The values ​​brought from mother Africa

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By GERALDO OLIVEIRA*

It is more than urgent to respect multiple beliefs, especially those of African origin, and not to condone and spread false information.

It is inadmissible to reflect on the social, cultural and political formation of Brazil without taking into account the countless contributions of blacks who arrived here and were subjected to slavery, in an attempt to produce wealth for the Portuguese crown. Despite compulsory work, which lasted for more than three hundred years – which began around the XNUMXth century, when more than five million blacks were brought to work in agricultural, mining and domestic activities –, even so, their cultural heritage is indelible and varied, from arts, dances, beliefs, reverence for nature, ways of behaving and other values ​​brought from mother Africa.

However, even though black people became the object of producing wealth and oil to move the capitalist machine, their cultural values ​​and their physical and biological traits were denied and rejected by the white elite, who considered them devoid of values ​​and useless for progress. civilization of the lands of the tropics. According to the alleged anthropology of the black population elaborated at the end of the XNUMXth century by Raimundo Nina Rodrigues, the black constituted a delay for civilizing progress, and his miscegenation would produce the creation of inferior, degenerate races, prone to crime and with psychic deviations. (RODRIGUES apoud MUNANGA, 2009),

The attribution of culture as an archaic and primitive element slipped into their religious beliefs, thus producing its rejection or disregard as a producer of meaning. Now, as the American anthropologist Geertz (1989) warns at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, beliefs are not external, random or ritualistic elements, on the contrary, they are fundamentals that provide the subject who believes with reason and parameters for life.

In addition to the fictitious black anthropology, another factor that resulted in denial and intolerance of belief was the catechesis of a Christian nature imposed by the Jesuits, who, in a rational perspective and distant from the perception of the world of enslaved blacks, forced them to adhere to the Christian faith. Catechesis consisted of pre-elaborated questions that did not touch the core of black perception, since their cosmovision and ways of relating to the world were marked much more by the feeling of belonging and harmony with nature, than in attitudes or understandings. rational reasons typical of the European colonizer, who needed to base his beliefs on logical and coherent ideas and postulates.

To survive in the face of the imposition of Christian belief in its Catholic version, blacks had no choice but syncretism, which consisted, among other things, of adopting prayers and changing the names of their entities to Catholic saints, such as Ogum, called by São Jorge, Oxossi São Sebastiao or Santo Antônio, Iansã Santa Barbara etc.

In addition, other forces that did not hesitate to contain or prohibit black public and cultural manifestations, was the heavy arm of the State, which, using its police forces and supported by the penal code of 1890, began to pursue and punish above all beliefs, seen as healerism or spiritism, as described in articles 158 and 157 in effect until 1942, as highlighted by researcher Giumbelli, (2003).

With reference to the evangelical churches, both those of historical tradition and those that came at the beginning of the 2017th century, it can be noted that they did little or remained neutral in relation to slavery and black discrimination in Brazil. The complicity with discrimination and denial of black cultural elements in some religious denominations comes from multiple factors, ranging from the demonization of African beliefs, racist education and the preaching of the myth of religious democracy. These factors are still present in certain groups that refuse to discuss topics that are so relevant to blacks, such as racism and affirmative action and social promotion policies (ALMEIDA; SANTOS, XNUMX).

Despite the issues mentioned above, it should be noted that, currently, in the evangelical world certain leaders seek to promote greater dialogue and respect for different beliefs, especially African ones. But we cannot make the mistake of not mentioning that, unfortunately, some open television programs present scenes of the expulsion of demons, supposed cures for illnesses, problems of couple separations and financial crises interpreted by religious leaders as coming from African beliefs. We know that such attitudes build not only a kind of distinction or separation, “rights or wrongs”, but also increase hostility between beliefs, not contributing anything to coexistence in difference.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church in the Second Vatican Council, dating from the end of the 1965th century, adopted a posture of openness and dialogue with religions, including cults of African origin, aiming to explain that all men have the same origin and that beliefs, in their different shades, seek to answer the fundamental question that worries man, as his origin and end of his existence. (CATHOLIC CHURCH, XNUMX).

With regard to the Brazilian State, although it has fought African cultural manifestations, especially their beliefs, supported by the Penal Code of 1890, as Giumbelli (2003) points out, it currently seeks to welcome and respect all religions. The Federal Constitution of 1988, in its article 5, paragraph VI, enshrines “freedom of belief and conscience, as well as freedom of religious cults” (BRASIL, 1988). Likewise, the 1996 National Education Guidelines and Bases Law establishes, in Article 26, the obligation to study “Afro-Brazilian culture”, which includes cultural creations and recreations, including religion. (BRASIL, [2019b]).

As explained above, we understand that peace between people is not built solely thinking about the deposition or the non-production and proliferation of weapons, but about changing our conceptions, the prejudice of the other, and also, the elimination of stereotypes that do so much harm to ourselves, as in building a society of peace and harmony.

If our goal is indeed social peace, it is more than urgent to respect multiple beliefs, especially those of African origin, and not to condone and spread false information. We understand that the rejection and discrimination of African beliefs have a historical origin, in the classification of color, in the social condition, and in the erroneous reading and interpretation of the Bible.

Furthermore, fighting for the other and for their invisible beliefs means giving voice and opportunity for them to express their identities and the plurality of their customs, ways of life, rites and beliefs, denied and seduced.

* Geraldo Oliveira holds a master's degree in social sciences from PUC-Minas.

 

References


ALMEIDA, Jurandir de Araújo; SANTOS, Deyse Luciano de Jesus. Religion and Education: the position of Protestant Christian churches in relation to black issues in Brazil. International interdisciplinary journal Interthesis, Florianópolis, v. 14, no. 3, Sep./Dec. 2017.

BRAZIL. [Constitution (1988)]. Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil 1988: We, representatives of the Brazilian people, gathered in the National Constituent Assembly to establish a Democratic State, destined to ensure the exercise of social and individual rights, [...]. Brasília, DF: Presidency of the Republic, [2019]. Available at: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/Constituicao/Constituicao.htm.

BRAZIL. Law No. 9.394, of December 20, 1996. Establishes the guidelines and bases of national education. Brasília, DF: Presidency of the Republic, [2019b]. Available at: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/leis/l9394.htm.

GEERTZ, Clifford. The interpretation of cultures. Rio de Janeiro: LTC – Technical and Scientific Books, 1989.

GIUMBELLI, Emerson. “Low spiritism” and the history of mediumistic cults. Anthropological horizons, Porto Alegre, v. 9, no. 9, Jul. 2003. Available at: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0104-71832003000100011.

CATHOLIC CHURCH. (POPE PAUL VI). Declaration Our Aetate about the Church and non-Christian religions. Pomegranate: Vatican, 8 Oct. 1965. Available at: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_po.html.

MUNANGA, Kabengele. Blacks and mestizos in the work of Nina Rodrigues. In: ALMEIDA, Adroaldo José Silva; SANTOS, Lyndon de Araújo; FERRETTI, Sergio (org.). Religion, race and identity: colloquium for the centenary of the death of Nina Rodrigues. São Paulo: Paulinas, 2009. (ABHR Study Collections; 6)

 

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