Note from BW of Brazil: For anyone who has followed this blog for at least a year, the title of this article shouldn’t be shocking. Well, let me change that. Brazilian police being racist isn’t at all surprising, but the fact that 95% of Brazilians believe this is a biut surprising. After all, we are speaking of a country in which people believed in the myth of racial democracy for decades. This stat along with a recent study showing that more Brazilians acknowledge that they harbor racist sentiments shows that people are at least being more honest about race in Brazil as well as their own personal feelings on the subject. Question is, are people willing to do anything about it.
95% of Brazilians believe the police are racist, study reveals
The survey also showed that 4 out of 10 respondents have already suffered some form of police violence
By Igor Rocha
The Datafavela Institute and the Central Única das Favelas (CUFA), conducted a survey, entitled “Periphery, Racism and Violence”, in partnership with the Instituto Locomotiva, released this week, and revealed that half of the people living in thge periphery said they were afraid from the police. The same study revealed that the phrase “the police are dangerous for people like me” affects 54% of black people, while for white people, 17% of the sentence makes sense. In addition, the survey also showed that only 5% of Brazilians believe that the police are not racist. On the other hand, 52% of respondents rated the police as “very racist”. Among black people, that number rises to 60%.
Police violence and periphery
Being the main targets of the police, the residents of the periphery also revealed that 4 out of 10 Brazilians have already suffered some type of violence from agents, be it disrespect, verbal and physical aggression or extortion and black men are more exposed to such approaches, even compared to low-income white men.
In addition, the survey showed that 56% of the black population (pretos/blacks and pardos/browns) already felt intimidated when interacting with police officers in routine situations. However, when only the reports of pretos are observed, the number rises to 67%.
According to social scientist Silvia Ramos, black boys from the periphery, mainly, learn to be afraid of the police from an early age, of unjustified approaches, humiliation and beatings. “When we see that the Rio de Janeiro police killed more than 1,810 people [in 2019] and, this year, during the pandemic alone, in April, it killed 43% more in operations than last year, they realize that the police are violent and racist, oriented to identify you as a criminal,” said Ramos in the online debate to present the research on Wednesday (8).
Even though he was known nationally, rapper Rappin ‘Hood said he had fear of his son being on the streets. “They always said that we were marginals, maloqueiros (see note one), but we were just black men. I have an 18 year old son and I am afraid to let my boy go to the street. The fear that my parents felt,” he revealed.
What the authorities say
According to the Secretary of Public Security of São Paulo, Colonel Alvaro Batista Camilo, the worldwide commotion with the death of George Floyd influences the research and, according to him, the São Paulo Police don’t condone racist attitudes. “We are very concerned with human rights, in treating people as we would like to be treated. We try to transmit this to the police and we have management procedures to review the actions of the police,” said Camilo, for whom the cases of police violence in the state are punctual.
According to Elizeu Soares, an ombudsman for the São Paulo police, racism is not only a problem for security agents, but structural. “The Brazilian State is racist. I think it is wrong to isolate an institution when the problem is with the whole society. When it arrives at the hand of the police it’s because the state has already failed. We need to reframe citizenship and create a culture of peace, trust in the police,” he warned.
However, according to Marcelle Decothé, of the Marielle Franco Institute, just modernizing the police is not enough, it takes more than technology for real change. “More weapons, helicopters and sophisticated operations don’t reduce the number of homicides or police violence. We need the state not to enter the favela with only the public security arm, the police,” he lamented.
Source: Notícia Preta
- Young people that wander the streets, often in groups, begging for money, committing petty theft, etc.