The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent
Note from BW of Brazil: There are several words that came to mind when I came across this self-aggrandizing, unabashed promotion of being an “expert” of selling black flesh…But I’ll stick with one: shameless! The details of this whole dispute and a black man defending his “right” to be a would be “pimp” speaks volumes to the ways that racism and capitalism have reduced many in the black community to being willing agents of white supremacy, that would proudly sell their own people had they been on those slave ships some five centuries ago. One point of clarity before you read this piece. Understand the term “mulata” used in this context should be understood a profession; a “mulata” can be defined as any attractive woman of visible African ancestry that works within the tourism and/or Carnaval industry in which she is scantily clad, dancing or taking photos with spectators, foreign or domestic. Now with that out of the way, let’s get to the details of the controversy.
Mulatalogist is not a profession; it’s sexism
By Charô Nunes for Blogueiras Negras
It is with sadness that I learned about the profession of “mulatólogo” (mulatologist). The term was created by Júlio César, a black man who is dedicated to promoting and classifying black women. His specialty is basically to feed the ghetto media to which we are confined in “preparing” ourselves to work during Carnival and shows of “Brazilianness”. And as everything that is bad can get worse, it is with outrage that I got the news that he intends to sue for racism (!!!) a black woman (!!!) who spoke out against the term on his blog. In this case, despite the threat wanting to make us believe that this is a matter of race, we are talking about gender.
The mulatólogo profession makes impossible any redefinition of the term mulata that, despite all the efforts of the dancers, cannot escape its origin. It is as if one could speaks of a sommelier or specialists of mules while at the same time wanting us to believe that it is not offensive. And it’s no use changing the name of the thing, the passistólogo (passista/Carnaval dancer specialist) will continue labeling, classifiying, and promoting black women according to their age and body type. It will continue to turn us into a produto de exportação (export product), hyper-sexualized, ready to be consumed here or abroad. We’re talking about sexism.
The mulatólogo jeopardizes one of our main ethical commitments which is to not treat people like things. Approaches of sexist advertisements that resort to deception in comparing women to products to demonstrate the idea that there would be better deals. This strategy, although trivial, is very serious: some women would be better than others just like some products. This is achieved through standardization of what a mulata would be, made from the sexist criteria of this man who is willing to select them based on criteria that are not established by the dancers. For this there is the specialist.
We black women are use to this. This ruse is not very different from selling peoples as pieces during the 350 years of slavery. We are talking about transforming children, black men and women into objects, which can be marketed, classified and dispensed as waste; products that can be submitted to the desire of others no matter when and for what purpose. We’re talking about ceasing from being people and becoming things, without the right to speak and will; ready to be classified and labeled. As a black man, we expect the mulatólogo to understand about what pain we are talking about. Because it hurts in our flesh and hurts in his as well.
That’s why, in order for the mulata specialist profession to exist, we black women have to give up our humanity or ultimately remain silent in the face of the sexist practice of classifying women to this or that order according to skin color, age and body type. That is why, as a black woman and in accordance with many other women, I consider unethical that there is a mulatologia (mulatology), mulatólogo anyway; especially now that the commentator is being threatened with a suit for expressing her opinion against this provocation.
As a feminist, I consider the transformation of the mulata into an exotic product of time, subject to the classifications and analysis, as problematic. We have a voice and free will. We are much more than a field of knowledge, we are people. And exactly because of this we don’t accept our bodies being assessed, that we are hyper-sexualized or be told when and where we can express our opinions against what is public and notoriously sexist. This is defense, this is survival. It occurs on the streets but also in the definition of concepts and terms that deal with us.
The mulatólogo, before such a stir, announced on his Facebook page that he plans to meet with representatives of the Movimento Negro (black movement) to discuss the term. That’s something. We expect that he first remove the threat of a suit and read with more refinement the criticism from his commentators and all of us that we are protesting. Because the woman who gave her opinion deserves to be heard as much as any other militant; as much as other men commentators who said the same. Though it may seem strange in the eyes of some, she is also Movimento Negro; all of us, within and outside of the network, in small actions, in conversations with friends, inside and outside of Carnival, writing, reading and in blog comments.
And the message is clear and simple and we all understand it very well: mulatólogo is not a profession, it is sexism. Silencing criticism that disagrees with your point of view in such a way is intimidating also.
Note from BW of Brazil: As this is a subject coming out of Brazil and thus many may lack the cultural background behind the image of ‘mulatas’, Carnaval, a complete picture of the dispute and the details of the argument that Charô Nunes laid out in her article above or, we decided to post Júlio César’s response in full.
Black movement, let the black woman work and be happy!
By Júlio César
I’m not wanting with this discourse to make divisions, on the contrary, what I say is that in my world all are welcome!
That they have love for samba, want to be part of this eternal magic, place your fancy, get your high heels, tone your body, make yourself up good, an artifice in the hair, put on a smile on your face and come be happy, but be aware of one thing, by merits, by desire of the divine voice, the mulatas are the tops, they perform with perfect mastery of the samba, the gingado (1) belongs to them, with them, the frill catches fire, it is a tsunami in the feet with a tufão nos quadric (typhoon in the hips) done with much poise and elegance, worthy of a queen, against (the) facts there are no arguments.
Brazil is the country where the state is secular where the freedom of expression is great, the word mulata already defeated bias a long time ago, we are in the twenty-first century, whoever wants to offend a negra, uses other terms and we know very well which (ones).
There are groups of blacks, racist against other blacks who don’t accept the fact of black woman working as a mulata, are true capitães do mato (captains of the forest) (2), why, for what, what is the objective?
“With your blogs in the Téo Pereira of the novela (soap opera) Império (3) style, full of complaints, sadness and melancholy, only knowing how to spread terrorism (4), speaking ill of others and for them everything is racism, hate-filled people, places in the society some against others.”
A great example of this, even before the “Globo (TV) series Sexo e as negas by Miguel Falabella debuted, they made a lot of noise accusing him of racism, him being a complete man and unquestionable professional who always gave employment to us blacks and whites portraying the suburbs.”
Let black women work for God’s sake. The black woman has her own will, the impression that these groups pass on, is that we blacks, we have no brain and need to be controlled by them! I don’t, I said it a million times and I repeat: “I am an intelligent person, stop underestimating my intelligence.”
How many white women play mediocre roles on television, not even because of this are they accusing anyone of (being) racist, enough! (7)
A black woman wants to be a doctor, judge or lawyer studies and gets ahead, now if other black women want to be dancers, ballerinas, models, beauty queens, passistas/mulatas, stage assistants, actresses, panicats, funkeiras (funk singers), they are finding it difficult, because these groups disrupt their lives judging them all the time and calling whoever does decent work with a wonderful cache for them racist (8), or do you think they dance samba for free? They earn cache per hours worked, which in Brazil is difficult. It’s per hour!
The black woman is not stupid, for treating them as ignorant and poor things, they know what is prejudice, all blacks know, we feel it up close, feel discriminated against, there are laws against it (9).
In a modeling agency, actresses, a discoverer of misses (beauty contest contestants) and mulatas or any business owner will charge a percentage of the works of black or white woman, or do you think they’ll exempt black racism because of racism in the past, excuse me!
Stop saying that this is racism! Because of this, many entrepreneurs, agencies, novela authors etc; don’t want to work with black woman, excuse the expression, it sucks. A word doesn’t judge anyone, every woman is responsible for her own marketing, her attitudes towards life and the labor market is what will say what it is.
We ourselves are responsible for giving a slap in the face of prejudice and making our lives happy or keep on remembering all the time of slavery and using this as an excuse for our failure. Who is Charô Nunes that accuses “Miguel Falabella and Julio César, a Mulatólogo, of racism, sexism and prejudice without any foundation! And why hide?”
She is black, uses on the social networks the name of Charô Nunes, self-titling herself, blogger and feminist as if this is enough for her to judge people and their work (10). She also said she is an architect, and with these attributes, even without proving nothing, absolutely nothing she’s causing much confusion detonating the professional and personal life of X to Y of various fields who are trying to jointly take her to court.
As in a big dictatorship, she simply condemns persons and companies already renowned with promising careers, classifying them as what she sees convenient and just like that, offends, incites violence, calls racist, sexist and everything (that) to her is prejudice, without even presenting words of expert or opinions of lawyers or competent organs, she says it and that’s it. (11)
Generally, in search of fame, she has as main targets big names with already established careers, such as Miguel Falabella, for example, but the shot has backfired because her few followers are every day putting her more it at risk, because in her posts on the internet, they offend people as she writes with expletives, even racist, prejudicial terms, incites hatred, violence and maybe she is unaware that responsibility by law falls on herself. A black woman who claims to defend the black cause encourages this kind of attitude, no? A person of a serious movement never acted like this, it could be something wrong there, it’s just a guess!
The worst of all, to escape responding to what she writes, she doesn’t disclose her real name, no fixed address, telephone number or any kind of information to be able get to her in her profiles or blogs that she write and places where she has lived (12), even mainstream media, there is no information and no one has if they want to a phone number of the expert at all is at the very least suspicious?
Still, she has followers and can manipulate them and no one ever stopped a minute to think: Who is Charô Nunes?
I’m not trying to prejudge, I only ask, who is this super woman who understands everything? A being so evolved that she knows more than God (13)! The woman is the owner of reason, impressive, if there is someone like that, I’m not criticizing, I want to be her follower too, but I just want to know first? Who is she really, what college did she attend, where did she do her Post-graduate and how many Ph.D’s abroad has she done to understand so many issues like this and being the owner of reason? (14)
So for now, I just ask? Who is Charô Nunes, what’s your address, your academic background and at least one landline, for five months of research we don’t have a clue if wanted of who this woman is! What’s your real name, no one passes on any contact, only e-mail and as you can see on the social networks in which it appears, in the field about her, where she studied and lives was always blank.
So I ask again! Who is Charô Nunes?
Note from BW of Brazil: César’s response is simply incredible on so many levels. See my opinion of many of his points below in the notes section. And just to add another detail to Mr. César’s response above, all of his text is translated exactly from the text that he wrote, but we refuse to publish the not three or four, but FIVE photos of Nunes that César included in his response. Going through his words of obvious frustration and anger that a black woman dare challenge him, the self-defined “mulatólogo” posted photos of Nunes as if he was hunting her down or using as many photos of her as he could find in a manner similar to a police report of an escaped convict! Really, black man??? This is how you respond to a black woman? Weighing in on the issue below is a journalist of the Movimento Negro whose opinion is highly valued and has been previously featured here on the blog. Marcos Romão analyzes with a critical view the many issues concerning black people in Brazilian society at large as well as images in the media.
“MULATÓLOGO” wants to sue writer of Movimento Negro in the month of Black Consciousness
By Marcos Romão
A “mister” Júlio César, that presents himself under the profession of “mulatólogo”, which as much as it seems racist and synonymous with “cafetão” (pimp), published on his blog, something close to a threat to the black woman writer Charô Nunes. This you don’t do…respect black women, man.
Comment from a reader of his blog:
“You go for 5 months trying to identify the woman to take her to court? You’re kidding, right? In the digital world everyone has an address, there is no way to hide. But perhaps because of the fact that you have no reason to sue her, you chose to make this nonsense, absurd and fantastical post. You aren’t hunting her, you only tried, now you intimidate the girl. And such silliness, huh? This woman is FREE and has the right to express her thoughts. Just like you writing this nonsense.”
In his blog, the “mulatólogo” published pictures of Charô Nunes, a black activist quite well known in the social movement, and says that he has been hunting her for five months, like a police officer or a member of some mafia. Mamapress fears for the physical integrity of the writer.
We want to stress that we support the professional women of samba and with care and dedication, take black culture to every corner of the world.
Mamapress (blog) however rejects any kind of “cafetinização” (pimpification) of black women and their depreciation, carried out by specialists in making human beings into “mules” to make money with sexism and lasciviousness of the racists. We hope that you Júlio Cesar, reflect on your actions, you seem to be a serious person in your work, it could be just a lag in time.
Berlin has a professional that has been doing for over 50 years, a job of spreading Brazilian culture through samba shows, capoeira, maculelê and etc. He self-denominates himself “Doutor Samba” (Doctor Samba), he respects the work itself and the artists that he promotes. Change the name of your profession, man, if not for yourself do it in respect to the women with whom you work. Put your hand on your black consciousness on this November 20, 2014, of the twenty-first century. Stop with this shameful situation.
1. Literally refers to the fundamental movement in capoeira in which one swings back and forth. Figuratively, it defines a certain swing or swag.
2. In Brazil’s slavery era, the main task of the black capitão do mato was to hunt down, capture and return fugitive slaves to captivity. In the modern context, it’s equal to calling someone a “sell-out” or “house negroe”.
3. Téo Pereira is a villainous gossip blogger played by actor Paulo Betti in the 2014 Globo TV novela Império.
4. Very interesting how other black Brazilian men resorted to labeling black women activists as “terrorists” when they opine and denounce certain depictions of black women.
5. Very interesting choice of words. In a previous post, this blog commented on how many people are willing to accept the “crumbs” that fall or are thrown off of “master’s” table rather than standing tall and seeking alternatives. It seems rather obvious here which side the “mulatologist” falls on.
6. I would argue that deciphering the media’s ultimate objective in its portrayal of black Brazilians is skill that often takes much study, reason and know how, while accepting the minimal, stereotypical role for a few dollars perhaps takes less capability of reasoning. This is by no means meant to insult the artists and performers who DO accept these roles. Every artist makes a choice to accept a given role and sometimes it is out of financial necessity. It again speaks to the limited roles of highlight that Brazilian society offers Afro-Brazilians.
7. What he misses entirely in this point is that white women are the VAST majority of women presented on television. For every role in which they may play a maid or drug addict, there are more in which they presented in various depictions of the middle and upper class, which rarely exists in roles featuring Afro-Brazilian women. I would argue that this is one of the reasons that a new novela starring black actress Sheron Menezes is being promoted as a series with a black lawyer. For white actresses, this would not be necessary as it is the norm.
8. No one labeled the women doing the work as racist nor the money they may earn. The issue here is that depictions of black women often deal with manual, unappreciated work of low skill or something associated with sensuality.
9. Racism is deeply ingrained in Brazilian society and regardless of the laws, it continues and often is difficult to fight legally.
10. All of make judgement, as Mr. César himself is doing in this baseless attack
11. Dealing with the issue of sexism here, I would Mr. César if there were in fact a man, say a university professor or within the Movimento Negro, that stated the same opinion of Nunes, what would Mr. César’s reaction be then?
12. I would argue here that after posting five photos of Nunes and relentlessly hunting for her information for months, Mr. César’s hostile reaction is the very reason that some semblance of privacy is available on the internet.
13. I won’t get into debates on the issue of god/God here, but as Nunes never made this statement and as it lacks any sort of logic or reasoning, but rather a desperate attempt to discredit criticism, I would label this statement an “emotional”
14. See number 12 here. Although having advanced degrees in any area is generally socially-accepted as a means of qualifying someone, it doesn’t necessarily disqualify the opinion of others. I see this as a social problem in which credentials deemed valuable by an unequal society elevate some while ignoring others.