Note from BW of Brazil: Yes, this blog is called “Black Women of Brazil” and in general, the personal essays and vast majority of photos indeed feature black women. But as this space is also about race, racism, racial identity, etc., sometimes it is necessary to share the thoughts of black men on these topics. Each of these opinions reveals insight into how black and “would be black” Brazilians deal with race in a country that has tried to mix them out of existence, exterminate them through violence, deny them a racial identity or even write them out of existence through census manipulation. Mind you, all of this is besides denying the existence of racism!
So, through all of these little traps, how does the black Brazilian manage to wade through this complicated maze that is designed to destroy him or her and still remain sane? Some black children simply accept their placement as inferior because that is what society teaches them. Sometimes children and even adults participate in the denigration of blackness. Many don’t identify themselves as black. And then you have those who are taught to follow the example of the great Pelé and just ignore it. Well, unlike Afro-Brazilians of 30-40 years ago (and even now), many self-acknowledged black people are coming to conclusion that perhaps that wasn’t best advice.
“I chose to be the funny neguinho in order to not be bullied because of my color”
“In my childhood, to defend myself, I was the pretinho (little black one) who laughed at his own condition, I did everything to go unnoticed. I tried to be colorless. Pelé insists on saying it’s the best way to combat racism”
By Dj CorteCertu*
In my childhood, to defend myself, I was the pretinho (little black one) who laughed at his own condition, I did everything to go unnoticed. In order to not be made fun of because of my color, I chose to be the funny neguinho (little black one), the kid who did not bother anyone and tried to be colorless.
I knew nothing about racism, only I felt prejudice and realized that people preferred blacks like this. I thought that was where I should be: without knowing myself and without recognizing my own.
Rap removed this position from me that Pelé insists in saying is the best way to combat racism. Hiding reality to forge harmony is a weapon used by various groups in our society.
Some, for lack of information and knowledge, use it as a form of defense. Others, knowing well the gears that move the country, use it as domination.
Nothing is treated in a deeper way.
For most, racism has the power to exist without racists. Racism is always out there.
Try to talk about racism in the workplace and you will see that many will only fight to show they are not racist. Not being racist is the start, but it’s not enough to end racism.
* Dj Cortecertu Central Portal is the editor of Portal Central Hip-Hop/BF
Source: Pragmatismo Político
This kind of article is SOOOOO needed, because many people that I encounter here are like Pelé, in that they do not recognize that racism is not just someone calling you a “neginho”. Many Black people in America have taken the same kind of posture as this DJ, so as not to make white people uncomfortable as well. Those of us who can “code switch” (change our behavior and speech, depending on whether we are with white people or Black people) know this kind of behavior all to well. I have even done this from time to time, because the typical white person in a position of power (at least in USA) is EXTREMELY fearful of natural expressions of “Blackness” there. In my own experience, it means that I must smile a LOT, compliment anything that is related to them, speak in a voice that is slightly higher than my own, not look at them directly for too long, and show that I am intellegent and capable, but not too independent.
In Brazil, I have often had (white) Brazilians tell me that there is NO difference between the behavior of Black Brazilians vs White Brazilians. But it is so interesting to keep seeing the huge gap in perceptions between “non-black” Brazilians and “consciously Black” Brazilians. I hope this DJ will continue to use his forum to speak about these issues!