Note from BW of Brazil: It never fails. Whenever black people create slogans and movements with the express purpose of pointing out clear dehumanizing inequalities of which they have been victims for five centuries under European domination, other slogans suddenly pop up in an attempt to minimize the grievances, demands and power of the original slogans. We’ve seen this in the United States where, after a series of world news making murders of black men and women at the hands of brutal police forces, an “All Lives Matter” slogan has attempted to appropriate and weaken the power of the original “Black Lives Matter”. In Brazil, we see that whenever an Afro-Brazilian (particularly a famous one) is the victim of racism or a racial slur, Brazilians are quick to scream “we are all equal” despite the vast racial inequalities that exists in nearly every genre of society. Common in both countries, when these racial inequalities are pointed out, those who prefer to deflect the focus of the topic are quick to point that we are all part of one race, the human race, or a derivative of this, “race doesn’t exist” (“raça não existe” in Portuguese). As it turns out, the whole “race doesn’t exist” ideology is looking more ad more like a sham as a number of scholars have been producing works that challenge this widely divulged claim.
In Brazil, the month of November is the time of year in which Black History and Black Culture are celebrated with numerous marches, seminars, book releases, conferences, debates, performances, etc. The very fact that this month is necessary is a perfect demonstration of the annual black invisibility that no one seems to notice for the other eleven months of the year. Well, unless you one counts Carnaval where black men and particularly black women are allowed to smile, sing and dance to attract tourists and ultimately demonstrate the “place” that Brazil reserves for its black population. The only response to this internalized whitewashing is Black Consciousness and for those of us who can clearly see the nation’s desire to make black Brazil invisible, no explanation is necessary. For others who come with the aforementioned slogans of appropriation in an attempt to push the obvious under the proverbial rug, we offer the following words…
Black Consciousness is necessary
By Felipe Cardoso
The month of November has arrived and with it comes the day of Black Consciousness. Many people question why such a date, stressing that what we should have, really, was a day of Human Consciousness.
Many admire the questions and interference when it comes to the demands of the black population. In October we had three Germanic festivals in the state, but the same questions were not made. It was not demanded, for example, that for a party of Joinville (State of Santa Catarina) traditions that all the cultures represented, rather than just celebrating German culture.
These questions show an attempt to silence those who always fought and fight to be heard and represented. These questions are the result of a racist culture that never allowed or saw with good eyes whatever was produced by the black population, here in the region, they insist in affirming that this history didn’t exist, even though history says otherwise and shows that in Joinville, black men and women – slaves and freedmen – already frequented the region, along with Luso-Brazilian families, and helped the first settlers, Germans and Norwegians, who arrived here in 1851. For those who still doubt this, visit the Immigrant Cemetery of Joinville and see some of the slaves who lived here buried.
In addition to the rescue and fight so that this history is propagated and presented as much for residents as for tourists, Black Consciousness is necessary in a city that continues to insist that it belongs to only one people and thereby contributes to emergence of neo-Nazis and separatist groups.
Believing that the racial problem would be solved if it were silenced following Morgan Freemanesque logic, allows that the problem grows, giving rise to several cases and accusations of racism.
Recently, the case involving the model Haeixa Pinheiro, competing in contest to elect the Queen of the 77th Festa das Flores (Festival of Flowers), went viral on the internet and left more than evident the importance of a date that remembers the suffering of black people in the period of slavery and the consequences of this era that persist to this day. Black invisibility in beauty contests, for example, is part of the great consequences generated by slavery in Brazilian lands.
I don’t like these types of contests, the objectification of the woman and her exposure, having to correspond to a pre-established standard, reducing all her qualities to simple appearance, trying to create standards that show what is beautiful and what is ugly, what is good and what is bad, what should and what should not be accepted, but before the facts it’s necessary to make another analysis of other existing problems: racism.
If it is permitted to allow the presence of white women vying for the crown of queen of Escolas de Samba (Samba Schools) in Carnival, why is the presence of black women in contention for the crown in events of German culture not allowed?
They still insist on titling us as extremist and intolerant, when the reality shows us otherwise.
Haeixa might not even know it, but she represents Joinville blackness, all those men and women who hide themselves, don’t want to touch on the subject, out of fear. Haeixa is encouraging black men and women to seek Consciousness, representation and the right to say that we are here, we helped construct this city and we want respect.
Respect for our culture, our traditions. Respect for diversity.
We are different, yes. My black skin is different from white skin, but that is not what creates racism. What generates racism is wanting to use this difference to exceed, take advantage of other people, prioritize. That’s what was done in slavery and persists to this day. About the haves and the have-nots, those who command and those who obey, those who live and those who die, those who are free and those who are incarcerated…
I also believe that we must see what unites us, but without a clinical, critical and analytical look that separates us, we will never achieve the unity that so many want. It is this clinical view that Black Consciousness tries to bring every year, every month, every day, but never manages to be heard. Racial problems are structural in our country, and it’s not exhausting the debates, it’s not trying to silence them that we will reach an effective solution. It is precisely through listening, education, research, reading, knowledge, and especially empathy.
If you really want to have a Human Consciousness, start understanding that Black Consciousness is important, as with all the inhumanities we face standing, trying to dialogue and teach more about our culture, asking for more respect, to fight for the end of the genocide and marginalization of our people, of our religion, our traditions.
The quilombo is inspiration! UBUNTU!
Source: Chuva Ácida