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3329The racism of the Brazilian government against mixed people

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  • nacaomestica@nacaomestica.org
    Sep 30, 2007
      The racism of the Brazilian government against mixed people
      Leão Alves
      Translation of the Notícia do Amazonas, Manaus, Amazon, Brazil, 23/06-06/07/2006, p. 4.1 
      The Brazilian government is reviving an old and not very well-known form of racism, the anti-mixed people racism, and making of the negation of the Mestizo identity a new version of ethnic cleaning. Racists like the Count Arthur de Gobineau, who resided in Brazil in XIX century, defended that the mestizage would weigh a general decay of the humanity because, they affirmed, that would debilitate what each race had of better. In order to avoid this “danger”, they defended the necessity of preservation of the diversity and the racial purity of the nations - one of the most recent fruits of that ideology was the South African apartheid system.
       Minister Matilde Ribeiro (center) receives the mixed people representative of the State of Amazon in Brasilia.
      The racial politics of the Brazilian government under the control of the Party of the Workers (Partido dos Trabalhadores - PT) sees in the mestizaje a threat against its project to transform the Brazilian society into a great mosaic of nationalities and turn the idea of a Brazilian people in a fiction of the past. For the honour president of the PT and president of Brazil there are no sense in words like mulatto, caboco or cafuzo2; for the president Lula the people who identified themselves like 'pardos'4 in the official census were in the truth wishing expressing they were 'negros'4. This is the reason of the difficulty of Lula to speak to the words `Mestizo' and `caboco' in his declarations on ethnic and racial subjects, inclusively when the president commented on the racial equality between the humans in his last speech in Manaus5.
      “Admirers of Lula attacked in Manaus a activist woman of the Mestizo movement that requested a place in the National Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality”
      With the same style and spirit of that personnel that, “with the certainty in forehead” and public money in cash, made a riot in Brasilia, local admirers of the president attacked one woman that attended the precampaign of Lula in order to take off her a band of the Mestizo movement, in which was asked for the president a representation for mixed people in the National Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality. This Council, composed in its majority by organizations of the Black movement, also is composed, to satisfy political and legal exigencies and to justify its name, of solitary representations of Indigenes, Gypsys, Jews, Palestinians and Arabs.
      The Council is a consultive organ of the Special Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality whose name (that remembers a title of thesis) is summarized in the abbreviation SEPPIR. The SEPPIR is administered by Matilde Ribeiro, a historical militant of the Party of the Workers (PT) and of the Black movement.
      When Cabral4 appeared by these lands, there were only the Natives here. With the Portuguese colonization, the first Mestizos of whites and Indigenes were born, called by the European, possibly by their color, of `Mamelucos' and by the Indigenes, possibly for their origin, of 'cabocos'. Later the Blacks arrived, arising the first mulattos and the first 'cafuzos' - it ocurred for a long time past before the PT and the Lula government, and before the illuminated speech of which Mestizo and 'pardo' there were inventions of the Globo TV.
      The government was more ahead than to recognize and properly to valorize the manifestations of the already existing diversities in the Brazilian people: it decided to promote the diversity like a good in itself until inventing that under its thermus and interests. At the same time which in the State of Amazon `Cabocos' are forced to assume Black identity, in the State of Mato Grosso, the Funai (National Foundation of the Indian) imposes to Mestizos chiquitanos the indigenous identity - giving them cheftain (indicated by the government) and more.
      “The Brazilian government of the Party of the Workers (PT) has space for Indigenous, Blacks, Jews, Gypsys, Arabs, Palestinians and Whites, but it does not have space for Mestizos. It happened we were hinded to take part in a seminary of the PT”
      The diversity of the Brazilian government of the Party of the Workers (PT) has place for Indigenous, Blacks, Jews, Gypsys, Arabs, Palestinians and Whites, but they do not have place for Mestizos. Last May 13, in the Parque do Idoso, the Minister Matilde Ribeiro appeared to a seminary promoted by the PT on racial subjects. There were few participants, of the PT and not, among them representatives of the Indigenous movement, of the Black movement and of the just created Secretariat of Human Rights (SEMDIH), of Manaus. Members of the Mestizo movement that appeared in the Park do Idoso were hinded to take part in the event under the allegation they not belong to the party. When they ask for the vote of the people they are not so exigent.
      Calibrated in the speech and the support of some nongovernmental organizations, several based in Europe and in the U.S.A., the project of Lula for Brazil is a nation and a country fractioned - the more the better - and a State with simply administrative purpose. There is no Brazilian people, they already teach; Brazilian people is a thing of Darcy Ribeiro. As for the African-Brazilians (and those they thus consider) they must be divided and be 'tribelized', or better, included in 'quilombos'.
      About this last observation, which is not recalled by the speech of the government of the Party of the Workers is that the Black slaves and Afro-Mestizos do not scape for 'quilombos' because they rejected the European society or the western culture; they scaped for 'quilombos' because to live in these were better as to live like slaves in 'senzalas'; the own slavery itself, the motor of the European colonial system of that time, was not unknown in Africa. After the end of the slavery, the option of the absolute majority of the ex-slaves was to continue coexisting with the Whites, being scarce the sprouting of new communities.
      “In its etnocide politics, the government chooses to feed preconceptions, to devalue the process of national mestizaje and to determine what must be the "suitable" ethnic and racial identities”
      The official speech does not remember that the absolute majority of the Black that was transported for Brazil did not come from tribal societies, but of great commercial societies; great part of the Black transported to Brazil, possibly the majority, was formed by military prisoners transformed into product of export and transported within the African territory through old commercial routes. There are not, thus, any parallel between 'quilombos', and much less between their African remanecientes, and tribal societies. But, the government of the Party of the Workers (PT) decided to promote the 'tribalización' of the remainders of 'quilombos', it decided to stimulate his isolation of the rest of the nation under arguments like the allegation of which they have differentiated culture, of which this culture is threatened by the rest of the national society, etc.
      In its ethnocide politics favorable to the division of the Brazilian people, the government chooses, thus, to feed preconceptions, to devalue the process of national mestizaje - happened in the own 'quilombos' from its origins - and to act against the mixed people identity and the idea of national identity. Worse, he chooses to determine what must be the “suitable” ethnic and racial identities and to repress the movements of affirmation of the Multiethnic identity. Following the directives of the racial politics of the PT, local militants of this party have supported the representation of the Indigenous and Afro-Brazilian Culture in the Council of Culture of the State of Amazon and the exclusion of the Mestizo Culture, which implies in the exclusion, for example, of the culture of the 'Caboclo', of the 'ribeirinhos' and of the Northeasterners immigrants, basic elements in the formation of the  people of the Amazon and of its identity. Therefore in the reasoning of the PT's government, Caboco does not exist, but if it exists is 'pardo' (Brown), and being 'pardo' it is 'negro' and being Black its culture already is contemplated in the politics of the SEPPIR for the Afro-Brazilians. If him don't call himself a Black, he must call himself a Indigenous, but never a Mestizo - that is the etnocide speech with that the mixed movement has dealt.
      Submissive to this politics, the bearer of the State Secretariat of Culture, the bachelor Robério Braga, also submits the cultural identity of the people of Amazon to this humiliation; an identity that, as praises the Constitution of Amazon, is one of the purposes of the State to protect. Opera Festival and drink chopp in the São Sebastião Plaza can be very be pleasant (in various meanings), but culture is something more ampler and diffuse and cultural politics, that is financed with public money, must to account for who supports it: the contributor.
      But, thanks to God, nor of antiMestizos is composed the power and representatives of the civil society - of diverse parties -, more sensible to the will of the people than some wiseacres, had instituted, in the city of Manaus and in the state, the Dia do Mestiço (Mixed-Race Day), to be commemorated on June 27. This is the spirit of the mixed movement, the spirit of the national soul, that repudiates the discrimination, the ideological persecution, the racism and the ethnocide.
      Leão Alves.
      1 In the original thing, “O racismo do governo petista”.
      2 Caboco (Mestizo of natives and whites); Cafuzo (Mestizo of natives and Blacks)
      3 The Brazilian census has the color/race options: 'preto' (Black), 'branco' (White), 'pardo' (Brown/Mestizo), 'indígena' (Indigenous) and 'amarelo' (Yellow).
      4 The word 'negro' never was adopted in the Brazilian official censuses, but it is adopted by the Black movements ('movimentos negros') of the country.
      5 A city of the State of Amazon, in North of Brazil.
      4 Pedro Álvares Cabral, a Portuguese navigator. Arrived in Brazil on April 21, 1500.
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