The daughter of singer Ivo Meirelles, Vitória, is the latest victim of racism; the incident took place in the popular C & A department
“I had no reaction except to leave the store. But now I need to take action, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else there,” said Vitória
Vitória Meirelles, the pretty, 23-year-old daughter of singer and Rio Carnaval figure, Ivo Meirelles, was the victim of racism in an incident that went down on Monday at the Rio de Janeiro department store, C & A store in Rio de Janeiro. Vitória is the latest example of the fact that regardless one’s status, job or connection to a prominent figure, it is the skin color that can and will make one a target of embarrassing, infuriating treatment.
Actress Erika Januza has appeared in a number of novelas on Brazil’s top TV network, Globo, yet this didn’t stop a salesperson from wondering if she had the means make a purchase in a storethis didn’t stop a salesperson from wondering if she had the means make a purchase in a store. Actor Érico Brás and his wife Kênia Dias, a representative of UN Women, were kicked off of a plane in Salvador, Bahia, accused of being “a threat to the security of the aircraft”. The couple later sued and won this case but the incident again proved the tax that comes with having dark skin.
“Racists will not pass. The incident occurred in the store in the downtown Rio, which is located at Rua do Ouvidor 186,” he wrote. By his usage of the phrase ‘Racistas não passarão’, meaning ‘racists will not pass by’, a common slogan used by black Brazilians when victimized by racist treatment, one can conclude that the case may end up in court as racism in officially against the law in Brazil. And from indications, such as Meirelles declaring he would be filing a police report on the incident, it is very likely this will be the case.
“A shame. I just learned that a female employee, blond, followed my daughter and even invaded the dressing room, thinking she was a thief, just because the color of her skin. For those who have already had a black poster boy, this is an aberration,” said Ivo.
Vitória echoed her father’s sentiments about the case: “I’m going to go to the authorities to find out what I can do to make the C & A brand aware of what happened to me and to respond so that situations like this don’t happen to anyone else. It was a great embarrassment, some people noticed. At the time I was very shaken up, left the store crying. I had no reaction but to leave the store. But now I need to take action, so it does not happen to anyone else there.”
Once again, we have a situation that contradicts the official Brazilian narrative on this sort of treatment. While it is true that that officially sanctioned racial segregation doesn’t exist in Latin America’s largest country, it’s in the treatment of its citizens where one can find two different Brazils: one for blacks and one for whites.
Vitória spoke for a lot of people who, due to social networks, are more often stepping forward and sharing their experiences with racial discrimination:
“I’m going after the authorities today. After exposing this situation on the internet, a lot of black people reported that they have gone through this too. I can’t take this kind of situation anymore.”
As what typically happens in such cases, C & A says it will investigate the incident to ascertain the facts and take the appropriate measures. Truthfully, I’ve read these sorts of seemingly computerized responses so much, I could probably write the response myself with my eyes closed. If you wonder what a typical response looks like, here’s the one issued by C & A:
“We at C & A repudiate any kind of prejudice, be it by race, color and/or religion. Respect for people and diversity is part of our values and we see fashion as a platform for expressing the individuality of each person in their own way. We work so that the experience of our customers in the store is always the best possible. Therefore, we are investigating the fact to take the appropriate measures.”