Note from BW of Brazil: I know that a lot of us tend to believe that relationships across races and cultures are a demonstration of tolerance and evidence that a society’s racial relations are healthy. But Brazil is a perfect example that neither interpretation is necessarily true. Whites can look at the existence of the such relationships or even their involvement in such relations and see the world through rose-colored glasses. But often these same people have no idea of some of the social values and impositions that exist with the black community that actually posits the white partner as the ultimate prize for the black partner in amorous relationships. I’ve had this discussion with a number of white Brazilians who appear to be genuinely surprised to learn that many black Brazilians are actually taught within their own families to avoid black/black relationships and to seek bonds with white partners not only because of the perceived social prestige but also the possibility of lightening one’s offspring.
As such, from the very beginning, a racist value system can be at the very root of cross racial relationships but the white partner may be completely oblivious as to why their black partner seems to adore them, beyond the reasons of what they assume to be just love. They have no notion that such societal values that influence such choices, often times, is the very output that was developed from racist inputs from the very beginning. And as these inputs affect both black men and black women, these same inputs also have the possibility of repelling black men and women from each other in a form that is somewhat similar to putting two north pole magnets together. And what I’m noticing is that many black Brazilians are also starting to question why it seems to be so difficult in some regions of Brazil to see long-lasting black relationships. Well, when we really look at this with an honest view, it quite easy to see that there is much more to this game than many of us recognize or are willing to question. But the analysis is ongoing…and so are the questions.
Black relationships beyond the Disney fairy tales
By Marinéa Coutinho
Being a prince and princess is the dream of almost every boy and every girl. From an early age it is presented to children that this would be one of the greatest achievements of their lives. The prince is given the mission to find his princess and princess just wait for the arrival of her prince. And this shapes our relationships. The girl should fit the standard of: beautiful, demure and of the home. And the boy from: strong, gentle and romantic, all at the same time.
These novels were presented and denied at the same time. We mulheres negras (black women), don’t fit into the role of fragile princess waiting for the prince. We couldn’t be fragile nor expect the prince to come, because even if he tried to come the chances of him coming alive were very few, as it is today. Our homens pretos (black men) don’t fit into the role of prince because they were animalized, snatched from their families, they had no time nor life to chase after the “donzela indefesa” (helpless maiden).
But we still don’t let go of the Disney novels and put our mental health at stake to achieve the supposed “felizes para sempre” (happily ever after).
Breaking through the Disney tales is the key to establishing a healthy relationship, especially for us, blacks, who since our kidnapping were denied affection, the construction of a family and even the right to be breastfed by our mothers’ womb was ripped away.
And in this we are always confronted with the conflict that it is difficult for us to relate to each other – pretos e pretas (black men and black women) – and we begin with a dishonest discourse that “the black man mistreats me” and that “the black woman doesn’t want me.” Ignoring that the real cause of this result is a consequence of racism.
O amor preto é lindo (Black love is beautiful), but we are a people that is lost. Our black men sick in their masculinities and we black women also lost in our femininity, so much so that we often buy the discourses from the perspective and experience of mulheres brancas (white women).
“Learning to love is a way to find healing.”
Any human relationship is complicated because it is difficult to deal with the other, with the different. But when we relate ourselves to black people we think it’s going to be the most beautiful thing in the world, the Disney fairy tale and in the first waver we run into the arms of the brancos salvadores (white saviors). It is important to take care of each other, but always taking care of yourself first. Much of what the other does to us is our responsibility as well, who sets the limits and tells the other “from here you do not pass”, it’s us. From the moment someone exceeds his limit, he has to bear the consequences, but if we are always giving in and releasing attitudes that violate our limits we allow this. And the itan that demarcates this very well, is that of Iemanjá, who is in love with the king Okerê, but before marrying him already warned of her limit, she did not want that her breasts were motives of mocking, she wouldn’t accept it. And at the first hesitation he gave, she simply put her foot down, didn’t want to know if he was drunk or anything, he had superseded his limit and had no forgiveness.
It is necessary to break the gourd – to lose something – to reach the sea – something much bigger.
And as in capoeira, we need to be careful with our relationships, preto é lindo (black is beautiful), we are brothers and sisters, yes, but we are humans subject to errors and bad character. If it was to take, that is only one time, to always carry it is already carelessness.
Source: Revista Òkòtó