Note from BW of Brazil: With so many oppressive forces at work in Brazil against the very survival of black men, black women, black children and black families, I was happy to discover this project. In some ways, it seems that Brazilian culture undermines the possibility of black men and women loving each other and raising families just like any other group. Proof of this the rise of a number of black social network communities that seek to stimulate affection and relationships between black men and black women. Now if you happen to live in the US, you may think, why is this such a big deal? After all African-Americans have a long history of promoting black love, relationships and families. But that’s just the point. Because Brazilian culture has always promoted the idea that whites make better partners for black people than other black people, the idea of promoting black love and black couples can be seen as revolutionary in a place like Brazil.
But black families are not a new thing in Brazil. They’ve existed since the 16th century. So what would the necessity of a group of black parents taking the time to get together now as we begin to close out the second decade of the 21st century? Entrepreneur Humberto Baltar breaks it down in the interview below. Being a black man married to a black woman and having black children bring special challenges in a country such as Brazil where black men and women are seen as the least desirable partners, while for black men, just returning home at night can be seen as a victory when so many them, their sons and fathers are being gunned down in the streets by police and everyday violence in one of the world’s most violent countries.
Through it all, black families continue to move on and through collectives such as the one discussed below, they are finding inspiration and force in connecting with similar families in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Black parents exist and through groups such as the Pais Pretos Presentes, meaning Present Black Parents, they are helping to re-enforce their own potential and construct a new meaning and image of themselves for themselves and others.
Present black parents: Collective uses internet to redeem ancestral values and break stereotypes
By Silvia Nascimento
Fatherhood aroused a sense of collectivity in English teacher and Afro-entrepreneur Humberto Baltar who already offered a special service to his black students through his business, Humberto Baltar Consulting.
In this text I will do like he, who in granting me this interview, referred to his black male and female friends as reis (kings) and rainhas (queens).
Apolo, four months old, is the crown prince of Humberto and his wife, the engineer and queen, Thainá Barbosa.
Before the baby was born, the teacher made a family event into something else, connecting black fathers and mothers from various corners of Brazil and the world to what he defines as aquilombamento, and thus the Pais Pretos Presentes (Present Black Parents) collective was born.
Although at first the Internet was the means of connecting this group of parents, the contact resulted in offline meetings that discuss topics such as Parental Abandonment, for example.
As a black man and father of a boy, in this interview Humberto talks about fears, but also about hope and how the comunidade negra (black community), from an ancestral point of view, only grows in unity, in welcoming and empathy. “This idea of winning alone is a white cultural trait.” You will be delighted within this interview which is a class about afetividade negra (black affectivity) in the aspect of family.
As a parent, what you think is best in your generation compared to your father’s and grandparents’ generation?
Undoubtedly, the social permission to recognize weaknesses, doubts and conflicts without being judged for it. I am delighted to participate in this change and see that the mental health of the black community as a whole has been greatly improved by this openness. The support of the irmãs pretas (black sisters) of Mulherismo Africana (African Womanism), such as Morena Mariah, Anin Urasse and Aza Njeri, among others and the courses Masculinidades Negras e Paternidade Preta (Black Masculinities and Black Fatherhood), by Professor Henrique Restier, reinforced in me the idea that I not only have the right to suffer, feel and seek support, but it is also my role to be an emotional and spiritual foundation for my brothers and sisters. This is exercising my ancestry. It is living the Ubuntu philosophy. In the Pais Pretos Presentes group, I’ve grown a lot listening and being heard, supporting and giving support. These are pains ranging from parental alienation to cases of depression and guidance in various areas such as baby care, better financial investment options, food, etc. This is Aquilombamento. Not only virtual, but also in our face-to-face meetings, mainly.
CHECK US OUT! THIS IS THE GONÇALVES RESTIER DE COSTA SOUZA FAMILY FORMED BY HENRIQUE, QUEEN JOYCE AND BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS MANUELA, 7 MONTHS. OUR BROTHER IS CO-AUTHOR OF THE CONTEMPORARY DIALOGUE BOOK ON BLACK MEN AND MASCULINITIES AND THROUGH LECTURES, COURSES AND DISCUSSIONS HAVE CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO THE DEMYSTIFICATION OF THE HOMEM PRETO (BLACK MEN) AS THREATENING, IRRESPONSIBLE AND HYPERSEXUALIZED. 💕👸🏾👶🏾 #BLACKPEOPLE #GOALS #FORTHECULTURE #BLACKBUSINESS #AFRICANIZE #LOVE #BLACKUNITY #ASNEGASDOZIRIGUIDUM #TEAMNATURAL #ASNEGASDOZIRIGUIDUMOFICIAL #BUYBLACK #BLACKFATHERS #BLACK #BLACKMAGIC #BLACKQUEENS #BLACKBOYJOY #AFRICANAMERICANS #BLACKGIRLSROCK #SUPPORTBLACKBUSINESS #PAIPRETO #BLACKOWNED #BLACKCONSCIOUSNESS #NATURALHAIR #REALBLACKLOVE #BLACKGIRLSWHOBLOG #BLACKAMERICA #PAISPRETOS #PAISPRETOSPRESENTES #AFRICANIZEOFICIAL #BLACKENTREPRENEUR
The black father in general has acquired a reputation of being the one who makes the child and leaves. Is this a stereotype? To what extent does racism reinforce this image?
It is certainly a stereotype. Racism is structural and structuring. This means that not only does it see the black in a derogatory way, but it makes the black himself see himself in the same way. Myself, trained in one of the best public schools in Rio de Janeiro, CAP UERJ, and a graduate of UERJ, i.e. with access to information, until recently I didn’t see myself worthy and capable of having a happy marriage and a full family. Not in material terms, but in terms of deserving, conditions of giving love and raising a child, honoring a wife, and so on. But when we are not racially literate, we think it is all insecurity or schism in our head and we ignore the cultural industry that daily massifies in our minds the idea that the black man is a trickster, lazy, unworthy, unfaithful, a cheater and so on.
There are many characters in novelas (soap operas), movies, music and even cartoons reinforcing this image, so that we unconsciously assimilate this perspective and begin to see ourselves in the same way. The theologian, pastor and great brother Ronilso Pacheco was and continues to be very important in my career for introducing me to Teologia Negra (Black Theology). Until I met him, I naturalized the silence of the church around Brazilian institutional racism.
Today, I realize that even in my Christian faith I must exercise self-love and not only demand respect but also representativeness in the most diverse functions and ministries, even recognizing the anti-racist struggle in the very gospel of Jesus Christ. I give this example to point out that the more unaware of the oppressions and micro-aggressions that we suffer, the more we will strengthen the status quo and its permanence.
With black parenting it’s no different. There are 5.5 million Brazilian children without their father’s name on birth registration according to the Conselho Nacional de Justiça (National Council of Justice) based on the 2011 school census and yet the system tries to propagate the idea that this is a racial issue, still ignoring the state-endorsed genocídio negro (black genocide) that kills a young black man every 23 minutes. Virtually every black person knows someone who has lost their father or son by murder. Considering these data, it is easy to see that the image of the pai preto ausente (absent black father) is a narrative that serves racist ideology.
When I talked to black parents in a conversation circle that I moderated at SESC, they talked about the fear of parenting. Two were the main reasons: being killed by violence (given the data on Homicide) or having their children being victims of violence. What do you think about this?
This fear is recurrent and we share it. In our host group this issue has already been addressed and the scenario was the same. The fear of leaving our children orphaned or losing them to the genocidal state reigns among us. My wife doesn’t even know this, but even though we’ve been together for three years, I never drove her car, even having a license, out of fear of being “mistaken” for an assailant or something. Black car, an area affected by violence and a homem preto dirigindo (black man driving) is considered suspect in Rio de Janeiro. I often wanted to drive seeing her tiredness mostly at night after a movie or dinner, but I preferred not to risk leaving my son without a father, as what happened with that black musician in a military approach in this same city.
Almost every black man knows what a police stop is like. We feel like nothing. Humiliated. Like indigents. This fear of dying because of crime or the state is prudent and far from overkill or mimimi (whining), as many people think. Another fear that has haunted me since the birth of my child is the day I will have to tell him that his skin tone is not well regarded by many people and so he will have to be strong in many situations because of the prejudice he will suffer. Reading Abdias do Nascimento motivated me to be among other black people aware of these issues and this has been very important to me. The Pais Pretos Presentes group has been a refuge in this regard.
OUR MEETING HERE AT THE CASA DO NANDO IS BEAUTIFUL. COME SHARE YOUR TIME! LARGO DE SÃO FRANCISCO DA PRAINHA, 9. NOW WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE IDENTITY OF THE BLACK MAN AND REFERENTIAL OF BEAUTY. 🙋🏾♂️ #BLACKFAMILY #BLACKLOVE #BLACKGIRLMAGIC #MELANIN #BLACKEXCELLENCE #BLACKPOWER #BLACKISBEAUTIFUL #BLACKCULTURE #BLACKMAN #PAIPRETO #BLACKHISTORY #PROBLACK #BLACKQUEEN #AFRICANAMERICAN #BLACKLIVESMATTER #MELANINPOPPIN #BLACKPRIDE #BLACKANDPROUD #PANAFRICAN #BLACKMEN #BLACKWOMAN #PAISPRETOS #PAISPRETOSPRESENTES #PAISPRESENTES #EMPOWERMENT #BLACKCOMMUNITY #BLACKKINGS #THEHBCUAPP #AFROAMERICAN #BHFYP
Talk about the Pais Pretos Presentes project. Is it yours? How did it come about and what are the main goals?
The Pais Pretos Presentes project came from an anguish of mine that came from the day I knew I would be a father: “How can I be the best father for my child within my means? “So I decided to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp Stories with a request: “Do you know a present black father? Introduce me, please. I need to meet him.” To my surprise, several parents came not only from Rio de Janeiro, but also from other states and outside Brazil, all bringing advice, suggestions, recommendation. I was asked to make a group so that our exchanges in the comments of the posts would not be lost. Some requested until we met.
There I realized that the aquilombamento is a real and ancestral necessity of ours. I also saw that the black person’s life goes much better when he lives in line with African ancestral principles. Ubuntu, or being together, growing collectively, is one of them. This idea of winning alone is a white cultural trait. When they call me to talk about my success as an Afro-entrepreneur, I always reinforce that if today my personalized English course through WhatsApp is successful, the merit is from all the people who helped me along the way. Hence the idea of scholarships and special conditions to facilitate access. Opportunity is the key. And the post looking for present black parents has conformed to that.
Many parents are looking for opportunities to become better for their children and cannot find it. From the creation of our social networking host group, we see parents being counseled, supported, loved, and also being pushed when needed, as deconstruction and learning are lifelong. The main goals of our group are to listen to black parents, share experiences and rescue an experience aligned with our ancestry, valuing African principles that provide us with a quality life with our family.
Women play a central role in African culture. Valuing her, listening to her and respecting her is essential. Our first face-to-face meeting at Casa Preta, in Cidade de Deus (community in Rio), had as its theme precisely the Parental Abandonment, its causes and how to avoid positions and mentalities that lead to it, such as the reproduction of sexist behaviors, for example.
The second meeting, at Casa do Nando, had the theme of Listening to Our Brothers. The sisters of the Avança Nega project opened a full day of discussions with us, black men, on various topics, including black fatherhood and its challenges. The third meeting, more intimate and personal, was at Parque Madureira (Park). Only parents and children were present. While the other moderator, Lucas Maciel, conducts the posts on social networks, our brother Adriano Cipriano coordinates the face-to-face meetings.
We three are parents of babies, which makes us the ones who need to learn most in the group. The idea is not to teach anyone anything but to learn and grow together as the família preta (black family) that we are. At the sisters’ request we also created the group open to mães pretas (black mothers) and our exchanges became even richer. It would be crazy to think that we would get somewhere without exchanging and living with our sisters.
Whoever wants to meet us or be part of our host group, it’s enough just being black and seeking Pais Pretos Presentes on social networks or access the link bit.ly/PaisPretos
Courtesy of Mundo Negro