Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and Militancy in Brazil

Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and Militancy in Brazil

Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and Militancy in Brazil

Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and militancy in Brazil
Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and militancy in Brazil. Duda Reis with boyfriend, funk singer Nego do Borel

Note from BW of Brazil: I’ve said all along, the question of why so many black Brazilians, particularly those of prominence, choose not to involve themselves in long-term relationships with other black people goes much deeper than simply the idea that “love has no color”. If one were to sit and watch Brazilian television for any length of time and began to pay attention to famous black Brazilians and their partners, at some point, anyone, even those who who don’t pay much attention to issues of race would have to scratch their heads at some point and think, “There’s something strange going on here. Whenever I see a famous or rich white Brazilian, they have a white partner. When I see a rich/famous black Brazilian, they have a white partner too.”

I wouldn’t even trip if a white person didn’t make an issue of it; after all, if it is the white partner of average means married to a well-off black Brazilian, because of miscegenation, which almost always goes in the direction of whitening rather than darkening, whatever that black person earned will eventually end up in the hands of the white community anyway. Brazilians generally grow up being taught and believing that race isn’t an issue and that’s why there’s been so much mixing in Brazil over the past five centuries. But if these same people were honest about it, they would admit that they know and/or have heard negative things, comments, jokes and gestures about black Brazilians, even if they ignore them, they know they exist and that this racial hierarchy rules in Brazilian society. 

The other question I would ask any white Brazilian. Have you ever had someone in your family tell you that you should marry a black person? I would bet that not many people ever received this sort of advice growing up; at best, maybe they heard the idea that ‘color doesn’t matter’ even though society itself screams that white is better in whatever subject is being debated. I ask this question because I’ve heard and read memories of numerous black Brazilians who were encouraged to marry a white partner for several reasons. 1) To “improve” the black race, 2) to have white/whiter children with “cabelo bom” (good hair), 3) two black people will get you nowhere, 4) the white world represents a better life. 

There are several other reasons I could post here, but those cited above will suffice for now. The very idea that these beliefs exist immediately debunks the idea that love overcomes issues of race and color in these relationships because it shows that both the darker and, in reality, the lighter partners in these sorts of relationships have motives that have nothing to do with love. What we see in the article below is another good sign because it shows that black Brazilians are continuing to expose the endoctrination process that the entire Afro-Brazilian community has been subjected to for at least a century and a half. And judging from the comments, it also shows that people are willing to delve deeper into the roots and objectives of the promotion of interracial unions in Brazil historically without all of the deceptive, dishonest and cliche responses that are almost knee jerk reactions when the topic comes up. 

Palmitagem Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and militancy in Brazil
Palmitagem – Interracial relationships: What are the problems and why there is so much controversy in the relationships between blacks and whites

“We blacks are born and raised so that we don’t want to marry each other”: Interracial relationships, eugenics and militancy 

By Levi Kaique Ferreira

I have wanted to talk about interracial relationships, eugenics and online militancy for a while. But I was always afraid to talk about it and being misunderstood.

But I think now is the time. So come on let’s talk about PALMITAGEM

Why do you think that inter-rationality has been encouraged in Brazil since post-slavery? Because Brazil loves blacks and interracial couples or do you think it has racist motivations behind it?

Whoever chose the second option is right.

Between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, eugenicist theses prevailed in various parts of the globe, that is, theses that defended a superior genetic standard for the human “race”.

Such theses defended the idea that the European white man had the standard of the best health, the greatest beauty and the greatest civilizational competence in comparison to the other “races”, such as the “yellow” (Asians), the “red” (indigenous peoples) and black (African).

During this period, some Brazilian intellectuals incorporated these theses and derived from them another, in turn, “applicable to the context of the American continent: the “tese do embranquecimento” (whitening thesis).

The defense of branqueamento, or “embranquecimento“, had as its starting point the fact that, given the reality of the miscegenation process in Brazilian history, descendants of blacks would become progressively whiter with each new offspring generated.

In Brazil, the miscegenation factor was defended as something positive, due to the overlapping of the features of the white race over the others, the black and the indigenous.

What does that mean? Miscegenation came to be seen as a powerful way to whiten/sanitize Brazilian society. The Brazilian anthropologist, eugenicist, João Baptista de Lacerda in a text published in 1911 said the following:

“The mixed population of Brazil should therefore, in the span of a century, look very different from the current one. European immigration currents, increasing more and more the white element of this population, will, after a certain time, end up suffocating the elements in which some traces of the black could still persist.”

It is clearly perceived in this section the content of the desire for whitening.

The country’s leaders at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century believed that Brazilian territory was “had no future”, since the number of mixed-race (non-white) peoples was immense.

With the end of slavery in 1888 (130 years ago), Brazil didn’t create any type of action to include blacks in the labor market. On the contrary, the country started to encourage the arrival of Europeans, who were fleeing the industrial revolution, to work here in the country.

Brazil literally gave land and jobs in order for these whites to mix with our blacks and in this way our society would become increasingly white in the next generations and it was from this that miscegenation started to be fostered. As a plan to lighten Brazil. In the Brazilian constitution of 1934 (only 85 years ago) there were texts that said that it was the responsibility of the Brazilian state to promote eugenic education in the country.

In other words, 80 years ago the Brazilian state was openly racist and believed in theories of white racial superiority and aimed at this miscegenation for the hygiene of the Brazilian race.

Why am I telling you all this? To explain to you that the root of the glamorization of miscegenation is racist.

We blacks are born and raised so that we don’t want to marry each other. The boys are born and raised in a society that sees as its objective the black boy to find a white girl and get married and there is no incentive to the contrary.

What does all this generate? Black women are the least to get married and have stable relationships in the country. Black men dream of winning a white woman and don’t want relationships with black women.

At the same time black women prefer white men. But it is not reciprocal. The whites are the ones who most marry and relate to each other and the balance becomes unfair in that sense.

We all know that physical attraction influenced by white standards, influences love, passion. Otherwise, if love didn’t have any kind of European social contamination why are black people the least married and have stable relationships?

I’m not talking about me or you, not individuals, not exceptions, I am talking about an entire society. Notice, our famous and wealthy blacks, how many of them are in relationships with white women and how many are with black women? Observe the preference of our black futebol (football/soccer) players.

How many famous black couples can we name in the country? Lázaro Ramos and Taís Araújo? How many more? How many times did I, as a young man, not repeat and hear the phrase: “I’m black enough!”

“But Levi, so are you saying that the interracial relationship is wrong?”

No, for God’s sake, that’s not the point.

What I’m trying to say is that miscegenation in Brazil was and is part of the institutionalization of racism and this generates reflections in the numbers of the black population and that is why talking about it is important.

“But Levi, do you think it’s cool to attack interracial couples online?”

No, I don’t.

First, because I don’t believe that doing this will have any positive effect. People prefer not to understand things and black militancy when doing this, as they did with Erika Januza, it only happens as an exaggeration giving weapons to white racists to criticize us.
Second, I don’t believe that this is an individual problem, but a collective one, so attacking people individually will not solve it.

Thirdly, I don’t believe that blaming the black man for preferring to be with a white woman than with a black woman is right. We were born and grew up receiving racist messages from society all the time that conditions us to neglect black men and women. With this, blaming the young man or young woman is basically taking the responsibility for this problem out of our racist society and putting it on the black man’s back. It is like saying that black people are racists themselves.

The criticism is to the collective. Not to the individual. It is discussing these standards and making sure that interracial relations are created on the right basis and not on the racist and eugenic basis that unfortunately Brazil has today.

And whites, think about it. Why do you marry each other and no one questions that?

Why when black activists talk about black people marrying black people do you call it segregation? Our society IS ALREADY SECREGATED and it is not because militancy today seeks to value marriage between blacks, but because there is a RACIST HISTORY IN OUR PAST.

We should discuss the matter. Deconstruct the prejudice created in the minds of blacks and society as a whole so that they start to see blacks as worthy of love and passion just as we were taught to see whites. This discussion is not about banning interracial couples, but about democratizing relationships.

Make blacks beautiful to blacks too and remove the social rancidity that was created by slavery and racism. It’s about making the creation of interracial couples be done in a healthy way and not because society has fostered the whitening of our society since the end of slavery.

Comments on the article and topic

Tweet2 - heard the phrase
Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and Militancy in Brazil

caah 🌪@CahgoBBB – “White woman with black man”, and I heard that phrase ‘I’m black enough’ from a friend of my mother and I were super annoyed, and I told her that she had nothing to do with it, that she could have a relationship with a black man. It’s sad because it’s not her fault but society’s”


Preta Rô Kiss mark @_missroxana Replying to @LeviKaique
“The part of the text that talks about the black man wanting the white woman and the white man wanting the white woman, was the one that weighed on me the most. Our loneliness as black women is real. I would love to have a black man in my life and I like a black man darker than me do, but it’s cool!”

Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and militancy in Brazil
Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and militancy in Brazil

buttercup | @nalutard Replying to @LeviKaique
“There’s even another name for it: the Redemption of Ham. It’s interesting to read about it, it’s quite horrible but it is where one of the bases for this issue of population whitening came from. Phrases like “He/she is so white” directed at babies when one of the parents doesn’t have fair skin is an example.”


buttercup |@nalutard: “This painting is called A Redenção de Cam (The Redemption of Ham), precisely to illustrate what this “redemption” would be in society. For seeing the people who had that thought, black skin was a divine punishment for the sons of Ham. A black person having a lighter/white child would be a form of forgiveness.”


@goticacancelada Replying to @LeviKaique
“I’ve heard in the family about my having relationships with black men “but aren’t you afraid of getting pregnant and being born with a little black baby with hard hair?” It bothered me in a way that even today I feel huge disgust when I remember.”

Interracial Relationships: Eugenics and Militancy in Brazil

Loló entre aspas@Loloentreaspas: “begins by thinking that it is one thing to support marriage between people of the same color BY AESTHETICS, another 100% different is to understand the HISTORY, CULTURE and OPPRESSIONS that make it important and necessary for couples of the same race (to be) together, not only for resistance”

Source: Thread Reader App


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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