The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent
“When white folks can’t defeat you they’ll always find some Negro—some boot-licking, butt-licking, buck-dancing, bamboozled, half-baked, half-fried, sissified, punkified, pasteurized, homogenized nigger—that they can trot out in front of you” – Khalid Muhammad, 1993
Note from BW of Brazil: Could the legendary African-American Muslim activist Khalid Muhammad have known about elections in the city that is considered Brazil’s economic engine in 2016? Well of course he couldn’t have known about this specific case, but as the situation and this particular type of character has been seen in the history of black politics, the above comment can be applied to any and all that fit the bill.
With all of the racial turmoil going on the United States, many African-Americans would probably point to the controversial Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke as a figure in current times who Muhammad’s words could be applied to. The Republican National Convention speaker’s comments on guns and the Black Lives Matter movement have infuriated hundreds of thousands, if not millions of African-Americans who have labeled him everything from an Uncle Tom, to a sell out, coon and sambo, all derogatory terms directed at at blacks who are seen as representing the interests of a power structure that is repressive to black rights and black lives.
Over the course of the past few centuries, Brazil has also had its fair share of black men or women who seem to vehemently oppose the struggle for black ascension or simply don’t position themselves on matters that deal with the race issue. In Brazil, these types are often labeled a Pai João, a negro de alma branca (black with a white soul) or, in recent years, a “capitão de mato” (captain of the forest). 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”. The Ficha Corrida blog defined these sorts of characters as “the black that does not protest against the measures, the institutions and processes that cause inequality and marginalization of black.” And over the years, the black Brazilian struggle has seen a long line of futebol players, actors, singers, politicians, etc. who could fit this description. But recently, one controversial figure’s name keeps popping up when the discussion is the modern day “capitão de mato”. His name is Fernando Holiday.
Holiday’s first came up on this blog in a post from April of last year when Anna Beatriz Anjos spoke to a couple of scholars on black issues in Brazil about Holiday’s rhetoric that was gaining popularity due to his frequent tirades on a number of videos posted on YouTube. This rhetoric recently paid off as Holiday was recently elected to the city council of São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and the center of the country’s economic activity. This is big news because, as we’ve shown in past posts, Afro-Brazilians who attempt to enter the political arena always have difficulty garnering important party and financial support and this is infinitely more difficult for blacks who stand specifically for black issues.
Rejection of the social and economic ascension of the black and poor classes over the past decade has been an issue that has been lurking in the shadows of the recent political turmoil that recently led to the ouster of Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff’s party, the Workers’ Party (or PT), implemented numerous policies over the past 14 years that offered more opportunities to these classes than any other administration in the nation’s history. And with the Rousseff’s ouster, her replacement and former vice-president, Michel Temer, has seemingly been on a path to undo all of those advancements and take Brazil back to the stone age with massive cuts in health and education spending. The controversial Proposal 241 that is making its way through Congress, is a constitutional amendment that would cap public spending for the next 20 years.
So, in this political environment, in which white male politicians are still favored, what does it tell us when a 20-year old black man who is vehemently opposed to social policies in favor of the black population can rise to city council in the country’s most economically important city? If Holiday were to use his fiery speaking style to speak in favor of a black political agenda, Brazilians would immediately be labeling him a ‘black Hitler’, a black hate monger or reverse racist, but as he supports ending affirmative action policies, which have shown how divided Brazil really is since its implementation, he earns a seat in politics. The fact that many in social networks are comparing Holiday to the Stephen character portrayed by actor Samuel L. Jackson in the 2012 film Django Unchained should give you an idea of how many people are feeling about him. Below are just a few pieces for our readers to get an idea of how Holiday is seen in black social and political circles.
Pro-impeachment movement adopts a black man who hates blacks
Connected to the organizers of pro-impeachment actions, Fernando Holiday may be a puppet in the hands of the movement or acting on his own convictions. Whether one or the other, it’s sad to see a black teenager calling the fight for affirmative action a “discourse of vagrancy” and playing the role of capitão do mato (captain of the forest/sell out). All that remains is hoping that one day he frees himself of this psychological misery.
By Marcos Sacramento
What leads a black guy to scream on camera against the introduction of racial quotas in universities and in public competitions? I was in doubt after seeing the video of one Fernando Holiday, in which he criticizes the actions of black militants during a class at USP (University of São Paulo).
“We blacks and poor can succeed in life through merit, we don’t need to be like worms, like true parasites through the state, wanting to erode more and more with this discourse of shit, with this discourse of trash. You make of blacks true pigs in the sty that are digging through the mud after the rest that the state has to offer. The poor from the suburbs, blacks from the periphery, don’t submit yourselves to this discourse,” he thunders.
I felt some discomfort during the just over five minute speech, in which he acted as the worst of racists when comparing blacks with worms. If calling someone a monkey is execrable, and dehumanizes the victim, what about worms, beings of an even lower scale of the evolutionary chain?
I do not know where from such bitterness comes from, but it can only be this bitterness that makes him ignore the historical context and research that demonstrate the need for racial quotas in universities. According to a study from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), “in higher education, the disproportion between the presence of the preto e parda (black and brown) population and the branca (white) population tripled between 1976 and 2006. If in 1976 5% of whites over 30 years of age had a college degree, compared to 0.7% of blacks, in 2006, whites had a higher education degree amounted to 18% of the population, compared to only 5% of blacks. Despite a substantial expansion of the offer of places in higher education in this period, the racial gap was not reduced. This reality began to change only after the adoption of affirmative action policies in the early 2000s.”
Another study, of the IBGE, found that from 2001 to 2011 the percentage of blacks in higher education increased from 10.2% to 35.8%, a result in part of affirmative action that began to be implemented starting in 2003. Despite the increase the percentage is still below the 50.7% of blacks in the population, showing the urgent need to consolidate the quota policies.
Really perplexing, on principle I considered the video adolescent foolishness of which Holiday would be ashamed after learning more about the statistics on the black population, but I changed my mind when searching his page on Facebook.
The fan page obeys the reactionary playbook and has hate posts against leftists, feminists, Dilma, and calls for the next demonstration against the government.
The tantrum against quotas is a constant and already appears in the first video, in which the denial of racism meets misogyny: “If it’s like this, let’s make quotas for the gostosa (hot girls) (…) because there are places that are missing. Fefeleche says so, but it would that zoo, that fleabag.” Fefeleche (FFLCH) is the nickname of the Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences) of USP, one of the favorite targets of the neoconservative patrol.
Holiday, 18, is connected to the Movimento Brasil Livre (Free Brazil Movement), one of the “liberal” entities organizing protests on March 15th. Mixed in his speeches is the middle class nonconformity of (journalist) Rachel Sheherazade with Luiz Carlos Alborghetti’s histrionics of bad taste (1).
It came to be approved for the Philosophy course at Unifest (Federal University of São Paulo), but told Folha de São Paulo (newspaper) in an interview during the protest, that he’s still deciding where he will study. At the time, he said he was invited to enter MBL after the impact of one of his videos.
Maybe he’s a puppet in the hands of the movement or acting on his own convictions. Most likely a combination of the two situations in which the MBL found the perfect figure to nullify criticism that it is a stronghold of the white elite and Holiday is celebrated with thousands of curtidas (likes) on Facebook. Ultimately, they deserve each other.
Whether one thing or the other, it’s sad to see a black teenager calling the fight for affirmative action a “discourse of vagrancy” and playing the role of capitão do mato.
All that remains is to wait for Holiday, in some moment, to free himself of that psychological misery. The reality (and he obviously knows it) is that he will always be black.
Holiday, the Capitão do Mato
By Vanessa Oliveira
A vídeo is circulating on the Internet of a young black man, Fernando Holiday, criticizing quotas, he’s one of the participants of the pro-impeachment (of former President Dilma Rousseff) working assiduously in favor of the capitalist system. It is amazing his lack of historical and legislative knowledge. With very shallow comments and with many offenses, and even chauvinist incitements, he claims that blacks don’t need quotas because they have to attain vacancies in college through merit.
So let’s go there. Does he know that affirmative action is established not only in Brazil but in many countries for historical reparations?
One of the first countries that made this public policy official was the United States in the 1960s of the twentieth century, to combat the differences between whites and blacks. They were established after an analysis and reading of the historical and social context experienced in the country, and thus it proved that because of such inequalities and their consequences in society, actions should be generated for its repair, these policies have validity and can be re-evaluated, ie, as soon as this inequality no longer exists, the actions also lose their validity.
We know that within this capitalist system, such reparations are still minimal and must in fact be followed so that they really happen, but this isn’t in any way what was presented by Holiday, moreover the vestibular (college entrance exam) as we know is based on the meritocratic criteria where the vacancy at the university is for whoever achieves the highest score on the tests.
But how do you compete in unequal situations? Poverty in Brazil has color, and lives mostly in remote areas where access to school exists, however the conditions of studies are poor, lacking teachers, teaching materials, teaching support, and students often need to go to school at night, because they work during the day. While the bourgeoisie, majority white, has a private school of quality, they study full-time, and don’t go through tough economic and social times. Is it true that only individual effort is enough? Could it be that the score that affirmative action quotas assign to blacks can match all the unpreparedness that blacks carry from the beginning of their school life?
Obviously not, the number of blacks in the universities is still very small compared to the number of whites. After the abolition of slaves, so-called “free” blacks were crushed by the immigration process, and cornered to take on the worst jobs. Studying in these conditions was often not prioritized because it was necessary to work to survive. And this yoke weighs heavily on many families today.
Saying to blacks that quotas aren’t necessary to get into college, because this makes him inferior, expressed the lack of understanding of the historical context of the colonial period in Brazil, where whites had privileged opportunities to achieve social mobility, and blacks didn’t have the same privileges.
Holiday is the ideal type of guy to reinforce the ideologies of the right, where merit is above all things, where your competencies only depend on your individual effort, quite neoliberal practices, where the one who wins is the best.
It is clear that he reproduces a ready text, and we’re tired of hearing it, and unfortunately many blacks still agree to be included in this system, which puts the problem on an individual level, not as a social problem created by the inequalities that capitalism produces.
Snippet from video: “Just because I have a little more melanin I need to steal someone else’s place! This is not fair! I don’t need to steal anyone else’s place! Blacks don’t need to steal anyone else’s place! We can get in through merit!”
I, as a black woman, repudiate Holiday and this pro-impeachment position because his discourse favors only the Casa Grande (Big House/slave master’s house), and he as a good Capitão do Mato is defending the interests of his boss. The impeachment in no way will favor women, students and black workers, unlike the bourgeoisie with its nostalgic discourse, really wants to go back to slavery times and we see the enormous amount of proposed laws in the Câmara (House) and Senate that are being voted on and that disfavor workers’ rights.
We as black leftists should position ourselves forward in this fight, but following examples of resistance such as Zumbi because racist practices will end only when capitalism falls. This fallacy of racial democracy exists only for those who have not perceived their color, and the inequalities that surround it. We must build an increasingly critical and liberating thought to get rid of these shackles that still disturb us daily, and Holiday is one of those shackles.
A black man that doesn’t know his own history is appalling
By Nicholas Neto
Of whom am I speaking? Again Fernando Holiday, elected city councilor in São Paulo for the DEM party and one of the organizers of the Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL or Free Brazil Movement).
Marilia Lydia interviewed him on Jornal da Gazeta TV journal. In addition to the preposterous ideas that I already know he defends and walking in the direction of those preached by conservative sectors, backwards, as well as defended by the white elites of the country such as the extinction of the secretariats for blacks and LGBT – very important departments for promoting racial and social equality, the young man with black skin, but with ideas of a capitão do mato (captain of the woods/sell out), taskmaster and plantation owner, he went further and dismissed the struggles of black movements and the activists themselves.
In his comments, Holiday elaborates that he is against racial quotas, black consciousness and disregards the movimentos negros (black movements). According to him, the movement was taken by people who believe themselves to be owners of the truth. There aren’t, according to Holiday, people within these movements do fact that in fact question the need or the efficiency of having a day for consciência negra (black consciousness) or the necessity or efficiency of having racial quotas. The representative of the MBL presents deplorable arguments from the historical point of view to state that Zumbi doesn’t represent the symbolism of Consciência Negra because he sees him as a killer, a slave owner. “This guy that is little known, that we know little about,” he added when talking about the leader of Palmares.
To complete his blunders, he presented a discourse of elites brancas (white elites), racist sectors and believes that racism is fought with silence, but never with struggle. The movimentos negros for the elected councilor don’t help fight racism because they present speeches that feed vitimismo (victimhood) and demean blacks. Holiday is therefore an advocate of meritocracy and legalized racism.
Holiday urgently needs to go back to history lessons or study day and night and take the vestibular (college entrance exam) for this discipline; because he definitely doesn’t know the story of black men and women. Nor does he know the historical struggles of various black movements that have spread throughout Brazil and its achievements that, because of Brazil being a racist country, are still very few. He needs to know not only the biography of Zumbi, but Dandara, Aqualtune, Luisa Mahin, Mestre Bimba, Abdias do Nascimento, Antoinette de Bairro, Carolina Maria de Jesus, Grande Otelo….
He also needs and with the same urgency to visit the movimentos negros that are in constant struggles for an end to racism and for the promotion of racial equality, I cite here the Grupo de Valorização Negra do Cariri (GRUNEC or Black Valuation Group of Cariri ) and the Grupo de Mulhres Negra do Cariri – Pretas Simoa (Group of Black Women of Cariri – Black Simoa).