Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Thursday blamed the global economic crisis on “white people with blue eyes” and said it was wrong that black and indigenous people should pay for white people’s mistakes.
Speaking in Brasília at a joint press conference with Gordon Brown, the UK prime minister, Mr Lula da Silva told reporters: “This crisis was caused by the irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing.”
For the unfamiliar, I wrote about the initial attempts by conservatives to deflect the blame for the financial meltdown from themselves to black folks. If you're interested, you can check out that piece here. There has been a serious move by the right to assert that the credit crisis could have been averted if bankers hadn't been forced to stop discriminating against minorities. Of course this ignores the reality of the sub-prime crisis, but we're talking about Republicans, when have they been concerned with reality?
Anyway, Brazil's president apparently has heard the same complaints I've heard, and homie decided it was time to speak out, forcefully. His quote speaks for itself, and I'm still chuckling at his willingness to single out the white folks with blue eyes. He must have been listening to some old Malcolm X tapes before he gave his press conference.
I think Mr. Lula said what's been on most of our minds. Not so much with the color issue, but with the idea that the people who created this current crisis need to bear the brunt of its backlash, not the rest of us. I can't blame the crisis on all the blue-eyed white people, I'm sure some of y'all with green and brown eyes caused problems too...Joking... But, I can say with certainty that the pain of the economic downturn is falling disproportionately on the poor and working class,
particularly when you consider that those folks really did not get to benefit too much when times were more rosy.
I know Obama has urged Americans to avoid playing the blame game and instead focus on solutions. I think that's admirable. But, I must admit there is a part of me that still wants the folks who caused this economic pain through their greed and corruption to be punished. I thought all the strum and dram over the AIG bailouts was stupid, but I could understand the sentiment behind it. When things go
this badly, we all want somebody to pay the piper.
So, while I cringed a little at President Lula's words, I also had to smile. It's not often you hear the leader of a major country, particularly one with a good relationship with America and Europe, say something inflammatory about white folks. Plus, given Brazil's own racial history and problems, Lula's willingness to cast the blame on the fair skinned folks is a pretty big departure.
Now, I know some folks will complain that if the situation had been reversed and some politician complained that black folks were ruining the world, I'd be pissed. They'll complain that this is proof of my racial double standard.
They might be right.
But, I'd be liar if I didn't admit that I nodded along to Lula's assertions about the state of the world.
Buenos Dios El Presidente.