Note from BW of Brazil: Amazing…Didn’t we just have a story similar to this one about a week or so ago? Sure did…if you didn’t see it, let me tell you about it. Recently, there was a literary showcase in the city of Salvador, Bahia, a city and state known for its majority black population and a vibrant African culture. But if you had attended the showcase you would have come to a distinctly different conclusion as, initially they didn’t bother to invite any black authors. After the uproar, they ended up inviting a well-known Bahian poet, but this didn’t change the fact of the regular exclusion of the black population in all sorts of events.
In 2016, a similar complaint came up over the exclusion of black writers at the annual FLIP festa, the main literary event in the country that takes place in the city of Paraty in Rio de Janeiro state. And these three examples of the “blacking out” of black authors must be understood in the context of the invisibility of black authors in Brazil’s large chain book sellers and the under-representation of black characters in works of fiction. Can we just be real about this? This ain’t no accident!
Museu da Imagem e do Som do Rio (Museum of Image and Sound of Rio) puts on poetry workshop and only invites white poets
By Thais Bernardes
With the title “Oficina Irritada (poetas falam)” (Irritated Workshop (poets speak) a poetry meeting, held by Instituto Moreira Salles, in Rio de Janeiro, it irritated many people by showing another elitist and prejudiced event. Of the 18 invited poets none are black.
The workshop will take place on May 7, 8 and 9 and, according to the organizers of the event, it features “important names of contemporary Brazilian poetry”. Trying to justify the absence, or rather the non-recognition of the work of black poets, the curator of the workshop, Eucanaã Ferraz, told O Globo newspaper by means of a note that he and Bruno Cosentino, also curator of the event, had been caught “surprise” by the discussion around the event’s guests:
“Perhaps the rush of those who saw the announcement of the programming has led to a disregard for the actual dimensions of the event. It would not be possible to add in three days more than the eighteen invited poets. It will therefore be a small meeting, even if, for an institution such as Instituto Moreira Salles, in its headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, it is greater than the courses and seminars that it usually promotes.”
Of the 18 authors invited to workshop at IMS-RJ, none are black.
The curator’s statement reinforces the racism practiced by the organizers of the event. It was necessary to have 18 poets, but at no time did they think of a black poet. And there is no lack of options: Ricardo Aleixo, Conceição Evaristo, Cristiane Sobral, Jarid Arraes, Eliane Marques, Ronald Augusto, Elisa Lucinda, are just a few of the black poets that could have been invited.
On the Facebook event page most of the comments criticize the racist stance of the workshop “should be (whites speak)”; “IMS the newest symbol of the far right” and “(white) poets speak (for whites),” were some of the comments made by Internet users annoyed at the event that is said to be representative but is not.
In a small gathering of poets, the question of right does not arise”
In order to justify itself, the organizers of the event said it has selected “different generations” and “different paths”.
Eucanãa also told the O Globo newspaper that, due to its “dimensions” and “characteristics”, the event could not respond to “social demands”: “We consider that the demand for representation and visibility of important segments of Brazilian society should take place around rights – of individuals and/or groups discriminated, rejected, silenced, invisible,” he said. “Hence, the fair and indispensable requirement of effective citizenship in public instances or of great public reach. In a small gathering of poets, the question of right does not arise.”
The curator also said that he invited the poet Ricardo Aleixo, who is black, but he could not participate because of date conflicts. As if to invite one black was the quota that justified the absence of other blacks, after all there are 18 poets.
The guests are Francisco Alvim, Paulo Henriques Britto, Angelica Freitas, Laura Liuzzi, Bruna Beber, Fabrício Corsaletti, Antonio Cicero, Yasmin Nigri, Leonardo Gandolfi, Nicolas Behr, Alberto Martins, Rafael Zacca Ana Martins Marques, Alice Sant’anna, Sylvio Fraga Neto Marília Garcia, André Vallias and Marcos Siscar.
Source: Notícia Preta