E-mail from Dani received on
October 28th, 2002
Translation by Shayna McHugh
I adored that ironic criticism of the cheap
euphemism of calling blacks people “of color.” What is so wrong with
being black that makes us want to avoid calling someone black? To avoid calling someone black shows that we consider “being black” a defect, an offensive characteristic, and because of this, it
should avoid being said in order to not “offend”… What prejudice! I inform you of just one detail that has
been stuck in my throat that for a long time, for the good of all and the general happiness of the nation:
RACE does not exist among human beings! Race is a biological specification for (and
only for) irrational animals. In other words, humans (we) are not distinguished by race. There was no historical, geographical,
genetic, temporal, or evolutionary distinction that allowed the differentiation of humans into different species. That which
genetically differentiates a Nordic person from a black person of the Congo is so insignificant that it can
be much less than the difference between individuals of the same color.
The only distinction that is seen, in some
cases, is the cultural difference. Normally, when there is a spatial grouping of individuals of the same color (or any other
characteristics) there exists there a specific culture that comprises various traces besides color, like folklore, musicality,
food, language, religion, etc…
That “collection of phenotypic
and cultural characteristics” (phenotype = physical appearance), we give the name of ETHNICITY.
Therefore, if you want to refer to a person
who is black or white or yellow, indigenous, etc… refer not to race, but instead, if it is the case, to ethnicity.
Example: “…in Brazil there exists an ethnic (instead of a “racial”)
It is very common to see the black movement
itself refer to a “valorization of the black RACE.”
It is a shame that they themselves are
calling themselves by a supposed biological subgroup that does not exist. They end up being prejudiced without knowing or
wanting to be.
It is the same way when they say “preto
(black) is color, negro (black) is race”… it’s sad, they err twice! That phrase is totally ridiculous. Black is a color, yes. But what is the color of their skin? Black! What a
surprise! If a white person can be called a white without constraint/embarrassment, why can’t a black person? And “negro”
is not a race, in the best of the hypotheses, it is only one of the characteristics, which when added to others, forms an
In Brazil it is difficult to make out this differentiation, since:
country there is no significant cultural distinction
whites and blacks in different ethnicities.
we all share the same culture, by which we are all equal.
this is only a hint, ok?
was born I was black
grown up and I’m black
get some sun, I stay black
cold I stay black
scared I stay black
sick I stay black
die I will stay black.
the white man,
are born you are pink
grow up you are white
get some sun, you become red
feel cold you become purple
feel fear you become green
sick you become yellow
die you become gray
still have the nerve
me a “person of color”?