The Criminalization of People of African Descent in Brazil

Authored by: Paulo Mileno

The Routledge Handbook on Africana Criminologies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367435721
eBook ISBN: 9781003004424
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter analyzes the history of the criminalization of the Brazilian Black people and, through history, tries to demonstrate alternatives routes of exit from this status quo. Moreover, the chapter shows the specific case of how racism is veiled in Brazil, where, until recently, the national government did not recognize issues that involve race and racism in its policies. The Anti-Racist Laws were created in democratic periods of national life, and the military civilian regime itself was charged with censoring Black organizations and the influence of international movements. For example, the Black Panthers in the United States were not allowed to have affiliates in Brazil. The exit route alternatives, therefore, should be articulated internationally; Brazil has a fundamental voice as the second-largest Black nation in the world, behind only Nigeria on the entire African continent. This publication in English will contribute to this revolutionary process of fighting against the racism because the Portuguese language ends up being a barrier, limiting access to the knowledge. I think this topic is important because it is an opportunity to know other viewpoints about the Brazilian Black people. In Brazil, 54 percent of the population are people of African descent, and the Black consciousness expects the African world to conduct the anti-racist revolution collaboratively. A true revolution, with Black communities, universities, organizations, journals, publishers, hospitals, companies, and all the best that the Black people deserve would collaborate with similar organizations everywhere to advance equality and liberty. I planned this research with reliance on thinkers as W.E.B. Du Bois, Achille Mbembe, Frantz Fanon, Abdias Nascimento, and Steve Biko, among others. I began with the viewpoint of W.E.B. Du Bois: “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line,” even though the color line in Brazil is different than that in the U.S. Here, within Brazil, when it comes to race, the color of Black race literally is broken down. So, there exist the “brown,” “little brown,” “black,” “little black,” “cor de burro quando foge” (color of donkey escaped), and many others names. Therefore, I made a original contribution to the debate and struggle against the racism, through the view point of Black Press, the approach of anti-racists laws and the redemption role of Brazilian Diaspora.

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