Note from BW of Brazil: In the text below, Maicol William takes direct aim at the portrait of loneliness and black men as characterized by some elements of black feminism. As a number of posts previously posted on this blog show, many black women point to black men as the prime reason why they haven’t been able enjoy long-lasting romantic relationships, often go through long periods of forced celibacy and spend more years of their lives unmarried than white women. Black men are all palmiteiros (meaning they prefer relationships with white women) according to the assessment of the feminists. But this isn’t the whole story. And now there is a growing number of black men who are not only analyzing the black feminist argument, they are also dissecting these arguments and then responding with their own counter arguments.
Several sections of the piece below caught my attention, but one particular section really struck me because I often notice it. In that section, William spoke of “pretos bem escuros (quite dark-skinned, retintos (blue black) black men…suffer even more with being passed by, socially and affectively”, I thought specifically of one man I encounter regularly when in my neighborhood of north zone São Paulo. Whether coming or going, I often see a very dark-skinned homeless black man wandering the street in a complete state of disorientation. Missing four front teeth, matted dreadlocks, no socks/shoes and often smiling and talking to himself, he always wanders in the same vicinity of about a half a mile throughout the neighborhood. I don’t know anyone who knows his name, his family or his story, but most agree he’s been wandering for at least a decade. But he’s not the only one. In a city such as São Paulo where that “blue black” skin color seems to be slowly fading away, if one pays attention, it would be quite alarming to consider how many “blue black” men there are wandering the streets of São Paulo like the guy I described above.
On this loneliness of the black man
By Maicol William
A taboo subject and often a motive of mockery, there indeed exists the solidão do homem negro (loneliness of the black man)
The first point that I wanted to raise is that this is a taboo subject that is not dealt with very well and makes itself little known due to some attitudes and some fallacies with origin in feminism. It is common for people to want to talk about it and they raise a tone of mockery. Because this movement has placed the black women as the most suffering and there occurs a tone, when we speak of the agenda that would be the mulher branca (white woman) type willing to speak of suffering near the mulher negra (black woman) that, then, is a huge joke.
In feminism there are three fallacies that are interwoven and are responsible for all this. The first is that it is the mulher negra (black woman) who occupies the base of the (social) pyramid. The second is that the mulher preta (black woman) does not palmita (prefer relationships with white men); this fallacy that bases itself on another, which is what we address in this text, of which only the solidão da mulher negra (loneliness of the black woman) exists, that the black man is not affected by this.
The black woman does not occupy the base of the pyramid of oppression in society. Supporting itself only on the social pyramid of the IPEA (Institute for Applied Economic Research), which places the black man as receiving more than the black woman is very reductionist. As it also finds that she suffers more by suffering from the sum of machismo and sexism. It is a very simplistic analysis. If we think that the major types of violence to life are the ones that will prevent one from living, being that imprisonment and death are the most aggressive means of doing this, the thing changes the figure. Women are not even 7% among victims of genocide and mass incarceration. In addition, just think: who suffers most from the violence of the State? O homem negro (the black man), right? Who is it that most suffers violence at the hands of the black man? The black man himself. So then, how is it in the equation that the one who suffers more violence in society would be the woman? From where? Of whom?
In short, this is a dense discussion, but that with data we got here. It is not the purpose of this text but whoever had doubts, whoever doubts, we marked an encounter to discuss this in the month of April, and on our page, we have the evidentiary material. Whoever reads, with certainty, will see that the previous understanding has always been a misunderstanding. Only access the Facebook page of the event “Dissecando o Racismo — O Erro da Pirâmide de Opressões” (Dissecting Racism – the error of the Pyramid of oppression). There is material that will give you a better overview based on the subject. It even has a post summary.
Another fallacy is that the black woman doesn’t palmita (prefer white men for relationships). How so? Would they not by chance have a preference for the branco (white man)? Were they not subjected to the same media? Just look and see that a large majority alisa ou já alisou seus cabelos (straighten or straightened their hair). It’s that point, the branca (white woman) some want to have, others want to be. It’s a violence that has been imposed. It’s a matter of race and gender.
Before entering the third fallacy, which is the basis of this text, we need to talk more about some reasons that along with the two above mentioned collaborate so that the theme solidão do homem negro (loneliness of the black man) be suppressed, which is the fact that in black groups of militancy of the internet, where the crowd gathers to exchange these ideas, almost 70% of members are female. The women – this has to do with the pyramid – have more ease to reach the academic and militancy spaces. Just look and see that they are always in the majority not only in groups but also at events, a reflection, among many other things, of the high rate of incarceration and genocide. Here, the basic rule: whoever is a surplus in one “event”, genocide and imprisonment, is lacking another and vice versa. Simple.
You don’t know how sad/revolting it is to hear the girls saying that black men don’t show up because they don’t give a fuck….
But anyway… What happens is that a greater number puts on pressure and generates embarrassment. It is common place that a man opens his mouth to speak and already there starts a “get out sexist”, “sexist lowlife”, etc. and such… and the people who already not very given to talking about these things because it is coated with the necessity to always show strength (men don’t cry, nor regret) ends up bouncing and leaving this mess behind. Not to mention that we are already few in these spaces, a significant part is not of some such articulated comrades, somewhat by the difficulty of access to studies and a few others somewhat less by the same toxic masculinity.
But, by speaking of toxic masculinity, we have encounters scheduled to discuss and improve this, in the May issue of Dissecando o Racismo (dissecting the racism). The example of another cited here, the error of the pyramid, it’s very much worth picking up the material available in the page of the event. It’s really worth it. Below, the link to the page on Facebook.
I Ciclo de Encontros Dissecando o Racismo Nossa escola de capoeira e centro de educação em dinâmica racial segue voando…www.facebook.com
Finally, when we argue with feminism it is not because we want to divert the discussion from machismo. No. Because machismo beats us down too. And a lot! But what we don’t want is that the discussion be based on feminism, which besides coming with these problems above of disregard and dishonesty, still shows much implicit racism in its analysis. You only get the justifications given in the case of palmitagem for example, where many make it seem that the one that least likes black is the black himself…a thing that whites would have us believe. There’s a flirtation with the issue of the branco salvador (white savior)…They consider the white in retail and the black at wholesale…for the white there always seems to be salvation (always appearing to be the deconstructed one), for black, no… Anyway… We indeed want to speak of machismo but not from a perspective deeply tinged with racism, full of vices.
That’s it! Just that. Considerations done, let’s talk a little about the solidão do homem negro (loneliness of the black man).
A Solidão do Homem Negro (The loneliness of the Black Man) – Yes, it exists!
This week I went through the Facebook timeline of a video of a black man all fucked up, mad as hell!! screaming that he doesn’t like being alone. Those who have not seen the video, you can now see it below, just access the Facebook link:
It was posted in a joking manner but there is nothing funny about it. This is serious! This is fucked up! This is heavy! It affects a lot of people. A large part of our people are far from the eyes of the academia, that dictates what is to be and what is not to be. It’s wrong!!
For who invented this chat that loneliness is only for black women, let’s take a stroll on the street. Shall we? The majority are men. A large part is also of pretos bem escuros (quite dark-skinned, retintos (blue black) black men as in the video. These men suffer even more with being passed by, socially and affectively. Just bring your female friends to take a stroll on the street. You will see only men, practically. Do you think that in the evening a load of women arrives for them? A load of families come? Fuck no!
This week, I saw walking the streets two black men, very dark-skinned, unaccompanied, talking to themselves like a mofo! Screaming random things. Fucked up! The loneliness drives you crazy. It is also said that men are also the majority in psychiatric hospitals.
When I was a child, I was a child of the street. Abandoned by my mother at 8 years of age…. my father when I was born was already imprisoned, I never knew him. Afterward, the woman who adopted me died. She had nine children, lived on the edge of the highway. Today I don’t know where they were; I don’t know where my (9) siblings are. Some, I know died. Others, I never heard anything more. Beyond that, there are my two blood brothers who after the age of 6 I never saw anymore… Anyway, I was always alone. Is this not solitude? I have always been – as many of ours on the street – very alone.
So much so that I got used to it and began to be tranquil. So much so that today I have greater ease to send out a fuck you for everything. I lost so much sensitivity. I have always been fine alone, I don’t fuc*ing care! If you wanna to stay, stay. If you wanna dip, dip. In first contact, I don’t even make an effort to be nice. Those who want to stay can do so. Don’t think you’re doing me a favor…. Because that is how a lot of people dominate us. The street teaches. The hardship teaches. Like hell!
But back to the thing of the insane asylum and how people in the street are crazy, I myself when walking on the street varied greatly, various daydreams. In my head, I had a whole history assembled, where I had family, was this and that. Detail: I was not myself, I had another skin, other features… guess which one! I was really the autistic type. I had a fantastic world of Bob just for me, where I fulfilled myself.
And, continuing… why do you think that in my daydreams I had other features? The girls say that they are passed over. Is there some universe in which we are the chosen? They are taking the universe of jogadores de futebol (soccer players) and pagodeiros (pagode musicians) and generalizing. But the female tennis players, the black women who ascend, the pretas maravilhosas das escolas de samba e de dança afro (wonderful black women of the samba schools and Afro dance) this and what…. nobody is talking about this. They conveniently forget (see note one).
We are only chosen, black men and black women, when we ascend. And then there is the dispute with the white. And they always lead. Because racism is this: in the dispute with white, it’s designed for him to always take what is desirable. In the discussion on palmitagem, everyone disregards this, this social design in which whites can always get in front of what is desirable. The white always has more weapons for the “dispute”.
But anyway, the women are passed over. The men also. However, loneliness goes beyond that. Way beyond! From the age of 15 and back, I no longer know anyone, I have no contact. Go to the orphanages. I lived in an institution. The large majority is of boys, as well as in jail and in genocide the male gender predominates. And I was nearly thrown anywhere at that age because in the shelter one could stay only until the age of 15 and as I had no family to hand me over…
Still it was good that they hooked me up, after many battles behind the scenes, with a place in another shelter, which today is my reference family, my base…
But going back to talk about boys of institutions, of the shelter, these boys have no family. They were abandoned… or the family died… or appear only for Christmas and New Year… like for the man in the video, who was complaining.
There’s another point that’s fucked up in the institutions which is the thing of adoptions. A frustrating expectation… a hope that one day it will be you… but at the same time that feeling that you will never be chosen. You want to be chosen, you want to be somebody for someone. And when you are chosen but then given back? It happens a lot! Abandonment on top of abandonment.
There are still people who have their personal shortcomings and go to the shelters to do “charity” much more for themselves, to say to themselves what a good person they are; to take photo and play the “good citizen”, to have a good conscious… who knows. What I do know is that they make a child get attached, spend some time and suddenly they disappear. This is heavy. Abandonment on top of abandonment!
Another point where it gets heavy is a nuance of racism, colorismo (colorism): the boys who are adopted. You will see the boys that are more adopted, more embraced, which receive more godparents to give them gifts and such… The passing over is far from being only that stop that point you speak of (in terms of) relationships. It has various nuances.
The loneliness there in shelters and on the street is directly linked to the death, madness, prison… directly! That of the women of our surroundings, indirectly. It’s that lack of men in the market, disabled men. Men who are not there to construct a family with you but before you even think about this, you were already of someone’s family, right? Son, father, husband of someone… Relatives of people like me, people who have had their families destroyed and go to the streets and to shelters. Many of them end up passing through jail, another locus of loneliness.
I try to say little and not talk seriously about this because I try not to open dialog with the past, with the things which I’ve seen and experienced. But know that the way that you deal with the theme is white, it is disrespectful and academic. Like white, it seems that you all only draw upon the reality of you and from what you have seen. It is only pain if it is pain for you. You, as whites, want to place yourselves as the measure of all things, and often, placing the exception above the rule, coming to play suffering in some things that don’t even have place.
I ask you, in this militancy then, how many people do you know who came from the street, who lived on the street? It figures!! You who speak so much of (a particular) slant, know that you are a (particular) slant. Because the group that makes it to the university thing and such does not represent or 10% of our people. Override this experience (of yours) and (understand that) this pain (of people in the streets) is fucked up! Listen up!!
We need to expand our horizons and we need to bring these people, men, to speak. Because the truth is of whoever tells it (of whoever is able to tell). I speak of a reality that you all rarely hear someone from there say. I speak, with certainty, for many who could not be here to speak, that will never have the opportunity to sit by your side and share an idea with you. Only see that I was one among several… because, as I have already said, from 15 years and back… no one came. Because they didn’t get here. And it’s that, if they don’t get here, we have to go there. It is our duty! We’re going to the university… and from there don’t leave. We forget the margin below and only agenda our lives and actions from the margins to the top. It’s wrong!! My stance here is equal on colorism: it’s either to the margins, or it will not be. Either we go there or everyone fu*k off!!
This thing of everyone only in the navel itself… it’s not me! Everyone wants understanding but nobody wants to fuc*in’ understand nothing!
- Here, William makes the point that many black women often point to the numerous black men musicians and futebol players who make it big and marry white women but ignore the fact that a large number of black women involved in Carnaval or tennis (the Williams sisters, for example) who are involved with white men. Nowadays, I would argue that this goes far beyond just rich and successful black men and women and is becoming quite the norm for everyday black men and women. At least, that’s my view from São Paulo.