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Blacks of Brazil are among the most oppressed people on earth today. Racism and color discrimination against Blacks in Brazil is no different, or even worst when we compare from what in the US. Something have to change. It's high time Blacks in Brazil and the Portuguese and Spanish countries to unite with other Black Diasporas and work to solve our problems.



Slavery Lives on, Say 76% of Brazilians

According to Brazil's last census, the black population makes up 50 percent of the 170 million Brazilians. Racism in the country continues to be significant. The unemployment level for Afro-Brazilians is 20.9 percent while the level for the white population is 13 percent, a clear sign of racial discrimination.

The principal symbol of the Afro-Brazilian struggle and resistance in Brazil is Zumbi dos Palmares. Zumbi was born in Alagoas in 1655 and died in 1695 on November 20, a date commemorated throughout Brazil as the National Day of Black Consciousness.

In its indigenous African language, the name Zumbi means warrior. Zumbi adopted this name when he officially assumed the struggle against slavery in the Quilombo dos Palmares. He led the struggle against the Portuguese slave masters for 14 years.

Killed in an ambush, his body was mutilated and his head decapitated and exposed in a public square in Recife, Pernambuco. Zumbi was a great leader and is known as the founder of the "First True Free Republic of the Americas". Commemorations throughout Brazil remember his courage, strength and faith.

Brazil Today

Brazil is a country with a mixture of indigenous, white and black demographic origins, but also marked by high levels of prejudice. According to the last census in 2001, the Afro-Brazilian population makes up 50 percent of the 170 million Brazilians. In spite of the vast work developed by organized civil society, racism in Brazil continues to be significant.

According to studies in 2001 by the Social Network of Justice and Human Rights, 34 percent or 26 million Brazilians subsist below the poverty level. These numbers increase in the area of unemployment. The unemployment level for Afro-Brazilians is 20.9 percent while the level for the white population is 13 percent. According to the report, these statistics indicate clearly that racial discrimination is still a predominant factor in the country.

The telephone service of Dial-Racism created in 2000 has been helpful in documenting and combating racism. However, according to Jurema Werneck of Criola, an Afro-Brazilian women's organization, Dial-Racism is insufficient to deal with the large number of discriminatory acts committed daily against Afro-Brazilians.

A study done in 2001 by the Nazareth Cerqueira Center Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Cerena) indicated that Afro-Brazilian women who are poor between the ages of 30 and 45 years were the principal victims of racism.

Lais Abramo, the coordinator of gender questions for the International Work Organization, affirmed in 2003 at the World Social Forum that Afro-Brazilian women suffer from a triple discrimination: gender, social and race.

Tecepe (Interactive Services of the Internet), in its studies, illustrates well the racial segregation in Brazil. The research used as its base the end of slavery in Brazil (theoretically ended in 1888). Responding to the question "Do you think that slavery in Brazil truly has ended?", 76.37 percent responded "no" while only 22% responded positively.

Dialogue Against Racism

This week various groups connected to the Afro-Brazilian Movement are meeting for the Fourth Dialogue Against Racism in Rio de Janeiro. The dialogue is the fruit of a series of necessities resulting from the Third World-Wide Conference Against Racism, Xenopholia and Forms of Intolerance which took place in 2001.

The objective of the Fourth Dialogue is to give continuity to the "process of construction of alliances and partners to overcome the isolation which historically has marked the actions of social movements and the segmentation of public policy referring to the immense racial inequality and injustice in Brazil.

This event uniting forty civil society organizations will present concrete actions to combat racial prejudice as well as engage institutions, businesses and others in a permanent dialogue.

Blacks in Government

According to Jurema Werneck of Criola, recently there have been positive changes regarding Afro-Brazilians in Brazilian society. According to her, "In its last few years, the neoliberal government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso was obliged to admit publicly that Brazil was a racist country. This was a major change. Until that time, Brazil was considered a racial democracy where Afro-Brazilians, whites, indigenous, gypsies, and people from Asia were brothers and sisters.

"We know that this was not completely true. I believe that the process of racism in Brazilian society is like a drinker overcoming alcoholism. First, the person must admit that he/she has a problem and then with a program he/she can transform his/her reality. The same process is effective to combat racism.

"President Lula, in a recent visit to Namibia, declared that Namibia didn't appear to be an African country because it was so clean. This kind of a comment is typical of Brazilian thought. There is much to be improved. However, there is a difference in that Lula's government created a special ministerial secretary to promote racial equality. This is an important step.

"There are Afro-Brazilian women and men in the government: Marina Silva, Benedita da Silva and Gilberto Gil. They are there because Brazilian society is changing and the Lula government is incorporating this change. It is our role and obligation to maintain a daily vigilance in overcoming racism. The Afro-Brazilian Movement is organizing on a national level to change public policy."

[This message was edited by Afroman on December 22, 2003 at 02:22 AM.]
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November 20, 2003, was the annual day of Black consciousness (Dia Nacional da Consciência do Negro) in Brazil, and there were official ceremonies throughout the country. It officially commemorates the death and heroism of Zumbi of Palmares, the great leader of the Quilombo (maroon city) in northern Brazil.

Here's a link to photos from a march in the city of São Paulo:

In other places, like São José do Rio Preto in SP state, it was a Month of Black Consciousness, similar to Black History Month, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is becoming less black-focused and more multiculturally oriented...

No many would rather say "I'm not black, I'm hispanic/latino". There are a few that do have black pride. Fortunately, Brazil is one of those countries. Maybe the attitude will spread to the rest of Latin America.

Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society
Malcolm X, 1965
Modern-Day Slaves Found on Brazil Senator's Ranch

BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) - Dozens of Brazilian workers were found in slave-like conditions on a senator's ranch on Thursday, the Labor Ministry said, as Congress debated a bill to confiscate the land of such employers.

The discovery of the 32 workers on the ranch of Senator Joao Ribeiro of the right-wing PFL party came two weeks after four Labor Ministry officials investigating slavery elsewhere were shot dead. The killings prompted efforts to speed up passage of the legislation.

The workers were not allowed to leave Ribeiro's ranch in the state of Para in northern Brazil. They worked seven days a week and received no pay, and had no running water or toilets.

Their income went to cover the cost of providing them with food, the Labor Ministry said.

A spokesman for Ribeiro said he was recovering from medical treatment and was unable to comment.

Brazil's Congress is debating a bill to confiscate the land of ranchers who hold such modern-day slaves and give it to some of the 180,000 families waiting in makeshift camps across Brazil for redistributed land.

Brazilians found holding workers in slave-like conditions currently face a fine of 314 reais ($108) per worker and are cut off from state loans.

It has been estimated there are some 25,000 modern-day slaves in Brazil, mostly in isolated parts of the countryside where powerful landowners hold sway.

Brazil imported more African slaves than any other country in the Americas before abolishing the practice in 1888. ($1-2.9 reais)

Free your mind, and the rest will follow.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Yssys:
No many would rather say "I'm not black, I'm hispanic/latino". There are a few that do have black pride. Fortunately, Brazil is one of those countries. Maybe the attitude will spread to the rest of Latin America."

I still cannot cease to be amazed at the dis-unity of peoples of African descent around the globe and the contempt that people of African descent have for one another and for who they REALLY are; at least considering that everywhere around the globe, WE ALL have and still are suffering from contempt from those not of African descent, discrimination, hatred, violence, and as stated, even slavery, to this day, in the year 2004.

I used to think that I would live to see the day that the Black race would stop bowing down before all other races on this planet (and since a majority of all of the peoples of African descent's problems worldwide continue because of this fact), long enough for us to move on to place of self-pride, independence of the approval and sanctions of all the world's peoples not of African descent, but I do not now believe that it will happen in my lifetime.
sunnubian ...

I am still holding on to that very same hope!! There are strides ... maybe not as fast or profound as we'd like to see them, but, there is a great number of our youth who are not championed in the media, who's stories are not told in nearly the same fasion or with the same vigor as those who are not as socially conscious, who are working toward a better understanding of themselves and their agenda and place in this world.

I believe that it will be they who pick up the torch and run with it, and that they will be amply armed with the knowledge and the tools to make things better for all peoples of African decent. However, it is us who need to be ready ... perhaps not to pull them through, but push them from behind when the hole that they are trying to squeeze through gets a little tight or they need that extra little bit of know-how that is only gleaned from past experience! Smile I, for one, will be happy to lend that extra hand. And I do still believe it will not be too old or frail to be of assistance! Smile

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