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Note from BW of Brazil: Well, here we go again! It should actually come as no surprise that university campuses have become the new symbol of the discomfort of many in Brazilian society with the entry of Afro-Brazilians into the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning. After all, it was with the beginning of the system of affirmative action policies over a decade ago that made the country begin to openly discuss its racial issues for the first time in an open manner. Please keep in mind that we stress (as in previous posts) how this is not to say affirmative action was the cause of racism (as many would have us believe), as its been a regular facet of the country’s DNA for several centuries, but it was the quota system that made people start to openly express these ideas about race and often times, these reactions would lead to a certain level of consciousness-raising among black Brazilians who often times were themselves fooled into believing that their country was a ‘racial democracy’. This latest incident adds Unicamp (University of Campinas) to a list of universities to be marked by the open expression of a rejection of black presence on college campuses.
University has new racist graffiti: ‘Get the blacks out of Unicamp’
by Fabiana Marchezi
“This is not a senzala (slave house)! Get blacks out of Unicamp now.” These are the phrases written in the latest act of racism registered in IFCH (Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences) at Unicamp, in Campinas (93 kilometers from São Paulo).
The racist graffiti were seen and photographed on Tuesday (5) in one of the institute’s bathrooms and has generated outrage among students. Only this year, this was the third racist graffiti found in IFCH.
Last March 8th, the walls of the same institute amanheceram reading “White Power” (written in English), along with Ku Klux Klan (KKK), in reference to the sect that preaches white supremacy and violence against blacks and immigrants.
The graffiti on Tuesday (5) was captured by Octavian Catelano, 18, a 2nd year student of the social sciences. Outraged, the student decided to photograph and post it on social networks.
“I was outraged, especially because it is not the first time that such graffiti caught our attention. I was in that bathroom yesterday [Monday] and there was nothing scrawled. It is unacceptable for this to continue happening. Only this year it’s already the third time,” said the student.
The new graffiti appeared exactly 15 days after the university’s Núcleo de Consciência Negra (Black Consciousness Center) delivered a manifesto to the head of the rector’s cabinet, after an act to combat racism at Unicamp, held on the 21st. The main claim of the manifesto is the creation a Comissão Permanente de Combate ao Racismo na Unicamp (Standing Committee to Combat Racism at Unicamp).
On Wednesday (6), the nucleus said it would issue a statement of condemnation of the acts and will convene a special meeting to deal specifically with these cases in order to charge administrative measures applicable to those responsible. The nucleus must also report the situation to the academic community and civil society.
According to Teófilo de Souza Carmo Reis, a nucleus member, racist graffiti is a response to the attitudes of the nucleus, which has been publicizing and combating these acts. “The racist acts are not new on campus. We were upset, we know that our presence bothers (people), but we are also sure that resistance is the only way to combat these provocations. We are on the right track,” said Reis.
Unicamp said in a statement that repudiates “any manifestation or action that implies violation of human rights and discrimination of any kind.”
The statement also mentions that the rectory will propose to hold internal discussions, in partnership with the Human Rights Commission of the City of Campinas, in order to gather suggestions to make possible the fight against racial discrimination.
And it reported that “the calendar of the debates will be announced as soon as the proposal is forwarded internally”
The institution pointed out that account since 2003 with an ombudsman service, that “in cases of violation of human rights when authorship is known, establishes procedures for conducting hearings of those involved and witnesses for proper investigation of the facts.”
Source: Educação UOL
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