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Direitos Humanos / 29/05/2021

HUMAN RIGHTS

Racism and Sexism in the History of Lobotomy in Brazil

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Racism and Sexism in the History of Lobotomy in Brazil


Dr. Juliano Moreira already in the 1930s struggled to clarify his contemporaries, that the evils of the mind had nothing to do with the character or ethnic group of those affected by mental illnesses. We know that he, despite the prestige acquired in Brazil and abroad, saw his contribution disappear under the assumptions of Racism.

But even today, it causes us a certain despair to know the scope of these beliefs, and especially to realize how contemporaneity still has a certain modesty in emphasizing some information.

The National History Association (ANPUH), on April 16 of this year, granted the 7th. Theses Award to the researcher Eliza Toledo, for the thesis The Circulation and Application of Psychosurgery at the Juquery Psychiatric Hospital. São Paulo: a question of gender (1936-1956) .

According to the author, the practice of psychosurgery, popularly known as lobotomy, encompassed a set of interventions in the brain of patients diagnosed with specific psychiatric complications and was viewed with great enthusiasm, despite the serious and irreversible health complications of those exposed to it.

A deeper analysis of the Juquery Hospital records, such as medical records and abundant clinical documentation, showed that although the number of male patients was the majority among inmates, psychosurgeries, between the 1930s and 1950s, were applied more widely. incidence in women. For her, the question was whether to classify certain behaviors as deviant, that is, those that ran away the standards established by society, exactly as we learned Jurandir Freire Costa's always polite study.

In an interview, she states:

Such notions of gender were present in the way in which doctors saw the mental pathology that should be treated by psychosurgery, permeated by notions such as female instability. The diagnosis of psychotic personality, often attributed in relation to its amoral character, was important in the indication of surgery in women classified by doctors as white, yellow, black and brown, but especially in these last two groups, demonstrating the perception of the pathology and of your treatment.

The necessary look of contemporaneity

However, the sources collected by the brilliant researcher demand a different look.

Initially, it is necessary to investigate them in the light of the teachings of the psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, still little visited by scholars of Mental Health in Brazil . It is urgent to apply to them the notion that these processes of alienation and domestication of the bodies and minds of those and those that fell into the psychiatric web, fit within the pedagogy carried out by the colonization structure, today analyzed under the perspective of the colonialities that affect even the ontological dimension of the subjugated.

It is also urgent to activate the broad epistemological material, of transgressive and insurgent voices, initiated in Brazil by Lélia Gonzales, Beatriz Nascimento, Neusa Santos and Sueli Carneiro, in intellectual parity with the contributions of bell hooks, Patrícia Hill Collins and Kemberly Crenshaw to understand how sexism and racism punished those who dared to disobey.


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