“Institutional racism ends up impeding our careers and ascension in political power”: Superior Electoral Court judgment may increase black women’s space in politics



Note from BW of Brazil: In Brazil, both in the past as well as today, the power elites of the country have ALWAYS been white or least, what some people would call “Brazilian white”. It doesn’t matter the area you study. It could be the media. It could be the banking system, the Supreme Court, the education system, the entertainment industry or politics. Wherever you look, white people or those who are something close to white are in total control. Now this is not the say there are any non-white people participating in these systems. I mean sure, you can find black and other non-white people in all of these genres. But seeing that the vast majority of black and other non-white are minorities in all of these areas are usually employed in lower positions in the hierarchies of these areas and are also not owners, they are basically black and non-white people earning money to maintain the system of white supremacy.

In the United States, the greatest example of this was the eight year presidency of Barack Obama. Oh, but what about all of those black futebol (soccer) players and singers/musicians that earn millions every year? Well, better questions would be, who owns the teams the players play for, how many black coaches are there, who are the owners of the TV stations, who are the record label owners and CEO’s and how many black musicians own their master recordings? To be in a position of power, you must be in the board room or congress. Again, Brazil is the perfect example of these points as black representation in the decision-making positions in all of the aforementioned areas is slim and none. 

Black Brazilian males are extremely under-represented in the halls of power, so can you imagine the representation of black Brazilian women? We already know that Brazil’s political parties don’t develop any black political leadership and we also know that campaigns of black politicians are severely underfunded compared to their white counterpartsMany involved in black Brazilians movements have noted this for decades and now there is a clear push to increase the percentages of black political figures, particularly black women, into positions in which they can make a difference for their constituents.

The article below is intriguing for a number of reasons, but there is one particular point that I think REALLY needs to be addressed. Traditionally, Afro-Brazilian activists have long argued that the pretas (black) and pardas (mixed/brown) combined make up the população negra (black population). But if we’re talking black politics, should the women listed as “pardas” in the photos below be listed as mulheres negras (black women)? Should it even matter? I have come to some conclusions on this issue that I will be exploring in future articles. For now, check out some changes that have the possibility of increasing the presence of black women in Brazilian politics. 


TSE judgment may increase black women’s space in politics

Of the 66 women in Congress, only 10 declare themselves black or brown.

By Marcella Fernandes

A demonstrator takes part in a protest against the shooting of Rio de Janeiro city councillor Marielle Franco one month after her death, in Sao Paulo

“We live in the reality of an institutional racism that ends up impeding our careers and the ascension in political power, and as long as this prevails, we will not be able to bring our discussions to a deeper political agenda,” says researcher Marjorie Chaves.

Of the 66 deputies and senators with a federal mandate today, only 10 declare themselves pretas ou pardas (black or brown), according to data from the Justiça Eleitoral (Electoral Court). The scenario, however, may change. A query filed last Thursday (14) in the TSE (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral – Superior Electoral Court) requests that half the quota of the Fundo Eleitoral (Electoral Fund) and the time of electoral ads established for female candidates be destined to mulheres negras (pretas and pardas).

A pesquisadora Marjorie Nogueira Chaves
“We live in the reality of an institutional racism that ends up impeding our careers and the ascension in political power” – Marjorie Chaves

In May, the TSE determined that 30% of Fundo Eleitoral resources should be spent on women’s campaigns, in response to a consultation from the women’s bench. In March, the STF (Supreme Court) decided in the same direction on the Fundo Partidário (Partisan Fund), based on the percentage of quota of candidacies by gender.

According to the Elections Law, at least 30% of the applications for each acronym must be of one of the genres.

This year, the parties will have R$ 1.7 billion from the Fundo Eleitoral. The value of the partisan fund, however, varies. Last year, R$ 741 million were transferred to the acronym.

The consultation was filed by the NGO Educafro and has the support of 16 parliamentarians, whose signatures were collected in the Houses plenary. The list includes deputados (congressmen/women) Benedita da Silva (PT-RJ), Jandira Feghali (PCdoB-RJ), Orlando Silva (PCdoB-SP), Jô Moraes (PcdoB-MG), Maria do Rosário (PT-RS), Erika Kokay (PS-RJ), Zaidaide Maia (PR-Brazil), Bebeto Galvão (PSB-BA), Alessandro Molon (PSB-RJ), Glauber Braga RN) and Sérgio Reis (PRB-SP) and senators Paulo Paim (PT-RS), Regina Sousa (PT-PI) and Vanessa Graziottin (PCdoB-AM).

According to the document, the current functioning of the electoral system reinforces structural racism in Brazil. “The higher the position, the lower the participation of blacks running and, consequently, the lower the representativeness in the various political functions, which actually questions the level of legitimacy of possible choices within the framework presented here,” says an excerpt from the consultation under the report of  Minister Luís Roberto Barroso.

Black and born in the Favela da Maré, Marielle’s history and projects are based on public policies focused on women, including daycares with night-time hours, safe abortion and the combat of sexual violence.

Black women in politics

Of the 53 federal deputies, Benedita da Silva and Tia Eron (PRB-BA) are the only ones who have declared themselves pretas (black women), according to TSE data for 2014. Other 7 deputados declared themselves pardas (brown women) in the same year: Jô Moraes, Alice Portugal (PCdoB-BA), Janete Capiberibe (PSB-AP), Luana Costa (PSC-MA), Luciana Santos (PCdoB- PE), Professor Marcivânia AP) and Rejane Dias (PT-PI).

Clockwise from top left: Janete Capiberibe, Professor Marcivânia, Rejane Dias, Alice Portugal, Jô Moraes and Luana Costa classify themselves as pardas

In the Senate, Fatima Bezerra (PT-RN) declared herself parda in the 2014 elections. There is no data in the TSE system on the senatorial elections in 2010.

Researcher at the Núcleo de Estudos Afro-Brasileiros (Center for Afro-Brazilian Studies) at Unb (University of Brasilia), Marjorie Chaves, calls attention to mechanisms of institutional racism and the impact on black women’s rights. “As black women, some spaces are still denied us and we will not see it written anywhere. We will not see this exposed anywhere because this is in the structure,” she said in a public hearing at the Comissão da Mulher da Câmara dos Deputados (House Committee on Women) on Wednesday.

santos, bene, tia
Luciana Santos, Benedita da Silva and Tia Eron

We live in the reality of an institutional racism that ends up impeding our careers and the ascension in political power, and as long as that prevails, we will not be able to bring our discussions to a deeper political agenda.

Marjorie Chaves

The researcher cited data from the Mapa da Violência 2018 (Map of Violence 2018). According to the survey, in 2016, the homicide rate is higher among black women (5.3) than among non-black women (3.1), a difference of 71%. In relation to the 10 years of the series, the homicide rate for every 100,000 black women increased by 15.4%, while among non-black women there was a decrease of 8%.

Brazilians Marking One Month Of Activist Marielle Franco's Murder
“Feminicide: How many more will need to die for this war to end?”

At the hearing the name of councilwoman Marielle Franco (PSOL-RJ), murdered in March in Rio de Janeiro, was also remembered. “She was in another place, which was not for us black women. She was an affront and that’s why I believe they tried to silence her voice,” said Chaves.

Vereadora Marielle Franco
Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco was murdered in March

Black and born in the Favela da Maré, Marielle’s history and projects are based on public policies focused on women, including night-time daycare centers, safe abortion and the combat of sexual violence.

Another reference in the area, Ms. Benedita da Silva, the first black woman to hold a seat in the Câmara de Vereadores (City Council) of Rio de Janeiro, in 1982, defended new strategies to increase representativeness and protagonism. “Political violence is violence that hurts freedom, democracy and sovereignty. This country is ours and mainly ours of the women and mainly of the black women,” she affirmed.

Source: Huff Post Brasil

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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