In the history class book, a lot is said about slavery, exploitation and the great event, abolition. But what is not said is that after abolition, black people were at the mercy, without having anywhere to work, live or eat, leaving them with discrimination, neglect and exploitation. To this day, black people are the base of the social pyramid and, when we draw this pyramid, we find another issue: black women are the base of this pyramid. Black women suffer the weight of prejudice and discrimination that exclude them from occupying space, just because they are women and black.
Childhood Marked by Lack of Representation
Problems begin in simple situations in our own childhood. As children, we were not represented in our dolls and cartoons. They rejected our curly hair and the tone of our skin. They disseminated a standard of beauty in which we did not recognize ourselves, thus hurting our self-esteem. Later, these issues reflect more seriously on our interpersonal and emotional relationships.
The Harsh Reality: Study on Black Women in the Job Market
To darken this issue, let's bring some truths reported by a study entitled “Black Women: Double Discrimination in Metropolitan Labor Markets“. Black women are the poorest part of Brazilian society, having the most precarious work situation, the lowest income and the highest unemployment rates. Furthermore, they face greater difficulties in completing schooling and have little chance of reaching management and leadership positions. One of the reasons is that we have to assume the role of family caregiver from an early age.
Alarming Data on Racism and Violence
When we realize the data on racism and violence, the situation becomes even more worrying. In 2015, black women represented 58.8% of victims of domestic violence, 53.6% of victims of maternal mortality, 65.9% of victims of obstetric violence, 68.8% of women killed by aggression and 56.8% of victims of rapes recorded in the state of Rio de Janeiro in 2014.
Our goal is to make you uncomfortable, to question. Have you ever noticed these issues in the classroom? Have these systems been discussed for you? What is the best way to face these problems given this data?
Uncovering Veiled Racism at School
Depending on the spaces we are in and live in, we have difficulty perceiving the racism that is hidden, and often even reinforcing it. To uproot racism, we have to receive encouragement, and one of the best places for this is school. By working on issues relating to blackness, culture, memory and ancestry, we are paving the way to confront problems related to black women in society.
Public Policies as a Path to Change
Change is only possible through the creation and implementation of public policies that recognize this difference. Social participation, empowerment of black women in all age groups, creation of collectives to encourage community empowerment – these are essential steps towards building a more just and egalitarian society. Furthermore, we must have supervision and punishment for cases of racism, a non-bailable crime.