It is easy for us to naively imply that if we observe and do something throughout our lives, that act is correct. However, what we do in these situations is to reproduce actions without the scrutiny of reflection and criticism.
Some behaviors that we perform routinely are a mere social reproduction of things that we learn our parents, who learn their grandparents, and so on. There are knowledge that are transgenerational.
So it is easy for us to naively imply that if we observe and do something throughout our lives, that act is correct. However, what we do in these situations is to reproduce actions without the scrutiny of reflection and criticism. It is a normalization of that old story of “always been like this” that guides us through phrases and actions that are almost totally automatic.
The fact that something is repeated and “accepted” in our environment, however, does not mean that it is right and, much less, that something we do or have done will not affect the lives of others.
I also remember that, many times, it is time that allows us to see that before what was "correct" (with strong quotes in that mention), today can be seen with its real power of destruction.
There are few people who, for example, were not shocked to see the veiled racism present in the film Corra. The thing is this: when we really perceive something wrong and put ourselves in the other's place, nothing will ever justify us to continue making mistakes. Ah, here's a note for those who marveled at “Corra”, recently HBO launched the series “I May Destroy You”, which also has Jordan Peele in production and once again revolutionizes the way the theme is approached.
But, continuing, to rethink certain acts and phrases, the list below aims to clarify the racism present in some of our popular attitudes and expressions.
Below, even though I am a white woman and having the full notion that I will never know what it is to be a black person (I do not have this place to speak), I ask for permission to speak of examples, mention articles and speak of series that allow us to see this way of reproducing racism in a clearer way.
1- Some time ago, the CONTI website also posted a text in which teacher and historian Luana Tolentino told that, while walking through the streets of Belo Horizonte, she was stopped by a lady who approached her asking if she was cleaning. What stands out in this story is not the fact that you asked if she was cleaning, but the fact that Luana had no indication to justify that question at that time. Nothing, of course, besides the fact that she is black. At the time, Luana replied that she was a teacher. The woman was silent.
2- In another article, published by Revista Pazes, a (white) woman reports how her life changed after marrying a black man. According to her, she began to observe several nuances in her routine that showed how, just because her husband was black, there were significant differences in treatment. Among the examples she told the fact that, in the playground the daughter takes her, the husband always worries about being really close to the child, because, if he watches a distance, he realizes that people analyze him judging him as if he were a molester child looking for prey. (Heavy, right!). Another thing she does is take the wheel when they
they travel to other cities because she knows that the chance of being stopped by the police is thus less.
3- In this topic, we call attention to expressions that we usually reproduce without the slightest reflection of the origin. Among them, we can mention “Export-type mulata” and “Da cor daIND”, both in a connotation that indicates sensualization of the black woman and objectification of her body. Other examples of inappropriate expressions, as they indicate that the word “negro” depreciates what is being discussed are “Black market”, “Black Humor”, “Denegrir,“ Black magic ”,“ Black service ”,“ black list ”, “Black sheep”, “the thing is black”, “white envy” (in this case, white envy would be a mild envy) among so many others. The examples indicate a clear pejorative use of “being black” as a premise for inferiority.
4- A fourth example of structural (and institutional) racism can be seen in the Netflix series “Cara gente branca”. In it, in one of the episodes, there was a fight at a party most of the guests were black. However, the only person at the party who was white, called the police. Two things happened in the sequence, the first was that the police arrived extremely brutally and already pointing guns and humiliating the boy who was a victim, but who was treated as a bandit. The second was the protagonist of the series, in a later conversation with the boy who called the police, trying to make him understand that, for blacks in that context, calling the police did not mean protection but danger.
The above examples show that, now for reproduction without critical, sometimes for not observing the nuances and subtleties of treatments that people find normal, but that are extremely racist, there is a continuous reproduction of racism in society.
The invitation of this text is just to sow a seed so that we have more criticality in relation to what is said and that we observe the details (including the part that is up to us personally). This can already make a big difference.