End of the Year Special: Here are the top stories on the Black Women of Brazil blog of the year 2019
By Marques Travae
I know, hard to believe, but once again, we’ve come to the end of another year and a new beginning. Just a few days, I was reminded of a milestone of sorts by the words of a longtime reader. December 24th marked 20 years since I began learning about Brazil, race and the situation of its black population. I’m still intrigued by the things I discover about black Brazil’s past and how these historic events ultimately influence the events that go down on a daily basis.
I will continue to bring readers this information as I believe it is important for black people to understand the experiences of all of our people around the world. With the end of 2019, as I usually do, I like to remember the past year with a countdown of the material that readers read most. This of course doesn’t necessarily reflect what I believe to be the best material, just the articles that readers clicked on the most. The countdown below only considers articles that were posted between January 1st and December 31st of this year.
With that said, let’s get to it…
10. Coming in at number 10 is an article that shows that black Brazilians are awakening to the facts of what interracial marriage means for the black Community, especially in the case of successful Afro-Brazilians. Read one perspective in the article ‘’Successful black men celebrate their black pride and consciousness, but when it’s time to marry, it is his whitened family who will inherit his estate’’.
9. At number 9, we get a sort of ‘’whatever happened to…’’’ sort of piece as we learn what has transpired in the life of the lead actor of one of Brazil’s blockbuster films, Cidade de Deus, and what it means to be a black actor trying to make it in the film industry. Check it out in ‘’Protagonist of the blockbuster ‘Cidade de Deus/City of God’ film is now an Uber driver; and this exposes our most perverse racism’’.
8. At number 8, we have a classic case of good, old fashioned Brazilian racismo. You know the racism that so many Brazilians say isn’t a serious problem and even after being caught doing something clearly racist, they deny it. We saw an example of this in the piece “’I don’t want a black on my job’: Judge condemn foreman to pay $12,000 reais for racist act; claims he isn’t racist because his wife is black.’’
7. Coming in at number 7 is another article that, like number 10, shows that black Brazilians are increasingly questioning the interracial unions that they have long been taught to desire, their experiences, meanings and realities. It’s a necessary conversation, not because people can’t fall in love, but rather understanding what other factors go into these unions and what they tell us about society and the plight of black Brazilians. Read ‘’Racism in Interracial Relationships: Taught to overvalue whiteness, black Brazilians increasingly analyzing their unions with whites’’ and come to your own conclusions.
6. At number 6, we have an intriguing article on a discussion that’s happening in many black communities around the world, Brazil included. The question is, Brazil has made it clear that it despises the physical features and cultural practices of African descendant people. In everyday racist incidents, we hear comments such as, ’look at your color’ or ’She’s not fit for this church with that hair!’ That being the case, why is it that white people seem to want to ‘borrow’ these attributes? It’s definitely a legitimate question. We explore this in the article ‘’Are white Brazilian women ‘blackfishing’? What’s the deal with them suddenly rocking braids, kinky hair and African face paint?’’
5. In Number 5, a black Brazilian man learned just how some white people feel about the presence of black Brazilians in what they see as ‘’their space’’. It’s very telling that this particular case took place in the region of Brazil that is overwhelmingly white. It’s yet another reason that black Brazilians need to awaken to the facts that have long revealed that their isn’t and has never been a ‘racial democracy’. This is the message I get from the article “’You’re black! Why are you breathing the same air that I breathe?’: Foundation coordinator targeted with insults and death threats in southern Brazil.’’
4. Coming in at number 4, we have a black woman’s understanding of why her grandmother once told her that she wanted to marry a black man. In a society like Brazil in which everyone wants to believe race isn’t an issue, a growing number of black Brazilians are coming to conclusion after the dealings with white Brazilians that only other black people can understand what it means to be black in a racist society. That seems to be the message in “’I want a black man and I want to have three daughters with him’: Can only a black man understand what a black woman goes through in a racist society?’’
3. What we take from number 3 is an example of Brazilians who are openly proclaiming themselves to be racists. This is an intriguing development not because racism is new to Brazil, but in the fact that, as in number 8, most Brazilians, even being caught doing or saying something racista, will automatically deny it and offer some justification that supposedly explains why they aren’t racist. The woman in this article makes it clear how she feels and she wasn’t ashamed of it. Read for yourself in ‘’’I don’t like blacks, I’m really racist’: Needing a cab, woman tells black taxi driver that she doesn’t ‘ride with blacks’ and spits on his shoe.’’
2. The article at number 2 explores the eugenics policy of another South American country, Brazil’s rival and neighbor, Argentina. Similar to other countries, including Brazil, Argentina also made it clear that it preferred it country to be inhabited by only persons of a European phenotype, and after several decades, through various mechanisms, Argentina’s black population slowly dwindled away to almost nothing. And it would seem that Argentina is proud of being one of Latin’s American’s whitest countries. Let’s not forget some years ago when Argentina’s President Carlos Menem once proclaimed ‘’we don’t have blacks in Argentina, that’s a Brazilian problem.’’ With the extreme diminishing of black people in Argentina, black Brazilians might do well to pay attention to the phemenon of whitening. Check out what happened to once significant black population in ‘’’Aquí no hay negros’ (there are no blacks here) – The eugenics next door and the near disappearance of the black race in Argentina.’’
1. And coming in at number one is yet another shocking display of the racist attitudes that are far more common in Brazil than one might think. My thing is, as we’ve seen so many examples of this, this perspective is probably worse than we think because these are only incidentes on which people actually act out or express how they really feel. There’s no telling how many people fele this way but have yet to be in scenario’s which provoque this behavior to come out. In this case, a guy flat out didn’t want to accept material for his class at a university from a professor because she was black. It’s not an isolated incident. After eight years of BW of Brazil, surely this has been proven. Our top story of the year’s title says it all: ‘’‘I don’t mix with blacks because I was well-raised’: University student refuses to accept class material from professor because she is black’’.
So, what did you think of the top 10? What are your favorite or most memorable articles of the year from the Black Women of Brazil blog? What do you think the top 10 tells us about Brazil from the perspective of race? Leave a comment, inquiring minds wanna know.
Again, and as always, thank you for your support in 2019, I hope it was a good one for you. The Black Women of Brazil blog will be back bringing more news and hard-hitting articles in 2020, I hope you will join me. Looking forward to it. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve and until next year, keep on movin’.