Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

The Pretinha and the Pretinho (the little black girl and the little black boy)


Sao Tome, Generosa, portrait of smiling black boy and girl at school

Note from BW of Brazil: Hmmm, plenty of room for comment on this piece. What is perhaps most intriguing here is that the author, while pointing out the steering of black boys away from black women at a young age, also acknowledges that black women receive this sort of socialization as well. Is she saying that black boys receive it more than black girls? Is she saying that black women development a stronger desire to maintain their roots than black men at an early age? However you see it, we do know that this sort of indoctrination toward whiteness does happen in Brazil, we just can’t say with any precision how common it is. It would be intriguing to discover how many people could affirm this promotion of embranquecimento (whitening) within Afro-Brazilian households. I’m quite sure there are probably plenty of white men and women who can also confirm this social processing in favor of whiteness within black families as well. Many little details that would perhaps require an interview to explore some of these questions. Anyway, this is one black woman’s perspective. 

The Pretinha and the Pretinho (the little black girl and the little black boy)

By Taís Espírito Santo

The pretinha (little black girl), since she was a little kid, her dad said, “Pretinha, pretinha. We have to appreciate ourselves, many people will not like you because of the color of your skin, your hair, your features … But you are beautiful. “And pretinha always say: Dad, I am really beautiful, at school today they complimented my hair, said I am beautiful with braids!

And like this, Pretinha grew up. Her parents always showed that negro é lindo (black is beautiful), always taught Pretinha to have value of her origin, her people, her color. And, inclusive, the best would be for her to marry a black man, so the family stays all united, strong, and nothing better than an equal to strengthen the bond together, the heritage, culture and history … And Pretinha became a woman, studied, dated some guys, she loved. Pretinha often heard that story, “Oh, you’re crazy? Marry a black man, and what about your child’s hair? The child will always have that cabelo ruim (bad hair)?; Oh, clareia essa família (lighten this family), only black isn’t cool.”

The pretinho (little black boy) since he was a kid, his father said: Son, you are black and have your value. You have to study, work, make money, be someone in life. And God willing, you will be a futebol player or a successful man. When this happens, don’t forget, my son, marry a blonde or a white woman. A black woman makes a lot of confusion, she’s troublesome, she takes work, and as they say around here here: “a black woman lies and does Macumba,” God forbid, my son. And here for us, the blonde is much better than the black woman. And so Pretinho grew up, didn’t become a futebol player, but a black man with his proper value, successful, and to maintain the status quo that his father always said, always dated white women, took them to the parties, proudly presented them to all.

And in this crazy maelstrom of life, (it was) Pretinha who always wanted a black man. Not only for black being in style, but she always wanted to perpetuate her history, value her people, her roots. She is still looking for a black man to share this long walk. But the Preto, not recognizing himself, not truly knowing who he is, likes samba, likes “coisas do preto” (black stuff), but he does not like the Preta. He’s not used to her, doesn’t want to share his life, because he remembers what he was taught, since childhood, that a preta can be a friend, can be a sister, can be anything but a woman. And often, when he looks at a beautiful preta or that calls his attention in any way, he says, “I always liked black women, but they never gave me the proper value.” And life keeps going… The Pretinha in hers, in search of her Preto so dreamed about and the Preto in his, in search of what he doesn’t know is missing, deluding themselves, reproducing all the “teoria do embranquecimento”  (theory of embranquecimento) and losing more and more. Until when?!

* I am in favor of all kinds of love and colors, what I don’t think is right is when you don’t have the freedom to do so, when it is already implicit, it is already created. I like the freedom. Taste of freedom. Freedom of choices, decisions, thinking and acting.

Source: Preta e Gorda

One comment on “The Pretinha and the Pretinho (the little black girl and the little black boy)

  1. Natalie
    April 23, 2016

    In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with interracial marriage as long as you do it because you love the person and are choosing character over color. To marry anyone, for that matter, for any other reason would be self-hating and deceitful. That said, I do feel that until black people, particularly those of us in the diaspora, learn to love and accept the image and legacy of our ancestors, we will continue to be and be viewed worldwide as inferior. I will leave excerpts from an essay written by the author Kola Boof on the subject of colorism (the main points apply to Afro-Brazilians as well):

    America is a western society that completely fears, hates and seeks to erase black people and Africa. And I would say that most Black Americans (at least 70%)…also hate black people and Africa…but because they themselves are black, they don’t realize it.

    They will curse the photos of a lynched black man hanging from a tree as white people sit around having a picnic…but they will not give birth to that black man again. Instead, they will marry the lynch rope and produce children who look more like the white lynchers at the picnic.

    They will call out the words, “Mother Africa”…but the lowest, most despised, hated person in Black America is the authentic Black woman. And the reason is…her WOMB makes them black, therefore, she is the enemy. And they make all manner of excuse, create any and every bald-faced lie against her…their own mother…in order to place the White man’s mother above her…as a savior; as a bridge out of blackness.

    Through the white man’s mother, they lose the proof. They achieve the disconnection from black people’s suffering…and BY DEFAULT…they join with White Supremacy, whether they be reddish-yellow, yellow, high yellow or vanilla-bean bi-racial…they become EXTRACTIONS of blackness that mainly reiterate “whiteness as normal–blackness as something you EVOLVE from” and bellie the slave master’s contention that black people (Africans) are inferior and lightskinned people are an “improvement”.

    As so many white mothers of biracial babies candidly point out during afternoon talk shows–an improvement on the “dark nappy” babies–the authentic blacks.

    So many Black Americans have forgotten that when they look upon African people or look upon the very darkest black woman…what they are seeing is the living REPLICA of their ancestors…what’s left of them…in their natural state. And yet, they don’t make the connection. Instead of cherishing and protecting the ethos of their ancestors, many of us…both African and Black removed from Africa…assist the slave master/colonizer in destroying, lying upon and degrading this image.

    We claim that there’s only one race…the human race….yet we hate the Blackness in human beings. We see blackness as a deformity…a curse that White women or White men can cure by breeding it out of us. We hate Africa itself.

    Black Americans don’t like the word “nigger”, but it’s crucial that we understand what a nigger really is.

    Whether he be in North Sudan, South Africa, Jamaica or the United States…a nigger’s true goal is to erase himself and become the image of his master.

    Skin bleaching in Africa…marrying the lightest person we can find in America…denying that the Black race even exists…that only HUMANS do, as if Hitler or the Slave Master or the African dictator or any other Power on this planet ever gave a damn about anybody else being human.

    Seriously. A ni66er’s true goal is to erase himself and become the image of his master.

    -Kola Boof http://kolaperfume.5u.com/index_1.html

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