Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

As more blacks develop pride in their natural hair, Brazil’s racism continues its psychological oppression: Design student describes her ordeal with a university professor


Estudante de design de faculdade em BH acusa professora de injúria racial

Note from BW of Brazil: As anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time must know by now, Brazilian society does not accept characteristics that remind it of its connection to Africa. That includes dark skin, curly/kinky hair and Afro-Brazilian religious practices. And since the nearly four centuries of slavery and the 127 years since its abolition, the nation’s non-black citizens continue to physically, verbally and psychologically assault the Afro-Brazilian population. But in recent years there’s been a noted change in the ways that black Brazilians are dealing with these daily assaults. Whereas less than 20 years ago, persons with curly/kinky hair (or cabelo crespo) often simply accepted verbal assaults or straightened their hair to avoid the turmoil. But nowadays more of them are standing up and demanding to be respected as citizens and the human beings that they are. This attitude can be seen as a direct challenge to the aesthetics of white supremacy. The case below is simply the latest in a long history of racial oppression in Brazil. 

University design student in Belo Horizonte accuses teacher of a racial slur

Courtesy of Hoje em Dia

A student at the faculdade (college) Estácio de Sá of Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais) is accusing a teacher of the institution of injúria racial (racial injury/slur). In a post published on her personal Facebook page, Mirna Guedes, 21, says she’s already been a victim the professor’s prejudice victim on three occasions, the first one last year.

According to the fashion design student, the first time she was criticized for having cabelos crespos (kinky/curly hair) and voluminous. Insistently she said several times, that I should straighten my hair. “She even said que eu seria mais bonita assim (that I would be more beautiful like that).”

The second time, the teacher returned to talk about my hair. Referring to some other university students who had done the procedure. “The third time, the 3rd of August, she approached me and asked me: ‘You haunted here. You haven’t graduated yet?’ I responded with a choked voice. This is a crime, racial prejudice. She evaded me,” said the girl.

Design student Mirna Guedes described her confrontations with a professor on a social netowrk

Design student Mirna Guedes described her confrontations with a professor on a social network

Also in the post, the student emphasizes that she has suffered many racial prejudices. “There comes a time that it stifles, represses, that of which words fail me, sometimes the air in front of such a society. I only demand respect. I am moved to anger, I assume what I feel when I hear or see such barbarity. I am driven to justice. To the right to freedom of expression and to be who you want to be.”

According to the student, the first few times she was offended by the professor she sought assistance from the university, which did nothing. “But today, I describe here my rejection to any kind of prejudice or discrimination, whether racial or not. I am now waiting for justice to be done, I’ve gone to the specialized police station with my witnesses and I hope that steps are taken.”

Response

Through the college’s press office, the general director and rector of the Centro Universitário Estácio de Belo Horizonte, Juciê Abreu states that the student didn’t seek the Rectory to address the recent episode. “Since we became aware of it, we have been trying to get in touch with her to clarify, which only happened at 6:15pm of Wednesday (5). The student can only talk to the institution tomorrow, the 6th at 6:30pm.”

Also according to the note, unlike what Mirna has stated in the previous episode, the Centro Universitário Estácio de Belo Horizonte sought clarification from the professor and the student herself and took the appropriate action at the time, considering therefore, the episode resolved.

“We emphasize that, under no circumstances, do we tolerate any type of discrimination with students and staff of the institution and, in the event of any occurrence that effect, the measures provided for in our Code of Ethics are taken.” The professor was approached for the report by press reps of Estácio, but declined to make a statement.

Source: Hoje em Dia

One comment on “As more blacks develop pride in their natural hair, Brazil’s racism continues its psychological oppression: Design student describes her ordeal with a university professor

  1. Jules
    August 19, 2015

    Bizarre considering the field that she is studying in is one that celebrates creativity and diversity. I would expect this kind of behaviour from an academic school, but even in a creative area you can’t just be you. She may want to switch schools.

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This entry was posted on August 19, 2015 by in Belo Horizonte, cabelo crespo, curly/kinky hair, racial slur, racism and tagged , .
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