In hamburger bar in Espírito Santo, after shaking hands with black waiter, customer wipes off hand and requests another server

Photo: Edson Chagas
Funcionário desabafa sobre ato racista de cliente em hamburgueria
Photo: Edson Chagas

Note from BW of Brazil: Let’s all say it together: “Racism doesn’t exist in Brazil!” It’s ironic, yesterday, a colleague, a white woman said to me, “You know, white people in São Paulo don’t like to admit that they are racists.” I corrected her. “No, white people all over Brazil don’t like to admit that they are racists.” We’ve seen this proven in various studies. 

In one study, 97% of the people interviewed in a survey about prejudice said that they didn’t harbor any prejudiced sentiments, but 98% of those same people said they knew someone who held prejudiced attitudes. In a more recent study, 92% of Brazilians acknowledged that racism existed in the country, but only 1.3% admitted being racist. In the incident below, I have no idea whether the customer would openly declare himself as a racist; after all, in Brazil, the culture teaches people to deny it. But after you read what happened, come to your own conclusion.

Funcionário desabafa sobre ato racista de cliente em hamburgueria (3)
Incident occurred in the Mad Rock’s bar in Serra, Espírito Santo

Employee vents about racist client act in hamburger spot

Tired of following cases of prejudice promoted by customers directed to their employees, the owners of the site released a repudiation note on the hamburger spot’s page on the social network

By Sullivan Silva and Bianca Vailant

“I’m insecure about my work. And I’m afraid to serve people.” This is the report of an employee of a hamburger bar, in the Laranjeiras region of Serra, Espírito Santos, that was the victim of a racist attitude this week.

The receptionist Richardson Oliveira, 21, was disowned by a client and is sure of the reason why: the fact that he was black. After greeting him, the customer wiped his hands in front of him. Worse still: no matter what discomfort he had just caused, he requested another employee to serve him.

“It was a couple. I greeted them, and as usual, I held out my hands for a welcome greeting. It seems that he (the man) reciprocated automatically. And when I noticed, he wiped his hands on his shirt and asked if I could call someone else to serve him,” said the employee at the Mad Rock’s snack bar in Laranjeiras, Serra.


Funcionário desabafa sobre ato racista de cliente em hamburgueria 2
The bar’s owners featured a post repudiating the customer’s attitude on their social network page

Excerpt from bar’s post

“If it’s too hard for you to deal with, we suggest staying home. Now, if none of this affects you, if for you what matters is the quality of service, good Rock, responsibility in the production deadlines, a place where you can feel at home and be truly who you are … YOU ARE AND WILL ALWAYS BE VERY WELL COMING IN OUR HOUSE”. Yesterday (24/10) it occurred again, and for fear of losing his job, the clerk could only report what happened after a sad and long cry. Tears of those who can no longer leave the house to go to work and be disliked for his beliefs or his color. When our house opened, it came with the purpose of quenching the thirst that people liked Rock n’ Roll on the night of Grande Vitória. We love music, we believe in the Rock created by Rosetta Tharpe, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard and electrified by the black Jimi Hendrix.” (see note one)

The site owners, indignant at the customer’s attitude, wrote a message on social networks in defense of the employee. In the note of repudiation, even with the hashtag #nãoaoracismo (no to racism), the owners, among them Michelly Panciere, say that they will not accept this type of attitude. “If it’s too difficult for you to deal with, we suggest staying home.”

“90% of our customers are white. And it seems that some rockers think they are licensed to commit acts of racism. We don’t make an issue of that kind of customer because they are criminals. The message from the hamburger owners is enough. There are few situations we witness, and we don’t want this to happen again,” said Octavio Baioco Aguiar.


The discrimination he suffered had shaken him, and his work that night was no longer the same. After a while, he couldn’t take it and broke into tears. It was then that other employees realized that something had happened, or if it had been repeated there.

“I noticed he was crying next to the register. I approached, and when he told me what had happened, those customers had already left. We gathered the facts because at the time of paying the bill the couple said that we had to hire more waiters,” said the employee, Octavio Baioco Aguiar, 29, responsible for publicizing the menu and musical attractions of the hamburger bar.

Richardson’s tears at the end of the day began while still on the way to work. In an almost empty bus, a white elderly woman did not want to sit next to him, on the yellow bench that indicates priority passengers. She asked that Richardson, who was alone, to get up. But with the refusal, she went to find another place to accommodate the noticeable annoyance caused by the young black man’s presence.

“I was sitting on a seat on the bus and a woman asked me to get up. It was a priority, but the bus was empty. She stopped and stared at me. As I didn’t get up she went to the other side. Then I wondered why she didn’t want to sit next to me,” he said.


Patrícia Rufino Andrade, coordenadora do Núcleo de Estudos Afro-Brasileiros da Ufes
Patrícia Rufino, coordinator of Center of Afro Brazilian Studies at the Federal University of Espírito Santos

“Solution is legal coping”

“Racism does not end. People who study the subject a lot understand that it is a social phenomenon that reinvents itself with the passage of time and as it reinvents itself, it comes from more cruel forms. There is still a denial of the other. As much as we face and build public policies, we know we’re going to have to keep fighting.

People don’t talk about racism considering the historical perspective, they only talk about themselves. The problem is complex, it goes beyond the question of friendships. We are talking about people who will be offended and hurt, but we are also talking about situations that will affect the structure of society.

It is necessary that education assumes this, that the country assumes this. The solution is the legal confrontation, the construction of effective policies. But the bottom line is education.” – Patrícia Rufino, coordinator of the Center for Afro-Brazilian Studies at Ufes


The attitude of the client towards the burger bar’s worker cannot be considered racism, but racial injury, according to lawyer Bruno Rossi Doná. The differences are subtle. In the first case, the offense is directed at the collectivity, in the second, at an individual.

“In all cases, we have racist, prejudiced attitudes, but in cases like what happened at the diner, for legal purposes, the classification is injúria racial (racial injury/insult).”

To be framed as the crime of racism, which is unshakable and imprescriptible, the “offense” reaches a collectivity, that is, a whole group is equally harmed. “An example of a crime of racism is if I, for example, own a restaurant and forbid blacks.”

The lawyer explained that it is more common to see cases of injury from day to day since individual offenses are more common.

Source: Gazeta Online


  1. While I understand the point being made here, we know that simply because someone likes a black artist, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t harbor sentiments that suggest that black people are inferior.
About Marques Travae 2895 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. This is pretty similar to the Dove ad and the long history of denigrating black men, women and children in ads. I have added your story to my aggregate site and love the blog…it is important to share our experiences across the globe as it is the same tale!

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