A thousand best wishes to you
mathrnoreiira: Funny, most in repudiating her dating are men, is this the machismo masked by a false activism? I’ve seen this before, eh.- Being a man and being within a certain social movement does not exclude you from reproducing macho attitudes. He’s a deconstructor, but he wants to run the amorous relationship of the woman, aha.
douglas_mansur: cool swirling
Simonesilvia0301: I’ve never been able to date black men. They always choose white and blonde women! I’m married to a white man too. We have to like who likes us. Surely!