Note from BW of Brazil: Anytime one speaks on the topic of racism/white supremacy, there are sure to be cries of “mimimi“ (whining) or the struggle that persons that consider themselves to be white have with black racism. Both of these responses are quite intriguing to me for a number of reasons. On the one hand, it shows the arrogance of some people to simply dismiss the very real experiences with racism that can affect one’s self-esteem, the possibility of employment, the chances of being violated/killed by police or overall quality of life. On the other hand, I am curious to know what type of influence black Brazilians have that can alter the lives of persons who consider themselves white in any meaningful way. I mean, did someone call a white person “palmito”, which literally means ‘hearts of palm’ and figuratively ‘pale-skinned’? So, just for those who scream ‘reverse racism’, it might be cool to analyze how such ‘reverse racism’ would work in the real world…or perhaps the world of make believe. Let’s take a look…
Reverse racism exists and needs to be combatted
By Felipe Cardoso
Once again talking about racism, but this time it’s a racism that’s been happening so often, I’m even warned about this dangerous fact almost daily by friends who know my militancy. Yes, my dears, I will talk about REVERSE RACISM, this discrimination of blacks against whites, that perverse racism that has always existed and that has been growing lately, not only in our country but throughout the world.
To begin with, we must clarify: Prejudice is that idea of something or someone we have (in our mind and in our hearts) without even knowing something or someone. Discrimination is the act of exposing, putting out, exposing all these ideas of ours (preconceptions), with absurd doses of hatred and ignorance, that make us elaborate discourses with shallow grounds, but full of offenses to something or someone. Racism, well, racism is something that we need to resort to in order to explain, but I must inform you that, according to my friends, only racism of blacks against whites exists.
Well, let’s go back a little in time and see how it all began so we can calmly analyze the consequences of this tragic past that insists on harming us today. I hope you will not be frightened by this history of oppression experienced by the Caucasian people:
“It was the peoples of the African continent who embarked on an imperialist journey in search of new lands and more power. The first stop was on the European continent. Yes, imagine. When they came across a totally different culture, the Africans came together and worked out a way to make the European people believe that they were an inferior race, that they were cursed, that they had no soul and that they needed to work hard to redeem themselves but even ‘working hard’, still could not get rid of the curse.
After convincing the Europeans, the Africans robbed their lands, their natural resources, enslaved their people, separated their families, profited from slave labor and did not pay them a penny.
For centuries they used their land, exploited their labor to other continents also conquered by African leaders. They forced the Europeans to leave their lands and travel, for days, in an unventilated ship, sharing space with rats and other dead slaves, who did not survive such perversity.
They raped the women and forced them to work pregnant. They slaughtered, enslaved, and sold their children. Just imagine what a heartless people. And what about leaving them without health and education for more than five centuries? Leaving the whole European population bewildered, forcing them to leave their land in the future in search of a better life on the African continent, have you ever thought about it?
Well, summing up this terrible story a bit and bringing it to the present day, we can see that oppression continues even after the end of slavery. Most Caucasians live in the periferia (outskirts) of cities. They attend public schools (when they attend). Young white men are killed daily by the police. White people are monitored and followed by security guards when entering establishments. We don’t see white politicians. On television, in advertisements, in fashion, there is no white representativeness, they gain prominence only through sports, but even then, they still suffer prejudice. But they are defended by some blacks who launch #somostodosursopolar (we are all polar bears) (see note one) campaigns.
And if that’s not enough, whites have to put up with black humorists who use and abuse stereotypes to tease them. “They don’t know how to dance,” says Babalu Gentiki (see note two). “They turn red when they’re ashamed,” laughs comedian Ko Joases (see note three).
Oh, and the standard of beauty? I was already forgetting about this. For years blacks humiliated and laughed at whites, which made them hate their physiognomy, their features, their color. Na ditadura da beleza as mulheres brancas encrespam seus cabelos (in the dictatorship of beauty white women make their hair kinky/curly), widen their noses and use various techniques to leave their lips with a more advantageous appearance. Men wear their heads shaved because they gave up trying to make their hair curly.
But there is a group of Caucasians who say they fight for justice, but in fact they only want to guarantee privileges to these people who don’t like to work. They ask for racial quotas in universities, for more representation, equality, and respect. Something related to Affirmative Actions, Statute of Equality … But nobody cares about them.”
We know that this has indeed happened and still happens, except that the characters are reversed. If this had really happened to Caucasians, we might believe that REVERSE RACISM really exists. But I’m sorry to disappoint you and say the title is a fallacy. There is in Brazil an attempt to turn the oppressed into an oppressor constantly.
To close and avoid some confusion in the interpretation of the text I use the quote by Fran Vasconcelos that I believe has a very important function for understanding what racism is and how it is inserted in society:
“Racism is a system of material and historical senses, not subjective. It is a mode of social organization in which one ‘race’ overlaps another, affirms itself as a paradigm, naturalizes itself as a rule and oppresses others. Racism is not something subjective, individual, that manifests itself among people. It is structured and embedded in society, in the way it organizes and reproduces itself, in the labor market, in the media, among the victims of violence, among the public of the prison system, among the poor throughout the world, among the owners and non-owners.”
Source: Chuva Ácida
- A satirical reference to the penchant of Brazilians to launch ridiculous hashtags that are supposedly meant to fight racism. The “we are all monkeys” hashtag is perhaps one of the best/worst examples.
- A satirical reference to comedian and late night show host Danilo Gentili who has been known for making racially insensitive jokes and comments over the years.
- A satirical reference to late night talk show host Jô Soares.