Latest episode of the "I’m not racist because…" variety: White college professor of African religions calls black security guard a monkey

The latest incident of the “I’m not a racist because…” variety comes from a college campus located in southern Brazil. In this case, a college professor insulted a campus security guard as well as another student calling them both “macaco”, and if you’ve followed this blog for a while, by now you know that the Portuguese term “macaco” means monkey in English and that calling persons of African descent monkeys is very common in Brazil.. It’s always interesting and in some cases funny to see how people try to excuse or explain away why they use racist terms but then deny that the term was meant in a racist way or that they harbored racist sentiments. In Brazil, people are infamous for using such as excuses as:


“I can’t be racist because my girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife/best friend is black.”
“I’m not racist because my grandmother/grandfather was black.”
“I’m not racist because I have a black maid.”
“I’m not racist because I love _________ (fill in favorite black entertainer or athlete)”

Some weeks ago, we featured a 2010 story of a man who was part of a Neo-Nazi, white power group who was against Brazil’s Affirmative Action policies even though his wife and children were black. For details of our latest feature on “I’m not racist because…” read below.
In Pará, a professor of African religions calls security guard a ‘monkey’

The situation happened in front of the University of Pará (Uepa). The case was reported to the police and the State Council for Racial Equality (Conselho Estadual de Igualdade Racial).

On Friday night (September 14), students from the University of Pará (Uepa) denounced a professor that teaches African religion classes in the institution for racism. According to students, the teacher insulted a security guard with the word “macaco (monkey)” and then repeated the verbal abuse at a university student who defended the guard.

The confusion started when Daniela Cordovil tried to enter the University with some researchers invited to attend an event and discovered the gate located on Djalma Dutra Avenue in the Telégrafo neighborhood of the city of Belém closed.

The security guard reported that access was closed under the direction of the university and guided the group to enter through another gate. According to students, it was at this time that the teacher lost her temper and began to curse at the guard.

Upon hearing the confusion, the students used a camera phone and challenged the teacher to repeat the insult. In the video, the teacher is heard calling the security guard, Rubens dos Santos, 39, a “macaco”. “You’re a macaco too. You’re going to call this a crime now? You’re going to call the PM (Military Police) now?”,  the professor shouted at a student.

Image of Daniela Cordovil calling guard and student monkey caught on a cell phone

The case was brought to the São Brás Sectional, where the teacher and the security guard testified. According to the Civil Police, a detailed Statement of Occurrence (Termo Circunstanciado de Ocorrência – TCO) was established and the two sides involved will be heard in court about the case.
When the case was reported to the police, the students also told the State Council of Racial Equality that promised to follow up on the complaint.

At the police station, the professor didn’t want to talk to the press, but Claudinor Cardoso, the professor’s lawyer, said the insults occurred at a time of nervousness and that the words of Daniela Cordovil had no racist content because the anthropologist studies African religions.

Professor Daniela Cordovil 

Rubens dos Santos, 39, is a security guard contracted by a third party company that provides services to the university and he has worked there for three years. Dos Santos revealed that he is still a bit shaken up from the situation. Police are investigating the complaint. The institution will also investigate the case through administrative measures.

“She came at me from inside the university. She cursed at me, called me ‘macaco’, idiot, and said I was dressed like a clown,” says the guard. “Psychologically I’m very affected. I couldn’t sleep. For two days I’ve only thought about this. I had never been through this (before)”, says Rubens.

Security guard Rubens dos Santos

The teacher is being investigated for the crime of racial slur against the guard. Jorge Farias, the president of the Commission of Defense of Racial Equality OAB-PA was surprised by the attitude of the teacher. “She should have conscience and duty to fight racism,” said Farias.

Jorge Farias of Commission of Defense of Racial Equality

The case was referred to the Sectional São Brás, where the teacher and the witnesses testified.

In a statement, Uepa regretted what happened and said the ombudsman of the institution will take administrative measures to ascertain the facts. The Uepa also said that the gate of the Center for Social Sciences and Education (CCSE), where the incident occurred, was working partially due to the teachers’ strike. But according to the direction of the center, the teacher should enter through the gate of the dean of the university.

Source: Globo TV
About Marques Travae 2900 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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