Port area of Rio, 32 C, 75% humidity, 3-hour walk: it isn’t exactly an ideal way to spend one’s first day of spring break. Yet, he was happy. He chose to be. He had decided to spend his spring break in Rio with an incubator, working for the social ascendance of racially backward classes. It is his calling in life, he felt.
He stood at the port of Valongo adjoining the erstwhile slave market. He was numb. History did that to him. Portuguese brought in more than five hundred thousand ‘people’ as slaves from central African countries, primarily from Angola and Congo. Slaves were then traded and their owner marked them with a unique symbol. Those who remained unsold or died before being sold were dumped in a landfill. How could one human being do that to another? What about the core value of human dignity? Does something similar still happens in the world? He shook in trauma.
The head of the incubator highlighted that history has had an adverse impact on the way society has evolved in terms of class distinctions. “Although 53% of the Brazilian population is African-Brazilian, white elites still rule the national life and have undue influence on public policy. There is a ‘myth of racial democracy’ in Brazil. Through polite racism techniques, blacks are told their place in the society. In Brazil, it is better to be a white with no money than be a black with money. It must change.”