“I wanted to be a doctor” – “So be one” – “I can’t” – “Why not?” “Because I’m black” – How centuries of slavery and racism have affected the black psyche

Porque eu sou negro

Note from BW of Brazil: Sure there are millions of Brazilians out there who still swear up and down that racism is not a problem in Brazil. “We are all equal” many continue to believe. Yesterday, I had a friend tell me that she believes that Military Police in Brazil brutalize all Brazilians regardless of color. Even though I know that many Brazilians still live in a sort of  “Alice in Wonderland” world, I was still a bit surprised that she thought this way. But then, why would I be surprised? She is a middle class woman with white skin. VERY white skin whose experience is most likely very different from that of a black male, of any class status, but particularly those from lower class poor neighborhoods.

I then showed her yesterday’s report, “The irrefutable proof that Brazil tolerates the killing of the poor and black” that asked for people “with all due respect, for an effort of abstraction.” The writer went on to ask the reader if they could imagine seven white bodies stretched out in front them after having been massacred by the police and how society would react. The point was that these types of massacres usually victimize black bodies and society’s reaction is normally nothing precisely because they ARE black bodies. People will always find some excuse to minimize these bloodbaths and the relation to skin color. After all, that is how racism and racial inequality has been downplayed in Brazil for so long. 

But another inbred issue that blatant and institutional racism create is another facet of this damage: the psychological destruction. From time to time people who comment on blog posts or the pages in social media will ask something like, “why don’t black Brazilians do this or that?” in reaction to the everyday traumas Afro-Brazilians experience due to white supremacy. But what these comments often don’t consider is the psyche that 400 plus years of slavery and racism have created. The shame. The lack of self-esteem. The vulnerability. The low self-worth. These are all results of generation after generation of being belittled, disrespected and taught, blatantly or subtly, that they are nothing because they have dark skin or afro-derived hair texture. Sometimes this low self-value plays out in attacks on others in the same group. Sometimes in shamefully blatant examples. It is this sentiment of inferiority that must be dealt with before Brazil’s black population can really be able to advance as a whole. 

“Because I’m black”

By João Paulo Porto *

I have an 8-year old black patient who is absurdly intelligent. From a poor family, his mother, also intelligent, did on their own, their family tree, in an organized manner, in a notebook, full collages and showed it during the consultation.

It turns out, four generations ago, the grandfather of her grandfather was a slave. Shortly after the abolition of slavery, he was expelled from the farm where he worked for being too old and ended up living on the street, with a family of 4 people, until he died of tuberculosis.

The father of her grandfather, his son, had to support the family doing odd jobs and committing petty crimes, so he was arrested soon after the mother of her grandfather got pregnant, leading, of course, to her grandfather.

This grandfather was born without a father, because he died in prison, when he was 8 years old. He grew up without the possibility of an education, having to work from a young age to support his mother and three younger brothers from another of his mother’s relationship. These four children were alone when he was 15, after her death. Working on farms, he had five sons, the fifth, her father.

He never went to school, grew up on the farm and became a made-man, married and had four children, including her mother. She also grew up on the farm and had no chance to go to school. Today she does cleaning work and makes sure that her children go to school.

– You are very intelligent – I said to the boy.

– Thank you.

– You already know what you will be when you grow up?

– I’ll be a truck driver.

– But don’t you think of anything else, you have so much capacity, you can be anything!

– Well, I wanted to be a doctor…

– Well, so be one!!

– I can’t!

– You can’t? Why can’t you?

Because I’m black.

Imagine why he thought so. Imagine how you would be after 5 generations of slavery having influenced the history of this family and the current condition of this child. Imagine how decades of prejudice undermined the chances of that family to give their offspring a better life than they had…

Imagine now, how much you are absurdly privileged in relation to them.

Now, try again to fill your mouth to say that the race issue is no longer relevant, that quotas are not fair, that income distribution programs are for bums and you have what you have today really because of your merit…

Source: Brasil Post

* – João Paulo Porto is a Pediatrician and Child Neurologist

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


  1. This is why I am SO happy that Affirmative Action has been implemented in the public Universities and federal jobs. I am also happy that Cuban doctors – many of whom are Black – have been sent into poor communities to administer basic healthcare for the people. Over time, the sight of Black people in higher positions within the society will be normalized.

  2. please Google “groups of Black Doctors” and show the image to that young boy.

    There are plenty of black doctors and they are waiting to ad him to their ranks.

  3. Blacks have the right to take pride in their race. Whites don’t.
    Blacks can never be racist. Whites are always racist, even if they don’t try to be.
    Blacks get to play the race card. Whites don’t.
    Blacks never have to feel guilty about being black. Whites are trained to feel guilty about being white.
    Blacks have the right to make blacks only organizations like the Black Student Union and the Congressional Black Caucus. Whites don’t.
    Blacks have the right to never take responsibility for their own actions. Anything bad which happens to a black person can be blamed on racism or white people. Whites have to take responsibility and apologize for their actions.
    Rich black people have a right to be rich. Rich white people don’t.
    Black people have the right to demonize white people. White people don’t have the right to demonize black people.
    Black people are excused when they are prejudiced against white people. White people are never excused for prejudice against black people.
    Black people are a “protected class.” White people are not.
    Violent crimes by whites on blacks are “hate crimes.” Violent crimes by blacks on whites are just “random” crimes.
    Blacks have the right to affirmative action and minority set-asides. Whites have to earn their positions.
    Blacks are “cool.” Whites are “squares” and “rednecks.”
    Blacks have the right to say words like “nigger,” which whites are never allowed to use. They have the right to incessantly repeat the word “nigger” in front of white people, to intimidate them and keep them in their place.
    Blacks can make the most racially insensitive comments and, more often than not, no one blinks twice. They are allowed to insult others without repercussion.[1]
    Blacks can spend their rent money on designer handbags and then complain about how they don’t have the same economic opportunities as everyone else. And they get away with it.[2]
    Black men are sexual supermen. White men are sexually inadequate. Black men have huge penises. White men have small, inadequate penises.
    Blacks have “civil rights”. Whites don’t.
    Blacks are in prison because of racism. Whites are in prison because they’re criminals.
    Black jury members have the right to acquit criminals, if they’re black.
    Blacks have the right to put a halt to any policy, statement, symbol, statistic, outcome, word or expression they find offensive. Whites have no such rights.
    Blacks are morally superior to whites.
    “[Blacks] enjoy cultural cache around the world as victors over oppression and the hard reality of what that looks like at this point in world history. The music that they enjoy, the clothes that they wear, their very mannerisms carry a certain amount of gravitas.”[3]
    Blacks can assign collective racial guilt to “you white folks.” White people cannot do the reverse because that would be racist.
    White people everywhere, and at all times, bear guilt for the crimes of a minority of white people in the past (e.g., slave owners, Adolf Hitler). Making blacks bear guilt, as a race, for the despicable crimes of their criminal minority is stereotyping, racist, and an insult to reason; after all, no one should ever be blamed for the acts of some unrelated person.
    Blacks have “black culture.” Whites are not allowed to have white culture.
    African-American studies is a celebration of blackness and black culture. Whiteness studies is a demonization of white people and white culture.
    White people need to undergo diversity/sensitivity training. Black people don’t.
    “… any generalization–favorable or unfavorable–about any minority that someone does not like is by definition “racist” and deserves to be suppressed–as long as it is said by a white person. Black diversity consultants, in contrast, can parade, without a shred of empirical evidence, the grossest racial and ethnic stereotypes with virtual impunity.”[4]
    It’s racist to point out racism by blacks. It’s never racist to point out racism by whites.
    Whites have to walk on eggshells around blacks. Blacks don’t give a shit what whites think.
    Blacks have the right to riot and commit violent acts in response to perceived grievances. White people have to obey the law at all times.
    Blacks have the right to never be portrayed as criminals or low-lifes in films or on TV. Bad guys on the screen must always be white.
    Blacks have the right to never be ridiculed, mocked, belittled or laughed at. Whites have no such right.
    Black criminals have the right to have their race censored in media reports.
    Facts which cause blacks embarrassment or cast them in a bad light must be suppressed. Facts which cause whites embarrassment or cast them in a bad light are reported as is.
    Blacks can silence and intimidate whites by calling them racist. Whites can’t silence and intimidate blacks because that would be racist.
    Forcing whitey to apologize shows black power and clout. Whites can never force blacks to apologize because that would constitute a lynching.
    Whites are held to a system of ‘sensitivity’ requirements that do not apply to blacks.
    “Whites are monitored, pestered, and punished for preposterous reasons–for a look, for an innocent word, for wearing a T-shirt, for expressing a plausible argument–but blacks can say almost anything with perfect impunity.”[5]
    “In discussions of race between black people and white people the conscious black person is always right; is always the ultimate authority on questions having to do with race and racism; must always be regarded as the ‘injured party,’ or the oppressed. . . . [Whites] cannot possibly be expected to be objective about questions of race.”[6]
    Blacks may work for explicitly racial goals but whites may not.
    Blacks are permitted to notice race. Whites are not.
    “It is quite acceptable for either party to explicitly go after the black, Hispanic, or even the Jewish vote. In fact both parties gain an indispensable moral authority by doing so. But it is absolutely verboten for either party, or any white candidate, to appeal to whites as a racial identity group. Racial identity is simply forbidden to whites in America and across the entire Western world. Black children today are hammered with the idea of racial identity and pride, yet racial pride in whites constitutes a grave evil. Say ‘I’m white and I’m proud’ and you are a National Socialist.”[7]
    A black person who punches a white person is a hero standing up to oppression. A white person who punches a black person is a racist.
    It can be publicly admitted that blacks are superior to whites in certain pursuits (i.e. basketball). It can never be publicly admitted that whites are superior to blacks in other pursuits (i.e. winning Nobel prizes in science).
    When blacks are overrepresented in a desirable field, it is due to their abilities. When whites are overrepresented in a desirable field, it is due to racism. When blacks are overrepresented in an undesirable field, it is due to racism. When whites are overrepresented in an undesirable field, it is their own fault.
    Most African countries are made up almost entirely of black people, and have some of the world’s highest birth rates. Most European countries consist of white people having to live alongside black people and other non-whites, and have some of the world’s lowest birth rates.

    • You sound you might be a member of Honey Boo Boo’s family, so I can see why you are so misinformed about racism and how it REALLY works, outside of your self-pitying imagination. Also, white people SHOULD have a guilty conscious about all the destruction they have unleashed around the world for the last few centuries (rather than making their conflicts merely regional ones).

      I got bored after the 6th line of your wall of words above. I suggest you go see a therapist, and I wish you good luck in life, cuz you will CLEARLY need it!

      • Don’t worry, no need to read everything, the only part that is relevant and that explains all his problems were in these few lines:

        “Black men are sexual supermen. White men are sexually inadequate. Black men have huge penises. White men have small, inadequate penises.”

        Poor guy…

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