Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

When will Brazil address racism in its schools? Mother re-enforces daughter’s self-esteem after other child said her hair was ugly because it “stands up”


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In a video post, Sandri Sá recently addressed an incident involving racism against her daughter

Note from BW of Brazil: Well, we’ve see this time and time again: racism in Brazilian schools. It’s all of a part of life in everyday Brazil whether people like to admit it or not. It’s particularly difficult when it affects little black children who must endure  cruel comments, insults and jokes that are directly connected to Brazil’s deeply ingrained Eurocentric standards of beauty. Children clearly pick up on such standards, and if not doesn’t come directly from their parents or relatives, they pick it up from friends or a media in which black Brazilians are rarely featured as protagonists or persons that others would want to emulate. We see this “white as right” in various other realms of society and as many Brazilians continue to deny such a problem, teachers within the school system often don’t know how to deal with it, contribute to it themselves or simply ignore the problem. With such racist discourse being as Brazilian as feijoada, it’s up to parents to have serious conversations with their black children on this issue so that they are prepared to deal with the Brazil that people still don’t acknowledge exists.  

Daughter suffers from racial prejudice and mother makes an emotional response in video

“The more we speak of exalting their self-esteem, there are times when it falls apart and this cuts to my soul,” said the post that attracted to 19,000 reactions on Facebook.

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Little Geovanna cried because a school classmate said her “hair that stands up” was ugly

Courtesy of Folha Vitória

Prejudice, homophobia and bullying are common at any age and place. If for an adult it’s hard to face a situation like this, imagine for a five-year-old child.

That’s what Sandri Sá, mother of little Geovanna tried to explain to the little one when she came home from school crying. The reason for the tears was because a classmate said didn’t like her “hair that stands up”. (1)

Outraged by the situation, Sandra posted a rant on her Facebook profile. In the post, she reports “a little of the experience of ser preta (being black) and ter filhos pretos (having black children).” “As much as we speak of exalting their self-esteem, there are times when it falls apart and this cuts to my soul,” said the publication.

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Sandri recorded a video in which she re-enforced her daughter’s self-esteem and fact that she and her hair are beautiful

Sandri also said she was very emotional because seeing her daughter’s suffering, but she had to stay strong to protect her from the prejudice of society. “It’s not Júlia’s fault,” (2) she declared.

Ending her post Sandri also appealed to parents of other children. “Please don’t let your children be these types of children who don’t respect race and later, won’t respect a homosexual, an evangelical, a black person and so on,” she said.

Together with comments, a video in which Sandri filmed her daughter while she tells the girl how beautiful she is and doesn’t need to cry because of things people said to her was posted (3).

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Still from video that was seen over 600 thousand times.

The post made Wednesday, October 6th, already has 19,000 responses, more than 16,000 shares and about five thousand comments of support for the little one. “You’re beautiful, yes. We are all beautiful in our own way. Seu cabelo  é lindo (Your hair is beautiful). Stay well princess,” commented one user.

SourceFolha Vitória 

Note

  1. Here we have yet another example of why we feature so stories of black Brazilians coming to accept and wear their hair in its natural state. Cabelo crespo, or kinky/curly hair, is one of the African features that is most ridiculed in Brazil and when people decide to face society with the hair they were born with, it often comes with a feeling of empowerment.
  2. Júlia was the name of the child that insulted her daughter.
  3. In the video Sandri is heard saying/asking: “Are you beautiful? Is your hair ugly? You don’t have to cry because Júlia said your hair is ugly. Is your hair beautiful? You’re not wrong, Júlia is wrong for saying that your hair is ugly. You’re pretty the way that you are.”

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