Arquivo da tag: Racismo

How a Famous Harvard Professor Became a Target Over His Tweets (New York Times)

nytimes.com

By Michael Powell, July 15, 2020

The outcry over free speech and race takes aim at Steven Pinker, the best-selling author and well-known scholar.

Professor Steven Pinker, in his office in Cambridge, Mass., in 2018. He has been accused of racial insensitivity by people he describes as “speech police.”
Credit…Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times

Steven Pinker occupies a role that is rare in American life: the celebrity intellectual. The Harvard professor pops up on outlets from PBS to the Joe Rogan podcast, translating dense subjects into accessible ideas with enthusiasm. Bill Gates called his most recent book “my new favorite book of all time.”

So when more than 550 academics recently signed a letter seeking to remove him from the list of “distinguished fellows” of the Linguistic Society of America, it drew attention to their provocative charge: that Professor Pinker minimizes racial injustices and drowns out the voices of those who suffer sexist and racist indignities.

But the letter was striking for another reason: It took aim not at Professor Pinker’s scholarly work but at six of his tweets dating back to 2014, and at a two-word phrase he used in a 2011 book about a centuries-long decline in violence.

“Dr. Pinker has a history of speaking over genuine grievances and downplaying injustices, frequently by misrepresenting facts, and at the exact moments when Black and Brown people are mobilizing against systemic racism and for crucial changes,” their letter stated.

The linguists demanded that the society revoke Professor Pinker’s status as a “distinguished fellow” and strike his name from its list of media experts. The society’s executive committee declined to do so last week, stating: “It is not the mission of the society to control the opinions of its members, nor their expression.”

But a charge of racial insensitivity carries power in the current climate, and the letter sounded another shot in the fraught cultural battles now erupting in academia and publishing.

Also this month, 153 intellectuals and writers — many of them political liberals — signed a letter in Harper’s Magazine that criticized the current intellectual climate as “constricted” and “intolerant.” That led to a fiery response from opposing liberal and leftist writers, who accused the Harper’s letter writers of elitism and hypocrisy.

In an era of polarizing ideologies, Professor Pinker, a linguist and social psychologist, is tough to pin down. He is a big supporter of Democrats, and donated heavily to former President Barack Obama, but he has denounced what he sees as the close-mindedness of heavily liberal American universities. He likes to publicly entertain ideas outside the academic mainstream, including the question of innate differences between the sexes and among different ethnic and racial groups. And he has suggested that the political left’s insistence that certain subjects are off limits contributed to the rise of the alt-right.

Reached at his home on Cape Cod, Professor Pinker, 65, noted that as a tenured faculty member and established author, he could weather the campaign against him. But he said it could chill junior faculty who hold views counter to prevailing intellectual currents.

“I have a mind-set that the world is a complex place we are trying to understand,” he said. “There is an inherent value to free speech, because no one knows the solution to problems a priori.”

He described his critics as “speech police” who “have trolled through my writings to find offensive lines and adjectives.”

The letter against him focuses mainly on his activity on Twitter, where he has some 600,000 followers. It points to his 2015 tweet of an article from The Upshot, the data and analysis-focused team at The New York Times, which suggested that the high number of police shootings of Black people may not have been caused by racial bias of individual police officers, but rather by the larger structural and economic realities that result in the police having disproportionately high numbers of encounters with Black residents.

“Data: Police don’t shoot blacks disproportionately,” Professor Pinker tweeted with a link to the article. “Problem: Not race, but too many police shootings.”

The linguists’ letter noted that the article made plain that police killings are a racial problem, and accused Professor Pinker of making “dishonest claims in order to obfuscate the role of systemic racism in police violence.”

But the article also suggested that, because every encounter with the police carries danger of escalation, any racial group interacting with the police frequently risked becoming victims of police violence, due to poorly trained officers, armed suspects or overreaction. That appeared to be the point of Professor Pinker’s tweet.

The linguists’ letter also accused the professor of engaging in racial dog whistles when he used the words “urban crime” and “urban violence” in other tweets.

But in those tweets, Professor Pinker had linked to the work of scholars who are widely described as experts on urban crime and urban violence and its decline.

“‘Urban’ appears to be a usual terminological choice in work in sociology, political science, law and criminology,” wrote Jason Merchant, vice provost and a linguistics professor at the University of Chicago, who defended Professor Pinker.

Another issue, Professor Pinker’s critics say, is contained in his 2011 book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.” In a wide-ranging description of crime and urban decay and its effect on the culture of the 1970s and 1980s, he wrote that “Bernhard Goetz, a mild-mannered engineer, became a folk hero for shooting four young muggers in a New York subway car.”

The linguists’ letter took strong issue with the words “mild-mannered,” noting that a neighbor later said that Goetz had spoken in racist terms of Latinos and Black people. He was not “mild-mannered” but rather intent on confrontation, they said.

The origin of the letter remains a mystery. Of 10 signers contacted by The Times, only one hinted that she knew the identity of the authors. Many of the linguists proved shy about talking, and since the letter first surfaced on Twitter on July 3, several prominent linguists have said their names had been included without their knowledge.

Several department chairs in linguistics and philosophy signed the letter, including Professor Barry Smith of the University at Buffalo and Professor Lisa Davidson of New York University. Professor Smith did not return calls and an email and Professor Davidson declined to comment when The Times reached out.

The linguists’ letter touched only lightly on questions that have proved storm-tossed for Professor Pinker in the past. In the debate over whether nature or nurture shapes human behavior, he has leaned toward nature, arguing that characteristics like psychological traits and intelligence are to some degree heritable.

He has also suggested that underrepresentation in the sciences could be rooted in part in biological differences between men and women. (He defended Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president who in 2005 speculated that innate differences between the sexes might in part explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Mr. Summers’s remark infuriated some female scientists and was among several controversies that led to his resignation the following year.)

And Professor Pinker has made high-profile blunders, such as when he provided his expertise on language for the 2007 defense of the financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex trafficking charges. He has said he did so free of charge and at the request of a friend, the Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, and regrets it.

The clash may also reflect the fact that Professor Pinker’s rosy outlook — he argues that the world is becoming a better place, by almost any measure, from poverty to literacy — sounds discordant during this painful moment of national reckoning with the still-ugly scars of racism and inequality.

The linguists’ society, like many academic and nonprofit organizations, recently released a wide-ranging statement calling for greater diversity in the field. It also urged linguists to confront how their research “might reproduce or work against racism.”

John McWhorter, a Columbia University professor of English and linguistics, cast the Pinker controversy within a moment when, he said, progressives look suspiciously at anyone who does not embrace the politics of racial and cultural identity.

“Steve is too big for this kerfuffle to affect him,” Professor McWhorter said. “But it’s depressing that an erudite and reasonable scholar is seen by a lot of intelligent people as an undercover monster.”

Because this is a fight involving linguists, it features some expected elements: intense arguments about imprecise wording and sly intellectual put-downs. Professor Pinker may have inflamed matters when he suggested in response to the letter that its signers lacked stature. “I recognize only one name among the signatories,’’ he tweeted. Such an argument, Byron T. Ahn, a linguistics professor at Princeton, wrote in a tweet of his own, amounted to “a kind of indirect ad hominem attack.”

The linguists insisted they were not attempting to censor Professor Pinker. Rather, they were intent on showing that he had been deceitful and used racial dog whistles, and thus, was a disreputable representative for linguistics.

“Any resulting action from this letter may make it clear to Black scholars that the L.S.A. is sensitive to the impact that tweets of this sort have on maintaining structures that we should be attempting to dismantle,” wrote Professor David Adger of Queen Mary University of London on his website.

That line of argument left Professor McWhorter, a signer of the letter in Harper’s, exasperated.

“We’re in this moment that’s like a collective mic drop, and civility and common sense go out the window,” he said. “It’s enough to cry racism or sexism, and that’s that.”

This Year Will End Eventually. Document It While You Can (New York Times)

nytimes.com

Lesley M. M. Blume

Museums are working overtime to collect artifacts and ephemera from the pandemic and the racial justice movement — and they need your help.

A journal submitted to the Autry Museum by Tanya Gibb, who came down with Covid-19 symptoms on March 5. The donor thought the canceled plans were also representative of the pandemic.
Credit…The Autry Museum of the American West

July 14, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET

A few weeks ago, a nerdy joke went viral on Twitter: Future historians will be asked which quarter of 2020 they specialize in.

As museum curators and archivists stare down one of the most daunting challenges of their careers — telling the story of the pandemic; followed by severe economic collapse and a nationwide social justice movement — they are imploring individuals across the country to preserve personal materials for posterity, and for possible inclusion in museum archives. It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort, they say.

“Our cultural seismology is being revealed,” said Anthea M. Hartig, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History of the events. Of these three earth-shaking events, she said, “The confluence is unlike mostanything we’ve seen.”

Museums, she said, are grappling “with the need to comprehend multiple pandemics at once.”

Last August, Dr. Erik Blutinger joined the staff of Mt. Sinai Queens as an emergency medicine physician. He knew that his first year after residency would be intense, but nothing could have prepared him for the trial-by-fire that was Covid-19.

Aware that he was at the epicenter not only of a global pandemic, but of history, Dr. Blutinger, 34, began to take iPhone videos of the scenes in his hospital, which was one of New York City’s hardest hit during the early days of the crisis.

“Everyone is Covid positive in these hallways,” he told the camera in one April 9 recording which has since been posted on the Mount Sinai YouTube channel, showing the emergency room hallways filled with hissing oxygen tanks, and the surge tents set up outside the building. “All you hear is oxygen. I’m seeing young patients, old patients, people of all age ranges, who are just incredibly sick.”

He estimated that he has recorded over 50 video diaries in total.

In Louisville, Ky., during the protests and unrest that followed the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a Louisville resident, filmmaker named Milas Norris rushed to the streets to shoot footage using a Sony camera and a drone.

“It was pretty chaotic,” said Mr. Norris, 24, describing police in riot gear, explosions, and gas and pepper bullets. He said thatat first he didn’t know what he would do with the footage; he has since edited and posted some of it on his Instagram and Facebook accounts. “I just knew that I had to document and see what exactly was happening on the front lines.”

NPR producer Nina Gregory collects "personal ambi," or ambient noise from her home in Hollywood, Calif. "It's another form of diary," she said.
Credit…Kemper Bates

About 2,000 miles west, in Los Angeles, NPR producer Nina Gregory, 45, had set up recording equipment on the front patio of her Hollywood home. In March and April, she recorded the absence of city noise. “The sound of birds was so loud it was pinging red on my levels,” she said.

Soon the sounds of nature were replaced by the sounds of helicopters from the Los Angeles Police Department hovering overhead, and the sounds of protesters and police convoys moving through her neighborhood. She recorded all this for her personal records.

“It’s another form of diary,” she said.

Museums have indicated that these kinds of private recordings have critical value as public historical materials. All of us, curators say, are field collectors now.

In the spirit of preservation, Ms. Hartig from the National Museum of American History — along with museum collectors across the country — have begun avid campaigns to “collect the moment.”

“I do think it’s a national reckoning project,” she said. There are “a multitude of ways in which we need to document and understand — and make history a service. This is one of our highest callings.”

Some museums have assembled rapid response field collecting teams to identify and secure storytelling objects and materials. Perhaps the most widely-publicized task force, assembled by three Smithsonian museums working in a coalition, dispatched curators to Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., to identify protest signs for eventual possible collection.

A demonstrator who was photographed by Jason Spear of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Lafayette Square in June. Mr. Spear is part of the rapid response team working to identify protest signs for possible future collection.
Credit…Jason Spear/NMAAHC Public Affairs Specialist

The collecting task force went into action after June 1, when President Trump ordered Lafayette Square cleared of protesters so he could pose for photos in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, clutching a bible. Shield-bearing officers and mounted police assailed peaceful protesters there with smoke canisters, pepper bullets, flash grenades and chemical spray. The White House subsequently ordered the construction of an 8-foot-high chain link fence around the perimeter, which protesters covered in art and artifacts.

Taking immediate moves to preserve these materials — much of which was made of paper and was vulnerable to the elements — amounted to a curatorial emergency for the Smithsonian’s archivists.

Yet with many museums still closed, or in the earliest stages of reopening, curatorial teams largely cannot yet bring most objects into their facilities. It isfalling to individuals to become their own interim museums and archives.

While some curators are loath to suggest a laundry list of items that we should be saving — they say that they don’t want to manipulate the documentation of history, but take their cues from the communities they document — many are imploring us to see historical value in the everyday objects of right now.

“Whatever we’re taking to be ordinary within this abnormal moment can, in fact, serve as an extraordinary artifact to our children’s children,” said Tyree Boyd-Pates, an associate curator at the Autry Museum of the American West, which is asking the public to consider submitting materials such as journal entries, selfies and even sign-of-the times social media posts (say, a tweet about someone’s quest for toilet paper — screengrab those, he said)

Credit…Lisa Herndon/The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

To this end, curators said, don’t be so quick to edit and delete your cellphone photos right now. “Snapshots are valuable,” said Kevin Young, the director of New York City’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. “We might look back at one and say, ‘This picture tells more than we thought at the time.’”

At the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, the curatorial team will be evaluating and collecting protest materials such as placards, photos, videos and personalized masks — and the personal stories behind them.

“One activist found a tear-gas canister, and he gave it to us,” said Noelle Trent, a director at the museum. “We’re going to have to figure out how to collect items from the opposing side: We have to have theracist posters, the ‘Make America Great’ stuff. We’re going to need that at some point. The danger is that if we don’t have somebody preserving it, they will say this situation was notas bad.”

And there is perhaps no article more representative of this year than the mask, which has “become a really powerful visual symbol,” said Margaret K. Hofer, the vice president and museum director of the New-York Historical Society, which has identified around 25 masks that the museum will collect, including an N95 mask worn by a nurse in the Samaritan’s Purse emergency field hospital set up in New York’s Central Park in the spring. (The museum also collected a set of field hospital scrubs, and a cowbell that the medical team rang whenever they discharged a patient.)

A cowbell that was rung at the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital in Central Park each time a Covid patient was discharged is now in the archives of the New-York Historical Society.
Credit…New-York Historical Society

“The meaning of masks has shifted over the course of these past several months,” Ms. Hofer said. “Early on, the ones we were collecting were being sewn by people who were trying to aid medical workers, when there were all those fears about shortage of P.P.E. — last resort masks.And they’ve more recentlybecome a political statement.”

Curators say that recording the personal stories behind photos, videos and objects are just as crucial as the objects themselves — and the more personal, the better. Museums rely on objects to elicit an emotional reaction from visitors, and that sort of personal connection requires knowing the object’s back story.

“For us, really the artifact is just a metaphor, and behind that artifact are these voices, and this humanity,” said Aaron Bryant, who curates photography and visual culture at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and who isleading the Smithsonian’s ongoing collection response in Lafayette Square.

Curatorial teams from many museums are offering to interview donors about their materials and experiences,and encourage donors to include detailed descriptions and back stories when submitting objects and records for consideration. Many are also collecting oral histories of the moment.

Many museums have put out calls for submissions on social media and are directing would-be donors to submission forms to their websites. The National Museum of African American History and Culture site has a thorough form that covers items’ significance, dimensions, condition and materials. The Civil Rights Museum is looking for “archival materials, books, photographs, clothing/textiles, audio visual materials, fine art and historic objects” that share civil rights history. The New-York Historical Society is seeking Black Lives Matter protest materials.

“We review material, we talk about it, and we respond to everyone,” said William S. Pretzer, a senior curator of history at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “We can’t collect everything, but we’re not limiting ourselves to anything.”

Gathering materials from some communities is proving challenging, and curators are strategizing collection from individuals who may be unlikely to offer materials to historical institutions.

An anti-racism poster by 14-year-old Kyra Yip. It will be on display at New York’s Museum of Chinese in America when they reopen.
Credit…Kyra Yip

“A lot of our critical collecting and gathering of diverse stories we’ve been able to do because of directed outreach,” said Ms. Hofer of the New-York Historical Society. “We’re trying to capture the experience of all aspects of all populations in the city, including people experiencing homelessness and the incarcerated.”

“We want to make the barrier to entry on this very low,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, the president of New York’s Museum of Chinese in America, which began collecting materials relating to pandemic-related racist attacks on Asians and Asian-Americans in late winter, and personal testimonies about experiences during the pandemic and protests. Because museums may not necessarily be obvious repositories for many immigrant communities, Ms. Maasbach said, the museum is making translators available to those who want to tell their stories.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re being accessible in creating this record,” Ms. Maasbach said.

Curators recognize that their story-of-2020 collecting will continue for years; we are in the midst of ongoing events. They are asking us to continue to document the subsequent chapters — and to be as posterity-minded as one can be when it comes to ephemera.

“We don’t know what the puzzle looks like yet,” said Ms. Hartig of the National Museum of American History. “Yet we know that each of these pieces might be an important one.”

Some museums are exhibiting submitted and accepted items right away on websites or on social media; others are planning virtual and physical exhibits for as early as this autumn. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, for example, is collecting masks and oral history testimonies from Native American communities and is considering the creation of a “rapid response gallery,” said the museum’s vice president and chief curator Elisa G. Phelps.

“If art is being sparked by something very timely, we want to have a place where we can showcase works and photos,” she said, adding that this process differed from “the elaborate, formal exhibit development process.”

Some donors, however, may not be among those to view their materials once they become part of institutionalized history — at least not right away. Even though Dr. Blutinger said that he sees the historical value of his emergency room video diaries,he has yet to revisit the peak-crisis videos himself.

“I’m almost scared to look back at them,” he said. “I’m worried that they’ll reignite a set of emotions that I’ve managed to tuck away. I’m sure one day I’ll look back and perhaps open up one or two clips, but I have never watched any of them all the way through.”

Lesley M.M. Blume is a journalist, historian andthe author of “Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World,” which will be published on August 4.

Donna Haraway: We are living in dangerous but also generative transformational times

Facebook, 24 June 2020

We are living in dangerous but also generative transformational times at the confluence of (at least) 3 emergencies:

1) covid 19 pandemic (not to mention other diseases of both humans and nonhumans rampaging through the living world), but also in the midst of powerful emergent practices of collective care and refusal of death-denial and transcendentalism

2) racial capitalism/neofascism run rampant, but also anti-racist & indigenous justice&care movements surging in the context of world wide economic & environmental crises

3) multispecies extermination/extinction/genocide in the web of climate injustice, extractionism, and catastrophe capitalism, but also widespread revulsion at human exceptionalism and growing affirmation of the earth & earthlings of powerful kinds

Science and technology matter in all of these. “Science for the People” has never been more relevant (especially if the “people” are both human and more than human).
No more business as usual. These times are more dangerous than ever, but maybe, just maybe, there is a chance for something better. So, the old question for the left, what is to be done?

That’s what I want to talk about. What is it like to live in times of possibilities, when just a year ago many of us thought nothing was possible?

The Ugly History of Climate Determinism Is Still Evident Today (Scientific American)

To fix climate injustice, we have to face our implicit biases about people living in different regions of the world

By Simon Donner on June 24, 2020

The Ugly History of Climate Determinism Is Still Evident Today
Boy swims in seawater in the flooded village of Eita in Kiribati. Credit: Jonas Gratzer Getty Images

When you perform a Google Image search for “victims of climate change,” the faces you see are those of Black and brown people in the tropics. The images depict small reef islands in the Pacific Ocean, arid landscapes in East Africa and flooded villages in South Asia.

At some level, this association seems to make sense: Climate change disproportionately affects indigenous people and people of color, both within North America and around the world. The people and the nations least responsible for the problem are, in many cases, the most threatened.

But the search results also reflect the assumption, common among individuals in the global north—notably Europe and North America—that people in tropical climates are helpless victims who lack the capacity to cope with climate change. Beneath that assumption lies a long, ugly history of climate determinism: the racially motivated notion that the climate influences human intelligence and societal development. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, we need to reckon with systemic racism in all forms. Understanding how climate determinism unfolded historically can reveal the racial biases in present-day conversations about climate change. And it can better prepare us to address the very real inequalities of climate injury and adaptation—which I have seen firsthand while working with colleagues in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati over the past 15 years.

The story starts with the term “climate.” It comes from the ancient Greek word klima, which describes latitude. Greek philosophers deduced that the temperature at a given time of year varies roughly with the klima, because latitude determines how much energy a region receives from the sun. Eratosthenes defined bands of klima, later to be called clim-ata, going from frigid belts in the high latitudes, where there was permanent night in winter, to a hot band near the equator.

That is the sanitized origin story in most old textbooks. Here’s the part you’re not told: Using the concept of the “golden mean,” the ideal balance between two extremes, Greek philosophers argued that civilization thrived the most in climates that were neither too hot nor too cold. Greece, not so coincidentally, happened to be in the middle climate. The Greek people used climate to argue that they were healthier and more advanced than their neighbors to the north and south.

Scan the ancient Greek and Roman texts taught in philosophy classes—from Aristotle, Herodotus, Hippocrates, Plato, Cicero, Ptolemy, Pliny the Elder—and you will find passages that use climate differences to make harsh claims about other races. Hippocrates, often called the father of modern medicine, argued that more equatorial civilizations to the south were inferior because the climate was too hot for creativity. In Politics, Aristotle argued that people in cold climates were “full of spirit, but wanting in intelligence and skill,” whereas those in warm climates were “wanting in spirit, and therefore they are always in a state of subjection and slavery.” These ideas were parroted by scholars across Europe and the Islamic world throughout the Middle Ages. Ibn al-Faqih, a Persian geographer in the 10th century, assertedpeople in equatorial climates were born “either like uncooked pastry or like things so thoroughly cooked as to be burnt.” Another suggested northerners tended toward albinism.

During the Enlightenment scientists used stories of heat and disease from tropical expeditions to build faux empirical evidence for racially loaded climate determinism. Scholars, as well as national leaders, advanced the European colonial view of tropical people and society as a lesser other, a practice referred to today as “tropicality.” Immanuel Kant argued in the late 1700s that a mix of warm and cold weather made Europeans smarter, harder-working, prettier, more civilized and wittier than the “exceptionally lethargic” people in the tropics. David Hume claimed that southern people were more sexual because their blood was heated. These arguments were also adapted to claim superiority over indigenous people of North America: writers such as Montesquieu claimed that the more extreme weather of the American colonies created degeneracy.

Blatant climate determinism persisted in the academic literature well into the last century. Geographer Ellsworth Huntington’s 1915 book Civilization and Climate featured tropicality-infused maps of “climatic energy” and “level of civilization”—which the journal Nature highlighted as showing “remarkably close agreement” when it published his 1947 obituary.

Although such claims no longer appear in textbooks, tropicality lives on in Western popular culture and everyday discourse. Think of how movies, books and vacation ads depict tropical islands as unsophisticated places where you can get your mind off the busy tasking of advanced society. The subtext: it is hot here, so no one works hard. Movies and TV programs also present certain tropical locations as dangerous, dirty and disease-ridden because of the climate. The 2020 Netflix film Extraction literally imposes a yellow filter on images of Bangladesh to disguise the blue skies.

Research and media coverage of climate are not immune from this cultural history. Well-intentioned efforts to document and spread stories about the inequalities of climate change inadvertently call up implicit climatic biases. For example, story after story presents the people of low-lying Pacific island nations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu as potential climate “refugees”—victims in need of hand-holding rather than resilient individuals able to make conscious and informed decisions about their future. Warnings that climate change could help trigger mass migration, violence and political instability focus almost exclusively on the global south—Latin American, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia—and ignore the likelihood of similar unrest in Europe and North America, despite current events. This implicit bias rears its head in coverage of climate change in the U.S. Deep South, too: Why were Black Americans who were moving to Houston after Hurricane Katrina called “refugees,” a word applied to international migrants, when they had not left the country?

The problem persists, in part, because predicting the impacts of climate change inevitably requires assumptions about people and society. Science can project future climate conditions and those conditions’ impacts on the environment at any latitude. But there is no formula for calculating how individuals, communities or society at large will respond. This inexactness opens the door for implicit biases, developed over hundreds of years of deterministic thinking, to influence conclusions about who is, and who is not, capable of adapting to climate change. For example, a 2018 study inNature Climate Change found that research on climate and conflict suffers from a “streetlight” effect: researchers tend to conclude that climate change will cause violence in Africa and the Middle East because that is where they choose to look.

This legacy of deterministic thinking matters because it can do real-world damage. Rhetoric about climate refugees robs people of agency in their own future. Adaptation is possible, even in low-lying atoll nations. But good luck to them in securing international investment, loans or assistance for adaptation when every story says their community is doomed. People across the tropics have been pushing back. The slogan of the Pacific islands’ youth groupthe Pacific Climate Warriors—“We are not drowning. We are fighting.”—is an explicit rebuke to reflexive, racially loaded assumptions that the people of the Pacificare not up to the challenge.

Climate change is about legacy. We are seeing the legacy of past greenhouse gas emissions in today’s warming climate. And we are seeing the legacy of systemic racism and inequality in the impacts of that warming: indigenous peoples in the Arctic losing a way of life; people of color in the U.S. being disproportionately affected by extreme heat; slum dwellers in Chennai, India, suffering from floods. We need to spread the word about the inequalities of climate change. To do so responsibly, we must be willing to check our implicit biases before drawing conclusions about people living in different places.

Cientistas pedem paralização acadêmica em apoio ao movimento Vidas Negras Importam (GIZMODO)

Por Ryan F. Mandelbaum, 9 de junho de 2020. Tradução de Renzo Taddei; revisão de Fernando Martins.

Artigo original

A supremacia branca é parte da organização da ciência e da academia, desde a linguagem racista presente em livros didáticos até uma cultura que exclui cientistas negros do avanço e inovação profissional em ritmo similar ao de seus colegas brancos. Neste momento, no lugar de mais declarações tímidas de apoio e iniciativas de promoção de diversidade racial, os pesquisadores querem ação. Os organizadores do movimento #ShutDownSTEM estão pedindo à comunidade científica que participe de uma paralisação do trabalho na quarta-feira, 10 de junho, para chamar a atenção para o racismo no mundo da pesquisa.

Dois grupos de cientistas, tecnólogos e especialistas em diversidade e inclusão se reuniram para organizar uma paralisação e greve em 10 de junho, com as hashtags #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM e #Strike4BlackLives. Ambos os grupos solicitam aos pesquisadores e acadêmicos que paralisem suas atividades cotidianas e, concentrem-se em ações de longo prazo: educando-se nos problemas enfrentados pelos acadêmicos negros, protestando e elaborando planos com base no trabalho realizado pelos líderes negros para desmantelar o racismo entrincheirado em seus respectivos campos de atuação. Centenas de cientistas, incluindo ganhadores do Prêmio Nobel e pesquisadores renomados, assinaram o compromisso de participar.

“Precisamos assumir a responsabilidade de acabar com o racismo contra pessoas negras em nossas comunidades nas áreas de ciência, tecnologia, engenharia e matemática (grupo de disciplinas designadas pela sigla STEM nos países de língua inglesa), e na academia em geral. Isso é extremamente importante por causa do nosso papel na sociedade”, disse Brittany Kamai, física experimental que atua na Universidade da Califórnia, Santa Cruz e no Caltech, ao Gizmodo,. “Vai ser difícil, e a comunidade crescerá com isso. Pedimos a toda a comunidade do STEM e da academia que se comprometam a crescer juntos para erradicar isso”, disse Kamai, organizadora da #ShutDownAcademia/# ShutDownSTEM e nativa do Havaí.

Os protestos contra a violência policial direcionada às pessoas negras nos EUA serviram como catalisador para o movimento #ShutDownAcademia/# ShutDownSTEM colaborar com uma iniciativa de pesquisadores do campo da física, o Partículas para a Justiça (Particles for Justice). Mas essas questões há muito vêm borbulhando na comunidade científica. Um relatório no início deste ano constatou que a já desanimadora percentagem de estudantes negros formados em física não mudou em 10 anos, em parte devido à falta de apoio e orientação, assim como decorrente do declínio no financiamento de faculdades e universidades historicamente negros.

A discriminação contra os cientistas negros também se faz presente de maneira insidiosa. Os laboratórios ainda se referem a parte de equipamentos como “mestre” e “escravo”, enquanto o marco mais comumente discutido na computação quântica é a “supremacia quântica”. Há poucos, se houver algum, periódicos científicos trabalhando de forma ativa para avaliar essa forma de linguagem. Os prédios nos campi das faculdades recebem o nome de pessoas racistas ou que foram proprietários de escravos, e pseudociência costuma ser usada para tentar racionalizar e justificar o racismo.

“Quando [a comunidade acadêmica] tenta mostrar o valor da diversidade e da inclusão, o faz transferindo às pessoas marginalizadas a responsabilidade por sua própria libertação”, comentou Brian Nord, pesquisador do Fermilab, “Eles fazem com que nós, que já estamos inseridos nesse sistema e que enfrentamos os problemas que o sistema criou, realizemos essas atividades e nos juntemos a esses comitês (de promoção de igualdade racial) e todas essas coisas, que acabaram servindo apenas como vitrines … Não há investimento real e compromisso com esta questão”.


Esse trabalho de ativismo coloca os acadêmicos negros em desvantagem e afeta as perspectivas de avanço na carreira, uma vez que os demais pesquisadores destinam período de tempo equivalente para publicar artigos,. Quando surgiram questões de violência policial contra negros, disse Kamai, seus colegas procuraram apoio em outros lugares que não a comunidade acadêmica, como coletivos acadêmicos liderados por negros.

“Não queremos mais seminários sobre diversidade, inclusão e equidade”, disse Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, professora assistente de física e integrante do corpo docente dos estudos de gênero da Universidade de New Hampshire, ao Gizmodo. “Queremos que as pessoas tomem medidas efetivas, incluindo a participação em protestos por justiça. Precisamos que as pessoas sejam ativas na reforma das instituições em que trabalham, em vez de esperar por uma solução de cima para baixo”. Prescod-Weinstein é uma das organizadoras do movimento Particles for Justice.

Tais grupos pedem a todos os cientistas que usem o dia 10 de junho para educar a si mesmos e a seus alunos, organizar protestos, entrar em contato com seus representantes locais e fazer planos de ação sobre como eles trabalharão para mudar a ciência e a academia, ao invés de simplesmente fazer um dia de greve. Igualmente importante, dizem os organizadores, é que os colegas negros usem o dia para priorizar suas necessidades e encontrar apoio em suas comunidades.

Kamai disse que o #ShutDownSTEM não se destina a cientistas diretamente envolvidos na mitigação da pandemia global de covid-19. Ainda assim, o grupo Particles for Justice incentiva os pesquisadores sobre a COVID-19 a tomar um momento na quarta-feira para refletir sobre como seu trabalho pode contribuir para esses pedidos de justiça.

Nord disse ao Gizmodo que espera que os físicos apliquem ao movimento a mesma paixão que eles trazem para descobrir as verdades fundamentais do universo, como se sua vida e a de todos os cientistas negros dependesse disso. “Essa energia e criatividade são o que precisamos. Precisamos que eles tragam sua compaixão e vontade de aprender novos métodos e coisas novas, de pessoas que já sabem como fazer isso. ”

Esses movimentos exigem a participação de aliados não-negros para que as mudanças ocorram, especialmente em campos como a física. “A física de partículas é uma das disciplinas acadêmicas com as mais baixas representações dos cientistas negros”, disse Tien-Tien Yu, professor assistente de física da Universidade do Oregon. “A greve trará atenção a esse fato, e é importante para nós, como comunidade, entender por que a situação está neste ponto, e mais crucialmente, propor soluções concretas. Mas, primeiro, esperamos que os físicos não-negros finalmente aprendam a ouvir o que os cientistas negros vêm dizendo durante todos esses anos”.

Mais de 3.100 acadêmicos se comprometeram a atuar com o Particles for Justice, incluindo os ganhadores do Prêmio Nobel de Física Adam Riess e Art McDonald.

Grupos científicos de primeira importância já declararam sua participação. A plataforma de artigos arXiv, onde os cientistas costumam postar seus trabalhos de pesquisa antes da publicação, não enviará sua comunicação diária. Grupos como o LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, o Dark Energy Survey e outros já concordaram em adiar reuniões regulares ou estão planejando discussões com os membros de seus grupos. A Associação Canadense de Físicos também anunciou sua participação.

Os movimentos Particles for Justice e #ShutDownAcademia/#ShutDownSTEM listaram ações que acadêmicos e profissionais da academia interessados em participar podem adotar para desmantelar o racismo em seus respectivos campos.

Ryan F. Mandelbaum, divulgador da ciências, fundador da Birdmodo

Scientists Call for Academic Shutdown in Support of Black Lives (Gizmodo)

Ryan F. Mandelbaum

June 9, 2020

Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos (Getty Images)

White supremacy is baked into science and academia, from racist language in textbooks to a culture that excludes Black scientists from innovating and advancing at the same pace as their colleagues. But rather than more milquetoast statements and diversity initiatives, researchers want action. Organizers are asking the scientific community to participate in a work stoppage on Wednesday, June 10 to bring attention to racism in the world of research.

Two groups of scientists, technologists, and diversity and inclusion specialists have come together to organize a shutdown and strike on June 10, with the hashtags #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM, and #Strike4BlackLives. They’re asking science professionals and academics to stop doing business as usual and to instead focus on long-term action: protesting, educating themselves on the issues that Black academics face, and drafting plans based on existing work done by Black leaders on how they’ll dismantle the racism entrenched in their respective fields. Hundreds of scientists, including Nobel Prize winners and high-profile groups, have signed a pledge to take part.

“We need to hold our communities in STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] and academia accountable to ending anti-Black racism. This is critically important because of our role in society,” Brittany Kamai, an experimental physicist with a joint appointment at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Caltech, told Gizmodo. “It’s going to be hard, and it will be growth for the community. We’re asking the entire community of both STEM and academia to commit to growing together to eradicate this,” said Kamai, who is an organizer behind #ShutDownAcademia/#ShutDownSTEM and a Native Hawaiian.

The ongoing protests against police violence targeting Black people in the U.S. served as the catalyst for #ShutDownAcademia/#ShutDownSTEM to collaborate with the physics-specific effort Particles for Justice. But these issues have long been bubbling up in the science community. A report earlier this year found that the already-dismal percentage of Black students receiving bachelors degrees in physics hasn’t changed in 10 years, in part due to a lack of support and mentorship as well as a decline in funding of historically Black colleges and universities.

Discrimination against Black scientists rears its head in more insidious ways, too. Labs will still refer to various pairs of equipment as “master” and “slave,” while the most commonly discussed milestone in quantum computing is “quantum supremacy;” few, if any publishing outlets are actively working to evaluate this kind of language. Buildings on college campuses are named after racists and slave owners, and pseudoscience is often used to try to rationalize and justify racism.

“When [the academic community] does try to show the value of diversity and inclusion, they do it by having those who are already marginalized do the work of their own liberation,” Brian Nord, research scientist at Fermilab, told Gizmodo. “They have us who are already embedded in that system and facing the problems that the system created do these activities and join these committees and all of these things that have ultimately been shown just to be window dressing… There has not been real investment and commitment in us.”

This extra work, in turn, does not offer the same career advancement as, say, using that time to publish papers, and puts them at a disadvantage. When issues of police violence against Black people crop up, Kamai said, her peers have looked to places other than the academic community for support, such as Black-led scholar collectives.

“We don’t want more diversity, inclusion, and equity seminars,” Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, assistant professor of physics and core faculty in women’s studies at University of New Hampshire, told Gizmodo. “We want people to take action, including participating in protests, for justice, now. We need people to be active in reforming the institutions they work within, rather than waiting for a top-down solution.” Prescod-Weinstein is one of the organizers of Particles for Justice.

The groups are encouraging all scientists to use the day to educate themselves and their students, organize protests, contact their local representatives, and make action plans for how they’ll work to change science and academia beyond just a single day’s strike. Just as important, they encourage their Black colleagues to use the day to prioritize their needs and find community support.

Kamai said that #ShutDownSTEM is not aimed at scientists who are directly participating in mitigating the global covid-19 pandemic. The Particles for Justice group encourages covid-19 researchers take a moment on Wednesday to reflect on how their work can contribute to these calls for justice.

Nord told Gizmodo that he hopes physicists will apply the passion they bring to figuring out fundamental truths of the universe to the movement, as if his and all Black scientists’ lives depended on it. “That energy and creativity is what we need. We need them to bring their compassion and their willingness to learn new methods and new things from other people who already know how to do this.”

These movements require non-Black allies to precipitate change, especially in fields like physics. “Particle physics is one of the academic disciplines with the lowest representations of Black scientists,” Tien-Tien Yu, assistant professor of physics at the University of Oregon, told Gizmodo. “The strike will bring this fact to the forefront, and it is important for us as a community to understand why this is so, but more crucially, to propose concrete solutions. But first, we hope that given that this is a Black-scientist led movement, we non-Black physicists finally learn to listen to what they have been saying all these years.”

More than 3,100 academics have pledged to strike with Particles for Justice, including Nobel Prize in Physics winners Adam Riess and Art McDonald.

Major scientific groups have already signed on to take part. The arXiv physics preprint server, where scientists often post their research papers ahead of publication, will not mail its daily announcement on Tuesday. Groups such as the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, the Dark Energy Survey, and others have already agreed to postpone regular meetings or are planning discussions for their group members. The Canadian Association of Physicists has also announced its participation.

Both Particles for Justice and #ShutDownAcademia/#ShutDownSTEM have listed actions that academics and science professionals can take in order to dismantle racism in their respective fields, if you’re hoping to get involved.

Ryan F. Mandelbaum, Science Writer, Founder of Birdmodo

London’s statues from ‘bygone’ imperial past to be reviewed, mayor says (Reuters)

uk.reuters.com

Reuters Editorial – June 9, 2020 / 5:16 AM

A police officer stands next to the statue of Winston Churchill at Parliament Square which was damaged by protesters with graffiti, in the aftermath of protests against the death of George Floyd who died in police custody in Minneapolis, London, Britain, June 8, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) – London mayor Sadiq Khan has ordered a review of the capital’s statues and street names after the toppling of the statue of an English slave trader by anti-racism protesters triggered a debate about the demons of Britain’s imperial past.

A statue of Edward Colston, who made a fortune in the 17th century from trading West African slaves, was torn down and thrown into Bristol harbour on Sunday by a group of demonstrators taking part in a wave of protests following the death of George Floyd in the United States.

Khan said a commission would review statues, plaques and street names which largely reflect the rapid expansion of London’s wealth and power at the height of Britain’s empire in the reign of Queen Victoria.

“Our capital’s diversity is our greatest strength, yet our statues, road names and public spaces reflect a bygone era,” Khan said. He said some statues would be removed.

“It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade and while this is reflected in our public realm, the contribution of many of our communities to life in our capital has been wilfully ignored.”

In the biggest deportation in known history, weapons and gunpowder from Europe were swapped for millions of African slaves who were then shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas. Ships returned to Europe with sugar, cotton and tobacco.

As many as 17 million African men, women and children were torn from their homes and shackled into one of the world’s most brutal globalized trades between the 15th and 19th centuries. Many died in merciless conditions.

Those who survived endured a life of subjugation on sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations. Britain abolished the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1807 although the full abolition of slavery did not follow for another generation.

See VIDEO

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Nick Macfie

How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race’ (New York Times)

Credit: Angie Wang

In 1942, the anthropologist Ashley Montagu published “Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race,” an influential book that argued that race is a social concept with no genetic basis. A classic example often cited is the inconsistent definition of “black.” In the United States, historically, a person is “black” if he has any sub-Saharan African ancestry; in Brazil, a person is not “black” if he is known to have any European ancestry. If “black” refers to different people in different contexts, how can there be any genetic basis to it?

Beginning in 1972, genetic findings began to be incorporated into this argument. That year, the geneticist Richard Lewontin published an important study of variation in protein types in blood. He grouped the human populations he analyzed into seven “races” — West Eurasians, Africans, East Asians, South Asians, Native Americans, Oceanians and Australians — and found that around 85 percent of variation in the protein types could be accounted for by variation within populations and “races,” and only 15 percent by variation across them. To the extent that there was variation among humans, he concluded, most of it was because of “differences between individuals.”

In this way, a consensus was established that among human populations there are no differences large enough to support the concept of “biological race.” Instead, it was argued, race is a “social construct,” a way of categorizing people that changes over time and across countries.

It is true that race is a social construct. It is also true, as Dr. Lewontin wrote, that human populations “are remarkably similar to each other” from a genetic point of view. 

But over the years this consensus has morphed, seemingly without questioning, into an orthodoxy. The orthodoxy maintains that the average genetic differences among people grouped according to today’s racial terms are so trivial when it comes to any meaningful biological traits that those differences can be ignored.

The orthodoxy goes further, holding that we should be anxious about any research into genetic differences among populations. The concern is that such research, no matter how well-intentioned, is located on a slippery slope that leads to the kinds of pseudoscientific arguments about biological difference that were used in the past to try to justify the slave trade, the eugenics movement and the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews.

I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among “races.”

Groundbreaking advances in DNA sequencing technology have been made over the last two decades. These advances enable us to measure with exquisite accuracy what fraction of an individual’s genetic ancestry traces back to, say, West Africa 500 years ago — before the mixing in the Americas of the West African and European gene pools that were almost completely isolated for the last 70,000 years. With the help of these tools, we are learning that while race may be a social construct, differences in genetic ancestry that happen to correlate to many of today’s racial constructs are real.

Recent genetic studies have demonstrated differences across populations not just in the genetic determinants of simple traits such as skin color, but also in more complex traits like bodily dimensions and susceptibility to diseases. For example, we now know that genetic factors help explain why northern Europeans are taller on average than southern Europeans, why multiple sclerosis is more common in European-Americans than in African-Americans, and why the reverse is true for end-stage kidney disease.

I am worried that well-meaning people who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences among human populations are digging themselves into an indefensible position, one that will not survive the onslaught of science. I am also worried that whatever discoveries are made — and we truly have no idea yet what they will be — will be cited as “scientific proof” that racist prejudices and agendas have been correct all along, and that those well-meaning people will not understand the science well enough to push back against these claims.

This is why it is important, even urgent, that we develop a candid and scientifically up-to-date way of discussing any such differences, instead of sticking our heads in the sand and being caught unprepared when they are found.

To get a sense of what modern genetic research into average biological differences across populations looks like, consider an example from my own work. Beginning around 2003, I began exploring whether the population mixture that has occurred in the last few hundred years in the Americas could be leveraged to find risk factors for prostate cancer, a disease that occurs 1.7 times more often in self-identified African-Americans than in self-identified European-Americans. This disparity had not been possible to explain based on dietary and environmental differences, suggesting that genetic factors might play a role.

Self-identified African-Americans turn out to derive, on average, about 80 percent of their genetic ancestry from enslaved Africans brought to America between the 16th and 19th centuries. My colleagues and I searched, in 1,597 African-American men with prostate cancer, for locations in the genome where the fraction of genes contributed by West African ancestors was larger than it was elsewhere in the genome. In 2006, we found exactly what we were looking for: a location in the genome with about 2.8 percent more African ancestry than the average.

When we looked in more detail, we found that this region contained at least seven independent risk factors for prostate cancer, all more common in West Africans. Our findings could fully account for the higher rate of prostate cancer in African-Americans than in European-Americans. We could conclude this because African-Americans who happen to have entirely European ancestry in this small section of their genomes had about the same risk for prostate cancer as random Europeans.

Did this research rely on terms like “African-American” and “European-American” that are socially constructed, and did it label segments of the genome as being probably “West African” or “European” in origin? Yes. Did this research identify real risk factors for disease that differ in frequency across those populations, leading to discoveries with the potential to improve health and save lives? Yes.

While most people will agree that finding a genetic explanation for an elevated rate of disease is important, they often draw the line there. Finding genetic influences on a propensity for disease is one thing, they argue, but looking for such influences on behavior and cognition is another.

But whether we like it or not, that line has already been crossed. A recent study led by the economist Daniel Benjamin compiled information on the number of years of education from more than 400,000 people, almost all of whom were of European ancestry. After controlling for differences in socioeconomic background, he and his colleagues identified 74 genetic variations that are over-represented in genes known to be important in neurological development, each of which is incontrovertibly more common in Europeans with more years of education than in Europeans with fewer years of education.

It is not yet clear how these genetic variations operate. A follow-up study of Icelanders led by the geneticist Augustine Kong showed that these genetic variations also nudge people who carry them to delay having children. So these variations may be explaining longer times at school by affecting a behavior that has nothing to do with intelligence.

This study has been joined by others finding genetic predictors of behavior. One of these, led by the geneticist Danielle Posthuma, studied more than 70,000 people and found genetic variations in more than 20 genes that were predictive of performance on intelligence tests.

Is performance on an intelligence test or the number of years of school a person attends shaped by the way a person is brought up? Of course. But does it measure something having to do with some aspect of behavior or cognition? Almost certainly. And since all traits influenced by genetics are expected to differ across populations (because the frequencies of genetic variations are rarely exactly the same across populations), the genetic influences on behavior and cognition will differ across populations, too.

You will sometimes hear that any biological differences among populations are likely to be small, because humans have diverged too recently from common ancestors for substantial differences to have arisen under the pressure of natural selection. This is not true. The ancestors of East Asians, Europeans, West Africans and Australians were, until recently, almost completely isolated from one another for 40,000 years or longer, which is more than sufficient time for the forces of evolution to work. Indeed, the study led by Dr. Kong showed that in Iceland, there has been measurable genetic selection against the genetic variations that predict more years of education in that population just within the last century.

To understand why it is so dangerous for geneticists and anthropologists to simply repeat the old consensus about human population differences, consider what kinds of voices are filling the void that our silence is creating. Nicholas Wade, a longtime science journalist for The New York Times, rightly notes in his 2014 book, “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” that modern research is challenging our thinking about the nature of human population differences. But he goes on to make the unfounded and irresponsible claim that this research is suggesting that genetic factors explain traditional stereotypes.

One of Mr. Wade’s key sources, for example, is the anthropologist Henry Harpending, who has asserted that people of sub-Saharan African ancestry have no propensity to work when they don’t have to because, he claims, they did not go through the type of natural selection for hard work in the last thousands of years that some Eurasians did. There is simply no scientific evidence to support this statement. Indeed, as 139 geneticists (including myself) pointed out in a letter to The New York Times about Mr. Wade’s book, there is no genetic evidence to back up any of the racist stereotypes he promotes.

Another high-profile example is James Watson, the scientist who in 1953 co-discovered the structure of DNA, and who was forced to retire as head of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in 2007 after he stated in an interview — without any scientific evidence — that research has suggested that genetic factors contribute to lower intelligence in Africans than in Europeans.

At a meeting a few years later, Dr. Watson said to me and my fellow geneticist Beth Shapiro something to the effect of “When are you guys going to figure out why it is that you Jews are so much smarter than everyone else?” He asserted that Jews were high achievers because of genetic advantages conferred by thousands of years of natural selection to be scholars, and that East Asian students tended to be conformist because of selection for conformity in ancient Chinese society. (Contacted recently, Dr. Watson denied having made these statements, maintaining that they do not represent his views; Dr. Shapiro said that her recollection matched mine.)

What makes Dr. Watson’s and Mr. Wade’s statements so insidious is that they start with the accurate observation that many academics are implausibly denying the possibility of average genetic differences among human populations, and then end with a claim — backed by no evidence — that they know what those differences are and that they correspond to racist stereotypes. They use the reluctance of the academic community to openly discuss these fraught issues to provide rhetorical cover for hateful ideas and old racist canards.

This is why knowledgeable scientists must speak out. If we abstain from laying out a rational framework for discussing differences among populations, we risk losing the trust of the public and we actively contribute to the distrust of expertise that is now so prevalent. We leave a vacuum that gets filled by pseudoscience, an outcome that is far worse than anything we could achieve by talking openly.

If scientists can be confident of anything, it is that whatever we currently believe about the genetic nature of differences among populations is most likely wrong. For example, my laboratory discovered in 2016, based on our sequencing of ancient human genomes, that “whites” are not derived from a population that existed from time immemorial, as some people believe. Instead, “whites” represent a mixture of four ancient populations that lived 10,000 years ago and were each as different from one another as Europeans and East Asians are today.

So how should we prepare for the likelihood that in the coming years, genetic studies will show that many traits are influenced by genetic variations, and that these traits will differ on average across human populations? It will be impossible — indeed, anti-scientific, foolish and absurd — to deny those differences.

For me, a natural response to the challenge is to learn from the example of the biological differences that exist between males and females. The differences between the sexes are far more profound than those that exist among human populations, reflecting more than 100 million years of evolution and adaptation. Males and females differ by huge tracts of genetic material — a Y chromosome that males have and that females don’t, and a second X chromosome that females have and males don’t.

Most everyone accepts that the biological differences between males and females are profound. In addition to anatomical differences, men and women exhibit average differences in size and physical strength. (There are also average differences in temperament and behavior, though there are important unresolved questions about the extent to which these differences are influenced by social expectations and upbringing.)

How do we accommodate the biological differences between men and women? I think the answer is obvious: We should both recognize that genetic differences between males and females exist and we should accord each sex the same freedoms and opportunities regardless of those differences.

It is clear from the inequities that persist between women and men in our society that fulfilling these aspirations in practice is a challenge. Yet conceptually it is straightforward. And if this is the case with men and women, then it is surely the case with whatever differences we may find among human populations, the great majority of which will be far less profound.

An abiding challenge for our civilization is to treat each human being as an individual and to empower all people, regardless of what hand they are dealt from the deck of life. Compared with the enormous differences that exist among individuals, differences among populations are on average many times smaller, so it should be only a modest challenge to accommodate a reality in which the average genetic contributions to human traits differ.

It is important to face whatever science will reveal without prejudging the outcome and with the confidence that we can be mature enough to handle any findings. Arguing that no substantial differences among human populations are possible will only invite the racist misuse of genetics that we wish to avoid.

David Reich is a professor of genetics at Harvard and the author of the forthcoming book “Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past,” from which this article is adapted.

For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It (National Geographic)

We asked a preeminent historian to investigate our coverage of people of color in the U.S. and abroad. Here’s what he found.

In a full-issue article on Australia that ran in 1916, Aboriginal Australians were called “savages” who “rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.” PHOTOGRAPHS BY C.P. SCOTT (MAN); H.E. GREGORY (WOMAN); NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE (BOTH)

This story helps launch a series about racial, ethnic, and religious groups and their changing roles in 21st-century life. The series runs through 2018 and will include coverage of Muslims, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.

contributors-page-fairfax-virginia-butler.adapt.280.1

 “Cards and clay pipes amuse guests in Fairfax House’s 18th-century parlor,” reads the caption in a 1956 article on Virginia history. Although slave labor built homes featured in the article, the writer contended that they “stand for a chapter of this country’s history every American is proud to remember.” PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT F. SISSON AND DONALD MCBAIN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE (RIGHT)

I’m the tenth editor of National Geographic since its founding in 1888. I’m the first woman and the first Jewish person—a member of two groups that also once faced discrimination here. It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine’s past. But when we decided to devote our April magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others.

Race is not a biological construct, as writer Elizabeth Kolbert explains in this issue, but a social one that can have devastating effects. “So many of the horrors of the past few centuries can be traced to the idea that one race is inferior to another,” she writes. “Racial distinctions continue to shape our politics, our neighborhoods, and our sense of self.”

How we present race matters. I hear from readers that National Geographic provided their first look at the world. Our explorers, scientists, photographers, and writers have taken people to places they’d never even imagined; it’s a tradition that still drives our coverage and of which we’re rightly proud. And it means we have a duty, in every story, to present accurate and authentic depictions—a duty heightened when we cover fraught issues such as race.

Photographer Frank Schreider shows men from Timor island his camera in a 1962 issue. The magazine often ran photos of “uncivilized” native people seemingly fascinated by “civilized” Westerners’ technology. PHOTOGRAPH BY FRANK AND HELEN SCHREIDER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

We asked John Edwin Mason to help with this examination. Mason is well positioned for the task: He’s a University of Virginia professor specializing in the history of photography and the history of Africa, a frequent crossroads of our storytelling. He dived into our archives.

What Mason found in short was that until the 1970s National Geographicall but ignored people of color who lived in the United States, rarely acknowledging them beyond laborers or domestic workers. Meanwhile it pictured “natives” elsewhere as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché.

Unlike magazines such as Life, Mason said, National Geographic did little to push its readers beyond the stereotypes ingrained in white American culture.

editors-page-pacific-islanders.adapt.280.1National Geographic of the mid-20th century was known for its glamorous depictions of Pacific islanders. Tarita Teriipaia, from Bora-Bora, was pictured in July 1962—the same year she appeared opposite Marlon Brando in the movie Mutiny on the Bounty. PHOTOGRAPH BY LUIS MARDEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE (RIGHT)

“Americans got ideas about the world from Tarzan movies and crude racist caricatures,” he said. “Segregation was the way it was. National Geographic wasn’t teaching as much as reinforcing messages they already received and doing so in a magazine that had tremendous authority. National Geographic comes into existence at the height of colonialism, and the world was divided into the colonizers and the colonized. That was a color line, and National Geographic was reflecting that view of the world.”

Some of what you find in our archives leaves you speechless, like a 1916 story about Australia. Underneath photos of two Aboriginal people, the caption reads: “South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.”

Questions arise not just from what’s in the magazine, but what isn’t. Mason compared two stories we did about South Africa, one in 1962, the other in 1977. The 1962 story was printed two and a half years after the massacre of 69 black South Africans by police in Sharpeville, many shot in the back as they fled. The brutality of the killings shocked the world.

An article reporting on apartheid South Africa in 1977 shows Winnie Mandela, a founder of the Black Parents’ Association and wife of Nelson. She was one of some 150 people the government prohibited from leaving their towns, speaking to the press, and talking to more than two people at a time. PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES P. BLAIR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

National Geographic’s story barely mentions any problems,” Mason said. “There are no voices of black South Africans. That absence is as important as what is in there. The only black people are doing exotic dances … servants or workers. It’s bizarre, actually, to consider what the editors, writers, and photographers had to consciously not see.”

Contrast that with the piece in 1977, in the wake of the U.S. civil rights era: “It’s not a perfect article, but it acknowledges the oppression,” Mason said. “Black people are pictured. Opposition leaders are pictured. It’s a very different article.”

Fast-forward to a 2015 story about Haiti, when we gave cameras to young Haitians and asked them to document the reality of their world. “The images by Haitians are really, really important,” Mason said, and would have been “unthinkable” in our past. So would our coverage now of ethnic and religious conflicts, evolving gender norms, the realities of today’s Africa, and much more.

“I buy bread from her every day,” Haitian photographer Smith Neuvieme said of fellow islander Manuela Clermont. He made her the center of this image, published in 2015PHOTOGRAPH BY SMITH NEUVIEME, FOTOKONBIT

Mason also uncovered a string of oddities—photos of “the native person fascinated by Western technology. It really creates this us-and-them dichotomy between the civilized and the uncivilized.” And then there’s the excess of pictures of beautiful Pacific-island women.

“If I were talking to my students about the period until after the 1960s, I would say, ‘Be cautious about what you think you are learning here,’ ” he said. “At the same time, you acknowledge the strengths National Geographic had even in this period, to take people out into the world to see things we’ve never seen before. It’s possible to say that a magazine can open people’s eyes at the same time it closes them.”

April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s a worthy moment to step back, to take stock of where we are on race. It’s also a conversation that is changing in real time: In two years, for the first time in U.S. history, less than half the children in the nation will be white. So let’s talk about what’s working when it comes to race, and what isn’t. Let’s examine why we continue to segregate along racial lines and how we can build inclusive communities. Let’s confront today’s shameful use of racism as a political strategy and prove we are better than this.

For us this issue also provided an important opportunity to look at our own efforts to illuminate the human journey, a core part of our mission for 130 years. I want a future editor of National Geographic to look back at our coverage with pride—not only about the stories we decided to tell and how we told them but about the diverse group of writers, editors, and photographers behind the work.

We hope you will join us in this exploration of race, beginning this month and continuing throughout the year. Sometimes these stories, like parts of our own history, are not easy to read. But as Michele Norris writes in this issue, “It’s hard for an individual—or a country—to evolve past discomfort if the source of the anxiety is only discussed in hushed tones.”

How Academia uses poverty, oppression, and pain for intelectual masturbation (RaceBaitR)

By Clelia O. Rodríguez

Published by RaceBaitR

The politics of decolonization are not the same as the act of decolonizing. How rapidly phrases like “decolonize the mind/heart” or simply “decolonize” are being consumed in academic spaces is worrisome. My grandfather was a decolonizer. He is dead now, and if he was alive he would probably scratch his head if these academics explained  the concept to him.

I am concerned about how the term is beginning to evoke a practice of getting rid of colonial practices by those operating fully under those practices. Decolonization sounds and means different things to me, a woman of color, than to a white person. And why does this matter? Why does my skin itch when I hear the term in academic white spaces where POC remain tokens? Why does my throat become a prison of words that cannot be digested into complete sentences? Is it because in these “decolonizing” practices we are being colonized once again?

I am not granted the same humanity as a white scholar or as someone who acts like one. The performance of those granted this humanity who claim to be creating space for people of color needs to be challenged. They promote Affirmative action, for instance, in laughable ways. During hiring practices, we’re demanded to specify if we’re “aliens” or not. Does a white person experience the nasty bitterness that comes when POC sees that word? Or the other derogatory terminology I am forced to endure while continuing in the race to become America’s Next Top Academic? And these same white colleagues who do not know these experiences graciously line up to present at conferences about decolonizing methodology to show their allyship with POC.

The effects of networking are another one of the ways decolonizing in this field of Humanities shows itself to be a farce. As far as I understand history, Christopher Columbus was really great at networking. He tangled people like me in chains, making us believe that it was all in the name of knitting a web to connect us all under the spell of kumbaya.

Academic spaces are not precisely adorned by safety, nor are they where freedom of speech is truly welcome. Not all of us have the luxury to speak freely without getting penalized by being called radicals, too emotional, angry or even not scholarly enough. In true decolonization work, one burns down bridges at the risk of not getting hired. Stating that we are in the field of decolonizing studies is not enough. It is no surprise that even those engaged in decolonizing methods replicate and polish the master’s tools, because we are implicated in colonialism in this corporatized environment.

I want to know what it is you little kids are doing here—that is to say, Why have you traveled to our Mapuche land? What have you come for? To ask us questions? To make us into an object of study? I want to you go home and I want you to address these concerns that I have carried in my heart for a long time.

Such was the response of Mapuche leader Ñana Raquel to a group of Human Rights students from the United States visiting the Curarrehue, Araucanía Region, Chile in April 2015. Her anger motivated me to reflect upon how to re-think, question, undo, and re-read perspectives of how I am experiencing the Humanities and how I am politicizing my ongoing shifts in my rhyzomatic system. Do we do that when we engage in research? Ñana Raquel’s questions, righteous anger, and reaction forced me to reconsider multiple perspectives on what really defines a territory, something my grandfather carefully taught me when I learned how to read ants and bees.

As politicized thinkers, we must reflect on these experiences if we are to engage in bigger discussions about solidarity, resistance and territories in the Humanities. How do we engage in work as scholars in the service of northern canons, and, in so doing, can we really admit what took us there? Many of us, operating in homogeneous academic spaces (with some hints of liberal tendencies), conform when that question is bluntly asked.

As someone who was herself observed and studied under the microscopes by ‘gringos’ in the 1980s, when pedagogues came to ask us what life was like in a war zone in El Salvador, Raquel’s questions especially resonate with me. Both of us have been dispossessed and situated in North American canons that serve particular research agendas. In this sense, we share similar experiences of being ‘read’ according to certain historical criteria.

Raquel’s voice was impassioned. On that day, we had congregated in the Ruka of Riholi. Facing center and in a circle, we were paying attention to the silence of the elders. Raquel taught us a priceless lesson.  After questioning the processes used to realize research projects in Nepal and Jordan, Raquel’s passionate demand introduced a final punch. She showed us that while we may have the outward face of political consciousness, we continued to use an academic discipline to study ‘exotic’ behaviors and, in so doing, were in fact undermining, denigrating and denying lessons of what constitutes cultural exchange from their perspective.

From these interactions in the field emerge questions that go to the heart of the matter: How do we deal with issues of social compromise in the Humanities? In unlearning? In many cases, academic circles resemble circuses rather than centres of higher learning, wherein a culture of competition based on external pressures to do well motivates the relationship between teacher and student.

One of the tragic consequences of a traditional system of higher education is working with colleagues who claim to have expertise on the topic of social activism, but who have never experienced any form of intervention. I am referring here to those academics who have made careers out of the pain of others by consuming knowledge obtained in marginalized communities. This same practice of “speaking about which you know little (or nothing)” is transmitted, whether acknowledged or not, to the students who we, as teachers and mentors, are preparing to undertake research studies about decolonizing.

Linda Smith speaks about the disdain she has for the word “research,” seeing it as one of the dirtiest words in the English language. I couldn’t agree more with her. When we sit down each semester to write a guide to “unlearning’,” or rather a syllabus, we must reflect upon how we can include content that will help to transmit a pre-defined discipline in the Humanities with current social realities. How can we create a space where a student can freely speak his/her mind without fear of receiving a bad grade?

Today, anything and everything is allowed if a postcolonial/decolonizing seal of approval accompanies it, even if it is devoid of any political urgency. These tendencies appear to be ornamental at best, and we must challenge the basis of those attempts. We can’t keep criticizing the neoliberal system while continuing to retain superficial visions of solidarity without striving for a more in-depth understanding. These are acts for which we pat ourselves on the back, but in the end just open up space for future consumers of prestige.

The corridors of the hallways in the institution where I currently work embodies this faux-solidarity in posters about conferences, colloquiums, and trips in the Global South or about the Global South that cost an arm and a leg. As long as you have money to pay for your airfare, hotel, meals and transportation, you too could add two lines in the CV and speak about the new social movement and their radical strategies to dismantle the system. You too can participate in academic dialogues about poverty and labor rights as you pass by an undocumented cleaner who will make your bed while you go to the main conference room to talk about her struggles.

We must do a better job at unpacking the intellectual masturbation we get out of poverty, horror, oppression, and pain–the essentials that stimulate us to have the orgasm. The “release” comes in the forms of discussions, proposing questions, writing grant proposals, etc. Then we move onto other forms of entertainment. Neoliberalism has turned everything into a product or experience. We must scrutinize the logic of power that is behind our syllabi, and our research work. We must listen to the silences, that which is not written, and pay attention to the internal dynamics of communities and how we label their experiences if we are truly committed to the work of decolonizing.


clelia rodriguezClelia O. Rodríguez is an educator, born and raised in El Salvador, Central America. She graduated from York University with a Specialized Honours BA, specializing in Spanish Literature. She earned her MA and PhD from The University of Toronto. Professor Rodríguez has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Spanish language, literature and culture at the University of Toronto, Washington College, the University of Ghana and the University of Michigan, most recently. She was also a Human Rights Traveling Professor in the United States, Nepal, Jordan, and Chile as part of the International Honors Program (IHP) for the School of International Training (SIT). She taught Comparative Issues in Human Rights and Fieldwork Ethics and Comparative Research Methods. She is interested in decolonozing approaches to teaching and engaging in critical pedagogy methodologies in the classroom.

Como duas pesquisadoras estão derrubando clichês sobre a política no Brasil (BBC)

6 junho 2016

ciencia politica

Nara Pavão e Natália Bueno: pesquisadoras questionam chavões da política no Brasil 

O brasileiro é racista e privilegia candidatos brancos ao votar. Políticos corruptos se mantêm no poder porque o eleitor é ignorante. Quem recebe Bolsa Família é conivente com o governo. ONGs são um ralo de dinheiro público no Brasil. Será?

A julgar pelos estudos de duas jovens pesquisadoras brasileiras em ciência política, não.

Natália Bueno e Nara Pavão, ambas de 32 anos, se destacam no meio acadêmico no exterior com pesquisas robustas que desmistificam chavões da política brasileira que alimentam debates em redes sociais e discussões de botequim.

Natural de Belo Horizonte (MG), Natália faz doutorado em Yale (EUA), uma das principais universidades do mundo. Em pouco mais de oito anos de carreira, acumula 13 distinções acadêmicas, entre prêmios e bolsas.

A pernambucana Nara é pesquisadora de pós-doutorado na Universidade Vanderbilt (EUA). Soma um doutorado (Notre Dame, EUA), dois mestrados em ciência política (Notre Dame e USP), 16 distinções.

Em comum, além da amizade e da paixão pela ciência política, está o interesse das duas em passar a limpo “verdades absolutas” sobre corrupção, comportamento do eleitor e políticas públicas no Brasil.

Eleitor é racista?

O Brasil é um país de desigualdades raciais – no mercado de trabalho, no acesso à educação e à saúde. Atraída pelo tema desde a graduação, Natália Bueno verificou se isso ocorre também na representação política.

O primeiro passo foi confirmar o que o senso comum já sugeria: há, proporcionalmente, mais brancos eleitos do que na população, e os negros são subrepresentados. Por exemplo, embora 45% da população brasileira (segundo o IBGE) se declare branca, na Câmara dos Deputados esse índice é de 80%.

E como a diferença foi mínima na comparação entre população e o grupo dos candidatos que não se elegeram, a conclusão mais rasteira seria: o brasileiro é racista e privilegia brancos ao votar.

politica

Abertura dos trabalhos no Congresso em 2016; pesquisa investigou desigualdade racial na política nacional. FABIO POZZEBOM/AGÊNCIA BRASIL

Para tentar verificar essa questão de forma científica, Natália montou um megaexperimento em parceria com Thad Dunning, da Universidade da Califórnia (Berkeley). Selecionou oito atores (quatro brancos e quatro negros), que gravaram um trecho semelhante ao horário eleitoral. Expôs 1.200 pessoas a essas mensagens, que só variavam no quesito raça.

Resultado: candidatos brancos não tiveram melhor avaliação nem respondentes privilegiaram concorrentes da própria raça nas escolhas.

Mas se a discrepância entre população e eleitos é real, onde está a resposta? No dinheiro, concluiu Natália – ela descobriu que candidatos brancos são mais ricos e recebem fatia maior da verba pública distribuída por partidos e também das doações privadas.

A diferença média de patrimônio entre políticos brancos (em nível federal, estadual e local) e não brancos foi de R$ 690 mil. E em outra prova do poder do bolso nas urnas, vencedores registraram R$ 650 mil a mais em patrimônio pessoal do que os perdedores.

Políticos brancos também receberam, em média, R$ 369 mil a mais em contribuições de campanha do que não brancos. A análise incluiu dados das eleições de 2008, 2010 e 2014.

“Se a discriminação tem um papel (na desigualdade racial na representação política), ela passa principalmente pelas inequidades de renda e riqueza entre brancos e negros que afetam a habilidade dos candidatos negros de financiar suas campanhas”, diz.

Corruptos estão no poder por que o eleitor é ignorante?

A corrupção é um tema central no debate político atual no Brasil. E se tantos brasileiros percebem a corrupção como problema (98% da população pensa assim, segundo pesquisa de 2014), porque tantos políticos corruptos continuam no poder?

A partir de dados de diferentes pesquisas de opinião – entre elas, dois levantamentos nacionais, com 2 mil e 1,5 mil entrevistados -, a recifense Nara Pavão foi buscar respostas para além do que a ciência política já discutiu sobre o tema.

politica

Ato contra corrupção no Congresso em 2011; estudo investiga por que corruptos se mantêm no poder. ANTONIO CRUZ/ABR

Muitos estudos já mostraram que a falta de informação política é comum entre a população, e que o eleitor costuma fazer uma troca: ignora a corrupção quando, por exemplo, a economia vai bem.

“Mas para mim a questão não é apenas se o eleitor possui ou não informação sobre políticos corruptos, mas, sim, o que ele vai decidir fazer com essa informação e como essa informação vai afetar a decisão do voto”, afirma a cientista política.

A pesquisa de Nara identificou um fator chave a perpetuar corruptos no poder: o chamado cinismo político – quando a corrupção é recorrente, ela passa ser vista pelo eleitor como um fator constante, e se torna inútil como critério de diferenciação entre candidatos.

Consequência: o principal fator que torna os eleitores brasileiros tolerantes à corrupção é a crença de que a corrupção é generalizada.

“Se você acha que todos os políticos são incapazes de lidar com a corrupção, a corrupção se torna um elemento vazio para você na escolha do voto”, afirma Nara, para quem o Brasil está preso numa espécie de armadilha da corrupção: quão maior é a percepção do problema, menos as eleições servem para resolvê-lo.

Quem recebe Bolsa Família não critica o governo?

O programa Bolsa Família beneficia quase 50 milhões de pessoas e é uma das principais bandeiras das gestões do PT no Planalto. Até por isso, sempre foi vitrine – e também vidraça – do petismo.

Uma das críticas recorrentes pressupõe que o programa, para usar a linguagem da economia política, altera os incentivos que eleitores têm para criticar o governo.

Famílias beneficiadas não se preocupariam, por exemplo, em punir um mau desempenho econômico ou a corrupção, importando-se apenas com o auxílio no começo do mês.

politica

Material de campanha em dia de votação em São Paulo em 2012; receber benefícios do governo não implica em conivência com Poder Público, conclui estudo. MARCELO CAMARGO/ABR

Deste modo, governos que mantivessem programas massivos de transferência de renda estariam blindados contra eventuais performances medíocres. Seria, nesse sentido, um arranjo clientelista – troca de bens (dinheiro ou outra coisa) por voto.

Um estudo de Nara analisou dados do Brasil e de 15 países da América Latina que possuem programas como o Bolsa Família e não encontrou provas de que isso seja verdade.

“Em geral, o peso eleitoral atribuído à performance econômica e à corrupção do governo é relativamente igual entre aqueles que recebem transferências de renda e aqueles que não recebem”, afirma.

A conclusão é que, embora esses programas proporcionem retornos eleitorais para os governantes de plantão, eles não representam – desde que sigam regras rígidas – incentivo para eleitores ignorarem aspectos ddo desempenho do governo.

ONGs são ralo de dinheiro público?

Organizações de sociedade civil funcionam como um importante instrumento para o Estado fornecer, por meio de parcerias e convênios, serviços à população.

Diferentes governos (federal, estaduais e municipais) transferem recursos a essas entidades para executar programas diversos, de construção de cisternas e atividades culturais.

Apenas em nível federal, essas transferências quase dobraram no período 1999-2010: de RS$ 2,2 bilhões para R$ 4,1 bilhões.

ONGs

Cisterna em Quixadá (CE), em serviço que costuma ser delegado a organizações civis; pesquisadora estudou distribuição de recursos públicos para essas entidades. FERNANDO FRAZÃO/ABR

Esse protagonismo enseja questionamentos sobre a integridade dessas parcerias – não seriam apenas um meio de canalizar dinheiro público para as mãos de ONGs simpáticas aos governos de plantão?

Com o papel dessas organizações entre seus principais de interesses de pesquisa, Natália Bueno mergulhou no tema. Unindo métodos quantitativos e qualitativos, analisou extensas bases de dados, visitou organizações e construiu modelos estatísticos.

Concluiu que o governo federal (ao menos no período analisado, de 2003 a 2011) faz, sim, uma distribuição estratégica desses recursos, de olho na disputa política.

“A pesquisa sugere que governos transferem recursos para entidades para evitar que prefeitos de oposição tenham acesso a repasses de recursos federais. Outros fatores, como implementação de políticas públicas para as quais as organizações tem expertise e capacidade únicas, também tem um papel importante.”

Ela não encontrou provas, porém, de eventual corrupção ou clientelismo por trás desses critérios de escolha – o uso das ONGs seria principalmente parte de uma estratégia político-eleitoral, e não um meio de enriquecimento ilícito.

“Esse tipo de distribuição estratégica de recursos é próprio da política e encontramos padrões de distribuição semelhantes em outros países, como EUA, Argentina e México”, diz Natália.

Corrupção é difícil de verificar, mas a pesquisadora usou a seguinte estratégia: comparou ONGs presentes em cidades com disputas eleitorais apertadas, checou a proporção delas no cadastro de entidades impedidas de fechar parcerias com a União e fez uma busca sistemática por notícias e denúncias públicas de corrupção.

De 281 ONGs analisadas, 10% estavam no cadastro de impedidas, e apenas uma por suspeita de corrupção.

O falso dilema do “infanticídio indígena”: por que o PL 119/2015 não defende a vida de crianças, mulheres e idosos indígenas (Combate Racismo Ambiental)

Protesto “contra o infanticídio” organizado por grupos religiosos em frente ao prédio do governo do RJ. Foto: Gazeta do Povo, 2015.

29 de janeiro de 2017

O Projeto de Lei 119/2015, que trata do chamado “infanticídio indígena”, está agora tramitando no Senado. Não por acaso, no início da semana que se encerrou ontem, 28, voltaram a ser publicadas matérias tendenciosas sobre a questão. Considerando a atual conjuntura, na qual mais que nunca é fundamental estarmos alertas e atuantes, convidamos a antropóloga Marianna Holanda a escrever um artigo que dialogasse conosco e nos oferecesse os necessários argumentos para mais esta luta. O resultado é o excelente texto que socializamos abaixo. (Tania Pacheco).

Por Marianna A. F. Holanda*, especial para Combate Racismo Ambiental

Desde 2005, acompanhamos no Brasil uma campanha que se pauta na afirmação de que os povos indígenas teriam tradições culturais nocivas e arcaicas que precisam ser mudadas por meio de leis e da punição tanto dos indígenas responsáveis como de quaisquer funcionários do Estado, agentes de organizações indigenistas e/ou profissionais autônomos que trabalhem junto a estes povos.

Afirma-se que há dados alarmantes de infanticídio entre os povos indígenas de modo a fazer parte da sociedade pensar que, incapazes de refletir sobre as suas próprias dinâmicas culturais, os povos indígenas – sobretudo as mulheres – matariam sem pudor dezenas de crianças. As notícias de jornal, as pautas sensacionalistas da grande mídia, organizações de fins religiosos e políticos “em favor da vida” fazem crer que não estamos falando de pessoas humanas – no sentido mais tradicional dos termos –, mas de sujeitos que devido à sua ignorância cultural cometem sem ética, afeto e dúvidas crimes contra seus próprios filhos, contra seu próprio povo.

Me pergunto por que um argumento como esse transmite credibilidade entre aqueles que não conhecem as realidades indígenas – pois quem trabalha junto aos povos indígenas e em prol de seus direitos não dissemina este tipo de desinformação. A maior parte da sociedade brasileira não indígena é profundamente ignorante sobre os povos indígenas que aqui habitam e sobre seus modos de vida, mantendo imagens estereotipadas e caricaturadas sobre os índios carregadas de preconceito e discriminação.

Alguns dados importantes sobre infanticídio, abandono de crianças e adoção

Desde os tempos de Brasil império há registros de infanticídios entre os povos indígenas – como também havia inúmeros registros de infanticídio nas cidades da colônia: historiadores apontam a normalidade com que recém-nascidos eram abandonados nas ruas de cidades como Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife e Florianópolis. Realidade que também era comum na Europa e que a igreja católica passou a combater a partir do século VIII d.C por meio de bulas papais e pela criação de Casas de Expostos – lugares aonde podia-se abandonar legalmente crianças neonatas que mais tarde vieram a se tornar o que conhecemos como orfanatos. Não apenas os infanticídios não cessaram como os índices de mortalidade nesses locais foram estarrecedores, beirando a 70% no caso europeu e 95% no caso brasileiro. Recém-nascidos eram retirados da exposição pública para morrer entre quatro paredes, com aval das leis, dos registros estatais e da moralidade cristã da época. (Sobre este tema, ver: Marcílio e Venâncio 1990, Trindade 1999, Valdez 2004 e Faleiros 2004).

Ainda hoje, centenas de crianças no Brasil são abandonadas em instituições públicas e privadas de caráter semelhante, aguardando anos por uma adoção. A maioria – em geral as crianças pardas e negras, mais velhas e/ou com algum tipo de deficiência – esperam por toda a infância e adolescência, até tornarem-se legalmente adultas e serem novamente abandonadas, agora pelo Estado. Os dados do Cadastro Nacional de Adoção (CNA) e do Cadastro Nacional de Crianças e Adolescentes Acolhidos (CNCA), administrados pelo Conselho Nacional de Justiça (CNJ) apontam que das seis mil crianças nesta situação, 67% são pardas e negras.

Apesar da rejeição à adoção de crianças negras e pardas ter caído na última década, o quadro de discriminação permanece. Entre as crianças indígenas, acompanhamos um fenômeno crescente de pedidos de adoção por não indígenas, sobretudo casais heterossexuais, brancos, evangélicos e, em muitos casos, estrangeiros. Contudo, há mais de 100 processos no Ministério Público envolvendo denúncias a violações de direitos nestes casos. O Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente, prevê o direito à permanência da criança com a própria família e ao esforço conjunto e multidisciplinar de profissionais para que isto ocorra. Esgotada esta possibilidade, a criança tem o direito de ser encaminhada para família substituta na própria comunidade indígena de origem ou junto a família substituta de outra aldeia ou comunidade, mas ainda da mesma etnia.

Vale mencionar que estas estratégias de realocação e adoção de crianças ocorre tradicionalmente entre diversos povos indígenas, independente das leis e da intervenção estatal. É muito comum que avós, tias ou primas adotem crianças quando pais e mães passam por qualquer espécie de dificuldade, ou ainda, seguindo articulações próprias das relações de parentesco que vão muito além de pai e mãe biológicos.

Contudo, sob estas recentes acusações de “risco de infanticídio” famílias indígenas são colocadas sob suspeita e dezenas de crianças têm sido retiradas de sua comunidade, terra e povo e adotadas por famílias não indígenas sem ter direitos básicos respeitados. Juízes são levados por esta argumentação falha, que carece de base concreta na realidade, nas estatísticas, nas etnografias. Em alguns casos, pleiteia-se apenas a guarda provisória da criança e não a adoção definitiva, o que significa que a guarda é válida somente até os 18 anos, não garantindo vínculo de parentesco e direito à herança, por exemplo. Quantas violações uma criança indígena retirada de seu povo e de seus vínculos ancestrais enfrenta ao ser lançada ao mundo não indígena como adulta?

Infâncias indígenas no Brasil e crescimento demográfico

Nos últimos 50 anos, as etnografias junto a povos indígenas – importante método de pesquisa e registro de dados antropológicos – vem demonstrando que as crianças indígenas são sujeitos criativos e ativos em suas sociedades tendo diversos graus de autonomia. Aprendemos que as práticas de cuidado e a pedagogia das mulheres indígenas envolvem um forte vínculo com as crianças, que são amamentadas até os 3, 4, 5 anos. Envolvem uma relação de presença e afeto que deixa a desejar para muitas mães modernas. Aprendemos também que a rede de cuidados com as crianças envolve relações de parentesco e afinidade que extrapolam a consanguinidade.

Enquanto a maior parte das populações no mundo está passando pela chamada “transição demográfica”, ou seja, queda e manutenção de baixos níveis de fecundidade, os povos indígenas na América Latina, se encontram num processo elevado de crescimento populacional. De acordo com o último censo do IBGE (2010), a população indígena no Brasil cresceu 205% desde 1991, uma dinâmica demográfica com altos níveis de fecundidade, levando à duplicação da população em um período de 15 anos (Azevedo 2008).

A partir dos anos 2000, começaram a tomar corpo pesquisas etnográficas que apontam o número crescente de nascimentos gemelares entre os povos indígenas, de crianças indígenas albinas e de crianças com deficiência (Verene 2005, Bruno e Suttana 2012, Araújo 2014). Apesar de suas diferenças, estas crianças são estimuladas a participar do cotidiano da aldeia, e muitas delas, ao tornarem-se adultas, casam-se e constituem família.

Há 54 milhões de indígenas com deficiência ao redor do globo (ONU 2013). No Brasil, segundo o censo do IBGE de 2010, 165 mil pessoas – ou seja, 20% da população autodeclarada indígena – possuem ao menos uma forma de deficiência (auditiva, visual, motora, mental ou intelectual). Um número que relaciona-se também às políticas públicas e de transferência de renda para as famílias indígenas nessa situação (Araújo 2014). Tanto o crescimento demográfico acelerado quanto os dados de que 20% da população indígena brasileira tem alguma deficiência nos permitem demonstrar que a afirmação de que há uma prescrição social para que estas crianças sejam mortas por seus pais e familiares não se sustenta.

Como morrem as crianças e adultos indígenas?

A mortalidade infantil entre os povos indígenas é quatro vezes maior do que a média nacional. A quantidade de mortes de crianças indígenas por desassistência subiu 513% nos últimos três anos. Os dados parciais da Secretaria Especial de Saúde Indígena (Sesai) de 2015 revelaram a morte de 599 crianças menores de 5 anos. As principais causas são: desnutrição, diarreia, viroses e infecções respiratórias, falta de saneamento básico além de um quadro preocupante de desassistência à saúde. Ora, sabemos que pneumonia, diarreia e gastroenterite são doenças facilmente tratáveis desde que estas crianças tenham acesso às políticas de saúde. A região Norte do país concentra o maior número de óbitos.

Quando abordamos os números relativos ao suicídio a situação é igualmente alarmante. De acordo com dados da Sesai, 135 indígenas cometeram suicídio em 2014 – o maior número em 29 anos. Sabemos que os quadros de suicídio se agravam em contextos de luta pelos direitos territoriais quando populações inteiras vivem em condições de vulnerabilidade extrema.

Jovens e adultos do sexo masculino também são as principais vítimas dos conflitos territoriais que resultam do omissão e letargia do Estado brasileiro nos processos de demarcação das terras indígenas. Em 2014, 138 indígenas foram assassinados; em 2015, foram 137. No período de 2003 a 2016, 891 indígenas foram assassinados em solo brasileiro, em uma média anual de 68 casos (Cimi 2016). Esses assassinatos acontecem em contextos de lutas e retomadas de terras, tendo como alvo principal as lideranças indígenas à frente dos movimentos reivindicatórios de direitos.

Diante desse cenário de permanente e impune genocídio contra os povos indígenas no Brasil, é importante refletirmos sobre o histórico de atuação dos senadores responsáveis pela votação do PL 119/2015: quais deles atuam ou já atuaram na proteção e no resguardo dos direitos indígenas? Quais deles são financiados pelo agronegócio, pela mineração, pelos grandes empreendimentos em terras indígenas? Como um Projeto de Lei que criminaliza os próprios povos indígenas pela vulnerabilidade e violências causadas pelo Estado e por terceiros pode ajudar na proteção e promoção de seus direitos?

O falso dilema da noção de “infanticídio indígena”

O PL 119/2015 – outrora PL 1057/2007 – supõe que há um embate entre “tradições culturais” que prescrevem a morte de crianças e o princípio básico e universal do direito à vida. Ao afirmar que o infanticídio é uma tradição cultural indígena – como se ele não ocorresse, infelizmente, em toda a humanidade – o texto e o parlamento brasileiros agem com racismo e discriminação, difamando povos e suas organizações socioculturais. Todos nós temos direito à vida e não há nenhuma comunidade indígena no Brasil e no mundo que não respeite e pleiteie esse direito básico junto às instâncias nacionais e internacionais.

Ao invés de buscarem aprovar o novo texto do Estatuto dos Povos Indígenas que vem sendo discutido no âmbito da Comissão Nacional de Política Indigenista (CNPI) desde 2008, utilizando como base o Estatuto o Substitutivo ao Projeto de Lei 2057, de 1994, que teve ampla participação indígena em sua formulação, o parlamento está optando por remendar a obsoleta Lei 6.001 – conhecida como Estatuto do Índio – datada de 1973, carregada de vícios próprios da ditadura militar, como as noções de tutela e de integração dos povos indígenas à comunidade nacional, pressupondo que com o tempo, eles deixariam de “ser índios”.

O PL também equivoca-se ao afirmar que há uma obrigatoriedade de morte a qualquer criança gêmea, albina e/ou com algum tipo de deficiência física e mental, além de mães solteiras. Trata-se de situações que desafiam qualquer família, indígena ou não, mas que em comunidades com fortes vínculos sociais tendem a ser melhor sanadas pois há níveis de solidariedade maior do que os de individualismo.

O dilema do infanticídio também é falso quando afirma que trata-se de uma demanda por “relativismo cultural” diante do direito à vida e dos Direitos Humanos; mas afirmamos que violência, tortura e opressão não se relativizam. A demanda posta pelos povos indígenas é historicamente a de respeito à diversidade cultural – o que implica no reparo, por parte do Estado, da expropriação territorial garantindo a regularização de todas as terras indígenas no País e o acesso a direitos essenciais como saúde e educação diferenciadas. Também é direito das comunidades indígenas o acesso à informação e ao amparo do Estado para lidar com situações em que a medicina biomédica já encontrou cura ou tratamento adequado. A Declaração Universal sobre Bioética e Direitos Humanos, ratificada em 2005 pela UNESCO, é enfática quando trata a diversidade cultural como patrimônio comum da humanidade, e isso inclui, portanto, o direito das crianças indígenas a permanecerem junto à sua família e de receberem suporte médico dentro de suas comunidades.

Há 10 anos acompanhamos a exposição midiática das mesmas crianças – algumas hoje já adolescentes – bem como os depoimentos de indígenas adultos que afirmam que sobreviveram, em condições diversas, ao infanticídio. São histórias que precisamos ouvir e que nos ensinam que os povos indígenas têm encontrado novas estratégias para lidar com seus dilemas éticos e morais. Sabemos que a transformação é uma característica cultural dos povos indígenas; ao mesmo tempo em que lutamos pelo respeito aos Direitos Humanos, lutamos para que as Dignidades Humanas dos povos indígenas sejam respeitadas a partir de seu tempo de transformação.

Nenhum caso de infanticídio e qualquer outra forma de violência, entre povos indígenas ou não, pode ser afirmado como uma “tradição cultural”; ou podemos dizer que a nossa própria cultura é infanticida generalizando tal grau de acusação e julgamento para todas as pessoas? Se a resposta é um sonoro “não”, porque o PL 119/2015 pretende fazer isso com os povos indígenas?

O mesmo exercício pode ser feito com as outras tipificações de violência e atentados à Dignidade Humana no texto do PL como: homicídio, abuso sexual, estupro individual e coletivo, escravidão, tortura em todas as suas formas, abandono de vulneráveis e violência doméstica. Estaríamos nós transferindo os nossos preconceitos e violências para os povos indígenas, transformando isso em parte da sua cultura? Ao fazer isso, afirmamos que violências tão características da colonialidade do poder são o que fazem dos índios, índios.

Por fim, é importante mencionar que o texto inicial do PL 1057/2007 que foi aprovado na Câmara sofreu alterações ao transformar-se no PL 119/2015 que tramita no Senado. O que antes era “combate a práticas tradicionais nocivas” mudou de retórica para “defesa da vida e da dignidade humana” mas não nos enganemos: seu conteúdo permanece afirmando a existência violências tratadas como práticas tradicionais exclusivas e características dos povos indígenas.

Igualdade, equidade e isonomia de direitos

Por uma questão de isonomia e igualdade de direitos, os povos indígenas estão submetidos à legislação brasileira, podendo ser julgados e punidos como qualquer cidadão deste país. Hoje, aproximadamente 750 indígenas estão cumprindo pena em sistema de regime fechado, dos quais cerca de 65% não falam ou não compreendem a língua portuguesa. Portanto, as leis que punem infanticídio, maus tratos de crianças e qualquer forma de violação de direitos, inclusive os Direitos Humanos, também incidem sobre os indígenas, ainda que suas prisões não sejam por estes motivos.

Qual a justificativa de um PL que verse especificamente sobre estas violações entre os povos indígenas e que promove interpretações equivocadas e sem embasamento científico e técnico, difamando as realidades dos povos indígenas? Ao tornar a pauta redundante, os indígenas seriam, duas vezes, julgados e condenados por um mesmo crime?

Não se trata apenas da defesa do direito individual. Um direito fundamental de toda pessoa é precisamente o de ser parte de um povo, isto é, o direito de pertencimento. E um povo criminalizado tem a sua dignidade ferida.

Durante o último Acampamento Terra Livre (ATL) que aconteceu em Brasília durante os dias 10 e 13 de maio de 2016 e reuniu cerca de 1.000 lideranças dos povos e organizações indígenas de todas as regiões do Brasil, a Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB) publicou o “Manifesto do 13º Acampamento Terra Livre” denunciando “os ataques, ameaças e retrocessos” orquestrados contra seus direitos fundamentais “sob comando de representantes do poder econômico nos distintos âmbitos do Estado e nos meios de comunicação”. A nota manifesta ainda “repúdio às distintas ações marcadamente racistas, preconceituosas e discriminatórias protagonizadas principalmente por membros da bancada ruralista no Congresso Nacional contra os nossos povos, ao mesmo tempo em que apresentam e articulam-se para aprovar inúmeras iniciativas legislativas, propostas de emenda constitucional e projetos de lei para retroceder ou suprimir os nossos direitos”.

O manifesto encerra-se afirmando: “PELO NOSSO DIREITO DE VIVER!”, pois é de vida e não de morte que se trata a defesa dos direitos indígenas. Se os nobres parlamentares estão preocupados com a defesa da vida e da dignidade indígenas, que retrocedam neste PL e em tantos outros que os violentam diretamente e que foram elaborados sem sua participação, consentimento e consulta.

*

Referências

AZEVEDO, Marta Maria. Diagnóstico da População Indígena no Brasil. Em: Ciência e Cultura, vol.60 nº4 São Paulo. Out. 2008

ARAÚJO, Íris Morais. Osikirip: os “especiais” Karitiana e a noção de pessoa ameríndia. Tese de doutorado aprovada pelo Programa de Pós-Graduação em Antropologia Social do Departamento de Antropologia da Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas da Universidade de São Paulo. 2014.

BRUNO, Marilda Moraes Garcia; SUTTANA, Renato (Org.). Educação, diversidade e fronteiras da in/exclusão. Dourados: Ed. UFGD, 2012. 224 p.

BURATTO, Lúcia Gouvêa. A educação escolar indígena na legislação e os indígenas com necessidades educacionais especiais. s.d. Disponível em: http://www.diaadiaeducacao.pr.gov.br/portals/pde/arquivos/565-4.pdf. Acesso em: 25 jan. 2017.

FALEIROS, Vicente de P. 2004. “Infância e adolescência: trabalhar, punir, educar, assistir, proteger”. In: Revista Ágora: Políticas Públicas e Serviço Social, ano 1, nº 1. Disponível em: http://www.assistenciasocial.com.br

MANIFESTO DO 13º ACAMPAMENTO TERRA LIVRE. Disponível em: https://mobilizacaonacionalindigena.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/manifesto-do-13o-acampamento-terra-livre/

MARCÍLIO, Maria L. e VENÂNCIO, Renato P. 1990. “Crianças Abandonadas e primitivas formas de sua proteção” In: Anais do VII Encontro de Estudos Populacionais ou http://www.abep.org.br

QUERMES, Paulo Afonso de Araújo & ALVES DE CARVALHO, Jucelina. Os impactos dos benefícios assistenciais para os povos indígenas: estudo de caso em aldeias Guaranis. Revista Serviço Social & Sociedade, São Paulo (SP), n.116, p. 769-791, 2013.

SEGATO, Rita Laura. Que cada povo teça os fios da sua história: o pluralismo jurídico em diálogo didático com legisladores. Revista Direito. UnB, janeiro–junho de 2014, v. 01, n.01 66.

TRINDADE. 1999. Trindade, Judite M. B. 1999. “O abandono de crianças ou a negação do óbvio” In: Revista Brasileira de História, Vol. 19, nº 37. São Paulo. p. 1-18.

VENERE, Mario Roberto. 2005. Políticas públicas para populações indígenas com necessidades especiais em Rondônia: o duplo desafio da diferença. 2005. 139 f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Desenvolvimento Regional e Meio Ambiente) ‒ NCT, UNIR, RO, [2005].

* Marianna Holanda é antropóloga, doutora em Bioética e pesquisadora associada da Cátedra Unesco de Bioética – UnB.

Por que você foi às ruas? (TV Folha e BBC)

Em ato contra governo, manifestantes divergem sobre impeachment (TV Folha)

16/03/2015 – TV Folha – Multimídia – Folha de S.Paulo

Vídeo

As manifestações de rua realizadas neste domingo (15) contra o governo da presidente Dilma Rousseff e o PT alcançaram todos os Estados do país, com protestos reunindo milhares de pessoas mesmo em redutos petistas.

O maior ato ocorreu em São Paulo, onde 210 mil pessoas passaram pela avenida Paulista ao longo do dia, segundo o Datafolha, apesar da chuva intermitente.

Nas ruas, apesar do discurso ser contrário ao governo de Dilma Rousseff, os manifestantes divergiam sobre o impeachment da presidente, como mostra o vídeo acima.

A Polícia Militar calculou em 1 milhão o número de participantes, com base em fotografias aéreas, segundo nota da corporação.

Se considerado o número do Datafolha, os protestos reuniram ao menos 877 mil pessoas em todo o Brasil. Pela estimativa da PM paulista, o total sobe para 1,7 milhão.

Editoria de Arte/Folhapress

*   *   *

Por que você foi às ruas? (BBC)

Atualizado pela última vez 05:29 (Brasília) 08:29 GMT

Vídeo

A BBC Brasil conversou com pessoas que foram às ruas de São Paulo – palco das maiores manifestações do país nos últimos dias – para saber o que as levou às ruas contra e a favor do governo de Dilma Rousseff.

Na sexta-feira, 13 de março, sindicatos, movimentos estudantis e sociais levaram milhares de pessoas à Avenida Paulista em uma manifestação que fez críticas ao governo, mas ofereceu apoio à presidente.

Muitos dos manifestantes falavam em evitar “uma tentativa de golpe”, referindo-se aos pedidos de impeachment, que outro grupo levou às ruas, com centenas de milhares de vozes, no domingo.

O protesto contra a presidente petista no dia 15 de março reuniu discursos diferentes a respeito dos problemas e das soluções possíveis para o sistema político brasileiro – alguns falavam em reforma política, outros chegavam a pedir uma intervenção militar.

Piadas sobre falta de água reacendem rixa do Norte e Nordeste com o Sudeste (UOL)

Aliny Gama e Carlos Madeiro

Do UOL, em Maceió

17/02/201506h00

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Reprodução/Redes sociais. Piadas e provocações nas redes sociais ironizam a falta de água no Sudeste do país

Em uma daquelas peças que o destino prega, os moradores do Sudeste são vítimas hoje de provocações parecidas com as que muitos costumavam fazer com os nordestinos. Tudo por conta da falta de água que atinge a região e serve de combustível para uma nova onda de piadas, agora voltadas principalmente contra os habitantes do Rio e de São Paulo.

Com humor, nordestinos e nortistas não perdoam a atual crise hídrica nos Estados do Sudeste e acirram o bairrismo entre as regiões. São muitas as postagens em redes sociais que fazem menção à situação.

Em um vídeo que viralizou na internet nesta semana, um garoto do Acre toma banho com o jato do cano ao retirar a torneira da pia. “Aqui é Acre, p… As meninas de São Paulo, sabem o que elas querem? Banho!”, diz o menino.

Em uma outra postagem, moradores de Maceió (AL) tomam banho com um caminhão-pipa durante as prévias carnavalescas e dizem que estão “ostentando” por terem água. “Enquanto vocês criticam nós, nordestinos, eu tomo banho de chuveiro. Claro que é com moderação”, diz, em outro vídeo, o promotor de eventos Galisteu Matias, que reside em Maceió.

Mas qual é o limite entre brincadeira e ofensa? O professor de direito e processo penal da Ufal (Universidade Federal de Alagoas), Welton Roberto, avalia que, nos exemplos citados, não ocorreu nenhum crime e, apesar do gosto duvidoso das piadas, estes casos não caracterizam injúria.

“Só existiria crime se fosse postada alguma agressão, como alguém chamando o outro de burro ou outro palavrão que fosse, caracterizando a injúria penal. Mas brincadeira, mesmo sendo de mal gosto, é brincadeira. Vejo que não atingiu de forma discriminatória ninguém, nem atingiu a dignidade de ninguém”, diz Roberto.

O advogado afirma que quem se sentir ofendido por ter a honra atingida em alguma postagem na internet deve salvar o material e contratar um advogado para que seja feita a queixa-crime. O crime de injúria é previsto no Código Penal e, em caso de condenação, a pena varia de acordo com o grau da ofensa.

Vingança

Para o doutor em história social pela USP (Universidade de São Paulo) e professor da UFPE (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco), Michel Zaidan Filho, a rixa entre moradores do Nordeste e do Sudeste é antiga e existe desde o início do século passado.

“Esse problema remonta desde que alguns Estados do Nordeste, da região sucroalcooleira, perderam importância no contexto econômico e social. Ainda na Primeira República (1889-1930), a região entrou em uma crise grande e se criou uma divisão do trabalho que até hoje persiste: o Nordeste comprador de mercadorias e insumos e fornecedor de mão-de-obra”, afirma o pesquisador.

Sobre as piadas que passaram a circular com provocações sobre a crise hídrica nos Estados do Sudeste, Zaidan Filho avalia que são uma consequência normal e uma espécie de vingança de quem sempre foi o alvo da gozação. Para ele, elas também fazem parte de uma herança cultural.

“Essa vingança faz parte deste contexto marcado por desigualdade e diferenciação cultural muito grande. Isso é um mecanismo psicológico muito comum, só que agora se inverteu, com a região mais forte e poderosa penalizada pelo racionamento de energia e água. Agora, fica muito conveniente ridicularizá-los”, afirma.

Apesar do clima ser de piadas, o professor aponta problemas de convivência que podem resultar da criação de grupos regionais. “O produto que existe é um apartheid, um separatismo que emerge sobretudo em períodos de crise, quando se demoniza os nordestinos. Na Europa, isso também existe com os imigrantes, que são responsabilizados pela crise econômica. É um pouco da situação que ocorre no Brasil”, conclui o pesquisador.

What do some Afro-Brazilian religions actually believe? (Washington Post)

 February 6 at 3:30 AM

Video

Candomblé is a Brazilian religion developed from animist beliefs, imported by African slaves. But the quasi-respectability gained in recent decades is now under attack from radical Evangelical Christians – a growing force in Catholic Brazil – who regard it as the devil’s work. (The Washington Post)

RIO DE JANEIRO — In its contemporary form, Brazil’s Candomblé religion looks about as removed from Western Christianity as could be imagined. It must have seemed positively diabolical, then, to the brutal Portuguese overlords whose slaves imported it from Africa, and whom they believed had been converted. Those slaves may have cleverly “synchronized” their own deities with Catholic saints to be able to continue worshiping, but they did not synchronize their beliefs.

This does not make Candomblé the devil’s work. It does not have the concept of heaven and hell, nor a rigid moral code in the sense that Christians would understand it. Instead, believers are supposed to fulfill their destiny, whatever that might be. Both men and women can become priests. Homosexuality is accepted, secretive animal sacrifices play an important role and the sexual lives of devotees are their own business when they are outside the walls of the Candomblé “house,” or center.

Decorative body paint, jewelry and costumes are part in a Candomble ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 23. (Lianne Milton for The Washington Post)

There are elaborate theatrical rituals, with costumes and accessories that can include robes, small swords and shields, a mini archer’s bow, and even as witnessed in one ceremony in Rio, an elaborate silver helmet with a tiny figure on a plinth on top that looked like something a 19th-century Prussian army officer might have sported.

But these accoutrements are no more outlandish than a Catholic Mass might have appeared to an 19th-century African who had just been enslaved. Candomblé is a religion like any other, with its own rules, hierarchies and sense of the spiritual. This is true especially in Brazil, where the existence of spirituality and an afterlife is regarded as an incontestable truth by the majority of the population — be they Catholics, or followers of more esoteric, yet tolerated religions, such as the spiritualist sect that follows the teachings of 19th-century French writer Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail, who wrote the Spiritist Codification under the pseudonym Allan Kardec.

Or followers of both, because many Catholics have no problem also being spiritualists. Religious duality is popular in Brazil, one reason why some estimates put followers of Candomblé and its sister religion, Umbanda, in the tens of millions, not the official half a million or so who admitted to it in the 2010 government census.

Candomblé is an oral culture with no sacred text. There are seven Candomblé nations — or variations – such as Ketu and Angola, depending on which Brazilian state it developed in, and where in Africa the slaves practicing it came from. They believe in a supreme being, called Olódùmarè (whose name can be spelled with or without the accents). Beneath this god are 16 Orixás — deities, or entities — many of whom have characteristics that are distinctly human in nature.

Yemanjá, the sea goddess, is given gifts like flowers or champagne by millions of Brazilians every New Year’s Eve. She is sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary, but she is also famously vain.

The warrior Ogum is linked to Saint George — courageous and persistent, and popular in Brazil for these qualities.

Then there is a female Orixá of the wind, Iansã, who is — as might be expected in Brazil — a more sensual deity.

Nature is perhaps the single most important factor in Candomblé, and each Orixá is connected to an element. “All of them are responsible for a part of nature,” said Rodrigo Silva, “father-of-saint,” or priest of the Logun Edé Palace Candomblé center. It is not uncommon to see Candomblé being practiced on beaches, or in waterfalls. “Our gods are ecological gods,” said Beatriz Moreira Costa, 84, a revered priestess called Mother Beatá.

In its sister religion, Umbanda, invented in Rio in the early 20th century, both the Catholic God and reincarnation also play a part. “It is a Christian doctrine,” said Tábata Lugao, 27, a recent convert. Orixás and Catholic saints are synchronized — but Umbanda also has its own holy figures, such as Preto Velho, or “Old Black Man,” a wily old slave figure who smokes a pipe.

The mostly female, middle-age worshippers being “incorporated” by Preto Velho at a recent Umbanda ceremony in São Gonçalo, near Rio, drank beer and smoked cigars and appeared to be enjoying themselves enormously, but they also took their ceremony extremely seriously — another kind of quintessentially Brazilian religious duality.

Unlike Umbanda, Candomblé initiates spend 21 days in seclusion living in the center, before being initiated as Yaô (this can also be spelled in different ways). Then they can be “incorporated” by Orixás — and initiates have individual Orixás they must follow.

After seven years as a Yaô, they become an Egbomi, and can then decide if they want to progress to the highest stage, that of father-of-saint or mother-of-saint.

The musicians who play percussion and sing the songs in African languages at Candomblé ceremonies that aim to honor and conjure up the Orixás are another kind of Yaô, called Ogá.

This does not necessarily involve being righteous, and it is here, perhaps, that Candomblé is most controversial. Those priests who sell curses or spells, via lower-level spirits called Exús, prompt some of the prejudice that surrounds the religion. “There are those who have pleasure in doing bad, others who like to help,” said Silva.

His center, he emphasized, does not get involved in the darker side of Candomblé’s neighborhood witchcraft, pejoratively called Macumba in Brazil. “It was made to protect and help people who need this help,” he said. “We fight for peace.”

Em site, indígenas ensinam sua história e derrubam preconceitos (Estadão)

Índio Educa publica material didático multimídia sobre histórias, tradições e lutas de povos do Brasil

Sempre que o índio xucuru Casé Angatu deixa Ilhéus, na Bahia, para oferecer em São Paulo um curso sobre culturas indígenas, ele ouve de algum participante: “Vocês comem pessoas?”. De tão acostumado a ser lembrado pelos estereótipos, Casé ri, disfarça e aproveita a oportunidade para apresentar ao grupo, na frente do Pátio do Colégio, o projeto Índio Educa. No site, indígenas de todo o Brasil produzem material didático multimídia sobre suas histórias, tradições e lutas.

Veja o texto na íntegra em: http://educacao.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,em-site-indigenas-ensinam-sua-historia,1601271

(Estado S.Paulo)

In Amazon wars, bands of brothers-in-law (University of Utah)

[Chagnon is restless.Gosh]

27-Oct-2014

Contact: Lee J. Siegel

How culture influences violence among the Amazon’s ‘fierce people’

IMAGE: In this mid-1960s photo, men from two Yanomamo villages in the Amazon engage in nonhostile combat to determine the strength and fighting prowess of potential alliance partners. A new study…

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SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 27, 2014 – When Yanomamö men in the Amazon raided villages and killed decades ago, they formed alliances with men in other villages rather than just with close kin like chimpanzees do. And the spoils of war came from marrying their allies’ sisters and daughters, rather than taking their victims’ land and women.

Those findings – which suggest how violence and cooperation can go hand-in-hand and how culture may modify any innate tendencies toward violence – come from a new study of the so-called “fierce people” led by provocative anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon and written by his protégé, University of Utah anthropologist Shane Macfarlan.

Macfarlan says the researchers had expected to find the Yanomamö fought like “bands of brothers” and other close male kin like fathers, sons and cousins who live in the same community and fight nearby communities. That is how fights are conducted by chimpanzees – the only other apes besides humans that form coalitions to fight and kill.

Instead, “a more apt description might be a ‘band of brothers-in-law,'” in which Yanomamö men ally with similar-age men from nearby villages to attack another village, then marry their allies’ female kin, Macfarlan, Chagnon and colleagues write in the study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study provides a mechanism to explain why Yanomamö warriors in a 1988 Chagnon study had more wives and children than those who did not kill.

“We are showing these guys individually get benefits from engaging in killing,” Macfarlan says. “They’re getting long-term alliance partners – other guys they can trust to get things done. And they are getting marriage opportunities.”

Since his 1968 book “Yanomamö: The Fierce People,” Chagnon has been harshly criticized by some cultural anthropologists who claim he places undue emphasis on genes and biology as underpinnings of human violence, based on his 1964-1993 visits to the Yanomamö. Defenders such as Macfarlan say Chagnon takes a much more balanced view, and that “it’s never a genes-versus-culture argument. They operate in tandem.”

Chagnon got what was seen as vindication in 2012 when he was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. The new study, with Macfarlan as first author and Chagnon as senior author – is Chagnon’s inaugural PNAS article as a member.

Macfarlan joined the University of Utah faculty this year an assistant professor of anthropology. He worked as Chagnon’s postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri from January 2013 to June 2014. Chagnon and Macfarlan conducted the study with two Missouri colleagues: anthropologists Robert S. Walker and Mark V. Flinn.

Models of Warfare

The Yanomamö – hunters and farmers who live in southern Venezuela and northern Brazil – once gained social status as “unokai” for killing.

Up to 20 Yanomamö (pronounced yah-NO-mama, but also spelled Yanomami or Yanomama) would sneak up on another village at dawn, “shoot the first person they saw and then hightail back home,” Macfarlan says. Some Yanomamö men did this once, some up to 11 times and some never killed. (Data for the study, collected in the 1980s, covered somewhat earlier times when spears, bows and arrows were the primary weapons.)

IMAGE: University of Utah anthropologist Shane Macfarlan, shown here, is first author of a new study with provocative anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon about the Yanomamo, or so called ‘fierce people’ of…

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Macfarlan says the classic debate has been, “does warfare in small-scale societies like the Yanomamö resemble chimpanzee warfare?” – a theory known as the “fraternal interest group” model, in which bands of brothers, fathers, sons and paternal uncles all living in the same community fight other similar communities.

The new study asked whether Yanomamö killing follows that model or the “strategic alliance model,” which the researchers dub the “band of brothers-in-law” model. This model – supported by the study’s findings – indicates that Yanomamö men form alliances not with close kin from the same community, but with men from other communities. After killing together, a bond is formed and they often marry each other’s daughters or sisters and move into one or the other’s village or form a new village.

“When we started off this project, we all assumed it would be the chimpanzee-like model. But in human groups we have cultural rules that allow us to communicate with other communities. You certainly don’t see chimpanzees doing this.”

Is the study a retreat from what Chagnon’s critics see as too much focus on genetic and biological underpinnings of violence? Macfarlan says no, that Chagnon “has never been as all-biology as people have painted him. Most of his published research shows how unique cultural rules make the Yanomamö an interesting group of people.”

Earlier research suggested that for chimps, warfare is adaptive in an evolutionary sense, and that it also benefits small-scale human societies. The new study asked, “If warfare is adaptive, in what way do the adaptive benefits flow?” Macfarlan says.

“Some people, myself included, said, to the victor goes the spoils, because if you conquer another territory, you might take their land, food or potentially their females.”

But the new study indicates “the adaptive benefits are the alliances you build by perpetrating acts of warfare,” he adds. “It’s not that you are taking land or females from the vanquished group, but for the Yanomamö, what you acquire is that you can exchange resources with allies, such as labor and, most importantly, female marriage partners.”

The study’s findings that the Yanomamö form strategic alliances to kill suggest that “our ultracoooperative tendencies tend to go hand-in-hand with our ultralethal tendencies,” Macfarlan says. “We show a relationship between cooperation and violence at a level unseen in other organisms.” That may seem obvious for allied nations in modern wars, but “we’re saying that even in small-scale societies this is the case.”

IMAGE: Men from one Yanomamo village in the Amazon ‘dance’ in a neighboring village to show off their military prowess, weaponry and group cohesion after they were invited to a…

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How the Study was Conducted

The new study analyzed data collected by Chagnon in the 1980s, when about 25,000 Yanomamö lived in about 250 villages ranging from 25 to 400 people.

The study examined 118 Yanomamö warriors or unokai who had killed a total of 47 people by forming raiding parties of two to 15 men. The researchers analyzed the relationships between every possible pair of men in those raiding parties. Among the 118 unokai men, there were 509 possible pairs. Macfarlan says the findings revealed surprises about the relationship between co-unokai – pairs of men who kill together:

  • Only 22 percent of men who kill together were from the same lineage.
  • Only 34 percent of co-unokai pairs were from the same place of birth. “Guys who come from different places of birth are more likely to kill together.”
  • Among co-killers known to be related, a majority were related on their mother’s side rather than their father’s side – more evidence of forming alliances beyond the immediate paternal kinship group. In Yanomamö culture, true kin are viewed as being on the paternal side, while maternal relatives are seen as belonging to another social group.
  • The Yanomamö preferred forming coalitions with men within a median of age difference of 8 years. “The more similar in age, the more likely they will kill multiple times,” Macfarlan says.
  • Of the 118 unokai, 102 got married in a total of 223 marriages to 206 women. Of married killers, 70 percent married at least one woman from the same paternal line as an ally in killing. And “the more times they kill together, the more likely they are going to get marriage partners from each other’s family line,” Macfarlan says.
  • As a result, “The more times the guys kill together, the more likely they are to move into the same village later in life, despite having come from different village.”

The study found allies-in-killing often are somewhere between maternal first and second cousins, Macfarlan says. Under Yanomamö rules, a man’s ideal marriage partner is a maternal first cousin, who would be the offspring of your mother’s brother. He says Yanomamö rules allow marriage to a maternal first cousin, but not a paternal first cousin.

Despite debate over the biological roots of deadly coalitions in chimps and humans, the new study shows how culture can make it “uniquely human” because if Yanomamö men “kill together, they are plugged into this social scene, this marriage market,” Macfarlan says. “They are playing the game of their culture.”

The Whitening Of Neymar: How Color Is Lived In Brazil (Screamer)

June 8, 2014

Achal Prabhala

Original post by Achal Prabhala on SCREAMER

The Whitening Of Neymar: How Color Is Lived In Brazil

Originally published in Africa Is A Country.

By the time you read this, it’s possible that every single person on the planet will know who Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior is.

This is Neymar from last week:

The Whitening Of Neymar: How Color Is Lived In BrazilEXPAND

This is Neymar from one year ago:

The Whitening Of Neymar: How Color Is Lived In Brazil

This is Neymar from five years ago:

The Whitening Of Neymar: How Color Is Lived In Brazil

This is little Neymar with his family:

The Whitening Of Neymar: How Color Is Lived In Brazil

You could come to any number of conclusions from Neymar’s remarkable transformation. For instance, you could conclude that race doesn’t exist in Brazil, which is the favorite line of a specific tribe of Brazilians—impeccable liberals all, who just happen to be upper-class, white, and at the top of the heap.

Or you could conclude that everyone in Brazil is indeed mixed—which is, incidentally, the second-favorite line of the selfsame tribe.

Or you could wonder what happened to this boy.


It’s too easy to condemn Neymar for pretending to be white: Judging by the images, he is partly white. It’s silly to accuse him of denying his mixed-race ancestry, because the simplest search throws up hundreds of images of him as a child, none of which he seems to be ashamed of. There is this: When asked if he had ever been a victim of racism, he said, “Never. Neither inside nor outside the field. Because I’m not black, right?”

Actually, the word he used was preto, which is significant, since, in Brazil, when used as a color ascribed to people—rather than things, like rice or beans—it is the rough equivalent of the n-word, negro and negra being the acceptable ways of describing someone who is truly black (and moreno or morena being standard descriptors for someone dark-skinned, as well as, occasionally, euphemisms for blackness). Technically speaking, however, his logic was faultless—and even kind of interestingly honest: The Neymar who made that statement was an unworldly 18-year-old who had never lived outside Brazil. And in Brazil, Neymar is not black.


In 1976, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics ran a household survey that marked a crucial departure from other census exercises. The Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (PNAD) did not ask Brazilians to choose a race category among pre-determined choices; instead, researchers went out and asked people to describe the color they thought they were.

This is what came back.

Acastanhada Somewhat chestnut-coloured
Agalegada Somewhat like a Galician
Alva Snowy white
Alva escura Dark snowy white
Alvarenta (not in dictionary; poss. dialect) Snowy white
Alvarinta Snowy white
Alva rosada Pinkish white
Alvinha Snowy white
Amarela Yellow
Amarelada Yellowish
Amarela-queimada Burnt yellow
Amarelosa Yellowy
Amorenada Somewhat dark-skinned
Avermelhada Reddish
Azul Blue
Azul-marinho Sea blue
Baiano From Bahia
Bem branca Very white
Bem clara Very pale
Bem morena Very dark-skinned
Branca White
Branca-avermelhada White going on for red
Branca-melada Honey-coloured white
Branca-morena White but dark-skinned
Branca-pálida Pale white
Branca-queimada Burnt white
Branca-sardenta Freckled white
Branca-suja Off-white
Branquiça Whitish
Branquinha Very white
Bronze Bronze-coloured
Bronzeada Sun-tanned
Bugrezinha-escura Dark-skinned India
Burro-quando-foge Disappearing donkey (i.e. nondescript) humorous
Cabocla Copper-coloured ( refers to civilized Indians)
Cabo-verde From Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)
Café Coffee-coloured
Café-com-leite Café au lait
Canela Cinnamon
Canelada Somewhat like cinnamon
Cardão Colour of the cardoon, or thistle (blue-violet)
Castanha Chestnut
Castanha-clara Light chestnut
Castanha-escura Dark chestnut
Chocolate Chocolate-coloured
Clara Light-coloured, pale
Clarinha Light-coloured, pale
Cobre Copper-coloured
Corada With a high colour
Cor-de-café Coffee-coloured
Cor-de-canela Cinnamon-coloured
Cor-de-cuia Gourd-coloured
Cor-de-leite Milk-coloured (i.e. milk-white)
Cor-de-ouro Gold-coloured (i.e. golden)
Cor-de-rosa Pink
Cor-firme Steady-coloured
Crioula Creole
Encerada Polished
Enxofrada Pallid
Esbranquecimento Whitening
Escura Dark
Escurinha Very dark
Fogoió Having fiery-coloured hair
Galega Galician or Portuguese
Galegada Somewhat like a Galician or Portuguese
Jambo Light-skinned (the colour of a type of apple)
Laranja Orange
Lilás Lilac
Loira Blonde
Loira-clara Light blonde
Loura Blonde
Lourinha Petite blonde
Malaia Malaysian woman
Marinheira Sailor-woman
Marrom Brown
Meio-amarela Half-yellow
Meio-branca Half-white
Meio-morena Half dark-skinned
Meio-preta Half-black
Melada Honey-coloured
Mestiça Half-caste/mestiza
Miscigenação Miscegenation
Mista Mixed
Morena Dark-skinned, brunette
Morena-bem-chegada Very nearly morena
Morena-bronzeada Sunburnt morena
Morena-canelada Somewhat cinnamon-coloured morena
Morena-castanha Chestnut-coloured morena
Morena-clara Light-skinned morena
Morena-cor-de-canela Cinnamon-coloured morena
Morena-jambo Light-skinned morena
Morenada Somewhat morena
Morena-escura Dark morena
Morena-fechada Dark morena
Morenão Dark-complexioned man
Morena-parda Dark morena
Morena-roxa Purplish morena
Morena-ruiva Red-headed morena
Morena-trigueira Swarthy, dusky morena
Moreninha Petite morena
Mulata Mulatto girl
Mulatinha Little mulatto girl
Negra Negress
Negrota Young negress
Pálida Pale
Paraíba From Paraíba
Parda Brown
Parda-clara Light brown
Parda-morena Brown morena
Parda-preta Black-brown
Polaca Polish woman
Pouco-clara Not very light
Pouco-morena Not very dark-complexioned
Pretinha Black – either young, or small
Puxa-para-branco Somewhat towards white
Quase-negra Almost negro
Queimada Sunburnt
Queimada-de-praia Beach sunburnt
Queimada-de-sol Sunburnt
Regular Regular, normal
Retinta Deep-dyed, very dark
Rosa Rose-coloured (or the rose itself)
Rosada Rosy
Rosa-queimada Sunburnt-rosy
Roxa Purple
Ruiva Redhead
Russo Russian
Sapecada Singed
Sarará Yellow-haired negro
Saraúba (poss. dialect) Untranslatable
Tostada Toasted
Trigo Wheat
Trigueira Brunette
Turva Murky
Verde Green
Vermelha Red

Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, an anthropologist at the University of São Paulo, has a range of astonishing insights around this historic survey; her paper, ” Not black, not white: just the opposite. Culture, race and national identity in Brazil,” from which the table above is reproduced, is a gem. (She also has a book that examines the early history of the subject: The Spectacle of the Races: Scientists, Institutions, and the Race Question in Brazil, 1870-1930.)

Schwarcz’s work is filled with thoughtful, original analysis, and is characterized by an unusual fearlessness. (Unusual, that is, for a subject so complicated). Reading her is a revelation; it turns out there is a real place hiding under that avalanche of clichés. If you’ve ever wondered how crushing racism can flourish in a country where, apparently, race itself has been crushed, consider that everything Brazil is defined by—from its “we are all mixed” anthem, to feijoada, capoeira, and candomblé, right down to samba and soccer—is the result of an insidious, revisionist, far-sighted political maneuver of the 1930s, courtesy the combined skills of popular intellectual Gilberto Freyre and populist dictator Getúlio Vargas. The battered body of slave culture was abducted by national culture in order to renew white culture.

Among the many eye-popping results reported in the PNAD survey, the one I am most drawn to is burro quando foge. You’ll find it up there in the table at No. 34. Google inexplicably translates the phrase as “saddle,” which is awesome, since it means that Lusofonia still keeps some secrets beyond the reach of the behemoth. Burro quando foge is translated by Schwarcz, within the constraints of a column slot, as “the disappearing donkey” and explained as a humorous phrase that denotes a nondescript color.

Which it is—and then some. The metaphor is unique to Brazil, and signifies a color. That color could be nondescript, ill-defined, elusive, or ugly—and, just to make things really clear, also fawn, beige, or a tricky shade of brown. The sentiment conveyed in the phrase is just as interesting. Used between friends, it could pass for a joke. Otherwise, it almost always denotes something unpleasant. It’s usually used an insult, although—oddly enough, given the colors and sentiments—it’s not specifically a racial insult.

Of all the 136 colors of race in Brazil, this is my favorite. It’s flippant and factual and fictional all at once, and as such, suits me perfectly. Race is not a term that has much currency in India, where I live. It is, however, a central feature of Johannesburg and São Paulo, the two cities I occasionally work in, and as much as I’m aware of how privileged I am not to be wholly subject to it, I feel curiously bereft of race in both places. Certainly, I grew up with color: Being a dark-skinned child in a uniformly light-skinned family meant that I had to regularly contend with well-meaning relatives who’d pinch my cheeks and chide me for “losing my color”—as though my skin tone was something I had brought upon myself in a fit of absent-mindedness. To choose a race then: Indian might work for some people, but it is both my passport and my residence, and that’s quite enough. Brown is too generic, and black, a bit too unbelievable, all things considered. Given that I spent my childhood reading Gerald Durrell and dreaming of donkeys, adopting their color seems right in so many ways.


And where does that leave our boy wonder? We might start with the Estado Novo, Vargas’s authoritarian reign between 1937 and 1945. Only a few years earlier, Freyre had published the crowning achievement of his career, Casa-Grande e Senzala (The Big House and the Slave Quarters, released in English as The Masters and the Slaves), and the book was catching fire. Freyre’s central theory was something he called Lusotropicalism. It told a soothing story of the past (by casting the Portuguese as a kinder, gentler breed of imperial slaver), offered a handy solution for the present (by turning the mixing of races into a virtue),and held out an appealing conclusion, namely, the idea that Brazil was a racial democracy.

Upon publication, Freyre’s work immediately attracted the ire of the Portuguese nation for suggesting her citizens were prone to miscegenation. At home, however, it became Vargas’s blueprint for the country he had seized—and his strategy for political survival. Three quarters of a century later, Freyre’s big think remains the enduring idea of Brazil, an idea whose appeal grows in leaps and bounds across the globe and, to be sure, often escapes the clutches of its creators to dazzling effect. Still, consider the irony: The country’s sense of itself as a racialdemocracy was smuggled in to its soul by an autocracy.

The term Estado Novo refers to a few different periods of dictatorship, and it literally translates as “new state,” which is prophetic, since the words also describe a peculiar duty that is incumbent upon at least half the Brazilian population. That duty, of course, is the business ofbranqueamento—of whitening—of transforming, quite literally, into a new physical state. (For all his pro-miscegenation advocacy, Schwarcz notes in The Spectacle of the Races, Freyre was as keen as his critics on keeping the structure of Brazil intact: as a hierarchy with whiteness on top). In that sense, Neymar is only the latest in a long line of celebrities and Brazilians of lesser value who get it. Who get the fine print on the contract; who understand that national identity rests on racial harmony, which, in turn, rests on a kind of potential access to opportunity. Not the opportunity to be equal, mind you, but the opportunity to be white. We may gawk at him all we like, but in straightening his hair, extending it out, and dyeing it blond, Neymar was fulfilling his patriotic destiny just as surely as he was confounding the Croats and leading his team to victory last month.


I’ll venture that the disappearing donkey colour fits Neymar to a T. After all, he is both undoubtedly and elusively brown. Yes, there is the matter of his blond ambition. O burro fugiu, we might well ask—has the donkey left the building? I’d really like to think not. For one thing, the boy’s only 22. He’s got a whole lifetime to change his mind—and his hair. For another, I’ve got a whole World Cup to watch. Have a heart. I spend hours every week learning Brazilian Portuguese; I’m devoted to the country; and I come from Bangalore, a city in which Pelé is god. I do not mean this metaphorically. In a neighborhood called Gowthampura, around the corner from where I live, residents have erected a lovely shrine to four local icons—the Buddha, Dr. Ambedkar, Mother Teresa, and the striker from Santos.

The Whitening Of Neymar: How Color Is Lived In Brazil

So you see, my hands are tied. I’ve got my own patriotic destiny to fulfill, and it involves rooting for Brazil, which means I’m going to need to love Neymar a lot.

I can do it.

Anyway, donkeys are famously stubborn animals. They’re good at waiting.


Achal Prabhala is a writer and researcher in Bangalore, India. Bottom photo via Flickr.Neymar game photos via Getty.

Screamer is Deadspin’s soccer site. We’re @ScreamerDS on Twitter. We’ll be partnering with our friends at Howler Magazine throughout the World Cup. Follow them on Twitter,@whatahowler.

The World Cup 2014 in Brazil: better organised than the Olympics in London 2012? (FREE)

JUNE 26, 2014

Football Research in an Enlarged Europe (FREE)

Yesterday, I was quoted in a number of French newspapers as saying that the World Cup 2014 has been, so far, better organised than the London Olympics 2012. It is my duty to report that this does not in any way whatsoever misrepresent my views.
I stand by what I said.

There have been months, if not years, of negative reports on the 2014 World Cup. Before the event started, comments from all quarters (Western media, FIFA, patrons and waiters at the pub alike) promised absolute doom and gloom in Brazil. The stadia would not be ready in time, spectators would be prevented from travelling to the venues because the infrastructures would not be ready in time or because Brazilians would be protesting to no end. Most commentators were very short of saying ‘those lazy, unpatriotic and unreliable Brazilians’ – when they did not actually say it…

Unless I am mistaken, so far none of this has actually happened. All the stadia are ready and used for the Cup. Brazilians are exercising their democratic right to protest and there are isolated reports of Pelé or other football celebrities not making it to the venue. Yet, stadia are not only ready. They are full at every game! Even when South Korea is playing Algeria, in a game where the sporting stakes are not high.

Compare this with the London Olympics which were marred by a number of controversies:

We could add to the list of ‘things that went pearshaped at London 2012’: for example, the gatecrasher at the parade of nations which shocked many people in India, LOCOG displaying a South-Korean flag instead of North-Korea (logically the North-Korean team refused to warm up and play until the right flag was displayed, prompting the game to be very much delayed…) but the point is not to criticise otherwise relatively well organised Olympics. I don’t want to be unfair with the Brits either as there are often controversies surrounding the organisation of a mega event. Let’s just recall that, to my knowledge, the only international sporting event that had to change country because a stadium was not built in time, is the 2007 Athletics World Championship, planned in Wembley, London and which finally happened in Oslo. Once more, let’s be fair with Britain: construction delays are common in every country, and construction budgets almost invariably go overboard.

The point, instead, is to show the gap between reality and perception. Whenever an event is organised in a Southern country, the discourse, and the memory, is of potential fiascos, that have usually not materialised. Whenever an event is organised in a Northern country, the discourse, and the memory, is of success, even when there were actual fiascos.

Following Edward Said, we can call this ‘orientalisation’, and say that in a world where the East/West divide was replaced in the 1990s by a North-South divide,  this is the result of a distorted view that the Western/Northern media have of the Orient/South.

Let’s say things much more clearly: this is a xenophobic, or even racist, discourse.

David Ranc

Brasil x Argentina: a promoção disfarçada do ódio (Carta Capital)

Não dá para aceitar que nossa mídia promova tendências à xenofobia e ao preconceito na sua busca por vender cervejas e aumentar sua audiência

por Coletivo Intervozes — publicado 01/07/2014 11:15, última modificação 01/07/2014 12:45

Juan Mabromata / AFP

Torcida da Argentina na Copa do Mundo

Torcedores argentinos aguardam a chegada de sua seleção na porta do Beira-Rio, estádio da Copa do Mundo em Porto Alegre

*Por Bruno Marinoni

Todos eles foram levados para dentro de uma pequena casa à beira-mar, trancafiados e eliminados. Mais um filme sobre o genocídio nazista? Não. Trata-se de uma “humorada” publicidade de cerveja sobre a “rivalidade” entre brasileiros e argentinos, que vem sendo veiculada desde a partida Argentina e Nigéria, no dia 25 de junho. Qual o problema de os nossos veículos de comunicação alimentarem a xenofobia? De fazerem graça com a proposta de que os hermanos devem ser lançados ao mar, ou ao espaço por nós?

O portal Diário na Copa, do grupo Diário do Nordeste (CE), no mesmo dia 25, publicou uma matéria com a manchete “Argentinos assaltam torcedores e roubam ingressos antes de partida em Porto Alegre”. O conteúdo da notícia aponta que os suspeitos são argentinos, pois vestiam camisas da seleção argentina. E, assim, nossa imprensa acredita possuir elementos suficientes para associar as imagens do crime à de uma nacionalidade específica. Essa é uma equação bem conhecida pelas vítimas de campanhas racistas e xenófobas. Qual o problema de chamar de “assaltantes argentinos” pessoas que vestem camisa da argentina e roubam ingressos?

Uma matéria do site do Globo Esporte do dia 21 anunciava que “a Copa do Mundo registrou na madrugada deste sábado a primeira grande briga entre brasileiros e argentinos”. Qual o problema de se naturalizar a briga entre representantes das duas nacionalidades, já insinuando que ela é a primeira de uma série?

Temos assim exemplos nos quais o espetáculo da Copa do Mundo, a grande competição entre as nações, mostra-se um prato cheio para que a nossa indústria cultural alimente e se alimente da violência (simbólica?). Promover a criminalização de um determinado grupo, a naturalização da violência e a necessidade de eliminação do outro: eis um mecanismo comum que se volta de diferentes maneiras para diversos atores no nosso cotidiano e para o qual é preciso estarmos atentos.

Enquanto na publicidade temos um exemplo que se vale do humor para tentar neutralizar qualquer possibilidade de crítica, tem-se por outro lado a imprensa utilizando a estratégia do “realismo”, na qual o “relato objetivo do fato” esconde o papel ativo do jornalismo na construção do discurso sobre a realidade. Dessa forma, o discurso que demoniza um determinado grupo tenta nos seduzir tanto de forma indireta (foi só uma piada!) como de forma direta (essa é a verdade).

Alguém pode minorar o fato de que o futebol é um fenômeno midiático e argumentar que essa rivalidade entre brasileiros e argentinos não foi criada pela mídia. Tá legal, eu aceito o argumento. O que não dá para aceitar é que nossa mídia promova tendências à xenofobia e ao preconceito na sua busca por vender cervejas e aumentar sua audiência. Seu papel deveria ser problematizar e combater, ao invés de estimular, o espetáculo do ódio travestido de rivalidade.

Abaixo, o vídeo em que os argentinos são mandados para o espaço:

* Bruno Marinoni é repórter do Observatório do Direito à Comunicação, doutor em Sociologia pela UFPE e integrante do Conselho Diretor do Intervozes.

Os casos de suspeita de racismo noticiados pela Folha de S. Paulo: 2001-2012 (GEMAA)

Os casos de suspeita de racismo noticiados pela Folha de S. Paulo: 2001-2012

30 de junho de 2014

O Grupo de Estudos Multidisciplinares da Ação Afirmativa (GEMAA), do Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos da Uerj (IESP-Uerj), tem o prazer de trazer a público o texto de discussão nº 5 “Os casos de suspeita de racismo noticiados pela Folha de S. Paulo: 2001-2012”.

Nesse texto, apresentamos os 150 casos de suspeita de racismo, discriminação e injúria racial noticiados pelo jornal Folha de S Paulo entre os anos de 2001 e 2012. Os casos foram resumidos em fichas para tornar acessível ao público uma síntese do que foi noticiado em torno da temática ao longo desses 12 anos. São apresentados, a titulo de investigação de caráter preliminar, os insultos raciais proferidos, bem como as palavras mais incidentes nas ofensas de cunho racista, além das frases mobilizadas pelos suspeitos de racismo nas situações de agressão verbal. Esses elementos permitem iluminar algumas das características do racismo manifesto no Brasil, associado a estratégias de desumanização e de recondução das vítimas a um lugar de subalternidade.

Para acessar e fazer download do texto, visite o site do GEMAA:
http://gemaa.iesp.uerj.br/publicacoes/textos-para-discussao/tpd5.html

Mexico World Cup Chants: Diego Luna Condemns Homophobic ‘Puto’ in Soccer (Latino Post)

By Robert Abel

First Posted: Jun 22, 2014 02:24 PM EDT

Diego Luna

Cada Vez nos Despedimos Mejor Press Conference (Photo : Clasos/CON LatinContent Editorial)

Mexican actor Diego Luna is speaking out against homophobic chants during World Cup matches. Fox News Latino reported that the award-winning actor and producer said it is regrettable that homophobic terms like “puto,” a common cry heard at Mexico’s soccer stadiums, are used to insult players during games.

Some say the word means weak or coward and isn’t directed at gays, but it is clearly meant to mock an opponent as weak and unmanly.

“I went to the [2006] World Cup in Germany, and I did hear [that cry],” the actor said in an interview with MVS radio. He said he never joined in because he couldn’t be proud of doing so.

“Soccer is a reflection of what we are in many ways,” he said. “We live in a classist, racist, homophobic society into which we are very assimilated, that’s all. I’m not really proud of that.”

On Thursday, the International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA, opened a disciplinary inquiry into the chants Mexican fans yelled during World Cup games against Cameroon and Brazil.

ESPN told Outsports it will try to prevent the chants from being heard on-air Monday when Mexico plays Croatia. The network says it is sensitive to the chant.

Andres Aradillas-Lopez, an economics professor at Penn State University, was born in Mexico and said he told Outsports the slur disgusts him.

“I heard them during the Cameroon game and also today against Brazil. Every single time the opposing goalie had a goal kick, they chanted [‘puto’],” Lopez said. “The media should make a bigger deal out of this and publicly shame that country and its fans. No other country in the world does this, and it would be unacceptable in any U.S. stadium.”

Mexico national team coach Miguel Herrera didn’t take the chants seriously, saying, “We have nothing to say; we’re with the fans. They do it to put pressure on the other team’s goalkeeper — I don’t think it’s that serious.”

FIFA statutes state that discrimination — by players, coaches or fans — against any country, individual or group for their race, skin color, ethnic origin, nationality, sex, language, religion or other factor is prohibited.

Luna has played LGBT characters in his films, including “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Milk.”

LGBT activists have been using the World Cup to draw attention to anti-gay killings that have plagued Brazil. Last year there were 313 anti-gay killings in the country, according to watchdog Grupo Gay de Bahia.

Grupos judaicos protestam contra Prêmio Adorno para filósofa crítica de Israel (DW)

11.09.2012

Detratores atacam escolha de filósofa e ativista política Judith Butler para importante prêmio cultural alemão. Condenação da filósofa de origem judaica à política do Estado de Israel é equiparada a antissemitismo.

Filósofa norte-americana Judith ButlerFilósofa norte-americana Judith Butler

O anúncio da cidade de Frankfurt, em maio último, de que Judith Butler receberia o Prêmio Theodor W. Adorno por sua contribuição extraordinária ao pensamento filosófico, desencadeou uma guerra de palavras especialmente violenta entre a pensadora e seus críticos.

Professora de Retórica e Literatura Comparada na Universidade de Berkeley, Califórnia, Butler é conhecida sobretudo por suas obras sobre teorias queer e dos gêneros, entre as quais Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity (1990) e Undoing gender (2004).

Mais recentemente, ela ganhou destaque como ativista política e crítica da política de Israel no Oriente Médio. Butler é adepta veemente do movimento Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS – Boicote, Desinvestimento e Sanções), que defende medidas não punitivas contra o Estado israelense.

“Judia de álibi”

Concedida a cada três anos, a distinção que traz o nome do filósofo e teórico alemão Theodor W. Adorno premia desempenhos extraordinários nos campos da música, literatura, filosofia e cinema.

Bandeira israelense em Jerusalém. Ao fundo, cúpula da Mesquita da RochaBandeira israelense em Jerusalém. Ao fundo, cúpula da Mesquita da Rocha

Em seguida à escolha de Judith Butler em 31 de maio último, membros da comunidade judaica, acadêmicos e articulistas reagiram com um longo e corrosivo ataque publicado no jornalJerusalem Post, condenando em especial o apoio da autora ao BDS.

Gerald Steinberg, docente de Ciência Política na Universidade Bar-Ilan, em Ramat Gan, definiu a campanha do BDS como “a acepção moderna do antissemitismo”. “Butler é uma de um ínfimo número de ‘judeus de álibi’, usados para legitimar a guerra continuada contra Israel, seguindo uma obscura prática empregada durante séculos na diáspora”, afirmou.

Stephan Kramer, secretário-geral do Conselho Central dos Judeus na Alemanha, deplorou a decisão de dar o prêmio a alguém que “notoriamente odeia Israel”. Conceder a distinção – que leva o nome de um filósofo forçado a fugir do regime nazista devido a sua própria herança judaica – não pode ser considerado “um mero equívoco”, condenou Kramer.

“Tática de silenciamento”

Judith Butler, judia norte-americana de ascendência russa e húngara, respondeu a seus detratores num longo artigo publicado pelo website de notícias judaicas Mondoweiss. Obviamente magoada pelas críticas direcionadas contra ela, denunciou os ataques como “tática de silenciamento”.

“É falso, absurdo e doloroso alguém argumentar que quem formula críticas ao Estado de Israel seja antissemita ou, se judeu, autodesprezador. Tais ataques visam demonizar a pessoa que está articulando um ponto de vista crítico, assim desqualificando de antemão seu ponto de vista.” Além disso, seus adversários estariam tentando monopolizar o direito de falar em nome dos judeus, apontou a filósofa.

Um pomo da discórdia específico têm sido os comentários feitos por Butler sobre grupos políticos palestinos e libaneses, durante um fórum antibélico em 2011: “Entender o Hamas e o Hizbollah como movimentos sociais que são progressivos, de esquerda, que são parte da esquerda global, é extremamente importante”.

Em sua inflamada réplica, a norte-americana alega que o sentido de seus comentários foi arrancado do contexto e seriamente distorcido. Partidária da resistência não violenta, ela afirma não endossar nem o Hamas nem o Hizbollah. “Na minha opinião, dada a minha história, é importantíssimo, como judia, pronunciar-me contra a injustiça e lutar contra todas as formas de racismo.”

Prêmio será entregue na Igreja de S. Paulo de FrankfurtPrêmio será entregue na Igreja de S. Paulo de Frankfurt

Contexto teuto-israelense delicado

A autora austríaca Marlene Streeruwitz, integrante da banca do Prêmio Adorno, defendeu a decisão de laurear Judith Butler. Ela declarou-se atônita diante da celeuma resultante, que classificou uma verdadeira “denunciação”, e louvou a “complexa e diferenciada atitude em relação ao mundo” representada por Butler.

O democrata-cristão Felix Semmelroth, encarregado para assuntos de cultura em Frankfurt, também manifestou apoio à decisão do júri, denominando Butler “uma das pensadoras-chaves de nosso tempo”. Quanto à crítica à premiação, ela seria “compreensível, mas injustificada”, observou o político conservador alemão.

A autora estadunidense não é a única voz crítica a Israel a enfrentar oposição ferrenha. Em março de 2012, o autor alemão Günter Grass, Prêmio Nobel de Literatura, também desencadeou polêmica com seu poema O que deve ser dito, no qual tacha Israel de ameaça à paz mundial. Em meio à celeuma, Grass expressou frustração por toda crítica a Israel ser equiparada a antissemitismo.

Filósofo Theodor W. Adorno nasceu em 11 de setembro de 1903Filósofo Theodor W. Adorno nasceu em 11 de setembro de 1903

A decisão de conceder o Prêmio Adorno à pensadora estadunidense coincide com um momento atipicamente sensível nas relações teuto-israelenses do pós-guerra. Em junho, um tribunal da cidade de Colônia classificou a circuncisão de bebês como “lesão corporal criminosa”, provocando protestos das comunidades judaica e muçulmana da Alemanha e do resto do mundo. No início de setembro, entretanto, o estado de Berlim considerou a circuncisão legal por motivos religiosos.

Opositor de nacionalismos e racismos

Nascido na cidade de Frankfurt em 1903, Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund-Adorno tinha uma relação complexa com sua própria identidade judaica. Integrante central da Escola de Frankfurt de Teoria Crítica, mantendo laços estreitos com pensadores como Max Horkheimer, Ernst Bloch e Walter Benjamin, Adorno foi um dos principais filósofos da estética, música e cultura de massa de sua geração.

Crítico determinado do fascismo, Adorno exilou-se da Alemanha em 1934. Em Cultura crítica e sociedade, de 1951, ele cunhou a famosa frase “Escrever poesia depois de Auschwitz é barbárie”, mas que depois rejeitaria. Durante toda sua vida, permaneceu extremamente cético no tocante a todas as formas de nacionalismo.

Retornando à Alemanha após a Segunda Guerra Mundial, atuou como professor na Universidade de Frankfurt de 1949 até sua morte, em 1969. Em sua honra e no dia de seu aniversário, 11 de setembro, desde 1977 a cidade natal concede a cada três anos o prêmio que leva seu nome, dotado com 50 mil euros. Entre os laureados estiveram Jürgen Habermas (1980), Jean-Luc Godard (1995), Jacques Derrida (2001) e Alexander Kluge (2009).

Judith Butler recebe o Prêmio Theodor W. Adorno neste 11 de setembro, na Igreja de São Paulo de Frankfurt.

Autor: Helen Whittle (av)
Revisão: Carlos Albuquerque

As malocas da praça de maio (Taqui Pra Ti)

José Ribamar Bessa Freire

01/06/2014 – Diário do Amazonas

 

Na Argentina, elas foram reprimidas por baionetas quando indagaram, em 1977, pelos filhos presos. Os generais golpistas debocharam: “son las locas de Plaza de Mayo“. Obstinadas, não desistiram. Desafiaram o terror e continuaram ocupando a Praça de Maio, desfilando o seu protesto semanal diante da Casa Rosada e da catedral até que, finamente, reconhecidas pela sociedade, contribuíram para o fim da ditadura e a prisão dos torturadores.
No Brasil, vários movimentos nos fizeram ouvir a voz de quem foi silenciado. No entanto, como ninguém entende línguas indígenas, nem se interessa por aprendê-las, não se escuta o clamor dos índios, seja de mães indígenas por seus filhos ou de índios por seus pais desaparecidos. Desta forma, os índios, sempre invisíveis na historia do Brasil, ficaram de fora das narrativas e não figuram nas estatísticas dos desaparecidos políticos. Na floresta, não há praças de maio.
Mas agora isso começa a mudar. Relatório do Comitê Estadual da Verdade do Amazonas, que será em breve publicado pela Editora Curt Nimuendajú, de Campinas (SP), dá voz aos índios e mapeia os estragos, comprovando que na Amazônia, mais do que militantes de esquerda, a ditadura eliminou índios, entre outros, Cinta-Larga e Surui (RO/MT), Krenhakarore na rodovia Cuiabá-Santarém, Kanê ou Beiços-de-Pau do Rio Arinos (MT), Avá-Canoeiro (GO), Parakanã e Arara (PA), Kaxinawa e Madiha (AC), Juma, Yanomami e Waimiri-Atroari (AM/RR).
O foco do primeiro relatório, de 92 páginas, já encaminhado à Comissão Nacional da Verdade (CNV), incide sobre os Kiña, denominados também como Waimiri-Atroari, cujos desaparecidos são conhecidos hoje por seus nomes, graças a um trabalho cuidadoso que ouviu índios em suas línguas, consultou pesquisadores e indigenistas, fuçou arquivos e examinou documentos, incluindo desenhos que mostram índios metralhados por homens armados com revólver, fuzil, rifles, granadas e cartucheira, jogando bombas sobre malocas incendiadas.
Os desaparecidos
De noite, nas malocas, os sobreviventes narram a história da violência sofrida, que começou a ser escrita e desenhada por crianças, jovens e adultos alfabetizados na língua Kiña pelos professores Egydio e Doroti Schwade com o método Paulo Freire. Toda a aldeia Yawará, no sul de Roraima, participou do processo, em 1985 e 1986, até mesmo crianças de colo. A comunicação foi facilitada pelo fato de o casal morar lá com seus quatro filhos pequenos, antes de ser expulso pelo então presidente da Funai, Romero Jucá, lacaio subserviente das empresas mineradoras.
Todo o processo de alfabetização ocorreu num clima que iniciou com a narração oral das historias e continuou com a criação dos desenhos, a leitura dos desenhos, a discussão sobre eles e, finalmente, com a escrita alfabética.
Durante esse período, Egydio registrou, com ajuda de Doroti, as narrativas contadas por quem testemunhou os fatos ou por quem ouviu falar sobre eles. Os primeiros textos escritos por recém-alfabetizados, ilustrados por desenhos, revelaram “o método e as armas usadas para dizimá-los: aviões, helicópteros, bombas, metralhadoras, fios elétricos e estranhas doenças. Comunidades inteiras desapareceram depois que helicópteros com soldados sobrevoaram ou pousaram em suas aldeias” – diz o relatório.
Com a abertura da rodovia BR-174 e a entrada das empresas mineradoras, muitas outras aldeias foram varridas do mapa. “Pais, mães e filhos mortos, aldeias destruídas pelo fogo e por bombas. Gente resistindo e correndo pelos varadouros à procura de refúgio em aldeia amiga. A floresta rasgada e os rios ocupados por gente agressiva e inimiga. Esta foi a geografia política e social vivenciada pelo povo Kiña desde o início da construção da BR-174, em 1967, até sua inauguração em 1977” – segundo o relatório.
Alguns sobreviventes refugiados na aldeia Yawará conviveram durante dois anos com Egydio e Doroti.  Lá, todas as pessoas acima de dez anos eram órfãs, exceto duas irmãs, cuja mãe sobreviveu ao massacre. O relatório transcreve a descrição feita pelo índio Panaxi:
“Civilizado matou com bomba” – escreve Panaxi ao lado do desenho, identificando um a um os mortos com seus nomes: Sere, Podanî, Mani, Priwixi, Akamamî, Txire, Tarpiya.
A eles se somaram outros de uma lista feita por Yaba: Mawé, Xiwya, Mayede – marido de Wada, Eriwixi, Waiba, Samyamî – mãe de Xeree, Pikibda, a pequena Pitxenme, Maderê, Wairá – mulher de Amiko, Pautxi – marido de Woxkî, Arpaxi – marido de Sidé, Wepînî – filho de Elsa, Kixii e seu marido Maiká, Paruwá e sua filha Ida, Waheri, Suá – pai de Warkaxi, sua esposa e um filho, Kwida – pai de Comprido, Tarakña e tantos outros.
Quem matou
A lista é longa, os mortos têm nomes, mas às vezes são identificados pelo laço de parentesco: “a filha de Sabe que mora no Mrebsna Mudî, dois tios de Mário Paruwé, o pai de Wome, uma filha de Antônio”, etc. O relatório se refere ao“desaparecimento de mais de 2.000 Waimiri-Atroari em apenas dez anos”. Na área onde se localiza hoje a Mineradora Taboca (Paranapanema) desapareceram pelo menos nove aldeias aerofotografadas pelo padre Calleri, em 1968, em sobrevoos a serviço da FUNAI. Os alunos da aldeia Yawará desenharam casas e escreveram ao lado frases como:
– Apapa takweme apapeme batkwapa kamña nohmepa [o meu pai foi atirado com espingarda por civilizado e morreu] – escreveu Pikida, ao lado do desenho que ilustra o fato.
– Taboka ikame Tikiriya yitohpa. Apiyamyake, apiyemiyekî? [Taboca chegou, Tikiria sumiu, por que? Por que?]
A resposta pode ser encontrada no ofício 042-E2-CONF. do Comando Militar da Amazônia, de 21/11/1974, assinado pelo General Gentil Nogueira, que recomendava o uso da violência armada contra os índios, segundo o relatório encaminhado à Comissão Nacional da Verdade. Era uma política de Estado a serviço de interesses privados, implementada com métodos de bandidagem.
Um mês e meio depois, o sertanista Sebastião Amâncio da Costa, nomeado chefe de Frente de Atração Waimiri-Atroari (FAWA), em entrevista ao jornal O Globo (06/01/1975), assumiu de público as determinações do general Gentil, declarando que faria “uma demonstração de força dos civilizados que incluiria a utilização de dinamite, granadas, bombas de gás lacrimogêneo e rajadas de metralhadoras e o confinamento dos chefes índios em outras regiões do País”.
O resultado de toda essa lambança é descrito por Womé Atroari, em entrevista à TV Brasil, relatando um ataque aéreo a uma aldeia e outros fatos que presenciou:
– Foi assim tipo bomba, lá na aldeia. O índio que estava na aldeia não escapou ninguém. Ele veio no avião e de repente esquentou tudinho, aí morreu muita gente. Foi muita maldade na construção da BR-174. Aí veio muita gente e pessoal armado, assim, pessoal do Exército, isso eu vi. Eu sei que me lembro bem assim, tinha um avião assim um pouco de folha, assim, desenho de folha, assim, um pouco vermelho por baixo, só isso. Passou isso aí, morria rapidinho pessoa. Desse aí que nós via.
Os tratores que abriam a estrada eram vistos pelos índios como tanques de guerra. “Muitas vezes os tratores amanheciam amarrados com cipós.Essa era uma maneira clara de dizer que não queriam que as obras continuassem. Como essa resistência ficou muito forte, o Departamento Estadual de Estradas de Rodagem do Amazonas-DER-AM, inicialmente responsável pela construção, começou a usar armas de fogo contra os indígenas”.
Sacopã e Parasar
O relatório informa que “as festas que reuniam periodicamente os Waimiri-Atroari foram aproveitadas pelo PARASAR para o aniquilamento dos índios”. Conta detalhes. Registra ainda o desaparecimento de índios que se aproximaram, em agosto de 1985, do canteiro de obras da hidrelétrica do Pitinga, então em construção:
“É muito provável que tenham sido mortos pela Sacopã, uma empresa de jagunços, comandada por dois ex-oficiais do Exército e um da ativa, subordinado ao Comando Militar da Amazônia, empresa muito bem equipada, que oferecia na época serviços de “limpeza” na floresta à Paranapanema no entorno de seus projetos minerais. Os responsáveis pela empresa foram autorizados pelo Comando Militar da Amazônia a manter ao seu serviço 400 homens equipados com cartucheiras 20 milímetros, rifle 38, revolveres de variado calibre e cães amestrados”.
Os autores do relatório dão nomes aos bois, esclarecendo que quem comandava a Sacopã no trabalho de segurança da Mineração Taboca/Paranapanema e no controle de todo acesso à terra indígena eram dois militares da reserva: o tenente Tadeu Abraão Fernandes e o coronel reformado Antônio Fernandes, além de um coronel da ativa, João Batista de Toledo Camargo, então chefe de polícia do Comando Militar da Amazônia.
É Rondon de cabeça pra baixo: “Matar ainda que não seja preciso; morrer nunca”, num processo iniciado com o colonizador e ainda não concluído.  Na Amazônia, o cônego Manoel Teixeira, irmão do governador Pedro Teixeira, em carta ao rei de Portugal, em 5 de janeiro de 1654, escrita no leito da morte, na hora da verdade, declara que “no espaço de trinta e dois anos, são extintos a trabalho e a ferro, segundo a conta dos que ouviram, mais de dois milhões de índios de mais de quatrocentas aldeias”.
O relatório é um bom começo, porque evidencia que os índios precisam de uma Comissão da Verdade não apenas para os 21 anos de ditadura militar, mas para os 514 anos de História em que crimes foram e continuam sendo cometidos contra eles. Assim, podem surgir praças de maio dentro das malocas para que o Brasil generoso e solidário cobre mudanças radicais na política indigenista do país, impedindo que o Estado continue a serviço de interesses privados escusos.