I finally decided to read bell hooks after her passing. Immediately, “Teaching to Transgress: Education as a practice of freedom” became one of my favourite books. Ironically, hooks has helped me recover from experiences between academia and activism that had made me avoid her work for a long time.
Last June citizens formed the biggest mass demonstrations of Brazil since the end of dictatorship in 1985. Who were the protesters? The consensus between Brazilian and foreign analysts points to the middle class youth. Indeed it is true that most on the streets were young people who had never protested on the streets before. But the emphasis on middle class is too simplistic.
While the Brazilian national team suffered the worst defeat of all time, Magé—my hometown, located in the greater metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro—grieved yet another murder. The sadness and outrage experienced while counting Germany’s goals are metaphors of a much greater tragedy: the apparent ineffectiveness of state public security policies on the outskirts of the state capital.
During the demonstrations in Brazil, many said the giant – the Brazilian people – finally woke up. While it is true that many young people, especially the well-off, have been more active as citizens for the past weeks than they were before, mobilizing lower-income populations remains a hard challenge.