Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

“Even my money is worth less than a white person’s”: Nurse leads protest against cosmetics giant after being discriminated against in a store


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Note from BW of Brazil: In reality, I think the comment included in the title of today’s piece just about says it all. I’ve never heard of a situation in which a currency has any more or less value because of the color of the hand from which it is received. The only way any of this can make any sort of sense is once again when we consider the idea of “race and place” in which some echelons of society don’t believe that certain groups should have access to the same places as other, more privileged groups. I mean, how many more times do we need to see examples of this before we conclude that it is part of the structure of Brazilian society?

For several years now I have called out the “jeito brasileiro” (Brazilian way) of proclaiming “we’re all equal” even in the face of vast racial inequalities. In my view, the attitude seems to be from the privileged races/classes that they agree to maintain the farce that all are equal as long as the “undesirables” agree to stay “in their place”. But if the “undesirables” decide to try to frequent the places deemed “off limits”, the “agreement” is off even though the privileged ones will continue to maintain the farce. We see this play out often times when individuals or groups of Afro-Brazilians frequent certain restaurants, prestigious universities, shopping malls, or country clubs. With such a history, stories such as the one below should come as no surprise. 

O Boticário 2

Cosmetics/fragrance giant O Boticário is headquartered in the state of Paraná

Women protest against racist attitude of O Boticário in Curitiba

The nurse Juliana Mittelbach reported the case to the Civil Police

By Franciele Petry Schramm

1

In solidarity with the nurse, about 50 women gathered in front of the Boticário store in downtown Curitiba (Credits: Edvan Carlos Lima)

About 50 people gathered on Wednesday (3), in front of the Boticario store (see note one) on Rua XV de Novembro (street), in Curitiba, to protest against the racist attitudes taken by the franchise of the cosmetics company from Curitiba. The mobilization was called by social networks and gathered women who, through pronouncements and songs, repudiated the episode.

O Boticário

On April 24th, the nurse and activist of the Marcha Mundial de Mulheres (World March of Women), Juliana Mittelbach, was a victim of racism while frequenting the shop in the city’s downtown. She went to the store to buy eyeliner, but the vendors were reluctant to attend the militant and denied that the product was available. Minutes after the woman left the store, a friend went back to the location to look for the same cosmetic. Her friend, branca e loira (white and blonde), even took pictures of the three types of pencils that were offered to her.

2

With megaphone, the nurse Juliana Mittelbach participated in the act and protested against the company’s attitude (Photo: Edvan Carlos Lima)

Juliana denounced the case to the Civil Police and reported the situation on social networks. Thousands of people reacted to the Facebook posting, and hundreds of others responded in solidarity with their comments.

Crime predicted by law

The situation experienced by the nurse falls under Federal Law 7.716/89, which defines crimes resulting from race or color prejudice. The legislation establishes that it is a crime to “refuse or prevent access to a commercial establishment, refusing to serve, tend to or receive a client or buyer.”

In her Facebook posting, Juliana vented. “Very sad that even my money is worth less than a pessoa branca (white person).” The company even got in touch with the woman, portraying itself and offering a basket of products as an apology. The nurse didn’t accept the proposal and indicated the need for another measure: “The best repair is to organize training for your employees and franchisees to combat racist practices.”

Source: Brasil de Fato

Note

  1. O Boticário is a Brazilian franchise of cosmetics and perfumes headquartered in Curitiba, Paraná in southern Brazil. Its main products are fragrances, creams, and makeup products. Source

8 comments on ““Even my money is worth less than a white person’s”: Nurse leads protest against cosmetics giant after being discriminated against in a store

  1. Sidy M. Gueye
    May 6, 2017

    It is great that people protest about racism, but that won’t change much when it comes to the heart of the problem.
    People can be racist when they think that they are economically better than you. When a person of African descent happens to get some economic clout, they tend to make him, or her an honorary white person. They will socialize them, date them, and even create a family with them.
    African people around the world should focus on one thing, if we really want to stop this nasty attitude towards us, economic.
    There are enough African people in Brazil to help establish something of their own, and totally boycott business that don’t seem to represent them in a proper manner.
    We should put our money into African businesses, not helping others subjugate us.

    • Realist
      May 7, 2017

      Exactly what my reaction was. Was the victim trying to get cosmetics meant for her skin tone? Black owned cosmetic companies abound. Contact between the US and Brazil might be useful. Forget the Mary Kay stuff. Clothes should be another growth industry for black Brazil once people start wearing African garb for formal occasions. But the will must be there. Restaurants and supermarkets next. Supporting Blacks for political office is crucrucial. When Brazilians say that Bolsonaro could win the next elections I am amazed.

      • Alex
        May 8, 2017

        I wholeheartedly agree. We need to organize businesses. Most of our people are poor and lower middle class in Brazil, but if people get together, they can start business by saving a little bit of money. Those businesses would also help to employ Black people. I mean, it is a tragedy that Afro-Brazilian food is so amazing and yet there is no chain of Afro-Brazilian restaurants or fast food. Eventually, the Whites are going to create such business if we don’t get our act together. Talk to your friends, to your Black fellow workers, students, etc. We cannot stand by and sit still. Once we have enough businesses and organize, we will be able to finance our future political parties and get candidates to be exposed to the people. We, as conscious Black people in Brazil, need to be at the forefront of bringing awareness and political/economic opportunities to our people.

    • Thiago Gregorio.
      June 23, 2017

      That’s what I think ! Agreed 100%. instead of crying like babies and ask for integration, Blacks should have business exclusively for blacks; even though they call it ‘segregation’ it won’t bother me. What really pisses me off is, Blacks crying out and not taking action. It seems like they desperately want the ‘whites’ acceptance..

  2. charles m
    May 9, 2017

    Good for her and everyone that is strong arm fighting these corporations that practice racism. I support the good cause to end this kind of sickness. thumbs up !!!

  3. ABIGAIL S MUTUMBA
    May 12, 2017

    i agree with you all i have always thought that if some people dont want ur money u could always spend it on people who treat u better meaning go to black businesses that wont look down on u. also please can someone explain why until now that there hasnt been a black president when they make up more than half the population?

    • Alex
      May 14, 2017

      That’s something I also find intriguing. They have Marina Silva. You might not agree with her politically, but at least vote for her to show you are upset with the current share of almost homogenously White candidates. Also, if Black candidates for congress started to receive the most votes (coming from Afro-Brazilians) the White political parties would do everything to have more Black candidates next election. But then again, this is the country where 78% of people watch Globo, the most racist TV channel in the History of mankind. We cannot change the politics if we do not change the culture first. Right now, Afro-Brazilian culture is still anti-Black. We need to make Afro-Brazilian culture pro-Black before we can do anything else, although all efforts for racial equality are appreciated.

      • Thiago Gregorio.
        June 23, 2017

        Vote for Marina?! You must be insane, this bullshit of black President isn’t just right!
        I don’t care which ‘color’ the president is, as long the job is well done. We had Celso Pitta who was the mayor of Sao paulo, and many others blacks politicians who fucked up! Ps: Marina’s husband is destroying our forests, and she pretends to be the minister of environment.

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This entry was posted on May 6, 2017 by in black woman, racism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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