Note from BW of Brazil: This unfortunate is both sad but so typical and also so indicative of how Brazilians deal with the issue of racism. First of all, there’s nothing new about a racist attack on a black Brazilians or, in this case, an African immigrant; we’ve thoroughly documented this facet of Brazilian society in numerous posts. But what tells us so much about the denial that millions of Brazilians continue to live is another person’s reaction and words. First, let’s get to the story. Watch the videos below as well…
Senegalese are targets of bananas in Londrina (PR) and woman apologizes for all Brazilians
By Thiago de Araújo with info from Pragmatismo Político
“The Brazilian people are not like that. She doesn’t represent Brazil. You forgive (her).” This is how one resident of Londrina, in the interior of (the state of) Paraná, addressed the Senegalese man Ngale Ndiaye, 31, on Wednesday morning (9th). The apology came after he and three other Senegalese immigrants were targeted by bananas, thrown from a building in the downtown region of the Paraná city.
The Senegalese group, that has lived in Londrina two years ago, was selling jewelry when a woman, who lives in a nearby building, started throwing bananas in the street, calling them ‘macaco’ (monkey), ‘preto’ (black) and ‘ladrão’ (thief) according to information from the site Bonde. Not satisfied, the resident even came down and attacked one of the Senegalese men with a slap.
“She said: ‘Negro de merda’ (black shit) … get out of here! Thief! Then she threw all her stuff and hit [another Senegalese] with a banana, this banana here,” says one of the workers, pointing to the fruit, thrown to the ground.
“I just said I did not understand,” said Ndiaye, who has not yet mastered the Portuguese language. The victim pointed out that, before, he had never been treated in such a way. “I never thought of this from here [Brazil], because there are many good people. I have many friends here downtown,” he says.
Faced with the confusion, the Military Police was called. People passing by were angry and some even tried to attack the resident, author of the insults and racist acts. In an interview with the TV Tarobá, a neighbor of the resident said “she’s crazy” and had psychiatric problems.
“I earn money and send it to my parents, my wife and children, who remain in Senegal. I’m here to work, just for that,” said Ndiaye, who claimed to have been the target of racism previously in the city.
The police report on the Civil Police will determine whether the author of racist abuse was responsible or not for her actions, or will be deemed incapable.
Note from BW of Brazil: OK, so here’s the thing. It’s not even necessary to address the racist attack. Just another day in Brazil. But let’s analyze the second, elderly woman’s reaction. There’s no reason to doubt the woman’s sincerity in her apology. She apparently felt very badly about one of her fellow Brazilians treating another human being in this way. That’s commendable. The problem lies in her words that “the Brazilian people are not like that. She doesn’t represent Brazil.” WHAT?!?! Really?!?! Sometimes people write comments on this blog asking why there is a focus on racism and racist incidents. The reason is precisely for people like the woman who apologized for the other’s actions.
How does she really say that ‘the Brazilian people are not like that’ and that the other woman ‘doesn’t represent Brazil’? We have scores of incidents exactly like this one and numerous examples of the fact that the preferred racial insult in Brazil against persons of visible African ancestry is ‘macaco’ (monkey). Does this woman really not know that? Is it possible that she’s passed her whole life in a southern Brazilian state (which its white majority) and never heard someone insult a black person in this way? She is a living example of how for decades Brazilians vehemently denied the existence of racism in their country. She is also an example of how Brazil still doesn’t know how to deal with racism. After all, how can you deal with a problem when you can’t even admit it exists? She is perhaps worse than the 92% of Brazilians who believe that racism exists and the 1.3% that admit to harboring racist sentiments. Apparently, this woman doesn’t even believe she knows anyone who harbors such sentiments. Well, who’s to say, maybe she really doesn’t. But based on everything we’ve seen in the past, I highly doubt it!