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27 2 THE GENDERED RACIAL LOGIC OF SPATIAL EXCLUSION The dissemination of a culture of exclusion . . . principally towards the black and poor population, distances it farther and farther from the so-called “privileged” areas of our city. Gamboa de Baixo neighborhood association flyer Brazil as a nation proclaims herself the only racial democracy in the world, and much of the world views and accepts her as such. But an examination of the historical development of my country reveals the true nature of her social, cultural, political and economic autonomy: it is essentially racist and vitally threatening to Black people. Abdias do Nascimento, Brazil: Mixture or Massacre? Essays in the Genocide of a Black People “How Salvador Is Made” In December 2002 I joined activists of the Articulação por Moradia on a tour of the city of Salvador to see como Salvador se faz (how Salvador is made), the title of the document they produced a few months later at the forum described in the previous chapter. The group was primarily made up of community leaders belonging to a newly formed citywide coalition of neighborhood associations. This was no ordinary tour: their neighborhoods—Ribeira, Mangueira da Ribeira, Marechal Rondon, Dique do Cabrito, São Marcos, Pau da Lima, Gamboa de Baixo, and Alto de Ondina (Map 3)—are not included on traditional tour routes for national and international visitors to the city. These grassroots activists had joined forces to fight against the arbitrary and violent actions of the state development agencies. The tour was part of the political training for both experienced and inexperienced activists in the group. This united effort to expand their knowledge of the city would help them understand the lived experiences of poor black 28 THE GENDERED RACIAL LOGIC OF SPATIAL EXCLUSION neighborhoods facing demolition, land expulsion, and displacement. The knowledge gained on the tour changed these activists’ view of the city and strengthened the coalition against the racial politics of spatial exclusion. Rita de Cássia Pereira Santa Rita (nicknamed Ritinha), who held two jobs as both a social worker at the Center for Social Action Studies (CEAS) and a public school teacher, an activist of Alto das Pombas , picked up Gamboa de Baixo activists on Contorno Avenue. Ana Cristina, Lu, and her infant son squeezed themselves into the station wagon and headed to Ribeira to join the others. They thought they might have missed the tour bus, but most of the activists did not live MAP 3. Neighborhoods involved in the city tour and the citywide movement for housing rights. Map by Lynn Carlson, Brown University, 2012. THE GENDERED RACIAL LOGIC OF SPATIAL EXCLUSION 29 near the city center and public transportation from their neighborhoods wasn’t always reliable, especially on the weekend. Luciana, the president of the neighborhood association in Alto de Ondina, exclaimed when she arrived that though she lived relatively close to Ribeira, she and her neighbors had walked several kilometers to reach the bus stop. Alto de Ondina is one of the largest neighborhoods in the city, but there is no public transportation that provides direct service to Ribeira. Luciana also said that mobilizing other members of her neighborhood association to participate in an all-day activity on a Saturday had been an arduous task. Some struggled with leaving their household responsibilities on one of the few days they had off from work. The other women listened and nodded in agreement , as they knew the sacrifice of leaving home, and a few of the women, like Lu, had brought their young children. Two hours after the scheduled departure time, we settled into an old bus to begin the tour. This bus was nothing like the new shuttle busesthattransportedtouristsandthelocalelitesbetweentheHistoric Center, the coastal neighborhoods, and the international airport. The group was embarking on an important political lesson in unequal urban development and racial stratification in the city of Salvador. These Articulação members had named the tour Knowing the Communities, but they all agreed that a better name would have been Knowing the Ill Effects of Revitalization and Gentrification. We started our tour in Ribeira. The bus pulled up at the main beach, which was undergoing revitalization by the state development agency, Companhia de Desenvolvimento Urbano do Estado da Bahia (CONDER; the Urban Development Company of the State of Bahia). A Ribeira community representative described the neighborhood’s conflict with the state over the revitalization project. He explained that Ribeira was a beach area that attracted blacks and people from the bairros...


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