Say what you want about Marx, but we cannot deny that he was a visionary. He saw the universe of rich and poor of his time and in this dichotomy he found the foundations for his thinking. He gave them more grandiloquent names – proletariat and bourgeoisie – and devised the 19th century’s bloodiest ideology, which resulted in no less than 100 million corpses in the following century.
Humankind recovered its mettle, the Wall was brought down, the Soviet Union collapsed and communism became a cult reserved only to Third World islets. Workers realized that it was better to live peacefully with their bosses than to fight them. Since class struggle became demoralized the old apparatchiks felt unemployed. They had to devise a new struggle.
Any reader with access to newspapers’ databanks will have an easy time checking this. From 1989 on, terms as proletariat and bourgeoisie started to wane in the news. At the same time, the incidence of words like racism, racist, racial hatred increased impressively.
They had no choice: either they created a new struggle or the old apparatchiks would have to starve to death. In this uncultured Brazil, which elected and re-elected an illiterate as president, these professionals, who only can find a shelter in countries that live on the tow of history, invested everything they had in the new struggle.
Senator Paim Filho, for example, restored the concept of race, a concept always denied by the black movements, with the intention of introducing a special ID for blacks. As if it weren’t enough, law 10,639 from 2003, introduced the Black Conscience Day and made this date a national holiday. The holiday had hardly been noticed until now because it has been falling on Saturdays and Sundays.
That being the case, only in the Year of Our Lord 2006 we ended up discovering that racism has been made official in Brazil. Black racism, naturally, because it would never occur to whites devise a White Conscience Day. And if they did it, they would immediately be charged in a court of law as racists.
There is little new information concerning this old story. But every time stupidity emerges, it urges to denounce it. The day is a homage to one of the symbols of the black resistance in the country: Zumbi of Palmares, who was beheaded on November 20, 1695.
Until very recently, the date celebrated by the blacks was the May 13, when, in 1988, princess Isabel decreed the slaves’ liberation. This story of a white liberating blacks, moreover when she happened to be a princess, does not generate racial struggle.
It was necessary to find a black, preferably a martyr. It doesn’t matter that the quilombos (a settlement of runaway African slaves) had their own white slaves. This information, however, has to be Stalisnistically erased from History. It’s not proper for the image of a hero who is the liberator of blacks to have white slaves.
On the other hand, I can’t see why we don’t merge the big Black Parade to São Paulo’s gay parades. After all, Zumbi was quite an aficionado of these unspeakable practices, as they were called at the time, so much so that it earned him the nickname Suequinha (little Swede girl).
About 12,00 people took part, recently, in the first Black Parade, on Paulista avenue, in downtown São Paulo. After the parade it was time for the 3rd March of the Black Conscience. The celebration is already taking place in 232 Brazilian municipalities.
Bank and post office branches remained closed in the municipalities that declared the date a holiday. Woe of those who one day may think of a white parade. They will immediately be anathematized and thrown into the racists, nazis and fascists black list.
This manifestation is good only for whipping up racism in the country. Of course, we will never have a Mulatto Conscience Day. The racist Black Brazilians, like the racist black Americans do not accept the mulatto idea.
To own up to the mulatto concept means to admit that in Brazil blacks and whites have miscegenated without big trouble, and means to say that in Brazil there is no racism, or at least the racism is not that pronounced. This fact is not useful to the old communists, always ensconced in the classes struggle archaic idea.
It is always good to remind that blacks in Brazil are less than 6% of the national population. Mulattos are 38%. Even the Supreme Ignoramus, president Lula, has already adopted the idea that these mulattos don’t exist, and ended up selling Brazil as the world’s second black country, right after Nigeria.
You may call November 20 what you wish. I’d rather call it Suequinha Day. Whoever wishes to brandish Zumbi as a black liberation hero, will also have to brandish other flags, which I doubt the whole small black population contingent will be brave enough to brandish.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Translated from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.
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