For this week’s blog post, I want to reflect on the legacy of slavery. The questions that Professor Jon asked in his lecture video got me thinking. How does the history of slavery shape the Americas today? There is a lot to cover but I want to share some of what I have learned. I used to think that the legacy of slavery in Brazil could only be found in the ways we deal with race but I have come to learn that there is much more to it. According to Jessé Souza, a Brazilian sociologist, the legacy of slavery in Brazilian society can be seen in the despise toward the lower social classes.
The legacy of slavery is also found in our vocabulary. When we want to describe something not done properly, we say “feito nas coxas” (made with your thighs). The history behind this saying is that slaves used to mold roof tiles with their thighs which resulted in them being of all different shapes and sizes. Likewise the history of the term “criado-mudo” (mute/speechless servant) can be traced to the period of slavery. This is another name we give to a bedside table in Brazilian Portuguese.
From our vocabulary to our homes you will find reminiscence of slavery. In Brazil, it’s extremely common for people to have domestic workers/ housekeepers at their houses. Some of these domestic workers even live in their boss’ house in small rooms built for them. With the large number of Brazilians recently migrating to Portugal, the demand for houses with rooms for domestic workers increased. The profile of domestic workers in Brazil is mainly females, Afro-descendants and with low levels of schooling.
From our vocabulary to our homes and our communities. Police brutality against the Black population is also a major issue in Brazil, in particular the killing of children in the slum communities (favelas).
The questions that I have for this week are what are the legacies of slavery in Canada today? How would you define citizenship?
Here are some resources for this week :
The movie Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?) tells the story of Val, a domestic worker who has been working for the same family for ten years and had to leave her daughter behind in order to do so. This is beautiful movie that reveals a lot about Brazilian society.
The second movie I suggest you watch, Roma by Alfonso Cuarón, also is centered around the story of a domestic worker but this time in Mexico City in the 1970s. Although it does not relate to slavery, it is a critically acclaimed movie that led to discussions around fair treatment for domestic workers.
This is an illustration made by the artist Bruno Braga. Monday, October 12th, we celebrate Children’s Day in Brazil. In his post Bruno is telling us not to forget the children that have been taken away from us, victims of violence and negligence.
The fourth paragraph reads “Official data shows that 120 children of ages up to 12 have been shot in 2019. Out of the these children, 60 died. The majority Black, children of single mothers and living in communities”.
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No dias das crianças, não esquecemos também as que não estão mais entre nós. Faltam Miguel e tantas outras que não sabemos o nome, mas que todo dia são vítimas da violência ou da negligência. #repost @obrunobraga Bem-aventurados os que choram, porque eles serão consolados.. Bem-aventurados os que tem fome e sede de justiça, porque eles serão fartos. Mt. 5:4,6. . Posicionar-se contra o racismo e contra a violência que tem dizimado jovens, sobretudo os pretos, é o mínimo que se espera de alguém que se diz cristão. . Dados oficiais apontam que 120 crianças com idades até 12 anos foram baleadas em 2019. Dessas, 60 morreram. A maioria preta, filhos de mães solteiras e morando em comunidades. . Todas as vidas importam, mas as vidas dos nossos irmãos pretos são as que mais padecem em um país com pouco mais de 130 anos que “aboliu” a escravidão sem oferecer nenhuma forma de inserção digna na sociedade. . Do alto dos nossos privilégios, sem sentir na pele o que é ser preto no Brasil (e mundo), é fácil deixar esse tipo de informação passar batido. É fácil dizer “é bandido porque quer”. É fácil chamar a luta diária deles de “mimimi”, e que as oportunidades estão aí pra todos. Balela. . Hoje eu quis trazer algumas histórias dessas crianças que tiveram suas vidas e sonhos interrompidos. Crianças que se depararam com a crueldade do mundo talvez ainda sem nem ter consciência do quão mais difícil a vida poderia ser pra elas só por causa da cor de sua pele. . Esse é só um lembrete que a vida delas importa tanto quanto a minha e a sua. Que as famílias sejam consoladas e que a justiça seja feita. Aqui na terra e no céu. . #vidasnegrasimportam #vidaspretasimportam #designativista #diadascrianças
October 13, 2020 — 12:14 am
Great blog post:)
The impact of slavery can be seen through our police force (brutality and over policing), disparities among minority groups compared to the majority , hate crimes and micro-aggressions as well as stereotypes. Even in institutions like schools, courts and and places of employments. The negative attitude towards black people has carried on regardless of us being in 2020. I think no real social change has been implemented to show people how wrong this is.
October 13, 2020 — 6:24 am
Wow, this was a great post.
I am personally not from Canada, and therefore my answer might not be as educated as someone else’s. I believe that the legacy of slavery can be seen in the systemic racism against people of colour. For example, the use of certain words uphold and illustrate the legacy of slavery. However, since I come from a country with no formal history of slavery and yet people of ethnic minorities face similar issues here as they would, for example in Canada, what is the difference between racism that is a legacy from slavery and racism that is based on, for example, xenophobia? Or can we even say that we don’t have a legacy of slavery, since we are a part of Europe and the West? Or do you think that those two are even mutually exclusive?
October 14, 2020 — 8:01 pm
Hi, thanks for this engaging post.
I am very grateful about the point you bring up of domestic house workers, and how racism and slavery holds a part in that circle. I personally have many friends whom their mother’s are house caretakers, and based off of the situations that have risen, the idea of slavery definitely can play into that type of work.
Also, these situations have occurred here in Vancouver, and so it is disappointing to realize that it can happen so close to home. But then again, Canada has never been freed from guilt when it comes to facing racism unfortunately.