“Being preto (black) is no problem, but this hair?”: After giving interview about prejudice in universities, young black man receives racist attack in letter

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Note from BW of Brazil: It’s funny to me that some people harbor this idea that they can have no problem with black people, even like black people but then reject some aspects of what being black means. I mean, what kind of sense does it make if one says, “I like black people, one of my best friends is black”, but then that same person says that he/she doesn’t like dark skin? I mean, it’s a free world and no one is obligated to like any particular characteristic of any other individual or group of people.

Case in point, recently the immensely successful Black Panther movie (released as Pantera Negra in Brazil) was released in China but the reaction of the Chinese to the color of the film was another issue altogether. You see, although the film ended up raking in US$67 million in its opening weekend in China, many Chinese people, known for having prejudiced against dark skin, rejected the film, literally, for being “too black”. The fact that the film earned more money than expected doesn’t negate the problem the Chinese traditionally have against dark skin. In that same manner, saying that one doesn’t like the hair of black people also carries a tone of prejudice that has even cost numerous black Brazilians job positions (see here, here or here) which is racism stemming from the prejudiced attitude. 

In discussing a recent case of racism on the campus of Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) journalism student Leonne Gabriel recently revealed his experience with Brazil’s rejection of natural black hair

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Journalism student Leonne Gabriel

After giving newspaper interview, young black man receives racist attack in letter

Courtesy of Revista Fórum

Leonne Gabriel, a journalism student at PUC-RJ, was a personality in the O Globo newspaper about prejudice at the university; days later he received a correspondence in the classroom. Inside the envelope was the newspaper page where he appears with racist offenses.

“It is not only in the FGV that black students are targeted.” So the journalism student at PUC-Rio, Leonne Gabriel, begins his account of the racist attack he received on Monday (12).

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Student was surprised after receiving a letter shortly after he was featured in article about prejudice in universities

The young man says that he was in the classroom when a university official called him to deliver a correspondence that had come in his name. Days before, the student was a personality in an article in the newspaper O Globo that spoke precisely about the experienced by students in private universities. Because of the positive repercussion of the report, Leonne initially thought it would be “something good” related to the story, but when he opened the envelope, he came across the page in the newspaper in which his photo appears with racist sentences written in pen.

“When I unfolded the newspaper, I received racist blows openly to the chest. I was shocked and stunned. I read and re-read the following phrases: ‘Fuck! Man, with a hair like that what did want? ‘and as if it were not enough, another one (read) ‘ Being preto (black) no problem, but this hair? PQP!’” (see note one) wrote the young man in a Facebook post that already has more than 700 shares.

“The racist attack by a letter shows old ideas that are very current. A museum of news!” Leonne pointed out.

Check below, Leonne’s full post.

Depois de dar entrevista para jornal, jovem negro recebe ataque racista por carta (2)Leonne Gabriel

March 12 at 7:52 pm ·

“Have you ever seen a racist attack by letter? Know what #RonaldoRacista wrote to me.

For a college student, every beginning period is challenging, but I never imagined that I would receive a racist attack in the form of a letter. It is not only in the FGV that black students are targeted. I was in the classroom and suddenly a PUC-Rio employee knocks on the door and calls my name. She handed me a letter that arrived by mail to the institution. Very excited I thought it could be something good! I opened the letter and found it strange to have a newspaper. I remembered the interview I gave recently to O Globo and I imagined that it could be a positive repercussion. After all, there are not many blacks who do journalism at PUC.

When I unfolded the newspaper I received racist blows to the chest. I was shocked and stunned. I read and re-read the following phrases: ‘Damn, man, with a hair like that, what did you want?’ and as if it weren’t enough (another read) ‘Being preto (black) is no problem, but this hair? PQP!’ (note one). The letter is signed by a certain “Ronaldo Antunes” with the street address Baronesa 162, Praça Seca RJ, and was posted five days after the publication of my interview in the newspaper O Globo.

The racist attack by a letter shows old ideas that are very current. A museum of novelties! 130 years after the abolition of slavery the black body is still being stoned! #RonaldoRacista, what is the problem with meu black (my afro)? People like you exist by the bunch. I already had a supervisor who when he found out that I lived in the favela asked if I hid drugs in my hair. I don’t want to be billed as a suspect profile or even be appointed as a pothead for taking on my black identity. I believe in a reality in which skin color and hair fiber don’t define the potential of the human being. #RonaldoRacista is not only a problem of mine but of Brazilian society.”

SourceRevista Fórum

Note

  1. Meaning “puta que pariu”, or “whore that gave birth”, it is a popular phrase often uttered by Brazilians to express astonishment, impatience, irritation etc.
About Marques Travae 2876 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

4 Comments

  1. I don’t know if these books have Portuguese translations. If they do Blacks in Brasil should get Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon. Message to the Black Man by Malcolm x, anything written by Frances Scott Welsing and How Europe underdeveloped Africa. If someone does not like your skin or your hair that is their problem not yours. It should not hurt you

  2. My be Afro brazilian and African American have a group reading fanon Lord knows African American in the states need to read it

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