Like religion, racism and race is a touchy subject that offends and leads people to refrain from too much investigation.
The whole black issue only really started to affect me when I moved to Brazil, and a little in Argentina, where there aren´t any (2% of the population, I think). The whole slave (slavocrat) mentality in Brazil is very strong, and the larger the percentage of black people in the state population (as in the case of the north and north-east), the stronger the awareness one has of having black skin. Some people argue that it is classism, that blacks are considered lesser citizens because they are poor, which leads me to the next question: why are they poor?
On this issue, there is an interesting discussion going on at the BBC World Service website called, “why is Africa poor”.
Anyway, the question was first answered when I moved to Bahia….envy. A common characteristic of black people in Bahia, and one of the reasons why it is so hard to “get ahead” without moving away from family and friends, is envy. I was actually warned on the first day I got there that I had to be careful with “olho gordo“, and was swiftly given a red ribbon to tie around my wrist for protection.
White people are oblivious of the issues of being black. I suspect they are tired of the whining and the lack of solutions black people find for their problems, and which other minorites seem to have found, such as community spirit and support, financial aid for new families in the neighbourhood (Korean, Jewish, Mexicans in the U.S.). This does not happen with blacks and it never will.
Another thing that has always bothered me is how blacks in developed countries (as opposed to those of developing countries, who just shut up and lower their heads or join gangs and vent their frustrations by attacking others), always seem to resort to “demanding their rights” and finger-pointing whenever they feel excluded or attacked because of their colour, which is seldom the case.
So why shouldn´t they whine and get on with their lives live everyone else?
Firstly, and like my father said, no one can be forced to like anyone and that includes people of different races. Blacks are more racist than whites, but, as Chris Rock so wisely puts it, the “less fortunate” are allowed to hate others (as a fat person can openly hate a thin person). It´s no use forcing people to like you, you have to earn it.
Secondly, Africa is just as responsible for slavery as the rest of the slave buying countries. The greatest slave traders were black. Slaves were the losers of tribe wars and sold freely to anyone that wanted them, without concern for their fate. Blaming the white man for slavery is like blaming the messenger!Yes, they were cruel, but Africans of one tribe are just as ruthless with the Africans of another tribe.
Thirdly, the black man needs the white man to succeed. Don´t get me wrong: Blacks have their qualities. I mean, what would have become of music, dance and sports without them? My husband is as black a coal and I like it that way, but that´s not the point. Blacks are strength, body, movement and fun, while whites are work, planning and cynicism. If black people could only see that, as did Bob Marley and other black musicians who would have never made it without their white managers, they would probably be more successful as a race.
Fourth, because pointing at people and blaming them for your back luck, as those crazy niggers that blame the CIA for creating crack to destroy the black race in America, only makes things worse and does not help anyone in any way.
And finally, because I firmly believe that Black people don´t always like being black anyway. The only person that called me a “dirty nigga” at school was blacker than I was! They don´t like people acknowledging the fact that they are what they are…and that can only be avoided by acting like everyone else, moving on with your life, chasing your goals and attaining them, and keeping your mind on your own happiness, instead of whining that you can´t make it because your great-great-great granny was a slave. Pathetic!
My theory on the real problem behind the black issue? As I said before: 1) envy, 2) circular thinking.
We live in a linear world and black people (as do indigenous peoples) think circular. There is no future. Your salary has to be spent NOW. You eat all the food now because tomorrow is not an option. How can people that do not see the future have a future? That is the question that needs answering.
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask
Article (Portuguese) – African participation in the trafficking of slaves