The black right in Brazil

Image: Kim Ryu


Studying the black right helps to take a non-essentialist look at black people, considering the contradictions, relationships and processes that constitute these individuals

Recently, Petrônio Domingues, an important historian of black movements, gave an interview to the newspaper Alma Preta, in which the headline invites the reader to reflect. The headline read: “There is a taboo on debating right-wing blacks“. During the interview, Petrônio Domingues turns to some controversies, and I say that these are controversial, since a portion of racial studies tends to ignore them or take them secondary in the context of theoretical production.

Focusing on the central controversy of the text, I would certainly say that I agree with Petrônio Domingues, but what is necessarily important is to present the arguments that make up the agreement. Since I turned to racial studies, I began to notice such resistance in analyzing, researching and developing arguments that allow us to characterize the “right-wing black”, or more specifically, the “black right”.

This process is related, in my view, to a perspective that understands black people as a monolithic and homogeneous bloc, based on a perspective that understands the vicissitudes of racism and without individual agency or other social, economic, educational or cultural influences. This perspective ends up coming across figures such as, for example, Fernando Holliday and entering into a real short circuit, as they understand that individuals who start from the same loci society will develop the same discursive consciousness.

This understanding, coming from the “place of speech”, ends up presenting a limitation when observing such figures. Another example, also mentioned by Petrônio Domingues in the context of his interview, is the former president of the Palmares Foundation, the Bolsonarist activist Sergio Camargo. When considering some elements of Sergio Camargo's social construction, it is possible to highlight his family's relationship with the anti-racist struggle in Brazil, specifically his father, Oswaldo de Camargo.

Oswaldo de Camargo is an important black activist, intellectual and writer. The most traditionalists, observing the trajectory of Oswaldo de Camargo, would not be able to explain the contradictions and nuances that surround Sergio Camargo's “rightism”. At the same time, it is relevant to mention the interview given by Oswaldo de Camargo, in which the activist, reflecting on his son's actions and political-ideological discourse, says that “This is not Sergio's perspective, it's not just his. I myself, throughout my life, have met people who think the same way as he does.".

In the set of these observations, two aspects must be considered. The first is related to a perspective that understands black people as a homogeneous bloc, without contradictions, influences and constructions of their own. These perspectives, as highlighted previously, understand black people as perceivers of racism and the influence of the culture of whiteness, as an innate and discursive consciousness. However, there are countless examples that call this perspective into question, as is the case of the fight for racial recognition that motivated the growth in the percentage of self-declaration.

Furthermore, within this perspective, there is what I call the opacity of racial studies, which starts to ignore, to a certain extent, the contradictions, relationships and dynamics that permeate black individuals and social groups. Domingues draws attention to this fact, considering, for example, the influence of Pentecostal churches in marginalized communities or in favelas, which are mostly occupied by black people.

Another aspect of this process consists of the transformation of capitalism, whether through the ideology of entrepreneurship, as observed by Petrônio Domingues, or in the transformation of capitalism that began to develop mechanisms for the integration of black people, as I also defended in “Limes e Contornos do Lugar de Fala ”.[1] However, without a doubt, the most relevant work in this process is the work of Pablo Polese,[2] which presents a set of data that demonstrate how the transformations of capitalism required greater racial diversity and developed a perspective centered on the individual and individual effort to the detriment of the collective.

The hegemonic and, in some way, essentialist perspective of the black movement ends up ignoring or putting such contradictions in the background. By not considering these variables, certain fields end up understanding black people as men or women, aware of the contradictions of racism and, for the most part, poor and lacking higher education and, even more so, aligned to the left. When focusing on the black population, these scholars end up finding this group, but are unable to account for other elements that make up racial relations in Brazil.

Secondly, there is a refusal or denial of the existence of these groups. Since the moment I began to dedicate myself to studying the Frente Negra Brasileira (FNB), I have observed a certain academic refusal to classify the organization as right-wing. Here, I don't even mention, for example, the approaches to Nazi fascism, through letters, newspaper articles or speeches. Petrônio Domingues is one of the few authors to understand not only the alignment of the Brazilian Black Front to the right, but also its organizational potential.

Studies on the Brazilian Black Front have grown significantly in recent years, especially due to the production of Petrônio Domingues, but there is a certain strangeness, especially in some wings of the black movement, in exposing this process. This reverberated and continues to reverberate, before and still today, in difficulties in understanding the existence of a black right and all its constituent elements. This difficulty is expressed, mainly, in a perspective that cannot explain this phenomenon or denies it completely.

In time, it is important to consider that, by predicting the existence of a black right, we begin to understand black people as a social being crossed by the same contradictions that permeate other social groups. Furthermore, it can be seen that this process contributes to an observation that aims to understand broader dynamics of the ideology of whiteness.

By studying the black right, for better or for worse, it can contribute to a deeper understanding of racial studies, developing a non-essentialist view of black people, considering the contradictions, relationships and processes that constitute these individuals. To paraphrase Octavio Ianni, it is important to understand the mentality of right-wing black people.[3]

Thus, by denouncing these difficulties, Petrônio Domingues makes it possible to expose the controversy and open doors so that black intellectuals and academics can put this debate on the table and establish a deeper analysis of these contradictions and phenomena.

*Matheus Felipe Gomes Dias is a master's student in sociology at the University of Brasília (UnB).


[1]DIAS, Matheus. Limits and contours of the Place of Speech. Course Completion Work (Graduation in Social Sciences) – Faculty of Social Sciences, Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, 2022.

[2] POLESE, Pablo. Sexism, racism, identity capitalism: companies' strategies for gender, race and sexuality issues. São Paulo: Hedra, 2020.

[3] IANNI, Octavio. The mentality of the simple man. In: IANNI, Octavio. Sociology and society in Brazil. São Paulo: Alfa-Omega, 1975.

the earth is round exists thanks to our readers and supporters.
Help us keep this idea going.

See this link for all articles


  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • Impasses and solutions for the political momentjose dirceu 12/06/2024 By JOSÉ DIRCEU: The development program must be the basis of a political commitment from the democratic front
  • Union registrationSUBWAY 11/06/2024 By LAWRENCE ESTIVALET DE MELLO & RENATA QUEIROZ DUTRA: The Ministry of Labor has decided to grant union registration to Proifes. However, union registration is not the same as union representation
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • Confessions of a Catholic LadyMarilia Pacheco Fiorillo 11/06/2024 By MARILIA PACHECO FIORILLO: Congenital reactionism is not only the preserve of evangelicals
  • The STF, Artificial Intelligence and the Labor Courtsouto-maior_edited 07/06/2024 By JORGE LUIZ SOUTO MAIOR: The implementation of the replacement of the human being by AI presupposes that it has already been trained to act in the way desired by the ruling class
  • A myopic logicRED MAN WALKING _ 12/06/2024 By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL: The government does not have the political will to make education a priority, while it courts the military or highway police, who do not move a millimeter away from the Bolsonarism that they continue to support
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario