Can we finally put this fallacious phrase to rest? These seven women explain why it is racist to say that “we are all equal” in a society that is so unequal in terms of race

capa xenia tassia lia nataly silvia gabi e mayara
capa xenia tassia lia nataly silvia gabi e mayara

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Note from BW of Brazil: It is a phrase that this writer has rallied against for some time now. The utterance of this phrase in response, usually to yet another open display of anti-black hostility, provides an extension, a new life to the decades-old myth that Brazil is a ‘racial democracy’. The repeating of this phrase seeks to minimize the very real assault on the psyches of the people who most suffer from the practice that the phrase seeks to deny. The impossible concept of equality is Communist to its very core and an ideology that continues to deceive followers of all things leftist even in today’s times, literally, as the subject of yesterday’s post even repeated it in an interview about an incident that happened 40 years ago that should have made her think the exact opposite. 

I know that a post on a single blog will not change the deeply embedded appeal of such a feel-good phrase that does more harm than good in the hearts, minds and souls of millions of Brazilians, as well as non-Brazilians, but we must at least begin a dialogue, an examination of why this fallacious phrase MUST be retired so that its twin, inequality, can be dealt with in a more honest manner. 

These 7 women explain why it is racist to say that we are all equal

We talked with some important names of the Black Movement to refute the concept that “everyone is the same”. Quite the opposite.

By Lucas Castilho

On Saturday the 23rd, one of the most interesting and important things of recent years took place. TEDxSãoPaulo, an international event dedicated to the diffusion of ideas, took to the stage, set up in the Hotel Unique, with 18 voices of women who needed to be heard by all. The best part? Most of them were black.

“Such an initiative is important to show diversity, to give rise to women who are making important moves, especially in the periphery, and often are not heard. From this, people can better understand the issue of each woman, that each one is different,” explained Viviane Duarte, one of the speakers and founding partner of the platform Plano Feminino (Feminine Plan).

We, here at MdeMulher, took the opportunity to talk with some women and remove a doubt that long ago started popping up in social networks: finally, is it correct to say that all people are equal, white, black and indigenous?

The singer Xênia França explains a little about this: “We arrived in slave ships, enslaved, humiliated … And this heritage is perpetuated until today. Therefore, we are not all equal, just as the natives are not equal, just as white people are not equal. “

Below, check out the position of seven women – ALL of them black – regarding this erroneous and even racist opinion that “we are all equal.”

Nátaly Neri, youtuber of the channel “Afros e Afins” and student of Social Sciences at Unifesp.


“Brazil has had influence from different cultures since its foundation. A society formed by people who from the beginning faced extremely different problems because of the spaces they were in and the way they were treated when they arrived here, I speak of the black and indigenous population. So it’s a lot of naivete, I think the word is this, to think that people are homogeneous, that the differences happened at the origin and simply have been diluted throughout history and have not reverberated in what we have today. We must, in fact, emphasize the differences! Not in order to say that we are different and because of this deserve different things, but when we speak of equity, we mean that different people need to be treated in different ways to become equal. If you treat everyone alike – having previous unevenness – that does not exist, understand? These people still stand on inequality. Equity is different from equality. “

Gabriela Oliveira, youtuber of the channel “De Pretas”.


“When a person has, for example, a sexual orientation different from normative or when a person is black or foreign, we know that there are such differences. Of course internally as a human being, bone structure, we are all the same, but when we say ‘no, we are not equal, we are different’ it’s because we understand that the treatments of people from different places, social level and ethnicity are not the same. So it’s no use coming up with this ‘somos todos iguais’ (we are all equal) because this does not exist’

Mel Duarte, poet and cultural producer. She has published the books Fragmentos Dispersos (2013) and Negra Nua Crua (2016).


“I understand this talk of ‘we are all equal’, but we must not forget that every human being has its particularity. And when we start talking about groups, specifically of mulheres negras (black women), I can say that we have our particularity, our walk … And it is different from that of mulheres brancas (white women), even if they are white women from the periphery.”

Silvia Nascimento, journalist and content director of Mundo Negro website.


“I think there is a little word that explains well this that is the privilege, right? We know that depending on the color you are born, the region you are born with, you grow with some difficulty or ease. And some privileges! So, those who have more privileges are not equal to the less favored person. Sometimes that empathy is not legitimate because your life history is different. I think you can sympathize with those whoever is not equal, but to say that we are all equal is half wrong. For example, I don’t know where my great-great-grandmother came from-and a white person has a good chance of knowing where his/hers came from. Also, my surname is a slave surname, it has no origin, it is abstract, it does not belong to me … It belongs to someone who bought a person from my family. I am not equal to any white.”

Xênia França, singer


“We are not all equal because we have a history of non-equality. We black-skinned people do not come here on equal terms with the white people here. We arrived on slave ships, enslaved, humiliated … And this inheritance is perpetuated to this day. Therefore, we are not equal, just as the indigenous are not equal, just as white people are not equal. There is a situation of privilege in Brazil that makes people different. So it’s very important that everyone thinks about it so that we really start talking about ‘we are all equal.'”

Mayara Silva, lawyer, poet and member of the collective Poetas do Tietê (Poets of Tietê).


“Equality is you treating a person in the measure of the other person’s inequality. We’re talking about the lives of black people who need to be treated equal to whites.”


Tássia Reis, singer.

“It has a very practical issue that we are not all equal: we do not come from the same places, our families are different, the beliefs, the religions, our bodies, the shape of our face, it’s all very different…For me to say ‘we are all equal’ is to put everything into a salad, to make nossa história negra (our black history) invisible and all the cultures from which we may have come. This is a big blow that often silences people not to fight for rights, not to fight for the right to exist in their own culture, religion and everything else. I think it’s a great dishonesty to say we’re all the same.”

Source: M de Mulher

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


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