Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Waterstar

Monteir Laboto's "O Presidente Negro"

Recommended Posts

output

edit

help

I am looking for a less editorialized summary of Monteir Laboto's 1926 science fiction book "O Presidente Negro", but in the meantime, here is a portion of an article posted about it.

On O Presidente Negro

By Manuela Zoninsein | Posted Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008, at 1:54 PM ET

| Posted Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008, at 1:54 PM ET O Presidente Negro

Slate.com

The Black President

A 1926 Brazilian sci-fi novel predicts a U.S. election determined by race and gender.

Monteiro Lobato is a household name in his native Brazil, best-known for "Sítio do Picapau Amarelo" ("Yellow Woodpecker's Ranch"), a series of children's books that has been adapted for television on several occasions. He was an active businessman and libertarian and is considered the founder of Brazil's publishing industry, but his 1926 science-fiction novel, O Presidente Negro (The Black President)—which foresaw technological, geopolitical, and environmental transformations—is attracting the most interest this year, since it anticipated a political landscape in which gender and race would determine the outcome of a U.S. presidential election.

O Presidente Negro envisions the 2228 U.S. presidential election. In that race, the white male incumbent, President Kerlog, finds himself running against Evelyn Astor, a white feminist, and James Roy Wilde, the cultivated and brilliant leader of the Black Association, "a man who is more than just a single man ... what we call a leader of the masses."

You may notice some similarities to the John McCain-Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama face-off; and so did Editora Globo, the publisher of O Presidente Negro, which reissued the novel during the Democratic primaries in a stroke of marketing genius. Prior to Obama's rise, O Presidente Negro was best-known as an odd sci-fi work, predicting the U.S. government's use of eugenics, a racist ideology that had attracted a following in Brazil at the time Lobato was writing (and, later, in Germany). As a result of this association, more often than not, bookstores hid the novel at the bottom of a stack of titles in the Brazilian-literature section. (Today's Brazil is increasingly concerned with civil rights, as indicated by recent experiments with affirmative action in education and government.)

Of course, there are several differences between Lobato's story and the circumstances surrounding the 2008 election. In Lobato's fictional world, the United States prohibited the mixing of races—believing it would lead to "disintegration" or "denaturalization"—and thereby conserved white and black races in "a state of relative purity." Lobato also failed to predict the civil rights movement, which undid his predictions of an extreme version of "separate but equal." Unlike Roy, born in a supposed age of "pure races," Obama, born of a white mother and black father, witnessed America's social revolution.

In the 2228 of the novel, the white women's party, the Sabinas (a reference to the Roman legend of the rape of the Sabine women), has apparently reached feminism's pinnacle: Women are no longer considered equal to men—they are simply different and entirely independent. Homo, the ruling white men's party, and the Sabinas each command 51 million voters.

In previous elections, voters sided with their gender, with no regard to race. But with the creation of the Black Association, black men and women unite to create the largest political party, giving Roy 54 million supporters. Kerlog is forced to broker an alliance with Roy: black votes in exchange for easing the "Código da Raça" ("Race Code"), which set limits on the growth of the black population through selective breeding and genetic manipulation. To Kerlog's frustration, when the time comes to cast ballots, citizens loyally vote with their identity group, and the black man wins the presidency.

In response, Kerlog threatens race war. He persuades Astor to protect the interests of the white race and encourages an alliance. Lobato, at his most sexist, writes that Astor accepts this proposal on the grounds that man "is woman's husband for thousands of reasons ... long live man!" With hardly a second thought, she shepherds the 51 million female voters to the cause of the Homo Party. Kerlog demonstrates to a despairing Roy that his race will never assume control, and on the morning Roy is set to assume the presidency, he is found dead in his office. (Lobato hints at murder.) Kerlog calls for a re-election and emerges victorious. White leaders then mastermind the end of the black race in America, using a senseless and tragic sterilization technique, and Roy's dream of serving as the first black man in the nation's most powerful post is left by the wayside.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for bringing this provocative book to our attention, Waterstar. I've never heard of it before and it really sounds interesting, not to mention eerie, and possibly prophetic. What's fascinating about its subject matter is that America's present day drama featuring a black president has not yet played out, and who knows what the future holds with all of the forces opposing him.

In the present, if the young black underclasses could only mobilize and realize that the path they are on is self-destructive, and that genocide becomes a self-fuflling prophecy when the males engage in violence and the females look for love in all the wrong places. It's almost as if the brains of black boys in the inner-cities have been wired to react to certain circumstances by going out and killing each other, while the young girls have a compulsion to reproduce. There are sinister overtones to all of this.

On the other hand, the young black generation whose class status makes their existence less dangerous and their goals more positive seem to be programmed to focus on materialism rather than nation-building. But this is the trade-off when people have the freedom of choice and when visionary role models are few.

The destiny of America is up for grabs.. And it remains to be seen whether the law of the jungle will prevail and only the strong will survive to lead and rule. Black people will be tested. Are they equipped to make the grade? Is extinction their fate? Or will they surrender to a type of neo-bondage that relegates them to the ranks of the second class, obligated to go along to get along?

Or does salvation lie in the distant future, with the emergence of a new breed that will embody the best of all races??? :wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cynique, I'm going to share some words with you that are some of the realest words that I have ever heard: "we can change reality. Before we know it, after a few cycles, true social change will happen." -Shawn McKie, social entrepreneur

Those things that you have said about the conditions and the cycles are very real and, by the same token, those words offered by McKie are also very real. When we look around, we see things that have happened as a result of cycles. These things that we are facing did not just happen overnight. However, the reality is that we are now here and on the flipside, our present reality does not have to be our future reality. Perhaps if we could get past the fear of being labeled as "bitter" , "divisive", or whatever else we are called when we have sense enough to learn and learn FROM the past by analyzing it and connecting it with the present in order to strategize for the future, we would be well on our way to changing reality. I digress for now.

You know, the thing about America is that it is changing so much and no amount of resistance to this change can stop it. No amount of redistricting can change the fact that America is changing. The majority is rapidly becoming the minority and the anxiety about this can be seen in legislation, in the news, in books (LOL i.e. Pat Buchanan LOL), all over. This population control mania is very telling, as many of the staunchest advocates for population control can also be observed lamenting the declining birth/fertility rates of Europe and America and moaning about immigration. Hmm... Control of "which" populations, then? The birth rates in Africa and Asia are soaring. Many immigrants from the Americas are already here and are still pouring in. A combination of arrogance, anxiety, and straight up denial would continue to make a soon to be minority demand that the "others" assimilate. Anyway, in my opinion, it has not really been about survival of the strongest here, rather the survival of whoeva got da most powerful weapons.

Things are changing and I am convinced that they are changing for the better. What a world it will be when children don't look at what we are looking at without understanding that there is a different way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have lived long enough to realize that, in the scheme of things, life is cyclic, and that time is what brings change, WaterStar. The problem with me is I remember when things were so much different than they are now, and while different is not always better, considering the present state of the black community, different is better. For one thing, overt racism has re-surfaced and this may or may not have contributed to how callous and aimless and superficial so many young black kids have become. I see it every day; the coarseness, the foul language, the hostility, the beligerence, the false values, the ignorance, the disrespect for authority that dominates, and obliterates the positive.

I am blocks away from a high school that is all Black and Hispanic and when school lets out it like a fuse has been lit. The police are fixtures on every corner to keep peace. In the past 3 years over 40 people have been killed by gun fire in this suburb which used to be a quiet, idyllic, little village. When summer vacation comes, the streets are "runways" for pregnant teen-age girls parading around. Even one of my own grandsons makes me want to throw up my hands and holla. I know, I know, it's not only black kids, but these are the ones I'm concerned about. Let White folks worry about their own.

I'm sure the pendulum will swing back and, in time, things will reverse themselves because that is a natural law. The reason I bitch and moan so much about how things have deteriorated is because I'm in the twlilight of my years, and I won't be around to see the dawning of a new day.

But, that's the way it goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Waterstar thanks for sharing this I too was unaware of the book, though I will probably not read the book it is was interesting to hear about its existence.

While I'm not as old as Cynique, I'm old enough to recognixe how many of the gain we made since the civil rights era have evaporated for the majoirty of Black folks -- across the spectrum.

The most fascinating thing to me is that is very little outcry, from the Black community about our condition. Cynique's point that "...goals more positive seem to be programmed to focus on materialism rather than nation-building." perhaps explains the lack of outcry as individuals focus on themselves when they are mere materialistic consumers.

Perhaps the difference between Cynique and myself is that I'm inclined to try to do something about it given my relative youth. But the challenges are great becuase people don't really appreciate the magnitude of the crisis we are in.

Waterstar would you mind elaborating on why you feel, "Things are changing and I am convinced that they are changing for the better." What are you seeing or feeling that I'm missing?

I too believe things will ultimately improve, but not before they get much worse...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have lived long enough to realize that, in the scheme of things, life is cyclic, and that time is what brings change, WaterStar. The problem with me is I remember when things were so much different than they are now, and while different is not always better, considering the present state of the black community, different is better. For one thing, overt racism has re-surfaced and this may or may not have contributed to how callous and aimless and superficial so many young black kids have become. I see it every day; the coarseness, the foul language, the hostility, the beligerence, the false values, the ignorance, the disrespect for authority that dominates, and obliterates the positive.

Cynique:

What a thing~ I started to mention how I remembered when things were different, too...I mean I wasn't born "too" many years before Reagan became president, but Lawd, even in my years, I have seen different. Never have I seen ideal, but different for the better? Yes, I've seen different for the better. I can only imagine what others such as yourselves who have had many doses of different.

You know, the "war on drugs" has made so many addicts and corporate drug/prison industrial complex kingpins. Crack cocaine, gangsta rap, and mass incarceration (and, consequently, further breakdown of the black family/community) were like Reagan's holy trinity. "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Who says best or worst? Depends on who is asked. However, we are so scared of being labeled "conspiracy theorists" that we won't even consider the logic in connecting any of these dots.

I also believe that life is cycles, patterns, seasons, etc. That ever swinging pendulum will keep on swinging. Universal shifts are occuring, just as they have always, as they will continue to do so. Whether one wants to say, "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." or "life is about cycles", it is the same thing said in different ways. LOL The first shall be last and the last shall be first and then they all gonna get jumbled right back up again and positions will change, because that's life.

Troy,

That's so real@ lack of appreciation for the magnitude of the crisis we are facing.. and you know what? It's almost impossible for one to appreciate that which he/she does not know. We have become so desensitized until we are basically unaware. Severe dysfunction is not the exception but the rule, so this violent, apathetic, disconnected, profit-oriented society is the norm.

Now I don't know if it's relative youth in my case or if it is just my being wired this way, but I just can't bring myself to believe that the state of things HAS to be this way. I don't believe that our kids gotta be pumped on Ritalin as the rule and not the exception. I don't believe that black men have to disrespect black women and that black women have to disrespect black men as the rule and not the exception. I don't believe that black fathers have to be active participants in the lives of their children as the exception and not the rule. I don't believe that our children have to grow up believing that the ceiling is the limit as the rule and not the exception. I just do not and cannot believe these things and many, many more.

Black America has always been a third world country inside of one of the world's richest nations. Why not focus on a new way of nation building, within but without this nation? For those who think we can't, I ask: Why can't we? Who built this nation? Whose blood, sweat, and tears financed this "super power" Certainly

not the ones who take credit for it. Certainly not the descendants of those whose success has been financed by cotton, indigo, sugar cane...

Do not get it twisted, Folks...Slavery was America's biggest welfare program. So maybe we should start calling George Washington and all a dem "welfare kings". In fact, I think I'll start today. Tell these politicians and their minions to quit sweatin Shaniqua. Wall Street is a bigger welfare queen than Shaniqua will ever be. (...and no I don't represent the "99%" movement cause it don't represent my people).

You asked me a good question, but in your next sentence, my answer was stated so beautifully until all I have to do is to copy and paste it. You said: 'I too believe things will ultimately improve, but not before they get much worse..." That sums my interpretation up so beautifully! You don't seem to be missing too much of anything that I'm feeling on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider myself one of the 99% I think that is a great paradigm.

Now this might sound completely contradictory and maybe it is but here it is anyway:

I truly believe all of the focus on race is a waste of time and a meaningless distraction, because we all are in the same boat regardless of race -- even the 1%. We all breathe the same air. When the twin towers came down race was not a consideration....

I spend my time advocating for Black people because I'm Black and Black people always get hit first and hardest by all of America's maladies. Everything from unemployment, education, obesity, crime, punishment, marriage rates, etc, etc.

The enemies unfortunately are usually white, but sometime Black. The common denomination is the ability and willingness to exploit someone with less power for personal gain.

The home mortgage meltdown made it plan to many white people that the king pins of Wall Street and their puppet politicians (mostly white) are the real enemy -- not some poor working, tax paying schlub.

The failure of an Obama presidency to make a dent in reversing a single negative trend the progress of the Black community should say something. But Black are not immune to seeiing everything in terms of race. So we just blame white Republicans without considering Black Democrats are just as responsible. The whole system is unsustainable in the long term.

When I say things will eventually get better I mean after the US has completely distroyed itself from the inside, which is it on course to do, and is forced to take corrective actions -- much the same way we did after the Civil War. The real risk will be some other nation laying waste to us in our weakened state.

But that is already happening, as jobs, currency and intellecual capital is moving overseas with the complete cooperation of the 0.01%.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Troy,

You might find this surprising, but I agree of much of what you have said. As for the 99% -1% question, I am not one to knock anyone for considering him/herself to be a 99 percenter, but I will tell you why I was never with that. Many of the people went to protest in parks in which people sleep. Where was that issue on the platform? People protesting the housing market issues in a park that people with no homes sleep in and leaving to return, in most cases, to a house where they will go to sleep without even the first thought of the homeless people in that park or anywhere else in America (or anywhere, really) is not really my idea of a movement that truly represents the people. On one side, there are the Tea Party people saying, "We want our America back". On the other side, you have the 99 percenters saying, "We want our America back." Meanwhile, the dispossessed indigenous Americans are watching, many from reservations, and have been wanting their America back for years. Where was the plight of the struggles faced by indigenous Amerians on the 99% platform? How long have people of color been systematically disenfranchised simply because of their race (not the economy)? There have always been disenfranchised whites, but let's not forget that many disenfranchised whites passed joining hands with blacks for a better day and, instead of joining hands, joined the klan to protect the interests of white privilege and to secure jobs .

My problem with the 99%, Troy, is the artificial kumbaya chorus that happened to pop up when the problems that have plagued communities of color for many, many years began to spill over to the white communities. Disparities between the more affluent whites and the less affluent whites became more apparent and then doggonit, something had to be done. The system of American apartheid was just fine with many of those 99 percenters until THEY started to feel like second class citizens.Perhaps I would be much more apt to support the whole 99% thing if I felt that the majority of those protesting were against ANY group of people being treated as second class citizens...but I just do not feel that that's the case. Speaking of the towers, I'm glad you brought that up. That, to me, was another moment of artificial kumbaya-ness... Where did it leave U.S. race relations?

As far as the democrat/republican thing, I basically look at democrat/republican as good cop/bad cop and not a whole lot more. I don't know of too many politicians, white, black or otherwise who have really been for the people.. Someone like Huey Long would come to my mind much sooner than Barack Obama would. In terms of enemy, our biggest enemy, in my opinion is our own lack of loyalty, not the big bad white wolf. Now, I know that not everything is about race, but race and political power (or lack thereof) might be separable in theory but not in practice. Don't misunderstand me; I fully agree with your saying that we all breathe the same air. Maybe when destruction has reached an all time high, when no one's money can do anything to stop it, maybe just maybe then, people will be forced to focus on reaching for a higher level of consciousness. Who knows? Maybe it will bring on a sincere outpouring of kumbaya.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree w/Troy in that race relations are a distraction. It doesn't make them any less disturbing, but yes, they are distractions. In fact, they are just one of several "divide and conquer" tactics put into place for generations and throughout the world, with the wealthiest always at the top reaping the benefits. I often wonder how we'd feel about the way we treat each other if we all recognized that there are no races; that we are all from the same place (Africa) and that the different color variations are genetic mutations. That's what biologists are saying anyway, and I think that's a reasonable explanation. It will be interesting to see if their findings go mainstream and really get talked about among the general public.

I also agree w/Cynique that the kids today are very disrespectful and just generally off the chain! I stopped a group of middle school kids one day. I was waiting to pick my first grader up from school and these kids were cursing and being loud and disrespectful and I was standing right there on the sidewalk!

I said to them something like, "hey, y'all need to tone down that language. I know you talk like that, but right now a bunch of first graders are about to walk out here and they don't need to hear that."

Would you believe I had to curse these damn kids out!!!??? They got to looking at me a certain kind of way, like rolling their eyes and mumbling smart remarks under their breath and I snapped on them and said "What? Did you say something? Oh trust me, you don't want to f*** with me today" and they backed down and got it together...

"No ma'am. No. I didn't say nothin'."

Later my friend was laughing about it, but I was really bothered by the whole exchange. My friend was saying "I'm glad you said something. That's what our kids need, somebody to care enough to put them in their place." And I had to disappoint her by saying that I won't be doing that again. These days, these kids carry weapons and try so hard to be tough. I don't feel like getting into a knife fight all because I was trying to mentor somebody's wayward teen. I have to try to stay alive to mentor my own kids.

I am pretty sure there are a lot of people who think like me...choosing not to get involved simply for safety reasons. I repeat, these kids are off the chain! What to do?

@Waterstar, I agree that the fear of being labeled "conspiracy theorists" causes many people to remain closed-minded, or to stay quiet about some of the things they do notice. I know people that won't even entertain the "possibility" of certain things. If it isn't on the news or on reality television, they don't believe it. lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Writegirl870, I been in simmilar situations with adults and always regretted raising my voice or cursing. I hate bringing myself down to "their level" so to speak. And you are absoultely right you never know you you are messing with...

Waterstar I hear you. Sure there may be policticians who are for us (all of us) but they are, seemingly, very rare and obviously ineffective given the current outcomes. And yeah maybe the "kumbaya moments" are like the moments of lucidity an abusive husband has when he says how sorry he is and how much he loves you -- until the next time. I guess those moments, however short lived and artificial, are better than nothing. Something you can grab onto as a source of hope...

Speaking of "Hope" I think an Obama Loss in November will be more telling about the nation state of mind than Obama's win 4 years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL That's a great example re: the abusive husband that says how sorry he is...until the next time. In my opinion, it's high time we stopped allowin ourselves to be "Ike Turnered" around and get like Tina in da limo. Ah man, maybe it's deeper than Ike & Tina. Maybe the situation is more like Rick James & Charlie Murphy in Dave Chapelle's skit. :blink:

At any rate, that's my opinion. I know, respect and even often appreciate,that my eyes are not the sight of the world.

I think so, too@ Obama. Seems like every election, when you cast a ballot, you are doing your best to pick the lesser of evils.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...