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Brazil

Temer establishes a committee of racial purity

Monday 5 September 2016, by Laura Capriglione

Like a terrible reedition of the practices of the Nazis and the racist apartheid regime in South Africa, the government of the coup (which fomented the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff), presided over by Michel Temer, has just given a very clear signal, one that tramples on the human rights of the community “of African descent”.

Nothing could be as shameful as the decision taken by the “Secretariat for the Management of People and Work Relations”, which comes under the coup-supporting Minister of Planning development and management, Dyogo de Oliveira, to create a racial tribunal to check whether it is genuine Blacks who define themselves as such for competitive public examinations for jobs in the public federal administration, in the autonomous local governments, public foundations, public enterprises or mixed companies under the control of the Federal Union.

Yes, you read it correctly. “Normative Orientation no. 3” of August 1, 2016, published on August 2 in the Diario Oficial da União, provides for the creation of a commission charged with verifying the “self-declaration of blackness”. According to the government, this is about avoiding fraud. One of the “affirmative actions” (to use the term that originated in the United States) established by President Dilma Rousseff (PT) was the adoption of quotas for the competitive examinations organized by the federal public sector, stipulating that a minimum of 20 per cent of recruits had to be Black.

To be included in this quota, the self-declaration of the candidates themselves was enough. But in the republic after Temer’s coup, that is no longer the case.

Now, on top of their own declarations, the candidates must expose their bodies before the “Tribunal of Racial Truth” so that it can be seen whether they are Black enough, tanned enough, whether their hair is frizzy enough… And it is not enough for the candidates to show photos of their Black or mestizo parents to prove they are “of African descent”.

According to the “racist Ministry of Planning” it is just a matter of checking on the physical appearance of a person, in other words the “physical characteristics of an individual, which is the reasonable criterion that makes it possible to see whether candidates are not taking undue advantage of the quotas reserved for Black people”.

This modus operandi is well known by the international Black movement. The first major legislation, adopted by the apartheid regime in South Africa was the law called “classification of the population” , which, from 1950 on, formalised racial division by introducing an identity card for everyone over eighteen, specifying to which racial group the person belonged.

And here in Brazil, by courtesy of the “racist Minister of Planning”, official teams and councils have been set up in order to determine the “race” of individuals whose ethnic classification has not been clearly identified. That means that within the same family, we can find cases of separation of its members into distinct “races”. So we can see families in which one brother is recognized as “of African descent” and the other as “pure White”.

In reality, the initiative of the racists of the ministry aims only to impose new constraints on a huge section of the Brazilian population, which in recent years began finally to recognize with pride its Black or indigenous origins, instead od hiding them under a false and hypocritical “whitening” that was always what was wanted by the Brazilian followers of eugenic theories and of those that assert the supremacy of Whites and Europeans.

It is the enormous lightening of the suffering of our slave ancestors through the recognition of our “African descent” that the racists want to attack through the arrogance of their racial judges. We will not allow it!

Postscript

I have read some reactions on social media of people worried by fraud in the system of quotas. If we want to talk about democratic respect, I would like to provide some supplementary arguments.

1) The objective of the racial quotas is to overturn the historic racism of which particular ethno-racial classes have been victims. And the ethnic group is something that goes much further than physical appearance, since it also presupposes a feeling of belonging to a racial/cultural/social/historical group that suffers from discrimination. You are not Black just because you have a certain quantity of melanin

In your skin, but above all because you have spent your life as Black, with all that that signifies in terms of exclusion. How many Blacks are “quasi-White” because they are the product of forced “mixture”, in other words the result of rapes committed by White men? And it is for these reasons that self-declaration was chosen as the fundamental criterion by those who established the quotas.

2) It is not true that there are thousands of Whites who pretend to be Blacks by usurping the right of the Blacks… The cases of fraud in the system of quotas are insignificant in number, as moreover is recognized even by the enemies of any system of “affirmative action”.

3) And then, supposing that we wanted to avoid even this very small number of cases of fraud, there are much more respectful ways of investigating the “blackness” of someone than putting them in front of a commission of racial judges… Take, for example, what the prefecture of Sao Paulo did after someone was denounced for fraud: “In order to present proof, the candidates can present documents with a photo, but also personal photos or those of their forebears up to the second degree. They can also present official documents in which there is an indication of race or colour, such as the “certainty of birth” (a document that is accepted as a birth certificate in Brazil) of the person concerned, of their parents or even their grandparents”.

4) And finally, who will be the judges in this racial tribunal set up by supporters of the coup…?

This article was first published in the Correio de Cidadania, August 18, 2016¸