A stupidity cloud seems to hover over the Brazilian national Congress these days. Not that it would be easy to find any intelligent cloud over the Congress. But now there’s a high concentration of stupidity and the whole country is threatened with a stupidity rain. Two projects, that intend to send Brazil two centuries back are being discussed in Brasília.
One of them, by senator Paulo Paim, already approved in the Senate, wants to send Brazil back to the racist America of the America when Jim Crow laws were in force or perhaps to the Hitlerist Germany or even to the South Africa of apartheid.
To be honest, I have nothing new to say about the matter. Since talks about quotas started I have been denouncing this tactic adopted by the black movements as something that will only serve to stimulate racism. The stupidity keeps moving on with ever increasing audacity.
While before all we talked about were quotas, senator Paim’s project now intends to identify Brazilians by race, as it was done to Jews in Nazi Germany. Is the stupidity being repeated? This chronicler feels compelled to repeat himself.
I have already commented on the Statute of Racial Equality, when I denounced recently the extinction of the mulatto. With a stroke of a pen, the senator intends to extirpate from the country’s history the most evident proof of the good racial conviviality. The expedient is elementary.
As blacks comprise a mere 5,4 % of the national population, the senator decides to call black the whole mulatto contingent, which represents 39.9% of the population. Give a little time and Brazil will be defined as being for the most part black. By the way, this is how the country is already seen by many Americans and Europeans.
The intention is to adopt the American model, which does not admit miscegenation. It’s either black or white. Some intellectuals, able to escape the herd spirit that characterizes the species, presented to the Congress a document with 114 signatures, with arguments opposing the Statute and the reserves required by racial quotas.
Right away the document was satanized as the “White Elite’s Manifesto,” as if the mean white men were interested in maintaining the black population far away from their territory.
The government, which since then had been insisting on maintaining the academic quotas, felt compelled to back out. Now they are talking about social quotas. If on one hand it disengages the reserve of vacancies from the racial element, on the other it maintains the absurd purpose of sending to the university people who do not fill the basic requisites to enter college, ruining once an for all the academic teaching, which is already extremely deficient.
Paulo Paim put a goat in the room. The government removes the goat but leaves the rest of the animals in the room. That goes without saying that such a project is flagrantly unconstitutional. “All are equal under the law, without distinction of any nature,” says article 5th of our Magna Carta. If the new proposal is approved, some will be more equal than others.
Good part of the black population liked the idea of winning with bent rules and they can’t even see the trap they are falling into: having entered university through the back door they will be naturally rejected in the labor market.
Anticipating that, the senator has already added to his project a guarantee that the law will assure at least 20% of the positions in show or advertising on TV to Afro-Brazilian actors. The logic next step will be to impose these same quotas to the private sector, ending once and for all any merit criterion left.
The project also includes a mandatory course in high school, General History of Africa and of the Black in Brazil, as if Africa’s history and that of blacks were more important for Brazil than Greece’s History and of the Greeks, or Portugal and the history of the Portuguese, or Italy and the Italians, America and the Americans.
It would be interesting to imagine the way the new course will deal with the sale of slaves to the European whites by the black tribal chiefs of Africa. Or will it be a forbidden chapter of history, like the slaughter of Polish officers in Katyn forest by Stalin’s troops, like the slaughter of 7,000 Spanish members of the clergy by the communist in Spain?
The senator’s project still anticipates the creation of a special ID that will identify blacks racially. According to the statute, blacks will be required to carry their black ID card. It’s funny to observe that in past decades the black movements had arrived at the conclusion that race doesn’t exist.
Now it does exist and must appear in a document. Since whitening is quite generalized in Brazil, perhaps a better solution would be to create a tattoo or another very visible accessory, like Hitler created in Germany for Jews and homosexuals.
If such monstrosity is approved this country where miscegenation has always been the rule will start to officially discriminate by race. We are walking with large steps towards a black Nazism.
If such foolishness weren’t enough, another project, this one from House Representative Pastor Amarildo intends to take the country even farther back in time, to Middle Age days, when the guilds controlled with an iron fist the exercise of professions.
Basically, the intention is to smother freedom of expression, regulating journalism, a profession that cannot be regulated.
If thanks to a decree-law passed by a military junta in 1969 only those with a journalism course can be journalists in Brazil, the new project, approved by the Congress in the quiet of the World Cup, intends to regulate even columnists and commentators.
Now, this dictatorial rule does not find a parallel in any democratic regime in the world. Journalist is he who gets his income from the exercise of the journalism profession and that’s it.
The pastor’s project is in reaction to the rejection of a proposal by Fenaj (National Federation of Journalists) to create a Federal Board of Journalism. That proposal was sent in 2004 to Congress by the Federal Government. Due to the pressure by the journalists and the media owners, however, the attempt to curtail even more freedom of expression in Brazil was withdrawn on that same year.
Again, the quotas. The white guild wants to protect the corporation. While the country was getting thrilled and distracted by the World Cup, the project was approved almost clandestinely in Congress. It now depends only on a veto or an approval by the Supreme Ignoramus, the president. It’s amazing that such a rule would appear now in these Internet days, a time in which any citizen can start his blog and do journalism the way he pleases.
The Supreme Ignoramus, as it is known, has no love lost for the press. He might very well adopt such juridical excrescence. Right now when the Web has liberated journalists from the costs of paper, printing and distribution. Blogs represent today high level journalism and they are nimbler than the journalism on paper. The Chinese communists have already realized this and are censoring the Internet.
If he adopts this scourge, the Supreme Ignoramus will be fighting in vain against tomorrow’s dawn.
Janer Cristaldo – he holds a Ph.D. from University of Paris, Sorbonne – is an author, translator, lawyer, philosopher and journalist and lives in São Paulo. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Translated from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.