Home / news / “Black Negro” is a phrase that summarizes the present of racism and the past of slavery and colonialism

“Black Negro” is a phrase that summarizes the present of racism and the past of slavery and colonialism

Scholars classified mankind into races during the second half of the 18th century. Which formed in the imagination of Western researchers an imaginary stereotype about black peoples did not change until the middle of the 20th century.

On the other hand, the term “Negro” developed over the past centuries, and took many forms, and most of them carried negative meanings and an superior view of the races of the black color.

In a previous report, the French Mediapart said that the statements of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in which he equated “niggers” with “monkeys”, embarrass the right that is obsessed with the competition of his party, which turns a blind eye to racism in its ranks.

On December 8, the Romanian international referee, Sebastian Koltisco, raised the controversy again over the racist term in the French Paris Saint-Germain match and the Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir. The referee used the word “black” when addressing his assistant, in reference to the Turkish team’s assistant coach, Pierre Weibo, a former Cameroonian international player.

This led to the withdrawal of the two teams from the stadium of the Princes Park in Paris, and returned again to play the match the next day wearing T-shirts, on which were written “No to Racism”, and they sat on one knee to express their rejection of what happened the previous day.

Negro or black

In another report published in the French newspaper “Le Monde”, writer Anne Schumann says that the word “negro” is not just an ordinary phrase that we use in our daily life; Rather, it is a term that carries with it a lot of racism, and hides the tragedies of slavery and colonialism.

The Canadian-Haitian novelist of African descent, Danny Lavriere, says the word “black negro” has “a sharp sound that wakes you up like the whips on sugar cane or cotton plantations.” The French novelist, Anne-Marie Gaara, says that this phrase, which appeared in the 16th century, burns “the throat, tongue, palate, teeth and throat of all who utter it.”

In Gaara’s opinion, this phrase is not used only as an insult; Rather, it became part of the society’s culture of naming patterns of entertainment and pleasure, such as naming the creamy candy covered with dark chocolate candy “slave’s head”, or calling the ballet dance invented by Marius Petepa in 1877 the “Negro dance”; Because children’s faces are painted black.

Past slavery

The author says that these expressions are not just arbitrary linguistic choices; Rather, they are terms closely related to the history of colonialism and slavery.

She asserts that the term “black” has become in common use in French literary circles since 1845, when Eugene de Mercor attacked the novelist Alexandre Dumas, who is brown in complexion, and addressed him in one of his books, saying, “Open this publication, and you will find that savage. Choose any point in the world.” Civilized, and soon the negro will show you his teeth. “

On the political level, the word, which means children of slaves, appeared for the first time in 1714 in a decree issued by Moreau de Saint-Merry, a representative in the French Constituent Assembly, where he considered, based on studies on races and blood groups, that “blacks were not of the same type of whites. “.

According to Aurelia Michel, a professor of black American history at the University of Paris, the term “black” reminds us of European violence against slaves since the 16th century, and evokes a whole past of domination and slavery.

From the Niger River to the Atlantic Ocean

Researcher Myriam Kotias, Director of the International Center for Research on Slavery and Post-Slavery, notes that the use of the word “negro” (black) began 400 years ago, and has its roots in “Negretia”, a region in Africa located around the Niger River, and has been associated with campaigns Portuguese sailors; To recruit slaves and trade them across the Atlantic, and they called them “Negroes”.

According to the historian and professor of political science, Bab Nday, the word “Negro” or “Black” appeared in 1529 in a book documenting the journey of the first French navigator to reach the island of Sumatra via the Cape of Good Hope, and then the word began to spread gradually among sailors and merchants, who supervised campaigns The slave trade in the Atlantic, and then in society in general. After the term initially referred to the skin color of these slaves, it became with the passage of time a synonym for the word “slave”, which later appears in French dictionaries.

This connection between the two terms was first recorded in 1771 in the dictionary “Trefo” written by the Jesuits. And the word “black”, according to this dictionary, refers to “all the oppressed nations that – which is a stain on the forehead of mankind – are included in the list of goods that can be traded.”

A few decades later, the “Dictionary of Natural History” confirmed that the identification between the two terms and justified it, as Julian Joseph Ferry wrote in 1803 in defining the term “black is a slave and will remain so,” according to Le Monde French.

Before the transatlantic slave trade, slavery was mainly related to prisoners of war or forced labor, not skin color. “During ancient and medieval times, most of the slaves in the Mediterranean region were white,” Cotias says. “In the 15th century, the slave markets in the Mediterranean, mainly in Malta or Cyprus, displayed slaves of all races, some of them from Africa; but most of them Of the Turks, Russians, Romans, Bulgarians or Greeks. “

Slavery and the black color

The author believes that the slave trade became associated with black people after the deportation of more than 12 million Africans to America between the 16th and 19th centuries. To give Atlantic slavery the starting signal for global racism against blacks.

Nday says, “With the rise of this colossal colonial trade based on the enslavement of Africans, a social order has emerged based on the degradation of those called Negroes.” And Europe, according to him, has established a hierarchy between human races, in which blacks occupy the bottom of the list, making them “automatically ready to become slaves.”

Historian Catherine Kukuri Fedorovich says that the cultural hierarchy, according to the idea of ​​”the beautiful and the sublime,” formulated by Emmanuel, was in the 1860s, placing the Germans, the English and the French at the top of the pyramid, while the blacks came at the bottom.

According to Eric Missnard, professor of history and member of the International Center for Research on Slavery, Enlightenment philosophers believed in this racial division and Western supremacy, despite their rhetoric calling for the abolition of slavery. These thinkers believed – as Missnard says – that Europe, which embodies civilization and progress, must carry the light to these uncivilized peoples.

All these accumulations made violence a systematic behavior in dealing with blacks, including forced labor, torture, rape and murder, according to Michel.

Scientific colonial and racist campaigns

While the word “black” was associated with the history of the slave trade, it was supposed to disappear in 1848 with the abolition of slavery; On the contrary, the term acquired a new dimension at the end of the 19th century, according to the French newspaper.

Cotillas believes that the ethnic hierarchy that arose during the campaigns of enslavement persisted, and appeared during the colonial period, the literature of the end of the 19th century and the speeches of public figures in the beginnings of the Third French Republic.

According to her, the blacks, with the beginnings of the European colonial campaigns in the African continent, have transformed from slaves to savage peoples that Europeans must enter into the civilized world.

“During the second colonial campaign, after the Berlin Conference (1884-1885), the European powers on the African continent faced radical differences, and the word black transformed into a meaning that clearly indicated inferiority. The issue is no longer related to slavery; but the ethnic ideas that were born with the slave trade. It remained deeply entrenched in the minds of the people, and the Europeans believed that they should control these uncivilized blacks. “

Nday analyzes that transformation, saying, “The former slaves, who became free men, then pose a danger because they can demand equality and social justice.” Therefore, Europeans and Americans considered, based on theories fed by anatomy and medicine, that “Negroes” do not possess the moral and intellectual capacities to practice Their freedom.

In this context, Paul Broca, a French anatomist who lived in the 19th century, considered that “Negroes” were intellectually inferior to whites; Because their skulls are smaller. In his essay on human inequality, the French politician Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882) says that blacks’ capacity to think is “modest or perhaps non-existent”.

According to Michel, what happened in the 19th century is that “biological racism reformulated those human deviations resulting from the campaigns of slavery.”

Exotic temptation

The writer says that this perception of blacks did not change until the beginning of the First World War, when nearly 200 thousand Africans were recruited into the French army, and some of them settled in Paris after the war. The war turned those blacks, who were naive, lazy and perverted, into brave soldiers defending France.

According to Nday, the perception of blacks gradually changed in France between the two world wars, and it became associated with a love of learning about African cultures and customs, and what is known as Negro art reached its peak at that time. Nevertheless, African folklore has been viewed as a racist one, often associating blacks with sex, dance and brutality.

In the 1930s, a literary movement emerged that prided itself on “negligence”, black ethnicity and African culture, represented by the former Senegalese poet and president, Leopold Sedar Senghor, and Martinican writer Aimee Ceser. Senghor argues that neglect is not a matter of racism; Rather, it is a culture, while Sezer believes that adherence to and pride in African origins expresses acceptance of “our destiny as black.”

The author remembers that this mixture between the love of knowledge of African cultures, and the revolution of Africans on the European view of inferiority, in the period between the two world wars, was swept away by the crimes of World War II.

In 1950, UNESCO published a pamphlet declaring that “humanity is one,” and that race is a “social myth” that has caused untold suffering.

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