Note from BW of Brazil: So, this is supposed to be funny?!? For some reason, I’m not laughing! I sometimes marvel at the things that happen in Brazil on a regular basis but yet and still people will deny any racist intent. “Come on, you guys see racism in everything!”, they’ll say. “It’s just a joke,” they’ll say, but yet these jokes always seem to include subject matters that are directly connected to serious issues of racism that some people rightfully don’t take lightly. We saw it in a similar ‘practical joke’ involving slavery and Nazis on another university campus last year. We also saw it again recently with a number male members of Carnaval groups dressing up in blackface in ‘homage’ to black women. One really has to wonder if these people simply believe they can trample upon racially sensitive issues because they have no fear of the repercussions. After all, Brazil doesn’t have racial problems because “we’re all equal”, right? And Brazil doesn’t have a current problem with the lynch mob mentality either, right? I’ll say one thing; these ‘jokes’ DO in fact tell us a lot about Brazilian society!
UFBA student denounces racist “joke” on social network; colleagues rebuff accusation
By the Bocão News newsroom and R7
A student of the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) protested a social network against the way that the School of Architecture freshmen are welcomed.
According to her, upperclassmen hung black dolls with a rope around its neck with the names of freshmen. In the posting, the student identified as Cynthia Araújo states that the “joke” is racist, embarrassing and symbolic violence. “Coincidentally, (the dolls) are black. Until when people will find this kind of ‘joke’ valid?” she asked.
Various messages are circulating on the internet in agreement and other repudiating the case. One comment said that the students are being represented by the doll because they feel as if they are in the academic pelourinho. The pelourinho is infamous for being the region in Salvador, Bahia, where slaves were publicly whipped during the slavery era. Another comment read that this type of racism is tense.
Others commenting on Cynthia’s post wrote. Ironically, a student says: “wow, I committed a crime, I will explain, apologize and that’s okay uh-uhh”. Another student says that “it’s not racism just because you interpreted it this way. You’re not the owners of the truth, understand this for once.”
According to the UNE (União Nacional dos Estudantes na Bahia student’s union), this was joke in bad taste and that it would be necessary to review this hazing incident and for them the type of reception that freshmen receive should be friendlier.
One student ensures that “there was no intention of racism, so don’t characterize it as such. There was an unfortunate choose of the material used because racism is still a touchy subject and any activity should be done carefully so as not to be confused with racism.”
According to UFBA, students responsible for the prank and taking the doll to the university, said that at no time did they think about playing with racial issues. Also according to the university they will hear a peaceful understanding between students who questioned the case and those responsible for the hazing.
Cynthia Araújo > UFBA
“This is the personality that freshmen receive in the School of Architecture of UFBA: a doll, representing a freshman, with the names of freshman written on it, hanged, coincidentally black. Until when will people think this type of ‘joke’ is valid?”