Note from BW of Brazil: Yet another avenue that provides an excellent source of material for the analysis of racial issues can be found in social networking and news sites. As we’ve done in past posts, today we get another example of how Brazilians deal with the issue of race, deny the existence of racism while simultaneously belittling a black event and praising an event of red-headed white women. One of the events, the Marcha do Orgulho Crespo (Curly/Kinky-haired Pride March) was covered here on this blog a few weeks ago. Let’s first get to the analysis courtesy of Buzzfeed.
The differences between comments in the news about black and redhead events
“From the series: there is no racism in Brazil.”
by Alexandre Orrico
São Paulo received on Sunday (July 26th), the first edition of the Marcha do Orgulho Crespo (Curly/Kinky-haired Pride March). The act remembers the Day of the Latin American and Caribbean Black Women and took place in the interspace of the MASP museum.
In a report from G1 many people criticized the event. This one said he wants to plan a “marcha pelo orgulho liso” (march for straight hair pride) and disparage the act.
Carlos Heidelberg: I thought this march was beautiful! We are planning a “march for straight hair pride”, people that don’t need a flattening iron, here in the south. But I think that it won’t work, people with straight hair don’t have pride in their hair, they think more about studying and improving their lives.
- “People with straight hair don’t have pride in their hair, they think more about studying and improving their lives.” (from G1.globo.com)
This one had an understanding that racism doesn’t exist and that the march doesn’t “leva a lugar algum” (lead to anything)
“I think when you make a pride march of something automatically the participants are place themselves into a position of inferiority, that doesn’t actually exist, to say to the society that they aren’t worse than anyone because of a question of physical aspect or sexual orientation. I believe that this does not lead to anything. In the end, whoever is prejudiced doesn’t change his/her conservative and old-fashioned mind because of anti-bias marches. I believe that attitudes in which the same make themselves deserving of respect by their own merit, it makes a lot of difference and in fact changes the mind of whoever erroneously belittles them.”
- “I think when you make a pride march of something automatically the participants are place themselves into a position of inferiority, that doesn’t actually exist. I believe that this does not lead to anything. In the end, whoever is prejudiced doesn’t change his/her conservative and old-fashioned mind because of anti-bias marches.” (from G1.globo.com)
- “There is no reason for anyone to declare pride in their color, their race, their sexual preferences,” wrote another.
Sérgio Corrêa: Look, this type of manifestation already denotes a feeling of inferiority. Analyze: There is no reason for anyone to declare pride in their color, their race, their sexual preferences. What do they intend? Do they appreciate themselves with this? Useless! What goes through the heads of people don’t change by screams, pressure or in the stroke of a pen. It’s a cultural question. Period.
- “What do they intend? Do they appreciate themselves with this? Useless!” (from G1.globo.com)
One of the commenters made a comparison:
“Funny, when there was a meeting of the redheads I didn’t see a comment criticizing the act, why can a white redhead but crespo black can’t?”
- “When there was a meeting of the redheads I didn’t see a comment criticizing the act, why can a white redhead but crespo black can’t?” (from g1.globo.com)
He refers to the Encontro Nacional de Ruivos (or Meeting of the Redheads in Brazil), which has already had three editions and this year will take place in São Paulo in September for three days.
The Desenrolando Facebook page posted two pictures comparing some of the comments.
It’s worth seeing it in another article from G1 about the get together that the comments are really quite different.
Vânia Lúcia: PERFECT This photo of the redhead girls, I’m a blond I wanted very much to be a redhead with freckles. Girls, you all are verrrrryyyy pretty.
- “Girls, you all are very pretty” (from G1.globo.com)
It’s almost impossible to see someone complaining about the get together. On the other hand, they abound with compliments to the beauty of the redheads.
Márcio Rodrigues: “Here there’s a beautiful group by nature!” (from G1.globo.com)
Rose Clairol: How pretty!! Very pretty these redheads
Maria Moreno: All pretty, I think little redheads are pretty
- “All [redheads] I know are sweet and great friends,” wrote this one. (from g1.globo.com)
Kacau Silva: All that I know are sweet! Great friends
“Da série: não existe racismo no Brasil (From the series: there is no racism in Brazil),” some people commented ironically in the posting of the comparison.
João Pedro Sampaio: From the series: Racism doesn’t exist in Brazil.
Ana Flávia: ‘Ah Ana, but racism is a thing in your head’…..
Note from BW of Brazil: So there you have it. What can we gather from these comments, only a small sample of which were included in this post? What do the comments tell us about how Brazilians deal with the question of racial inequality and manifestations of pride that are connected to race? Well, let’s see. Brazil has ALWAYS been dominated by a dictatorship of whiteness in which everything associated with whiteness (White skin, straight – preferably blond – hair, and light-colored eyes) is considered superior. Whiteness is also associated with power and intelligence, an association clearly shared in Brazil’s ultra-Eurocentric media. And while it is true that movements for black rights, black pride and black consciousness have made huge strides over the past few decades, one could argue that in general, white and non-white Brazilians alike generally accept whiteness as the standard for which all should try to approximate.
With this in mind, it appears as if some people feel threatened when those judged as non-white begin to break free of the psychological oppression that this country has enforced upon them for centuries in regards to their physical appearance. It is truly amazing that people that possess the phenotype that Brazil has long proclaimed as the goal for its people don’t even recognize this privileged status (maybe they actually do and feel the need to revel in it). They don’t even realize that it is these psychological chains of oppression that inspire people to free themselves of their self-rejection and construct a sense of pride in the appearance that they were born with. It seems that the people complimenting the march of the redheads while belittling the march of the crespos don’t see the arrogant contradictions in their thoughts. They don’t seem to see that the Brazilian media has enforced this Eurocentric standard of beauty since its very inception and thus rendering those that don’t fit into this standard as nearly invisible on the airwaves. They don’t seem to know of the daily racial insults, taunts and humiliations that black men, women and children endure due to this hegemonic standard expressed everyday throughout Brazil. Being able to revel in such contradictory arrogance that seeks to snuff out the will of others to see themselves as beautiful is simply another facet of white privilege.
But what else can we expect from a country of people that still can’t even deal with the issue of race?