Note from BW of Brazil: Nothing really outside of the norm in today’s story. A black girl in a vastly white environment who is the victim of racist taunting on the part of her white classmates. Stories such as this simply strengthen something I’ve said for a while. As Brazil never intends on addressing the psychological trauma experienced by black children (and adults for that matter) caused by racism, why should there not be institutions in which black children can be educated in manners that would teach them their history and prepare them for the hostility they will face in a decidedly anti-black country?
Of course, Law 10.639 that mandates the teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian culture and history in Brazilian schools has been in effect since 2003 but it has never been enforced. This tells me that Brazil is perfectly fine with the inferior position that Brazilian society places its Afro-Brazilian population. Today’s story in reminiscent of other stories in which white parents adopt a black child and come face to face to what a black child will have to deal with in a country that overvalues whiteness. One of them involved a famous acting couple whose adopted African daughter was a victim of racial offenses, ironically, from a another black child. Another made headlines in 2013 when the adopted son of a Rio couple was told to leave a BMW dealership. Yet anther involved a couple in the capital city of Brasília who discovered the weight of prejudice on a day-to-day basis from living with her black children.
The story below doesn’t mention that the mother of the adopted black child is actually white, but I would assume that probably she is. The child was placed in a school in which she one of few black children, which is a common experience of so many other Afro-Brazilian children who relate stories of racist bullying and jokes such as what actress Vaneza Oliveira recently revealed in relation to her own school experiences.
12-year old adopted black girl is target of bullying at three schools in the city of Belo Horizonte
Girl suffered racial offenses and the school board said that she misunderstood the ‘jokes’. At age 12, she is in psychiatric treatment and takes medication against depression
Courtesy of Agência Estado
At age 12, Larissa (fictitious name) will be at least 30 days out of school for medical appointment. After suffering bullying at three schools in Belo Horizonte (capital of Minas Gerais) for three years, she is in psychiatric treatment and is taking medication against depression. Black and adopted, she loved going to class, until she was subjected to physical and psychological aggression from her colleagues.
“She was one of the few black girls in high school, but this never bothered her. Her colleagues had never said or treated her differently, despite the crooked looks she perceived from some parents. But when she was nine years old, nicknames and teasing about her skin and hair began,” said retiree Lúcia Helena, 51, the girl’s mother. After persecution in two schools, she went to a religious college, where everything got worse, according to the mother’s account. “The school didn’t know how to welcome her, and she was excluded from the groups.”
The girl suffered racial offenses and the school board said that she misunderstood the “jokes”. In November, she was offended by a girl and fought back with a slap. The school board wanted to suspend her for understanding that she was the aggressor. She gave up, but the episode shook Larissa, who went on to say that she would rather die than go back to class. In depression, she missed the final exams and make up. She failed despite good grades during the rest of the year.
“I tried to explain that she was not able to do the tests, that she was under the effect of very strong medicines, but the school was irreducible,” she says. The mother appealed to the courts to reverse the reproach, without success. Now she’s trying criminal action. The girl is enrolled in another school, where she’s going after recovering.
“She doesn’t want to leave the house or talk, she developed a school phobia. The damage is so serious that the doctors advised me not to leave her alone, watch what she does and avoid leaving knives and medicines within reach,” says Lucia. “We blame ourselves for not having understood the seriousness of the problem before, for not having demanded action from the school.”
In a statement, the school said it has taken actions in accordance with “the school regiment” and is based on Christian character.