Note from BW of Brazil: If this were a criminal investigation, perhaps we would title it “The Latest from the Land of Racial Democracy, Exhibit 7,349,621”. To get right to the point, the internet, specifically social networks, continues to show itself to be a no man’s land for free expressions of racist commentaries. The latest victim is a woman whose name and or image has appeared numerous times on this blog, actress Taís Araújo. Araújo has been a star for nearly two decades and is arguably the most successful Afro-Brazilian actress of her generation. Currently, she stars along with her husband, actor Lázaro Ramos in not only the hit, ground-breaking television series Mister Brau, but also the theater piece O Topo da Montanha (The Mountaintop), a fictional treatment of the last day of the iconic Martin Luther King, Jr.
Internet racism has been the weapon of choice for racist attacks on a number of black celebrities, including journalist Maria Júlia Coutinho, funk singer Ludmilla, actor Kaik Pereira….In general, Araújo has been very well-received by the public throughout her career and one can only wonder what provoked these attacks. In this writer’s view, we should consider two possibilities. One, in recent years, Araújo has been speaking out more boldly in terms of race relations and, two, it simply shows what we’ve believed all along: regardless of whether a black man or woman is a doctor, lawyer, athlete, or governmental secretary, career ascension is not a shield against racism. Araújo’s case has been the talk of the black blogosphere for several days now so let’s get to the story.
Taís Araújo is victim of racist attacks on the Internet
“Cabelo de esfregão” (hair mop), “Já voltou pra senzala?” (Have you ever gone back to the slave quarters?) “Entrou na Globo pelas cotas” (She got on Globo TV through quotas), “Negra scrota” (black bitch), “Parece um animal” (She looks like an animal). These were some of the messages left on the Facebook page of the actress by attackers, many of them hidden behind false profiles
Courtesy of Revista Fórum
The Facebook page of actress Taís Araújo was the target of several racist attacks in recent days. Most comments belittled her appearance. “Hair mop”, “black bitch”, “com esse cabelo dá pra lavar a Globo inteira” (with that hair she could wash the entire globe), “she looks like an animal” were some of the messages left by the attackers, many of them hidden behind false profiles.
In contrast, Taís’s fans criticized the widespread hatred and prejudice in social networking and defended the actress as one of the greatest representatives of black beauty in Brazil. “They continue attacking us because they are afraid of losing that bunch of disgusting privileges they have. They accept and cry because crying is free,” wrote one internet user. Up until now, the artist hasn’t commented on the matter.
Taís Araújo says she will not be intimidated and will denounce racist attacks
Courtesy of iG
The actress vented on Facebook, where she suffered criminal attacks: “If my image or image of my family bothers you, the problem is exclusively yours”
Taís used her Facebook page to vent about the racist attacks she suffered on the same social network last Saturday night (31). In a text published on the social network, the actress said that she will not be intimidated and will report the attacks to the Federal Police. “Absolutely everything is recorded and will be sent to Federal Police. And I will not delete any of these comments,” she said.
The artist also said she was ashamed of whoever did the attacks. “I make a question of everyone feeling the same as I felt: shame of still having cowardly and little people in this country, besides the feeling of pity for these people so poor in spirit I will not be intimidated, neither bow my head,” she wrote. “If my image or image of my family bothers you, the problem is exclusively yours!”
Among the offenses, the criminals called her “macaca” (monkey) and mocked her hair. On Twitter, the campaign #SomosTodosTaísAraújo became one of the most talked about subjects in Brazil.
“It’s very annoying, in 2015, still having to talk about it, but we cannot remain silent: Last night, I received a number of racist attacks on my page. Absolutely everything is recorded and will be sent to the Federal Police. And I will not delete any of these comments. I make a question of everyone feeling the same as I felt: the shame of still having cowardly and little people in this country, besides the feeling of pity for these people so poor in spirit. I will not be intimidated, nor lower my head. I continue what I do best: work. If my image or the image of my family bothers you, the problem is exclusively yours!”
By a twist of fate or not, this occurred at a time when I was on stage at the Teatro FAAP with O Topo da Montanha (The Mountain Top), a play about none other than Martin Luther King and that speaks precisely about love, tolerance and equality. I take this time to invite you, little coward, to see and hear what we have to say. I think you’re really needing to hear a few things about love.
I thank the thousands who came to support, denounced with me these profiles and show the world that any form of prejudice is tacky and criminal. And I want that this episode serve as an example: whenever you encounter any form of discrimination, denounce it. Don’t be silent, show you’re not ashamed to be what you are and continue bothering the cowards. Only then will we construct a more civilized Brazil.
My only answer to this is love!”
Taís Araújo gives thanks for support after racist abuse: ‘You’ve touched me’
Courtesy of Extra
Taís Araújo thanked the support of friends and fans on Sunday night after venting on Facebook about an attack of racist comments on her profile on the social network, on Saturday night. After the immense impact – the message had more than 84,000 compartilhamentos (shares) and was curtida (liked) by about 575,000 people up until Monday morning – the actress said she was touched by the many demonstrations of affection.
“Society is beautiful! A few do not represent us! We’re bigger than that! I want to be forever all of you who touched me today! ALL! OF YOU #SomosTodosTaísAraújo (We are all Taís Araújo),” Taís wrote.
The insults were left in the comments of a photo that had been posted by the actress in October. In addition to the other insults, there was also a comment that read “pensava que o Facebook fosse pra humanos, não para macacos” (I thought that Facebook was for humans, not monkeys). The denouncements of racism will be investigated by the Delegacia de Repressão a Crimes de Informática (DRCI or Police Suppression of Computer Crimes) of the Civil Police of Rio.
The police chief Ronaldo Oliveira, head of the specialized police stations, after learning of the case, determined the establishment of an inquiry into the crime. The actress will be heard and the perpetrators identified and summoned to testify. Sunday, Taís used the page to vent about the messages.
Note from BW of Brazil: If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you will have noted a few things that are pretty typical in dealing with racism. Black Brazilians targeted for racist insults? Check. Talk of a criminal investigation? Check. A hashtag created in support of the victim starting with the words “Somos Todos….”, meaning “we are all….” (in this case Taís Araújo). I’m pretty bored with the whole hashtag thing in support of this or that person. I’m not saying that the target of the aggression doesn’t deserve moral support, it’s the simple fact that such “campaigns” really do nothing to address the situation in a meaningful way. In the whole fallout over this latest case of “we Brazilians aren’t racists” the thing that caught my eye was a comment I came across regarding the situation.
Another topic that has been frequently addressed on this blog are the issues of negative black stereotypes and who is, in fact, black. Over the past few decades, the acceptance of the term ‘negro’ by many Afro-Brazilians has signified a new sort of racial political consciousness. For decades, persons of more or less visibly detectable African ancestry avoided defining themselves as black (negro) because of the all of the negative connotations associated with the term in Brazilian society. People often (and many still do) define themselves with more racially ambiguous terms such as ‘morena‘, ‘pardo‘ or ‘mulata‘ designed to emphasize one’s racially mixed background or to at the least distance themselves (at least a little) from blackness. In identifying others, people would also avoid using the terms ‘negro/negra’ because it was generally accepted as a insult. It is often believed that if a person is physically attractive, said person isn’t or at least shouldn’t be classified as ‘negro/negra’. We see this in comment above: “So many ugly black women for you to practice racism on and you all speak of Taís Araújo that is so pretty that she doesn’t even look black.”
This comment alone speaks volumes about how Brazilians see race and why even having a direct conversation about racism is so difficult. I would imagine that the woman who made this comment probably doesn’t even see anything wrong with her words. And if she doesn’t, and we continue to see numerous episodes similar to this latest incident involving Taís Araújo, what does this say about the nation? Well, if this and previous incidents are any indication, we’ll soon be registering “Exhibit 7,349,622.”