Manual Black Women against the Land Grab: The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil

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In Brazil and throughout the African diaspora, black women, especially poor black women, are rarely considered leaders of social movements let alone political.
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Neighborhood activist Ana Cristina da Silva Caminha, whose critiques of the violence of urban re-development I cite throughout my first book Black Woman against the Land Grab: We would have set the city on fire. The police had threatened to return to complete the job, and the neighborhood residents were on high alert for the necessity of another violent street protest.

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Shortly after the morning protests in Gamboa de Baixo, the headliner of the midday news was the death of a one-year-old baby girl in the Catiara neighborhood on the periphery of Amargosa, a municipality located in the interior of Bahia. Protests erupted in that city that led to the burning of police headquarters and vehicles, as well as the freeing of prisoners from the local jails.

Residents of Gamboa de Baixo watched sympathetically and angrily as they mourned a senseless murder that could have also happened to them.

Black women against the land grab the fight for racial justice in Brazil | EIGE

In both instances, even with the violent incidents still fresh, and many still in disbelief, the young mothers and community members called for justice and an end to the state violence. They fought on the frontlines to end the everyday police war on poor communities aimed at constructing, maintaining, and disposing of black marginalized urban landscapes and the people who occupy them. We learn from the protests that state actions in black neighborhoods are not just about enacting a politics of containment, but also about implementing a politics of exclusion tied to urban renewal.

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That summer, neither of these incidents of police violence nor how these young mothers and numerous other women experienced police brutality and death in Bahia and throughout Brazil made the international news. Our collective memory of the summer of has been primarily marked by the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the protests that sparked a national BlackLivesMatter movement in the United States.


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Yet, the above-mentioned acts of gendered antiblack violence show that police questioning of and disregard for black humanity is not only routine, but normative across the diaspora in the Americas. Violence in its various forms including police torture and killing, and forms of social violence such as unemployment, and lack of adequate housing, education and health care systematically threatens as well as destroys black life. Black claims to housing, land and life are simultaneously nullified in moments of violent police action in their neighborhoods.

The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil

In this vein, I ask in my ongoing research: I join a group of black feminist scholars who have begun to give more scholarly attention to the militarization of state and local police forces in urban communities African-American Policy Forum Report ; Crenshaw ; Ritchie While the national and international discourses around the effects of the militarization of policing has been framed as primarily torturing and killing black men and boys, these scholars have documented that black women and girls also suffer similar violent consequences Angel-Ajani ; Crenshaw ; Davis ; Ritchie ; Sudbury Smith also documents in her recent book, Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil , that long before the Black Lives Matter movement exploded in the United States, a vibrant anti-black genocide movement fighting police killings and other forms of state-sanctioned killing of black people in Brazil had already been taking place on the ground and online.

According to a recent Amnesty International report , every 23 minutes in Brazil, a young black person between the age of 15 and 29 is killed. Human rights defenders, especially those defending land and environmental rights, faced increased threats and attacks. This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve.

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Black Women and State-Sanctioned Violence in the Brazilian City

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Black Women against the Land Grab: Perry Abstract This book offers a depth of ethnographic work that makes the following theoretical interventions: More This book offers a depth of ethnographic work that makes the following theoretical interventions: Bibliographic Information Print publication date: Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication.