Over more than 300 years, the approximately 4.8 million Africans who landed in Bahia or Rio de Janeiro are still today in the matrix of one of the most unequal societies in the world. No one can predict how an episode like Floyd’s would impact elsewhere.
I am a white man and a committed activist against all inequalities. All of them! Be it race, creed or gender. But I know that no matter how sympathetic a white man may be, I know that nothing will make me understand anger z black people feels today.
I spent a lot of energy and time talking to Black, Indian and mulatto friends, discussing the discrimination and violence they sometimes suffer. I tried to explain, unsuccessfully, that most whites are not racist and that, especially for the new generations – and I give the example of my children – this is not even an issue. But this feeling of equality is true for me in the same way that it is unacceptable for those who carry in their blood a enslaved lineage.
I live in a blister and in the blisters these differences are not noticed. In that bourgeois bubble we have all been together in the same school, we have learned history from the same books, we have admired Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Quintino de Lacerda and Nelson Mandela.
It took me a long time to understand that my cultural heritage makes me natural born racist.
We, educated whites, sincerely think that we are not racists, but we don’t know that to a black man’s eyes this feeling of ours may even be genuine but are not true. It took me a long time to understand that my cultural heritage makes me natural born racist. Even if I don’t want to.
Today I know that no matter how much I proclaim equality, equity, and solidarity; no matter how many times I apologize in public and no matter how many times I plead guilty to the infamous behavior of my slave grandparents, all this is of little use if nothing is done to fix the past.
Only those who are white can believe that slavery is a thing of the distant past. For the descendants of black Africans this is far from being so.
For the afro Americans that for three centuries were traded as cattle, died shackled in inhumane galleys crossing the Atlantic or perished in forced labour in a sugar mill or on the tip of a whip on a cotton farm of Mississipi river, that happened just yesterday.
That is why no one could have predicted, in this time of political default, what might happen if someone stops to breath anywhere around the world the same way George Floyd did in Minneapolis.