“If you start your history with slavery then everything else will look like progress.” – John Henrik Clarke
Note from BW of Brazil: It’s always intriguing, if not disturbing to see how Brazil as a whole deals with the questions of race and racism. If there isn’t outright denial of differences according to color or race, it is a maintenance of centuries long ideologies of every Brazilian having their respective ‘place’ in the society. Yesterday, an expert in social sciences argued (as we have repeatedly) that the role of the Globeleza woman that parades nude on television during every Carnaval season is a means of maintaining the connection between black women and sexuality. Today, we see a Carnaval samba school putting on a parade that maintains the connection between blacks and almost four centuries of slavery.
In the past posts (here, here), we have also shown how the image of Afro-Brazilian men also carries strong sexual stereotypes, this along with associations with criminality. So how does the nation change these images? Is there really even a desire to do so? One of the first steps would be a change in the education system. Every day cross the country, millions of Brazilian children and adolescents go to school and learn the importance of math, sciences, the Portuguese language and European history from the Greeks and Romans to modern times. If they learn anything about Africans or Afro-Brazilians, it’s always limited to a page or two about Brazil’s slavery era. How does this influence the dynamics of racial relations when one group is consistently presented as victors, conquerors and at the forefront of human history while the other is only associated with inferiority, servitude and invisibility?
In what was presented as a remedy to the problem, several years ago, the government passed Law 10.639/2003 mandating that all schools included African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture in their curriculum. With Brazilian society being completely dominated by whiteness in ALL areas of society (save sports and music), this small step wouldn’t even put a small dent in the differences of images of black and white Brazilians. But even worse, the law hasn’t even been implemented! I wonder what this course would even look like. Maybe, instead of a page or two about slavery, there would be four pages! Besides the blatant disrespect of a people, this would simply be bad history.
The fact is, numerous historians in the past few millennium have revealed that great African civilizations such as Ancient Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, Songhai and Zimbabwe were as sophisticated as any ancient or Middle Age European society! Continuously associating African descendants with only a period of a few hundred years when they were treated as less than human beings when the ancestors of these very people in fact ruled the world before the common era is an incredible disservice to us all. But as a people without a history are basically rendered invisible, the treatment of Africans in the history books goes hand in hand with the treatment of their descendants in modern day Brazil!
Salgueiro samba school will feature car with 86 blacks who will reproduce the suffering of slaves
By Igor Ricardo
The Salgueiro samba school’s plot is not African, but it will be a group of 86 black men who promises to call attention to the school parade on Minas Gerais cuisine. The athletic guys will be in the fourth car of the red and white, representing the slaves that were exploited in the gold mines of Minas Gerais. Their presence in the rehearsal of the association already aroused the curiosity of various women.
“I was noticing the other day they in the rehearsal but did not know where they came from. Salgueiro as always is to be congratulated (laughs). This school only brings us joy,” said member Ana Santos, 22.
Some Muses have also already approved the highlights.
“They’re all top rate. Don’t need to take they away, no. To be a muse, is not just having outer beauty, they need to be friendly too. And are all smiling quite a bit. They are perfect!” – praised Andrea Martins, Musa of the Body Paintings.
In the Salgueiro parade, the group’s sculpted bodies will be in evidence, as everyone will use only a sort of oversized diaper, a turban on his head and chains on the wrists. They will even reproduce in the car how the work of slaves in Minas was. For this, they will be carrying various bags with gold and will use shovels, for example.
“It increased the harassment, yes (laughs). The girls began to notice us more; mainly because they look at us all together. It’s a car that will only have men – said the businessman Allan Nogueira, 33.
The 86 men will be spread over the three floors of the Salgueiro car, which reaches nearly eight meters (26.25 feet) high. The allegory is all gold and composed of huge busts of men.
“Our goal was to find strong blacks. Most of them already paraded in Salgueiro or were chosen by the recommendations of the members themselves,” said the car’s director, Ramiro Nissero.
It happened with the lifeguard Erick Ramalho, 28. Even working in Salgueiro’s Olympic vila, in Andaraí, in the North Zone of Rio, he has never paraded in the Rio carnival. The rookie guarantees that he won’t disappoint on the Avenue.
“It is a great responsibility. A lot of people wanted to be in my place. I will not be ashamed to show my body, no. I will be more dress than if I were on the beach,” joked the lifeguard.
Salgueiro will be the fifth school to parade in Carnival’s Sunday. The red and white will bring six allegories, coupled with open wings.