Note from BW of Brazil: After carefully following this pattern of black death in the peripheries of various Brazilian cities, folks should understand why I take the position that the widespread murder of non-white Brazilians is not an accident. Brazil has always made it clear that it would like to do away with its black population. It’s no secret. And all of the policies and practices that we see in place seem to work toward this goal.
During the slavery era, slave masters worked Africans literally to death and then simply replaced the fallen bodies with more. After that, with abolition, black people were released and left to their own devices to survive.
With the shift into free labor, elites could have easily employed black Brazilians in the new economy, but instead the government chose to subsidize millions of European immigrants to fill these new jobs while discriminating against recently freed slaves who were obviously capable of work as they were the ones perfoming all of the labor before abolition.
Then, instill a sense of inferiority of anything associated with blackness and/or Africa which would make the black Brazilian despise himself which would lead to the desire to be white, which elites also encouraged by promoting miscegenation so that their offsprings would gradually become white after successive mixtures with light/white-skinned people.
Add to this difficult access to decent-paying jobs, education and health care and these people become permanent inhabitants of the slums or homeless, which further positions them as the menace of society. And being labeled the menace of society, they are treated as such by the country’s security forces who are made responsible for protecting the good (read: white) citizens from this rouge element. As such, the nation’s citizens have no pity on this group and consequently have no reaction when they are progressively eliminated by these security forces.
But surely Brazil isn’t like that, right? After all, don’t Brazilians think that they “are all equal”? How can that be when police raids, actions and blitzes only seen to happen in the areas where the rouge element (read: black/non-white) is the majority? In Brazil today, and for a long time, security forces have long known exactly where to go to eliminate those who they see as “worthless”, “killable”, a “horde of bandits”. And it the knowledge of this location that leads to a seemingly endless flow of black bodies falling onto the ground.
So long as this violence doesn’t spill over into their neighborhoods, the “good” citizens could care less how much blood is spilled. It’s the price of security. But as Brazilians “are all equal”, it must be coincidence that these falling bodies happen to be of a darker hue, right? As you know, it is the United States that keeps its non-whites segregated in ghettos. In Brazil, everybody mixes, so it would difficult to target groups by race, wouldn’t it? Think again. Because when the Military Police invade certain areas and start spraying, these regions aren’t where the “good” (read: white) people live.
White areas and black areas: the redline in Brazilian cities
By Joice Berth
80 shots against a family man occured where young people celebrating their jobs we shot at 111 times. What does this say about cities?
Four years ago, 111 shots were fired at a car where five young people came from a celebration of their first salary. They were all black and young. The culprits are awaiting a popular jury, after a lot struggle by relatives for justice. The mother of one of the boys, suffered cardiac arrest and died, due to the suffering caused by the loss of her child. The justification of the police was that they were confused with the suspects of an assault that happened in the surroundings.
The neighborhood of Costa Barros, in the region of Guadalupe, Pavuna and other neighborhoods of the suburb (periphery) of RJ.
After these four years, many young black male and black females (it should be remembered that genocide also kills women and girls, directly or indirectly) continue to be murdered by the Brazilian state, which allows and justifies these free executions, since the anti-racism laws did not count on an offensive that would grow over time, demanding that the nuances and lines of racism be specified to better capture the real motives of these executions, such as genocide, for example.
But yesterday, precisely on April 7 of the following year, another heinous case comes into the statistics that only grow: a black family is attacked on public roads, in an “action” of the army, which unloaded 80 rifle shots into one car, killing the father of a family and musician Evaldo dos Santos Rosa, 51.
According to reports, they were on their way to a celebration of a baby shower. Among the victims of the attack, a child as young as 7 years old. The justification of the police, was that they were shot by mistake. A mistake of 80 rifle shots. It is not possible for anyone to believe it.
The neighborhood of Guadalupe, in the region of Pavuna, Costa Barros and other areas of the suburb (periphery) of RJ.
It is critical to ask a question that has been neglected in all cases of genocide and slaughter:
How often does this happen in Leblon, Ipanema, Lagoa, Gávea or Jardim Botânico?
These neighborhoods are called upper crust neighborhoods. Without much cognitive effort, we conclude the overwhelming presence of pessoas brancas (white people) occupying these privileged places of the city where the square meter comes to cost up to 20 thousand reais. Endowed with all infrastructure and many luxuries, such as sight to the sea, these neighborhoods harbor the heirs of a historical and institutional slaughter called slavery (or enslavement, since it was a political process of imposing physical force and mental alienation with the intention to exploit the labor of a people kidnapped from their places of birth).
All the slaughters, killings or executions that account for what we call the genocídio da população negra (genocide of the black population) have a specific place: peripheries and slum areas (or areas that underwent political and social action, forming the physical space of racial violence and end up becoming a deposit, literally speaking, of those unwanted by the system of dominação branca – white domination.
The first favela of the country was born in Rio de Janeiro, as a consequence of the Guerra dos Canudos (Canudos War), when soldiers arrived in the old capital in search of the promises of housing that were guaranteed to them as payment for their “good performance” in the war that would eliminate Antônio Conselheiro, according to what historians point out. As they were deceived, they did not receive the part that was theirs in the agreement, they had no alternative but to settle on a slope that had a large plant that resembled a plant called favela, abundant in the region of Canudos.
Some 10,000 soldiers stayed there and were joined by an expressive portion of ex-slaves who lived in unhealthy and expensive (for the condition offered) tenements called cortiços, or in sub-dwellings in the places where those who continued in regime similar to slavery worked.
Today, the present Morro da Providência is 122 years old and is one of the slum areas with the highest level of violence, which was aggravated by the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (Pacifying Police Unit), the fearsome UPPs.
But it is worth mentioning that there was already a racial segregation of space in colonial cities, which were later urbanized, in the strict sense of the word, and which, in the favela, found its ideal place to base the institutional practice of violating negritude brasileira (Brazilian blackness) also in physical spaces, denying the African architectural influence and expelling the população negra (black population) from the formal city.
What is clear is that there is an institutional order where racism is subdivided into practical actions for the elimination of the população negra, and this is a historical process proven by the laws that followed from the colonial period to the present day.
To call a space of the city área nobre (upper crust area), is to delimit the place that embodies the social hierarchy that indicates who should or should not die, whether physically or symbolically.
The space of the city or materialized place of subalternity as a racist construction of the subjectivity of the black population, are the peripheries and the slum areas, where the stigma of violence as a result of drug trafficking is based on the common sense of the population, saying tacitly that these are places where death is the only solution.
A clear inversion of values, since the articulators of violence as discursive and practical are in the noble areas (read: white), enjoying the bonus of exploitation, so-called social privileges, and maintaining the verticality of racial/social relations.
Racism delimited not only social spaces, but also physical spaces by designing cities in an exclusionary and segregationist way, reinforcing supremacia branca (white supremacy) as a form of predatory power.
In the US during the New Deal racist policies, a term was coined to describe this strategic demarcation of areas, obeying racial and class criteria, to limit access to real estate financial loans, redline maps.
The so-called redline maps were used in the US because the government needed to rebuild the real estate market after the Great Depression and avoid foreclosures.
In this sense, the agency called Home Owners’ Loan Corporation a study among real estate brokers and real estate market specialists to give neighborhoods in more than 200 cities biased and derogatory considerations, such as “desirable”, “declining” or “dangerous”, quantifying the number of people born black and foreign. The smaller the score, the lower the chances of someone getting a bank loan to buy a house.
In Brazil there is also a redline that is silent, as it goes unnoticed to naked eyes, but when we look at a map like the one in the following image, it becomes deafening:
Our redline demarcates just like a glass wall, áreas pretas (black areas), where it is allowed to kill, rape, invade and perform completely arbitrary actions, such as shooting 80 or 111 rounds of rifles and áreas brancas (white areas) (upper crust neighborhoods).
Although the peripheries and áreas favelizadas (areas made into slums) also shelter white people, the black contingent is the majority and, due to other racist practices, its social mobility is terribly compromised. In black areas, such as those described above, to be black is to be a natural suspect, but it is also to belong to a deformed and dehumanized block made invisible by the racist system, if not to be coldly eliminated.
In white areas, permanence is forbidden and restrained by intimidating looks and attitudes, if not by the real verbalization of racism that makes up the mentality of the Brazilian citizen.
That is, in any space of the city, ser preto é ser suspeito natural (to be black is to be a natural suspect) and a certain target of white inhumanity, constituted by the racism that is the main national legislator.
Racism is an urban planner who plans and defines spaces of death and life in big cities .
The great challenge of urban policies is to face the understanding of racism as a transversal social structure, and then to diagnose where it acts as a perpetuator of practices that corroborate racism.
The racial division of the city space has been designed and articulated by mentalities inheriting coloniality and has refused to review the absorption of the racist structure by urban and housing policies. Kimberley Creenshaw, an American black intellectual who coined the term intersectionality, warns of the need to work in any area of activity, naming problems arising from structural oppression.
Maria Lucia Pereira, leader of the Movimento da População de Rua (Street Population Movement) of Bahia, died in 2018, warned in an interview that when public policies do not specify race, as is also the case with land policies and housing assistance to the homeless population, efficient implementation is not achieved.
Inclusive urbanism is not enough; it is necessary to think of ways that break the racial logic that is physically delimited in the construction and division of the cities.
The peripheries and favelas are part of an important dehumanization articulation of black subjects, exposed to racist practices that culminate in physical death.
The spaces of the cities mirror the racial hierarchies that are given by the sociopolitical system, and need to become components of analysis and diagnosis, named in all plans and works that aim at socio-spatial improvements. It is no coincidence that a climate of war has been established in the peripheries and areas of favelas, with the excuse of inhibiting drug trafficking.
We know that the guerra às drogas (war on drugs) is war against the população negra, since it is not only the black places of the cities that have traffic, as the white and elitist areas also have it.
These black spaces are places of racism that have materialized to chancel the other practices that figure in the great umbrella of the historical racial hierarchy. In these places, social permission is combined with the neglect and perpetuation of stereotypes, stigmas and the physical and symbolic violence that has killed black and poor people since the beginning of this country.
Source: Carta Capital
 Reference to Janes Jacob’s work, Morte e Vida nas Grandes Cidades.