My dears, I do not mean that you are not entitled to have personal taste.
I’m saying that even your personal and non-transferable preference is socially molded. I’m saying that if I ask you to close your eyes and imagine a woman, this woman formed in your mind will be white. If you see a beautiful white woman, she will just “pretty” but if you see is a beautiful Black woman, so she will be a “beautiful Black woman”. It’s that since childhood you have been accustomed to thinking of white as neutral.
The boy dolls, the girls dolls, the cartoon characters that you watched, hosts of your favorite shows (of all ages), the toy, car, margarine, milk, soap, shoes, beauty products (insert any suitable product to be hype object here) advertisements … Also remember your childhood sweetheart, remember the girls from the movies and novelas. And remember girlfriends who you presented to your parents. What I’m saying is ultimately to reduce your choice to a mere field of personal taste, ignoring the social construction that made you conceive the white as beautiful, is, to say the least, innocent. It’s forgetting this structural character that racism has.
(And before you come to list the prominent roles that Black women are gaining in the media, have a look at the material that i) was produced for 30, 40 years; ii) has been produced recently and come back here so we can talk a little about humor, sexuality and the reinforcement of stereotypes)
I know I’m not saying anything new in this note.
Nevertheless, this is the exact point of the conversation in which they classify us as paranoid or say “everything now is racism.” This discourse of paranoia is emblematic and finds shelter in the peculiar mechanism of Brazilian racism, which is to turn the victim into the guilty. Because racism, in reality, would be in the mind of people that point it out, that conveying it as a problem to be faced. To say that “everything now is racism” is to demonstrate, at the least, disinterest by the fact that the history of this country is founded on racism, and it is precisely because there is nothing new in objectifying Black women and treating them as second-class women that you cannot pretend it’s only paranoia.
Racist is not only the young white woman on TV calling a futebol player a monkey. Racists we are, every time we deny space to discussions like this for the argument that this is overcome, or is not important. I indeed wanted to be able to observe the day-to-day life of each one of those who stoned the house of the Grêmio fan, only to see them saying – in the comfort of their homes free of prejudice – a negrinho (little Black boy) “made out good” seeing him walking with his white girlfriend, that that menina Black power (girl with the afro) is very pretty but should comb her hair, that public policies of racial quotas are reverse racism, among other manifestations of racism in our every day to definitely prove the disseminating and structural nature of racial segregation in our country and turning over pockets of good people to find where it really is that it’s racism lurks.
Since I cannot even go there, I follow reminding them, even here, how hypocritical it is wearing your shirt that says “Say no to racism” and continuing to adopt the convenience of the “neutral” stance to make invisible all sorts of discrimination that happens around them – and that which they contribute to – just to understand how those racists, quite distant from us, beat up, curse or offer bananas.
By: Cintia Farias