Note from BW of Brazil: Wow, what a week! Just since last Thursday, we’ve had a report on the racist reaction of famous white couple adopting a child from Africa, another study showing the treatment Afro-Brazilians receive in simply trying to catch a cab, another report showing how differently people in a huam resources department react to photos in which the only difference between subjects was skin color, and fianlly, we had a black judge recalling a lawyer’s client requesting to be judged by a white judge. So, with all of this happening in jsut a span of six days, today’s report is not actually surprising. It’s just yet another example that no matter how qualified a black Brazilian is in their chosen profession, they will still be a judged by skin color first.
Doctor is victim of racism on part of patient who didn’t want to be ‘seen by a crioulo (nigger)’
Courtesy of Em Foco
On duty last week at the Tijuca Emergency Care Unit, the doctor, Danilo Silva, 29, was shocked. And it was not for any type of serious case, but for the racist behavior of a man afflicted by a hypertension crisis and was attended on the spot. The 50-year-old patient told officials he did not want to be treated by blacks.
According to Danilo, the man was attended by a white doctor who had to leave for an occurrence. He also declined the help of a stretcher carrier because “he didn’t want a black man to touch him.” And when he entered Danilo’s office for reevaluation, he said he didn’t want to be served by a “crioulo.” (1)
In shock, the doctor who is the team leader was firm with the patient and carried out the examination:
He sat in his chair and said he would like to be treated by the same doctor as before. I explained that the doctor had gone out in an ambulance, and he said, ‘I don’t want to be taken care of by you because I don’t want to be taken care of by a crioulo,’ said Danilo.
The doctor’s duty spoke louder and Danilo continued with the attendance:
“I said, ‘Sir, I’m sorry, but you’re not in a position to choose the doctor’s color. I’m the one who’s hired by the state and I’m the one who will help you. ‘ At the time it didn’t cross my mind to call the police. After the shift I thought about it and decided to file a complaint,” Danilo said.
As a protest, he wrote in the service bulletin that the patient didn’t want to be taken care of by him, but was medicated and oriented.
The stretcher carrier was also embarrassed and, according to Danilo, started to cry.
“Something like this had never happened. First I was shocked and unresponsive, but then I felt a very revolted. I am the son of a northeasterner and from a bag vendor from (the state of) Pará. I came from (the capital city of) Belém to study in Rio, I did a medical residency, I am doing a master’s degree and I give my blood to SUS (2) because I believe (in it). I’m also revolted because the people around me said it was nothing. Whoever isn’t black doesn’t know how it is. And that hurts,” said the doctor.
The case happened last Tuesday, and the doctor has already filed a complaint.
“He’s going to be summoned and we’re going to take this process forward so he learns it’s not the color that defines character,” Danilo said.
Source: Em Foco
1. Although there isn’t really a word in Brazilian Portuguese that can be compared to the historically racist connotations associated with the term “nigger” in the United States, the term “crioulo” in Portuguese is deemed to be a very offensive term by many black Brazilians. But it is perhaps the closest word one can cite that carries the meaning of the term “nigger”. As an example, consider the 2012 American film Django Unchained directed by Quentin Tarantino. The term was uttered more than 100 times in the film and when the film was translated into Portuguese for release in the Brazilian market, “nigger” was most often translated as “criolo”. For example, in one scene in the movie, the question “Why’s that nigger on a horse?” was translated as “Por que esse crioulo está em cima de um cavalo?” For more on this topic, we refer to a Wikipedia article which reads:
“In the nineteenth and centuries prior in Brazil, the não-mestiços (non mixed race) slaves who had been born in the land were called crioulos, differentiating them from those born in Africa. African slaves who knew Portuguese and knew Brazilian customs were called “negros ladinos” (derived from Latinos, but already with the connotation of intelligence). African slaves who did not know the Portuguese language and the customs of the new land were called “negros boçais”. Certainly, this pejorative tone later contaminated the meaning of crioulo. In general, the mestiço slaves were only called mulatos, already understood to speak Portuguese and knew local customs like the crioulo slaves.
In the twentieth-century Brazil of today, the word crioulo means dark-skinned people descended from sub-Saharan Africans, including negros and mulatos, and can be considered racially offensive. It doesn’t include people of Asian, North African, Amerindian or any other that has dark skin.”
2. . The Sistema Único de Saúde or Unified Health System), better known by the acronym SUS, is Brazil’s publicly funded health care system. SUS was created after the Brazilian Constitution of 1988, which assured that health care is a “right of all and an obligation of the State”. Prior to that, only people who contributed with the social security were able to receive health care. The creation of SUS was important in the sense that more than 80% of the Brazilian population depend on it to receive medical treatment. Brazil provides two-tier health care, but almost 25% of the population pay for private insurance. Source