by Mariana Rennhard with supervision of Vanessa Gonçalves
On August 29th, journalist Fabiana Moraes, the Jornal do Commercio, will release the book Nabuco em Pretos e Brancos (Nabuco in Blacks and Whites) at the Livraria Cultura bookstore in Recife, Pernambuco in Brazil’s northeast. The book is about prejudice and racism in Brazil.
The work is the result of a partnership between the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation and the Jornal do Commercio and originated from Fabiana’s work from 2010, published in a special double page feature of the Jornal do Commercio for the centennial of the death of Brazilian writer and abolitionist Joaquim Nabuco. “In this special report, we addressed the issue of race in a dialectical way, telling the experience of five blacks with ‘social prestige’ and five poor whites,” the author said.
As the report which led to the work was not unprecedented, Fabiana Moraes went after some innovations to complement the production. Her search for a “novelty” was reflected in the graphic design of the book, which is divided into two well differentiated parts, and in the participation of collaborators that wrote texts on some issues addressed in the work. Among the contributors are experts like Ricardo Salles, Humberto França, Adriana Maria Paulo da Silva, Marc Hoffnagel and Marcelo Paixão.
According to Fabiana, the idea of Nabuco em Pretos e Brancos is “to reveal a very common fallacy in Brazil that is to say that here the person is discriminated against because of money and not because of the skin color. This is a fallacy. A skin color ends up counting as capital.” Furthermore, the author said she sought “to show Nabuco not in that official way, as we learn in school, but rather to show him in a dialectical way, just like blacks and whites are treated in Brazil.”
To add context to this work, it’s necessary to understand a little about Joaquim Nabuco who wrote arguably the most important book for the abolition of slavery in Brazil, O Abolicionismo (The Abolitionism), in 1883 and is credited with being a leading voice for the ending of the institution of slavery. But in a similar vein as the the thoughts of US president Abraham Lincoln who abolished slavery while simultaneously being in favor of the superiority of the white race, many believe that Nabuco was also a racist. In relation to the idea of whitening the Brazilian population before, during and after slavery in 1888, Nabuco voiced his support of European immigration as it “could bring, continuously, into the tropics a stream of lively, energetic, and wholesome Caucasian blood.”
O Abolicionismo is a book filled with racist excerpts in which abolition was constructed as an exclusively white political movement without the involvement of Afro-Brazilians. For those who argue against Nabuco being racist, they point to the idea that he was simply a product of his time and that what is understood as racism today was not seen as such in the Nabuco’s time, the late 19th and early 20th century, a time when racist theories were the unchallenged beliefs of the day. For the Nabuco apologist, he spoke of abolition and not the racial issue itself.
With this in mind, Moraes’ book should be quite an interesting read.
Source: Portal Imprensa
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