Even a crackhead is better in white skin! Former model’s descent into crack addiction and media frenzy reveals Brazil’s implicit racism

loemy-modelo-cracolandia

Note from BW of Brazil: In reality, Brazil’s press and society itself are actually quite predictable. Today’s story is just another implicit example of the country’s explicit practice of white supremacy. The practice is embedded in the media and the very fabric of the nation and most people would never notice/admit it. “No, we Brazilians aren’t racist,” everyone wants to believe. “Here in Brazil, we’re all equal,” most will tell you, even those who experience incidents of racism in which they should know better. But in the numerous layers of white supremacy in racist societies, racism it is not always as explicit as someone calling another person “monkey”. Sometimes subtle but dangerously efficient, the nature of racism in Brazil is such that the masses of non-whites (negros, mulatos, pardos, pretos and mestiços, or simply different variations of blacks if you prefer) themselves understand that the value of their humanity is dependent upon their proximity to whiteness, or better yet, if their non-European ancestry is sufficiently hidden in their appearances.

Back in November of 2012 and January of 2014, we showed how white skin, blue eyes and blond hair provide privileges in a country dominated by Eurocentric physical standards even if one is a homeless drug addict. As fate would have it, about a week ago, lightning struck for the second time! As you read this story, keep in mind how many children of the darker-skinned masses will see this story and think, “Wow! Why can’t I be white? Even a crackhead is more valued than me!”

Information: In the story below, the term “cracolândia”, meaning “crackland”, is the popular name for a region in downtown São Paulo that is known for heavy drug trafficking.

First, the headline…

The R7 headline. Translation below
The R7 headline. Translation below

Exclusive! Rodrigo Faro rescues former model Loemy Marques from “Cracolândia”

Next Sunday (30), the Hora do Faro (TV program) rescues the ex-model Loemy Marques to reverse her tragic history

Courtesy of R7

Loemy Marques, a 24 year-old who came very close to achieving full success in a modeling career, had her dreams stolen with a crack addiction. Recently, the former model had her story printed on the cover of a prestigious national magazine, and after the impact, Hora do Faro went to meet her, to help her to reverse her tragic history. Follow the gallery to see details of the rescue from Cracolândia!

Former model addicted to crack and our implicit racism

By Tony Goes

Story of former model Loemy Marques featured on the cover of 'Veja São Paulo' magazine
Story of former model Loemy Marques featured on the cover of ‘Veja São Paulo’ magazine

Two years ago, the “mendigo gato” (hot-looking beggar) caused a stir on social networks. As soon as a photo of the-then homeless man in Curitiba was posted, there were people willing to help him. “Let’s give him a job, let’s give him shelter, let’s get him out of there!” shouted the Internet. For the most prosaic reason: the boy, a former model addicted to crack cocaine, was very handsome indeed.

Now history repeats itself – only the gender of the protagonist has changed. Loemy Marques had her drama revealed by the magazine Veja São Paulo, and journalists of various organs immediately came out in pursuit. TV crews competed almost slapping each other for the privilege of bringing her on their programs.

All very nice, of course. And there is no doubt that the girl deserves all the attention. But then comes the question that won’t quit: Why only her?

São Paulo’s “cracolândia” (crackland) is populated by people coming from all social classes, but the vast majority doesn’t have the media appeal of Loemy. None of them generated a campaign for solidarity, none attracted to themselves the television cameras. For many of them are poor, ugly, often toothless – and often black.

Loemy Marques and Rafael Nunes, the “mendigo gato”, were recognized as “one of ours” by much of the public with access to the internet. They should not be sleeping outside, let alone prostituting themselves to buy drugs. We need to rescue them, and fast!

Both are blue-eyed blondes. Both were models before their fall. Unforeseen route deviations led us them to marginality. By the natural course of things, they should be living in comfortable homes and having successful careers.

Even more powerful than the beauty of the two is the race. I doubt, I doubt very much that a black former model would have had the same fate as Loemy. At most, she would win a report in one of these sensationalist evening programs. After all, we love to know the misery of someone who was once good, but is no longer.

This morbid curiosity justifies part of the armed circus around Loemy (on Monday, 24, the Folha (newspaper) article on her was the most widely read of all at the UOL website). But it doesn’t explain the avalanche of solidarity that the former model has received.

On Sunday, she will be displayed like a trophy on a game show. She’ll be showered, get her hair and makeup done, and wearing new clothes. But no, she won’t be cured: no rehabilitation clinic provides results in less than a week.

Even so, we have the tasty sensation of accomplishment. Another blonde beauty who was saved from a life of despair. Another branca de “boa aparência” (good-looking white girl) (1) who was re-directed toward the good path.

Meanwhile, thousands of black and mulato “junkies” remain on the streets.

Comments

comment

caue reis: I think it’s absurd all this commotion only because the girl is white and beautiful. I she was black and ugly she could rot in the streets then? Disgusting society…

comment 2

BAOBVS: As the boy below said. The society is hypocritical and disgusting. The ugly, poor and not good for IBOPE (ratings) are damned. You guys needed to see the number of TV station cars on Avenida Paulista, eager for that fateful premonition of BSB flight crash to happen. I’m being sincere we. You guys think the press would not love to see pieces of charred bodies scattered around the street?? How it would sell and profit from ads on the pages of the tragedy. The case of this model is somewhat similar. She’ll be beautiful. The other, toothless, blacks, the majority that bring the IBOPE (ratings) will continue wandering the streets. Repulsive world. It seems the “beautiful” Christmas campaigns without hunger. Eat one day and starve the rest of the 364 days of the year. I hope they at least have the decency to publish this.

Source: Pavablog, UOL, R7

Note

1. In the 1980s, many Brazilian companies wary of complaints of racism in their hiring practices that were often explicit in preferring white candidates began printing that candidates for jobs must have “boa aparência”, meaning “good appearance”, to be considered for employment. Many Afro-Brazilians quickly figured out that the term is a thinly-veiled reference to whiteness.

About Marques Travae 3239 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

21 Comments

  1. OK, your thesis stands but I think the story had much more human exploratory than you would like to admit…. For example, a famous black model in the same situation would also be a “product” and believe me, would be explored without any problem. A white model brings even more attention, of course, as in the minds of both we blacks and whites, this is quite rare.

    But let me know if you disagree,,,

    • LOL! Life through the gaze of some white guy (or a self-loathing / in denial Black guy) is HILARIOUS! Lemme guess…in YOUR world, everyone is treated the same any hardship or injustice that Black people collectively feel is just all in our heads! Priceless!

      This model reminds me of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman – a heroin addict who died with a needle sticking out of his vein – who was given a hero’s send-off cuz he was “overtaken by the heroin as he bravely battled with internal demons”. This, compared with Whitney Houston who “had her whole life before her, except for all those wrong choices that SHE made.”

      The cluelessness of white people and Black people who have lived primarily around white people (and who are, thus, always seeking their approval on some level) should be studied more! They are quite fascinating in their magical thinking!

      • ?

        I’m not sure you understood what I said. I was not really disagreeing with the thesis that blacks and white are seen (very) differently with respect to drugs addictions. I completely agree with you whites have a “pass” blacks have not. I was merely pointing out that this kind of scumbag Brazlian TV show does not care for any of this one way or another. They explore people’s misery for profit and that’s it. Brazil is an extremely racist society so, they explore this angle in the sense that a white girl ex model is news.. they will not really help the girl and I’m sure as I type these words she’s already back on drugs… What I was mentioning was simply that if that were famous black people to explore they would do it as well and would not give a rats ass about you or me think it’s morally correct.

  2. “As you read this story, keep in mind how many children of the darker-skinned masses will see this story and think, “Wow! Why can’t I be white? Even a crackhead is more valued than me!””
    You’re absolutely correct! That’s the same feeling I got. Colorism is alive and well in Brazil. It’s no use for anyone trying to deny it at this point. I heard Brazil is very beautiful but it has color issues it needs to address. I actually plan on going to Brazil for the first time in 2016. I’m going with some friends for the Olympics. I’m sure I’ll have a great time while I’m there. I’m also a dark-skinned man who is very proud of my African heritage. I also don’t date white women at all. I love my black sisters. I am not as brainwashed as other black people around the world. Although I’m not perfect and have my faults. After my trip I will let you all know if I experience any racism while I’m out there.

  3. @Dude:
    Again, you are looking at this whole article through the eyes of someone who isn’t Black. This article is touching on the fact that this white woman has been framed as a talented and beautiful woman whose life was stolen from her by the evil crack (as opposed to her choosing to take it and becoming an addict because of it). And let’s not pretend that this is Giselle Bunchen or Adriana Lima here! This is an unknown model who is white! That’s it!! The article is drawing a parallel between this – for all intents and purposes – unknown white person, and the other virtually unknown, white male “ex-model” who was saved just because he was “pretty” (i.e. “white”) and deserved more sympathy and respect because of it. Neither this white person nor the other white drug addict were known by the public – just as the majority of dark-skinned addicts are unknown to the public.

    And, as Brazil is an extremely racist country with deeply incgrained ideas about the relative value of Black and Brown people, I disagree that the framing of the story would be the same for ANY Black person as for this white “model”. I think that the person who wrote this article – a person who lives in Brazil and is well aware of the racism that exists there – knows precisely what he is talking about. We have already seen the media portrayal of Black Brazilians as,largely, a group of gang bangers who like to have sex and who get raped a lot. That is the white supremacist vision of Black people in Brazil. With that in mind, I disagree with you that a famous Black person would have this sort of fairy tale story told about them on television, if they were to become a crack addict. I think the media would drag them through the mud, and find some way to link all Black people to that 1 crack addict. In essence, you would see the Black addict villified (like Whitney Houston and Marion Barry – who died of natural causes – were dragged through the mud), and a white addict sanctified (as were Heath Ledger, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Whinehouse when they all died of drug overdoses).

    • I agree with you… note that you write “for ANY Black person” and I wrote “famous black”… Brazil , I think we agree, is racist to the point that a unknown white model crack head is news, a black person to make the cut would have to be famous already, otherwise is not news.

      • Mathematically speaking “any” black person is “famous” but not all “any” black person is “famous”, and it’s the latter that it’s important to the argument.

    • ” if they were to become a crack addict. I think the media would drag them through the mud, and find some way to link all Black people to that 1 crack addict. In essence, you would see the Black addict villified (like Whitney Houston and Marion Barry – who died of natural causes – were dragged through the mud), and a white addict sanctified (as were Heath Ledger, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Whinehouse when they all died of drug overdoses).”

      Well, I don’t think the media would care so much.. but perhaps you are right. An experience to b seen in Brazil, until then, we can just speculate.

      • I would say that YOU are speculating because you are unfamiliar with the nuances of Brazilian media and culture, and you have a neutral view of how racism works (probably because you are not a person of color OR you are a person of color who socializes with white people and do not see what the big deal is because of how they treat YOU).. However, those who ARE familiar with these issues are not speculating. Rather, we are drawing deductive conclusions based upon real experiences – past and present. It’s in the same way that I can deductively conclude, based upon real experience, that the traffic flow in my city will be heavy tomorrow at 0700 because it has always been this way (and I would be correct). Speculation would be me saying “MAYBE it won’t be heavy today”, going out without thinking about my past experiences, and possibly being surprised to find that the traffic flow is, in fact, (still) heavy at 0700.

        You are speculating. But the person who wrote the article is drawing clear and sound conclusions, based upon social norms in Brazilian society.

      • It’s speculation unless you can reproduce the exact conditions and make it work exactly as you predicted. This is scientific thinking, not how I think it should be. The examples you gave are not even closely related to the kind of biased thinking you mentioned in your original thesis.

        I have the right to speculate just as the next guy/girl, bu until a real experiment/test id made you can scream all you want you have a better understanding, what matters is who get the prediction right. Giving unrelated/anedoctal examples are not valid.

        Don’t get me wrong, if you are right, you will be proven to be right by facts and there will be no need to disagree.

        But it is clear you are not Brazilian, and being black might not give you enough expertise to understand the matter here. As it seems, it does not.

  4. @ Dude:
    ” Mathematically speaking “any” black person is “famous” but not all “any” black person is “famous”, and it’s the latter that it’s important to the argument.”

    This makes not sense, so I will stand by my previous statement….

    Also, please learn the difference between “deductive reasoning” (which is what I was talking about) and “speculation” (which is what you were talking about). To draw a conclusion based upon deductive reasoning does not require one to be able to produce the exact same result each time. You are confusing “deductive reasoning” with “the scientific method.” It is, instead, using what one already knows about a subject (such as the various ways in which racism manifests in Brazilian society) and coming to conclusions based upon those experiences or previous knowledge on the subject. Read a Sherlock Holmes novel to practice your skills!

    And you are correct. You DO have the right to speculate. I was just pointing out that the person who wrote the article is NOT speculating. He is merely highlighting another manifestation of racism in Brazil.

    Also, I am a Black person who has lived in Brazil for the last 5 years and have spent the majority of my time interacting with Brazilians who consider themselves Black. I would say that my unique understanding of being a Black person, both in the world AND in Brazil, and interacting with Black Brazilians kinda DOES make me an expert on the subject (whatever being an “expert” on Blackness even means!). Your lack of nuanced understanding of this issue is YOUR lack of understanding – not anyone else’s.

  5. “This makes not sense, so I will stand by my previous statement….”

    I’m sorry it does not make sense to you. I have bright students who struggle with quantum mechanics but you have to try this, sorry.

    No, I’m not confusing anything… deductive reasoning requires (like in Sherlock Holmes) a pretty good knowledge of for example “what one already knows about a subject (such as the various ways in which racism manifests in Brazilian society)”

    something you made abundantly clear you have not.

    So, the conclusions you drew, ate YOUR conclusions, prone to error and I would say very much like so given your little knowledge of Brazil ( “lived in Brazil for the last 5 years ” –> I suppose this was something you said on purpose to make me laugh?)

    • Err…It didn’t make sense because it was not well written.One does not need to understand quantum mechanics to read or write well…

      “something you made abundantly clear you have not.”
      Again, this is your opinion only. But you seem to be a “racism newbie”, so I forgive you your ignorance about the subject…

      And I suspect that my knowledge of the experience of Black Brazilians/Black people is infinitely greater than yours. This is the conclusion that my superior reasoning skills have lead me to (that, and your increasingly chaotic and angry posts that keep veering away from the fact that people who regularly experience racism can recognize it and write about it, regardless of where they are in the world when they read about it or experience).

      Later Dude !

      • ” This is the conclusion that my superior reasoning skills have lead me to”

        😀 – I had e great time reading this funny (rather delusional, but anyway) post…

  6. @Dude:

    Thank you. And I enjoy schooling willfully ignorant people who try to discredit the real and lived experiences of marginalized people – in this case, BLACK people – by trying to constantly derail the conversation. I love educating ignorant people who try to discredit the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of marginalized people because they (usually a white person or self loathing person of color) really do not have consistent, lived experiences – outside of what they see on tv, or what their “Black friend” told them! Back atcha DUDE !

      • Well, I guess your being “entertained” is better than having you crawl away feeling all butthurt because you cannot admit that you know very little about an issue that you CLEARLY know very little about! Don’t mention it dude! 😀

    • It’s ok darling…you don’t have to hide the pain in your anus behind a brave smile. It’s ok for men to cry sometimes!. And it is ok to admit when you are wrong (which you clearly are, since you are now relying on trolling, rather than substance). Now, troll, I will no longer feed you!

      • Of course you will… And don’t worry… my smile is sincere, you do entertain me 😀

        “since you are now relying on trolling, rather than substance” (if the shoe fits…)

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