Note from BW of Brazil: Yes, it’s a topic that’s been frequently addressed here on this blog. And it’s an ongoing debate, discussion and even argument, but there is still a lack of open dialogue on the issue. “Palmitagem“. The preference of black Brazilian men (and often women) for white skin for romantic relationships (Most posts on this blog deal with the general topic of interracial relationships). Perhaps one of the principal reasons is that it has been an issue overwhelmingly brought up by black women. This writer has viewed countless forums, comments, social network debates, etc. and it is notable how one-sided the debates often are. This is not to say that there aren’t black men who are discussing it, but their participation often comes in the form of denial of the accusations or the usage of the over-used cliche that “love has no color”.
But recently, there have in fact been a few black men who have stepped forward and written well-articulated articles either dealing with their own recognition of the way black Brazilians are indoctrinated to prefer white skin, recognizing how this indoctrination affected them personally in their relationship choices or pointing out the fact that black Brazilian women have been equally conditioned on the adoration of whiteness. We will be bringing forth some of those pieces in coming posts, but for now, here is a very short piece that simply declares that black Brazilian men need to come clean and face the facts. Let the discussion continue!
We need to recognize our palmitagem
By Caio Cesar dos Santos
Much has been discussed about the solitude of the black woman and the term “palmiteiro” (black person who prefers white people for romantic relationships) (1). Many women had, at last, the courage to expose their feelings after years and years of being passed over and devaluation. I particularly think that’s great, what really bothers me is the same bad character of us men in addressing the issue.
We are palmiteiros. All of us. Some in deconstruction, others not. I believe that recognizing this is the first step we can take. In the affective world of the man reigns the idea that the more women you have, the better you are, the more respected (you are) among friends, the more popular. And in this basic math, the black woman has no value. In a country where the female standard of beauty is so stressed and reinforced in all media outlets, relating one’s self to black women was not the first choice of men. Just look at the numerous reports of black girls who were hidden in their entire lifetime in relationships, while men insisted on parading their white women.
Don’t deny this, men. You well know how things work. And bringing the profile of the black man, which includes me, adds to it the racist structure of our society. For the black man, relating one’s self with a white woman, gives him the same value that a white man has in society. Frantz Fanon talks about it in his book Pele Negra, Máscaras Brancas (Black Skin, White Masks), in Chapter 3 titled “O homem de cor e a mulher branca” (“The man of color and the white woman”). The following excerpt:
“Out of the blackest part of my soul, across the zebra striping of my mind, surges this desire to be suddenly white. I wish to be acknowledged not as black but as white. Now—and this is a form of recognition that Hegel had not envisaged—who but a white woman can do this for me? By loving me she proves that I am worthy of white love. I am loved like a white man. I am a white man. Her love takes me onto the noble road that leads to total realization….I marry white culture, white beauty, white whiteness. When my restless hands caress those white breasts, they grasp white civilization and dignity and make them mine.”
I see in the passing over of black women and “palmitagem” another of the faces that racism brings. As such, it is necessary that we debate this with honesty and understanding. We men, particularly black men, need to make this reflection, this self-criticism. We live in a racist and sexist world, with an established white standard of beauty. Reducing these problems to “personal taste” doesn’t make sense, it’s dishonest.
Finally, I want to make clear here that I don’t want to speak for black women. I don’t have this right and not even at the least could I do that. There is a lot of information being done on this subject, and I only want that my text be another, without becoming more important than the accounts of the women. As you read this text, I ask not only for your reflection, but that you also read – honestly – the accounts and texts already done by who, in fact, suffers from it, the women.
- In fact, when used, the term is usually in reference to black men
DEAR MRS WOMEN OF BRAZIL I WILL STOP POSTING THIS IS THE LAST TIME I WILL POST SOMETHING SORRY IF YOU GOT OFFENDED YOU SEE THIS IS A GOOD WEBSITE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK I PROMISE THIS IS THE LAST TIME YOU WILL HEAR FROM ME MY PREVIOUS POST IS NOT TO ANNOY ANYBODY ITS JUST TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT WHITES DO EXIST IN BRAZIL YOU SEE MY GREAT GREAT GREAT GRAND PARENTS WHERE BORN IN GERMANY AND PORTUGAL CAME TO BRAZIL IN 1845 FROM THEN I WAS BORN IN BRAZIL
BUT THE PROBLEM IS WHAT ANNOYS ME I’M BLONDE WITH BLUE EYES EVERY TIME I TELL MY FRIENDS OR ANY ONE IM BRAZILIAN THEY DONT BELIEVE ME ITS ANNOYING BUT THEY GOT USED TO BELIEVE I’M BRAZILIAN PEOPLE LOOK AT ME AND THEY THINK IM AMERICAN BUT IT REALLY HURTS WHEN I TELL PEOPLE IM BRAZILIAN AND THEY DONT BELIEVE ME
THIS IS THE LAST TIME YOU WILL HEAR FROM ME KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK WITH THIS WEBSITE
YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING AWAY BUT YOU KEEP POSTING ON ANOTHER THREAD! SHOOSH! BEGONE! :-d
This is true. I have also pointed this out.
Wayne: As I have written in my last two replies, I already know that there are millions of white people in Brazil. I also also believe that there are a large number of “whites”, actually light-skinned mestiços who would be shocked to know that they are not considered white in many countries outside of Brazil.
Latin America, in general, is seen as a region where non-whites are the majority and that is the outcome of hundreds of years of race mixing. I believe that for this reason, the Brazilian media feels the need to present Brazil as a white nation.
The other reason is the mental indoctrination of the non-white population into accepting the necessity of whitening their families. Which is a shame.
I understand your desire for people to know that white Brazilians exist, but in reality, you have nothing to worry about. The World Cup showed Brazil as nearly all white. The Olympics will surely do the same thing.
My question is, if you are not a closet racist, why don’t you spend more time fighting so that the media presents a more balanced representation of the country?
White people are displayed in the Brazilian media 99% time and the moment that a blog is created dedicated to black brazilians, white supremacists want to cry foul.
They know exactly what they are doing and you should never fall for their fake outrage and deception.
I agree. I don’t understand the point of coming here to push a view that is not the topic of this blog.
Hey Amon! I don’t think Mariah Carey looks like any other white woman. The first time I saw her in 1990 I thought she looks like a light-skinned woman of mixed race. Well, that’s what I saw…Of course opinions will vary on this.
For the most part, I would have to agree on Rashida Jones! But I will say, depending on the photo, she doesn’t always look purely white either.
Anitta looks as if she’s whitened herself quite a bit since becoming famous. Very typical of mixed race Brazilian singers. Deborah Nascimento is also a chameleon! I’ve seen photos of her where you see her mixed background, even though in many other photos she appears to be white. Using historical terms, she would be classified as “octoroon”.
Here’ my thing. The latest stats show that 31% of Brazilians marriage involve partners of different races. I have argued that many of marriages of the same race consist of couples who have been married for many years. If we were to consider a certain age segment, 21-35 or 40 for example, I’m sure we’d see a huge spike in interracial unions. Which speaks of what the black population will look like the future.
None of those women are classified as Black in America. Mariah carey herself pointed out that before she became big people used to ask her why she sang black music and was around black people.The Look white and are treated as whites.Only silly blacks following the racist one drop rule see them as black.Inreality in America if you look WHITE and behave WITE you are considered WHITE.