True “Black Power”
by Nátally Nayutta Martins de Souza
Many people get confused with regards to the Black Power (1) lifestyle. It’s not enough to just pick your hair out go out in the street screaming the song of (rapper) Gabriel O Pensador (the Thinker), “Racismo é Burrice” (Racism is Stupidity). No. Being black power is understanding the importance of this people in the historical and cultural formation of the world. It’s leaving prejudice aside, not accepting the “jokes” in disguise … it’s walking tall in the street without fear of being happy!
Many people say that they are not racist, but prove otherwise. I’ll tell you a story.
In the school where I studied, the Dia da Consciência Negra (Day of Black Consciousness) was commemorated every year. The year was 2010. I was in the 3rd year of high school, but I was on a project with students who were in their 2nd year. We went to meet the Comunidade Quilombola Mesquita (Quilombola Community Mosque), located in Cidade Ocidental, in (the state of) Goiás to present our experiences to our school. As such, it appeared that blacks were the majority, although there were a few white children who were studying in school there. We went twice. It was wonderful for me, surreal!
We went during the Feira de Ciências and Consciência Negra (Science Fair and Black Consciousness) of that school, marveling at the whole environment: The personalities who were honored were people from there: The midwife, the sweets maker, the older woman, the great-granddaughter of slaves that made flour…The children at that school displayed a lot of admiration and respect, and had great pride in their faces. There was a parade, and many cool things! We were amazed. And suddenly, it happened…
Two colleagues and I were talking. One was black, the other white, whom I will call “Marcos”. Marcos said to the black guy: “____, look at that black girl over there, she’s going to be your wife!” Then the black guy said: “__ Get outta here, man! A black guy doesn’t want to marry a black woman, no. I’m getting married to a white woman!” (2) I was appalled. Then another unfortunate event: A girl there in the community was interested in Marcos, and thought he was very handsome. She asked a colleague of hers to come up to us and get his phone number. She approached and politely asked for the number. Marcos grabbed his phone, looked at the schedule, and gave the wrong number to the girl. When she walked away, Marcos insulted her.
If society was good, we would not even have to ask for respect for blacks, neither would there be Lei Caó (Caó Law #7.716/1989) (3), much less be surprised to know that the Minister of the STF (Supremo Tribunal Federal or Federal Supreme Court) is black. Respect would be implicit! But they insist on telling you the incomplete story:
* In Brazil, the abolition of slavery was made due to pure pressure. Britain was at the height of the Industrial Revolution, and was hungry for potential consumers. Therefore they freed the slaves!
* Even in freedom, many slaves returned to the homes of their masters. Most could not work because of a government incentive: The whitening of the Brazilian population.
With the freed slaves, it was found that 55% of the population of the country was black (4). Brazil does not want to be seen like this; hence, it facilitated the arrival of foreigners into the country, offering them jobs and all kinds of subsidies. Blacks were then pushed to the margins of society … And are still so today!!
It’s funny some of the phrases I hear around there: “__ So and so, you have to accept that you’re black!” I never saw anyone say “So and so, you have to accept that you are white!” I never saw anyone say to a white girl that she should curl her hair. But I always hear them tell a black girl: “_____ straighten your hair!”
Being a True Black Power is knowing that unfortunately there will be a daily struggle to conquer our space, there will always be someone to turn their noses up at us, criticizing up, distrusting us, underestimating us and so on! I wish for all of you, the FORCE and Protection of God. I am here for whatever you need! We are all brothers and sisters!!
Kisses until next time!
Nátally Nayutta Martins de Souza
Source: Sentimento Pleno
1. In Brazil, the term “black power” refers to the afro hairstyle as popularized in the 197os in the US as symbolized by icons such as Angela Davis, the Jackson 5, Sly Stone and countless others. In this article the author intertwines the “black power/afro” hairstyle with the necessity of having black consciousness.
2. The discussion of black Brazilian men’s preferences for white women has been hotly debated topic for a number of years among black Brazilian women. There are a number of articles on this blog about this topic. For more see here, here, here and here.
3. Also known as the Lei Caó (Caó Law), named after the Afro-Brazilian lawyer Carlos Alberto Caó Oliveira dos Santos that created the law to establish racial equality and also protect against religious intolerance.
4. In 1872, 16 years before the abolition of slavery in Brazil, the census reported the population to be 62% Afro-Brazilian (pretos and pardos)