Black students denounce racism at the Federal University of Parana; professor called them monkeys
Pedagogy students denounce professor of UFPR for racism
Students make a report they were called ‘monkeys’
Students were eating in the classroom when they were insulted, police said.
by Estelita Hass Carazzai and Adriana Justi
Two students in the second year of a teaching course at the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) in Curitiba*, denounced a teacher of the same course for racism, on Thursday (3).They registered a bulletin of occurence in the 1st Police District (DP) and alleged a discriminatory injury, according to police chief Vinicius Borges Martins.
“They testified and said that the offense occurred on April 11 during a break between classes. According to the young women, the teacher passed by and said the phrase: “Two little monkeys eating bananas”, while the students at lunch in the classroom”, said the police chief in an interview with G1 on the morning of Friday (4). The students are both black women, aged 27 and 23.
According to UFPR, on April 20, at a meeting between the students, the teacher and representatives of the Education sector and the Center for Afro-Brazilian Studies (NEAB), the teacher apologized and affirmed that it was an “unfortunate comment.”
“I found it odd because we have no intimacy with her. We were eating and then she came up and said, ‘How cute, two little monkeys eating a banana’. We had no reaction, because we were not alone in the room,” said one of the offended, who preferred to remain anonymous.
The student said that after the comment of the professor, she commented to a student that she had forgotten a text, when the teacher let out another sentence. “She said: ‘You forgot the text, but not the banana, huh?'” she remembered.
Campus of the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR)
The students’ lawyer Andre Nunes da Silva said that what the teacher said configures racial crime, and therefore, the students intend to sue her. “They said they were in a very embarrassing situation and above all they failed to admit the disrespect.” In Da Silva’s opinion the retraction is not enough.
“Here in Curitiba, things happen repeatedly, and they are based on a joke. This has to stop. Jokes have their time; the classroom of a federal university is not the place for you to joke. Apologizing doesn’t interest me. She made a racist reference.”
The police are investigating the case and have 30 days to complete the inquiry.
The director of the education sector at UFPR, Andrea Caldas, said the accused teacher didn’t intend to offend the students and thought that after the apology the situation had already been finalized. “When we were notified that the situation had occurred in the classroom, we quickly tried to resolve it through dialogue. We commit ourselves to having even more debate on racism at the university, I thought the story had ended.” Caldas also affirmed there had never previously been a report of racism on the campus and that the professor is also known for being in support of racial quotas and Affirmative Action policies.
* Curitiba is the capital and largest city of the southern state of Paraná, which is located to the south of the state of São Paulo.