Black Women of Brazil

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Breaking the silence: Gymnast who was victim of teammate’s racist joke was under gag order not to speak about incident


Ângelo Assumpção, vítima de racismo, quebra silêncio após blindagem da CBG

                                                Gymnast Ângelo Assumpção

Note from BW of Brazil: So now the truth comes out! When we broke this story a few months back, we wondered as to why it seemed that the young, black gymnast who was the target of racist jokes at the hands of his teammates hadn’t said more about the incident. Was he afraid of being blacklisted or targeted and losing support in his athletic career? Had he been warned about saying too much? Now we know. Another thing that must be said about this case is how common it is that this type of racist sentiment comes forth and often leaves the victim surprised. In a number of previous posts on this blog detailing racist incidents, many black Brazilians expressed shock, surprise, pain and that they had never experienced a racist incident before.

It’s another way that Brazilian racism function.

After decades of Brazil proclaiming itself a ‘racial democracy’ ,even in the face so much evidence to the contrary, many Afro-Brazilians themselves accepted the belief that racism didn’t exist in their country. Until one day the cruel nature of this illness affected them personally. The story here involving the black athlete and his white teammate just goes to show: simply because someone hadn’t expressed their racist sentiments previously doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t harbor such sentiments. 

Gymnast Ângelo Assumpção, victim of racism, breaks silence after shielding by the CBG

More than two months after being the target of a racist act by his team-mates of the National Team, the gymnast Ângelo Assumpção spoke openly about the case and said he still fights scars. In an interview with O Globo, the athlete said his relationship with the one of those involved, Arthur Nory, was shaken and the Brazilian Gymnastics Federation (CBG) controlled his reaction soon after the incident.

“It was a situation that I was not used to dealing with. I could say anything at the moment. So they preferred to shield me. They (CBG) didn’t want me to talk,” said the gymnast, who at the time spoke only in interviews by e-mail, according to the newspaper, which were passed through the hands of Confederation professionals. The organization didn’t comment on Ângelo’s new declarations.

At the time, the CBG had implemented a 30-day suspension on the three gymnasts involved: Fellipe Arakawa, Henrique Flores and Arthur Nory. In pictures shared by Snapchat, the following comments were made in front of Ângelo, “If the phone works it’s white. If it’s broken, what color is it? The bag in the supermarket is white. And the garbage bag is black.” In the new video, the trio said it was a joke and apologized for the episode.

Despite having participated in the video with apologies, Ângelo Assumpção said his relationship with Arthur Nory, with whom he was quite close, was seriously affected. They still train together, but the friendship was compromised.

“The relationship with the athletes is still different. Mainly, with who caused all this, which was Arthur Nory. He was my friend for over 10 years, I always knew he couldn’t have exposed me in that way. The video he (Arthur) did was the last straw. After that, he still thought everything was normal. I didn’t completely accept his apology. The co-existence continues, we are companions on the club and the seleção (selection/National Team), but the friendship is not the same,” he declared.

“With Fellipe and Henrique, I wasn’t so hurt. We met five years ago and I know that it was an isolated case. But with Arthur, I know that was not the case. He always crossed the line, apologizing, but never showed a change in attitude. He always went back to making the same jokes,” he added, according to the newspaper.

Even with all the hurt, Ângelo Assumpção chose not to file a suit against those involved in the common courts. Recovering from leg pain, the gymnast is trying to put aside all the controversy to compete in the World Games in October.

SourcePragmatismo Político

2 comments on “Breaking the silence: Gymnast who was victim of teammate’s racist joke was under gag order not to speak about incident

  1. bamabrasileira
    August 6, 2015

    I am SO glad to see this young man speaking publicly about this issue, and letting other Black Brazilians/Black people everywhere know that we are NOT IN ANY WAY responsible for the racist attitudes of non-Blacks. I am SO happy that he isn’t trying to be like Neymar or Pele and pretend that there is no racism, or that he knows “they didn’t mean anything by it”, etc. I am also so happy to see that, Like Nayara Justino – the humiliated dark-skinned Globeleza girl – he appears to have support from the Black Brazilian community. We do not have to immediately accept the shallow “apologies” from white supremacists and we do not need to go around publicly making excuses for them when they publicly f*ck up! It has taken a lot of courage for him to speak honestly on this issue and I am so proud of him for doing so!

    I am also happy to see the collective consciousness beginning to shift, as more news outlets bring attention to these stories and do what they can to support these victims of racism. This changing tide is, no doubt, being led by the outcry on Black social media regarding these issues. We will not observe this type of honesty on the major news channels every day, but Black media is more powerful than we may think it is. I hope we can keep this momentum going!

  2. Jules
    August 6, 2015

    White folks using words like weapons when they see you have a chance at great success. This has been a formula that whites have used for centuries, if they can break you in your mind then you are burnt toast. I hope this young man recovers from his injury and go on to the destiny that was carved out for him. Don’t let these players try to mess with your head because when they get you there that is it for you. At least he’s caught a clue and now know to keep his distance from them. I wish him nothing but the best for his grand future.

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This entry was posted on August 6, 2015 by in black athlete, racism, racist joke, sports and tagged , .
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