Slavery dehumanized masters and slaves. Both lived slavery in a permanent syndrome of fear and revolt. To contain black people and apply violence against them, masters suppressed their sense of humanity and compassion. For that, dominant classes, heirs of slavery order, live until now full of prejudice.
One consequence of the antidemocratic electoral campaign of 2008, marked by countless fake news (false news), was the strengthening of the already existing racism against indigenous people, quilombolas, and particularly against black men and women. According to the last census, 55.4% declared themselves brown or black. That is, after Kenya, we are the largest black nation in the world. Most have African heritage in their blood. In addition, we—white, black, yellow and others—are all Africans, as it was in Africa where the process of anthropogenesis started millions of years ago.
As our history has been written by white hands, many historians tried to soften slavery. The fact is that slavery dehumanized all, masters and slaves. Both lived slavery in a permanent syndrome of fear, riots, and poisonings, murder of masters and children, assaults on their wives. To contain blacks and apply violence against them, masters had to suppress their sense of humanity and compassion. Therefore, dominant classes, inheritors of the slave order, live until today bigoted that blacks, mulattos should be treated with violence and hardness. They are considered lazy, when, in fact, they were the ones who built our churches and colonial buildings.
Most of the time, slaves by far outnumbered whites. In Salvador and in the captaincy of Sergipe, around 1824 there were 666,000 slaves and 192,000 free whites (Clovis Moura, Sociology black, 1988, p. 232). In 1818, 50.6% of Brazilian population was black slaves (Beozzo, Church and Slavery, 1980, p. 259). Now, as we have just mentioned they are 55.4% of the population.
Slavery dehumanized blacks much more. Darcy Ribeiro, in his remarkable book The Brazilian people (1995) sums up the slave condition:
Without anyone’s love, no family, no sex apart from masturbation, without any possible identification with anyone—his foreman could be black, his companions in misfortune, enemy—poorly dressed and dirty, ugly and smelly, sored and sick without any joy or pride on their body, they lived their routine: suffering every day the punishment of lashes, to work attentive and tense. Weekly, there came a preventive, educational, punishment not to think about running away, and, when he drew attention, an exemplary punishment fell upon him in the form of mutilation of fingers, piercing breasts, burning with blight, all broken teeth thoroughly or whipping in the pillory, three hundred lashes at once to kill, or fifty daily lashes to survive. If he run away and were captured, he could be branded with iron or burned alive for days in agony at the oven mouth, or sent inside at once to burn as oily firewood. (p. 119-120).
Because of this kind of violence, slaves internalized the oppressor within themselves. To survive, they had to take the religion, customs, and language of their oppressors. They developed the strategy of “jeitinho” (the accommodation with cunning) to never say no while reaching the goal that they would otherwise never reach.
However, long time ago a strong awareness of negritude emerged, determined to rescue their identity, their religion, and their way of being in the world. It is about establishing liberation subject of black men and women against their forced integration into the iniquitous history of white barbarism.
The story told by the black hand is not a story against the white; it is their own history, not to be confused with the history of the oppressors and slavocrats, although it is dialectically linked to it. It is freely walking its course.
The abolition of slaves in 1888 did not mean the abolition of the slavocratic mentality present in the dominant culture, which continues to hold hundreds of workers in a similar relationship to that of slaves. In January 2019, there were 204 employers committing that crime. Suffice to read the recent work published in 2019 Studies on contemporary forms of slave labor (Maud) where 44 researchers collaborated, covering much of the country, and organized, along with others, by the renowned specialist, Ricardo Rezende Figueira. The final impression is shocking.
How can it still exit the perfidious inhumanity of humans enslaving other human beings?
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