sábado, 27 de outubro de 2012

Are Monteiro Lobato’s Books Really Racist?

Are Monteiro Lobato’s Books Really Racist?Reply to topic

  • 10/26/12 at 03:45 PM

Recently, a controversy that had been around since at least 2010 resurfaced: the supposed racism in works by writer Monteiro Lobato. Resulting from actions by the Institute of Racial and Environmental Advocacy (IARA), the controversy started with the work, “Caçadas de Pedrinho” [Pete’s Hunting]. Published in 1933, the book tells the adventure of characters from Yellow Woodpecker Farm looking for a jaguar. There are sections in the book where Aunt Nastácia is called black. Other controversial citations include: - “Aunt Nastácia, forgetting her numerous rheumatisms, climbed just like a black monkey;” - “It is not surprising that monkeys look so much like men. They only speak nonsense;” - “You are not going to escape from anyone – not even Aunt Nastácia, who is black.” In defense of the writer, journalist and writer Ruy Castro is blunt: “People who accuse Monteiro Lobato of racism and of wanting to ‘extinguish the black race' certainly never read a line of what he wrote. It is a case of a 'politically correct henhouse’ attitude, as Nelson Rodrigues would say.” In addition, cartoonist Ziraldo created a drawing in which Lobato appears hugging a black samba dancer, satirizing those who see racism in his work. The controversy intensified when in May 2011, Bravo! magazine published letters attributed to Lobato that contained racist content, including sympathy for eugenics (“science” that helped support Nazism), as well as the Ku Klux Klan (an American extreme racist organization). Among the most controversial passages, Lobato wrote: “One day the Ku Klux Klan will be vindicated; if we had a defense of this order that keeps the black man in his place, and we were free of the plague of the Rio de Janeiro press – little mulattoes playing the whites’ game and always in a destructive manner because black miscegenation destroys constructive capacity.” In another passage, Lobato writes: “A country of mixed-race people where whites do not have the strength to organize a Kux-Klan (sic) is a country without a higher destiny.” New Accusations In September 2012, another work by the writer was the target of accusations. The book of short stories “Negrinha” [Little Blackie] was also considered racist and sexist by the same authors of the action against the first book. Among the controversial passages in the book is the presentation of the Negrinha character: “Negrinha was a poor 7-year-old orphan. Black? No, tawny, a dark little blackie with dingy hair and frightened eyes. (...) Negrinha’s body was tattooed with marks, scars, welts. Those in the house hit her every day, whether they had a reason to or not.” Further on, the author writes: “The earth swallowed that low-quality meat with indifference – a pittance, barely thirty kilos…” And what about you? Do you think that Monteiro Lobato’s works can be considered racist? If you do then should these books be removed from the school curriculum or should they continue to be included as long as they are correctly contextualized? For more information on this controversy involving Lobato and racism, go to: http://bravonline.abril.com.br/materia/monteiro-lobato-e-o-racismo 

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