The political choice of the anti-racist movements to tell a story of struggle for freedom of almost four centuries was to elect November 20 as “National Day of Black Conscience”. This date is the day of death of Zumbi, the main leader of Quilombo dos Palmares, the greatest anti-slavery resistance in the history of Brazil.
To remember this date at the expense of May 13, 1888, the day of the institutional abolition of slavery in the country – the last of the Americas to be abolished – is to bring out the protagonism of black people. In a famous lecture at Ted Talk, which later became the title of a book, Nigerian researcher, and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie emphasized “the danger of the single story”.
For the author it is essential that the story of black people be told by themselves, in the first person, so as not to take the risk of the narrative remaining incomplete, or worse: full of stereotypes, which, almost always, categorize one ethnic-racial group in power and the other in the sphere of dehumanization.
The Western ideology of whitening, adopted by Brazil, has given rise to a tragic scenario of inequalities where whiteness holds the hegemony of speech, intellectual production, and of political, economic, legal, aesthetic, and affective configuration. This “whiteness” in public environments throws light on what Cida Bento called the “narcissistic pact of whiteness”, where individuals are considered superior to racialized people.
The “myth of racial democracy” strongly spread by Gilberto Freire and other authors, where whites and blacks were supposed to be on an even level, reinforces the idea of meritocracy, even when the starting points of this competition are located in uneven places.
The ADR area is not exempt from the ethnic-racial complexities, as we have seen in the famous case of international arbitration of rapper and businessman Jay-Z, whose autonomy of will was frustrated when he tried to identify a black arbitrator on the AAA institutional list, and respecting neutrality and expertise.
Therefore, the reading of Djamila Ribeiro’s “Little Anti-racist Manual” is not only an invitation, but also a commitment of each CAM-CCBC/CCBC collaborator, because the book proposes a practical reformulation of behaviors, allowing white people to identify their place of privilege. We are united in the construction of more inclusive spaces, with the appreciation of each one’s difference as richness.
Enjoy your reading!
Haydée Soula Fiorino Paixão and Monique Rodrigues do Prado