Note from BW of Brazil: The title of this article says it all. Well-known funk artist MC Carol took to her social network profile to reveal a very honest memory of being a little black girl growing up in Niterói, a city located across the President Costa e Silva Bridge from the city of Rio de Janeiro. When I share my opinions of race, race relations and the racial hierarchy in Brazil, I base my views not just on social statistics that demonstrate the stark differences in the quality of life of black and white Brazilians, but also the personal testimonies that are shared in the research of social scientists and, thanks to the rise of social networks, the words, memories and experiences of black Brazilians themselves.
It is the combination of the social statistics that measure quality of life, the fewer opportunities in life due to skin color and the reactions of the black community that lead me to conclude that Brazil has one of the most efficient forms of racism in the world. Consider what is was that MC Carol meant. As much as people will argue that the United States is a far more racist society than Brazil could ever be, I can say that growing up in the United States, even with such a volatile history of race relations, I never felt afraid of white people. Of course, as I grew older, I became aware of the many atrocities committed by whites against black people and I began to ponder what makes people hate another group that is different from them so much and display this hate in such violent manners.
But even having gone to schools that had white students and working in mostly white environments, I still can’t say these experiences ever led me to fear them. Taking this into consideration, I think that MC Carol’s feelings speak volumes for a very visible racial hierarchy and a clear understanding of who the colonizers and the oppressed people are even in a society that long proclaimed that all its citizens are equal regardless of skin color. In that sense, is there any difference between how a little black girl growing up in late 1990s southeastern Brazil felt in comparison to how a little black girl growing up in the 1960s American south may have felt?
MC Carol publishes report on racism: ‘I grew up in fear’
MC spoke about the death of Pedro Gonzaga, who was suffocated by security at an Extra hypermarket in Rio de Janeiro
Courtesy of Catraca Livre
MC Carol recently published on Facebook an emotional outburst about cases in which she has suffered racism throughout her life. “I grew up suffering from racism and fatphobia, but racism has always been heavier. I was called ‘macaca’ (monkey) and ‘cabelo de Bombril’ (scouring pad hair) almost every day. I grew up in fear, afraid of whites, of going into ‘white environments’,” she wrote on Saturday.
“After so many years I still have some fears, like stepping into an expensive restaurant, for example. My fear makes sense, because racism has never been so alive. It may be more indirect, but it still exists,” continued the artist.
Early in the post, MC recalled the first case of racism she experienced. According to her, the situation occurred even when she was a child, on her first day of school. “I was locked in the bathroom by meninas brancas (white girls). I already posted on this and was asked, remembering this so small, it must be because when it hurts a lot, it marks (you). I left home happy with my grandfather and when my grandfather came to get me, I asked for help, crying. I arrived home, on the first day, not wanting to go back to that place,” she said.
“I left the community daycare center and went to a school where most were not from the community, didn’t wear simple clothes, didn’t wear simple shoes and didn’t have simple backpacks like mine. They looked at me with disgust, they would pick on everything, especially my backpack and my hair,” she said.
MC Carol stayed in that school until 5th grade, because the teaching was strong, but only five people treated her well in the school, people like the doorman. “There were almost no blacks in that school, I was a minority. The few blacks there already had a racist mind.”
The publication came with a photo of one of the situations that marked her, when a teacher proposed a challenge in which the boy and the girl who answered the most questions correctly would be the ‘groom’ and the ‘bride’ of the festa Juninha party. The artist and another blonde colleague were the winners.
“My grandmother, with all her affection, even without money, requested to make this dress. I was very happy until I got to school and found out that the ‘groom’ was not going to show up because he wanted to dance with another girl in the class. Since I was the única negra da turma (only black girl in the class), I understood everything,” she said. Ashamed and saddened, she didn’t want to dance anymore.
MC spoke about the death of Pedro Gonzaga, who was suffocated by a security guard at an Extra hypermarket in Rio de Janeiro “This is no coincidence, this is racism, and racism kills! There are no bloodbaths with meninos loiros (blond boys). Homens brancos de olhos azuis (white men with blue eyes) are not arrested and killed because they had been mistaken. This is an absurdity! Our lives matter! Vidas negras importam (Black lives matter)!” she concluded.
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This was one of my first two contacts with racism. In fact, the first was on the FIRST DAY OF CLASS. On the first day I was locked in the bathroom by white girls! I already posted on this and was asked, remembering this so small, it must be because when it hurts a lot, it marks (you).
I left home happy with my grandfather and when my grandfather came to get me, I asked for help, crying. I arrived home, on the first day, not wanting to go back to that place.
I left the community daycare center and went to a school in which most of them were not from the community, they didn’t wear simple clothes, they didn’t wear simple shoes and they didn’t have simple backpacks, like mine and they looked at me with disgust, picked on everything, mainly my backpack that I used to wear for 3 years in a row and my hair.
There were almost no blacks in that school, I was a minority, and the few blacks there had a racist mind. I asked every day, from day one, for my grandfather to transfer me from the school, to a school that had blacks, but the teaching was stronger there and I stayed there until the 5th grade, I suffered prejudices from students, teachers and directors, whenever I finished the year a teacher would throw me to another teacher. Only 5 people treated me well in that place.
Especially the doorman, Mr. Zé, who got involved when they tried to hit me at the exit.
We’ll talk more about this day of the photo, everyone wanted to be the ‘bride’ and the ‘groom’, of the festa Juninha party, and then some Portuguese and math questions and such were asked to see who the bride and groom would be. First the boys, and the groom was a blond boy from the class who answered more questions, and the bride was between me and a blonde girl and in the end, I won. The boy who was going to be the groom didn’t like it at all!
My grandmother, even with no money, requested to make this dress, Dona Graça practically gave me the dress, I was very happy, until arriving at the school and, to discover that the ‘groom’ wasn’t going to show up, because he wanted to dance with another girl of the class and as I was the only black girl in the class, I understood everything.
This boy at my side is my cousin Dennys, I didn’t dance, I was embarrassed and sad, but they asked to take a photo just to keep it as a souvenir and that was the photo.
I grew up suffering from racism and fatphobia, but racism has always been heavier. I was called ‘macaca’ (monkey) and ‘cabelo de Bombril’ (scouring pad hair) almost every day. I grew up in fear, afraid of whites, of entering “whites environments” and after so many years I still have some fears, like entering an expensive restaurant, for example. But my fear makes sense, because racism has never been so alive. Maybe it’s more indirect but it still exists.
In 2015 while I was recording the reality show Lucky Ladies I suffered racism. I was with a white woman and a foreigner, we had to go from Copa to Ipanema, at the door of the building there was a taxi, she got into the taxi first, I had to get back to get something when I went to get in the taxi, the white taxi driver looked at me in the rear-view mirror and aggressively screamed for me to get out of the taxi, I explained that I was with her, he left and opened the back door for me to get off, it seemed like he was going to attack me. The woman was terrified, not understanding, asking what was happening between him and me, I explained that it was because of my color!
In 2018 a friend sent me a print of a post from a guy on my street, saying there were 4 black suspects inside a luxury type of car, of x color, it was me and my friends entering my street of white people.
It was taught to me, to ALWAYS be afraid because of being black and because of being a woman. To be afraid to accept things of men, mainly getting a ride, to be afraid to walk at night in the street mainly due to short clothing, to be afraid of someone being near someone’s purse or money, because of being black, etc…
My grandfather always said that because I was black I had to study more, I had to be 10 times better, in everything. I had to be very polite…my grandfather would talk to me to be careful because people were accustomed to making accusations of robbery, (by) people with dark skin.
We get to a point that we have to be afraid of even going into a supermarket, people, what is this? What’s going on in the world?
Before making vicious remarks about someone’s death, imagine if it was your father, husband, brother or your child regardless of whether you are black or white, regardless of the political side, just imagine, your child, innocent, being killed, being cowardly strangled in a supermarket! People, Pedro Gonzaga only died because he was BLACK. THE CAMERAS PROVED THIS!!! The 5 boys from the Costa Barros slaughter only died because they were 5 blacks inside a car, Amarildo only died because he was black. My friend took a rifle bullet at 5 o’clock in the afternoon on the doorstep of a school, he was shot and using a walking cane, he was between life and death, my friend’s color is black. I had a little friend who was killed with a bullet in the head, his name was Zé, he was 13 years old, he was a market bagger, he was coming down the hill and they killed him, Ze’s color was black and so it’s like this…
“This is no coincidence, this is racism, and RACISM KILLS! There are no massacres of blond boys. Homens brancos de olhos azuis (white men with blue eyes) are not arrested and killed because they had been mistaken.
THIS IS AN ABSURDITY!
Our lives matter!
Vidas negras importam! (Black lives matter!)
Source: Catraca Livre