“In short, these paintings give us a vision of a hierarchical social order in which racial difference is in sync with a whole series of other distinction. Everyone has a place in this panorama of social society but the internal grid divides one social group from another.”
Slavery ended in Brazil in 1888, an estimated amount of four million slaves had entered Brazil. Being African myself, and studying african history has made me become aware of this, but despite the fact that my roots are very much in Africa I knew very little of the slave trade, south of the United States.
And then I watched this video.
I learnt about the whitening that took place in Brazil, the cultural genocide that took place and the deep societal desire to whiten one’s skin, and I felt disgusted. Disgusted, that even today in the 21st century, over 100 years later there are still systemic vices in society to rid people of colour of their colour.
And this is not just in Brazil, it’s everywhere, in Europe, even in Africa. Even between Africans themselves, there is a hierarchy between lighter skinned girls and darker skinned girls. I myself, am a product of my own environment.
For example, I look at my makeup, the fact that I contour lighter under my eyes, the fact that I have to pay significantly more money to find a foundation shade my colour, the fact that I chemically straighten my hair every two months. I don’t believe that I do these things for fun but more as a means of survival. So that I am not judged, so that I am more respected by those around me.
When I look at the pictures, and I see people who look like me undressed, “savage” it shows me how much work has been done but also at the same time how much work needs to be done