Note from BW of Brazil: Today’s post features six Afro-Brazilians who have carved out names for themselves in music, acting and journalism. Besides all identifying themselves as black, they also all having in common having experienced something based on this classification: racism. Typically, when the topic is race in Brazil, one will hear a typical myriad of excuses that deny the real institutional existence of racial discrimination. After all, in Brazil, racism is always attributed to “some other person”.
A second popular excuse for racism (if its existence is in fact admitted) is that once a black person attains success, they don’t have to worry about this type of discrimination as, in Brazil, prejudice is supposedly, “due to class”. The third idea that is widely believed in Brazil is that pretos and pardos (blacks and browns) should not be joined together as representative of the população negra (black population) because “pardos are not negros.”
Although it is true that there are Brazilians who have more of European-Indian racial mixture in which they may possess little if any African ancestry, the vast majority of Brazil’s pardos DO in fact have African ancestry and this blog’s position has always been, if one’s physical appearance denotes African ancestry, they are also subject to experiencing discrimination based on understandings of race. This is the case whether such a person identifies as black or not. In the cases above, the majority of experiences with actual racism, discriminatory behavior or subjection to race-based stereotypes happened after the persons gained their public fame, which throws the “after attaining success discrimination doesn’t exist” hypothesis out the window (again). In terms of the “pardos are not negros” argument, at least three of the people who recall facing discrimination in the stories below could be defined as “pardas” according to the Brazilian understanding of race or color, but they were all classified as negras when they experienced race-based discriminatory attitudes. Which is what the whole understanding of race is based upon in the first place.
Check their stories below and come to your own conclusions…
Brazilian celebrities who have suffered prejudice
Here are some famous people who have experienced racism.
Courtesy of Celebridades Yahoo
In March 2011, in an interview on the CQC program, of the Bandeirantes TV network, the deputy (congressman) Jair Bolsonaro responded that he would not discuss “promiscuity” when asked by (singer) Preta Gil on how he would to react if his son dated a black woman. “Lawyer contacted; I’m a black woman, strong woman and I will take it to the end against this racist, homophobic, disgusting, deputy,” the singer wrote on Twitter after the parliamentarian’s response. On the case of the futebol player Daniel Alves (who saw a banana being thrown at him on the field), Preta vented on Facebook: “I was proud of Daniel Alves’s attitude, he gave a banana to prejudice and showed that a monkey has nothing (to do with it). He was very human. I’m seeing the banana movement and respect those who joined because I’m sure that was from the heart. But I’m not a monkey, I have my own opinion, I’m black and proud! Racism is a crime, jail them.”
In 2012, singer Thiaguinho was a victim of prejudice in a restaurant. “I went to lunch in a restaurant in shorts, a shirt and flip-flops Restaurant When the valet brought my car and I went to get in, he put his hand in front and didn’t think that could be my car and asked: ‘Are you the owner?’ There’s a veiled prejudice when someone sees a black man with a big car. They soon ask: ‘Is he a player (of futebol) or pagodeiro (pagode musician)?’ In other words, in Brazil a black person can only have money if he has one of these two professions. And they are always asking me if I am player,” he told the Ego website.
Taís Araújo is now an established actress. But in 2004, when she played Preta in Da Cor do Pecado, the actress, who at the time was dating a white guy vented about prejudice to the site Vírgula: “I suffer a lot. What black doesn’t suffer from prejudice in this country?! My boyfriend is white and he says that it’s not like this, that there is not so much prejudice Only that I say to him: If I ever have a child with you, our son will be black. And there yes you will feel in the skin (first hand) that prejudice. Only feeling it first-hand will you know. It’s hard, but we’re here, struggling, in the struggle,” she said. Araújo also revealed that at age 13, she had auditioned for an ice cream commercial, “but they told me they didn’t want black girls.” The actress thought, “Don’t blacks eat ice cream?”
The first black Brazilian TV reporter, Glória Maria, was stopped at the door of a luxury hotel in Rio de Janeiro, early in her career. “I was the first black television reporter. The first to present the 7 o’clock news, the first in command of Fantástico (Globo TV news journal)…But I had to face many barriers and obstacles to achieve things. Everything is harder for a black. You must prove that you are 100 times better. It’s tiring, hard, painful. If you don’t have extraordinary power, you can’t go through it. But I came into the world to fight. I’m a warrior!” the journalist told the Ego website.
Actress Thalma de Freitas came to be taken to a police station by ‘mistake’ after being approached leaving a friend’s house. “I was stopped in a rude manner, leaving the home of my friend Dani in Vidigal. They searched my purse, found nothing and took me to the police station,” she told the site Quem Online. The police in the case were sued for abuse of authority.
“When I was a girl, I wanted to do ballet and there was a very traditional ballet school. My mother went there to try to sign me up and ran into a sort of parade of racism. They didn’t allow me to enroll because of being black (1). It was a more elitist school and my mother, in innocence, thought: ‘My daughter wants (this) and I’m going to go there and ask how it is’. I was with her and was a little frustrated with dance because of prejudice. After that, I didn’t want anything else to do with dance. I had that trauma,” singer Gaby Amarantos told Raça Brasil magazine.
1. This experience of being rejected for ballet classes simply due to race was a similar experience as remembered by singer Carona when she thoughts back to one of her first experiences with racism. It seems that in Brazil, ballet/classical dance, like so many other genres is deemed only appropriate for whites.