“How could a neguinha (little nigger girl) live in the same building as me?”: Black woman impeded from entering her own apartment by two white men

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Note from BW of Brazil: It always trips me out when I see similar racist incidents or situations occur in Brazil as they did in the US. You know, the racist world superpower whose racial problems are supposedly so much worse than those in Brazil. Again, I stress supposedly. Recently, in the US, the retail giant Macy’s came under fire for a Holiday ad presenting traditional white families while excluding a representation of a black man in a traditional family setting. A similar thing happened in Brazil a few years back during Brazil’s Valentine’s Day when a Gang clothing ad depicted several types of couples but presented a black woman kissing a mannequin. What subtle messages do you get here? Then, last month, a black man in St.Louis, Missouri, in the US, was harassed and followed by a white woman who simply couldn’t believe he lived in his apartment. Keep that story in mind as you read the story below. 

And speaking of today’s story, a little background is necessary. The victim of racist harrassment in the story below is Isabella Barboza, a 24-year old journalist who lives in Pinheiros, an upper middle neighborhood of São Paulo’s west zone. Black people living in Pinheiros represent only 7.3% of the district’s population, which explains why African-American Patricia Thibodeaux said she “could go a whole day and not see another Black person” in this very same neighborhood. As Parelheiros, a poorer neighborhood located in the city’s south zone is composed of 55% Afro-Brazilians, apparently the white men in the story below thought Isabella was quite a ways from home. As she put it, they must have been thinking, “how can this neguinha (little nigger girl) live in the same building as me?” 

Just another reminder of Brazil’s discourse on race and place.

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Journalist Isabella Barboza was impeded from entering her own apartment in the Pinheiros district of São Paulo

I was barred by two white men from entering my own house

It doesn’t matter how much money I have, nor that I was dressed very well. What mattered to them was the color of my skin: how could a neguinha live in the same building as me?

By Isabella Barboza

My new building has no gatehouse. They are two gates, one for the street and one inside, and both open by the same key. On returning from a trip to the bar to refill drinks in my house, two men – do I need to say they were white? They were coming in too. An older man in his 70s or 80s and the other in his 40s.

When I entered the building with them, where my house is and where I pay rent that’s nothing cheap, I was asked if I lived in the building, by the old man – a man who was rude and who tried to close the gate on me.

I responded that I did. Even so, he positioned himself in front of me, blocking my passage. I also point out that I was dressed better than Michelle Obama herself.

I turned away from the racist and continued on my way to the second gate. He then, not satisfied, asked me to prove that I lived there and that I show my key. He asked for my apartment (number). He asked me to open the second gate to see if I had the key. I showed my ID when my friend asked if he lived there in a mocking tone.

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Even having keys to the first and second gates, the men still didn’t believe Barboza lived in the apartment

“I am the owner here.” All this in the rudest posture, continuously looking me up and down and especially making a face of disgust at me.

And the icing on the cake was that this pair of racists still got pissed to see that I had the key, saying the apartment (number) and going up and not keep giving rope for these KKK types to hang me. If this would have gone any further surely this old man would have grabbed my arm and called the police.

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Isabella detailed her ordeal on her social networking profile

When we blacks talk about reviewing their privileges that’s exactly it. Neither in my house, which I fight so hard to maintain and pay, can I enter without being mistreated and questioned. Even in the comfort of my home am I spared the racism of others. Even in my own house they do not respect me.

It doesn’t matter how much money I have, nor that I was dressed very well. What mattered to them was the color of my skin: how could a neguinha live in the same building as me? I’m going to live, yes, dear. I’m going to live, and there’s going to be blacks everywhere.

Source: Facebook

About Marques Travae 2897 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. What in the 🌎 is wrong with people. Just because she is black she’s not suppose to live in good neighborhood? Wtf!! Black folks all around the world it is getting too hectic for us.

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