Note from BW of Brazil: So once again, Brazil demonstrates its racist, exclusionary tendencies. As I’ve been following these incidents for time, it appears that tension over Afro-Brazilian students frequently some of Brazil’s best universities is reaching a fever pitch. Just in the past few years, we’ve seen racist incidents against black students at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the Federal University of Paraná, the Federal University of Santa Catarina, the University of Campinas, and the University of Mackenzie among other campuses. The message, at least for me, is pretty obvious: some people do not like the presence of Afro-Brazilians in universities. What other conclusion would you come to? I mean, study after study have proven that black students entering universities through the affirmative action programs earn equal and sometimes better grades than non-quota students (see here and here). So what else could this rejection be about except some people really feel that black people are taking spaces that should be rightfully filled by white students?
Just to give an idea of the importance of the university of this latest incident, according to 2015 rankings, the university featured in today’s piece, FGV, rose “from 21st to 18th place among top think tanks worldwide” and as of 2014, “for the fourth consecutive year, it was named one of the best higher education institutions in the world, according to the Global Employability Ranking, published by The New York Times.“
FGV scholarship student harassed with the cry of “negrinha, not here!”
Racist offenses were heard during the reception of college freshmen on the São Paulo campus
By Maria Beatriz Melero
A case of racism was registered on the campus of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) on Friday, March 3rd. A freshman from the institution, from the course of administration, was a victim of racist offenses during Interbixo – a sports event for the reception of college students.
At the time, the shout “negrinha, here, no!” was directed to the side of the court where the game happened and where the 17-year-old student was located. After the aggression, the match was interrupted the local public mobilized to find the person responsible for the insults – but without success.
The case mobilized the FGV-SP students. The black activism group 20 de Novembro, (meaning November 20th, which the Day of Black Consciousness) and the college’s popular prep course released repudiation notes and took action from the institution’s board of directors.
“We will not allow acts like these to continue to take place within the walls of the Institution … The recent event demonstrates that it is necessary to create a space conducive to social inclusion, and especially to racial inclusion, that is, it is necessary that mechanisms of inclusion extend beyond the entrance of these students, but also for their permanence, in order to provide a full development of the student. Such racial abuse, publicly manifested within the school, brings with it negative impacts related to the inclusion of this victim, since it damages the dignity of the human person, undermines self-esteem and, therefore, may cause a series of barriers to different faces of the development of this person,” manifested the collective.
“We believe that knowledge must be democratized and empathy must be present in our relations with the other, with the different,” said the FGV prep course.
By way of note, the college said that a Comissão de Sindicância was opened to investigate the case and considers it premature to draw conclusions about the situation. “FGV has already set up a Sindicância Committee to investigate the facts, and it is premature to make any prejudgment about them as to the alleged authorship – considering that the sports event was open to the public and not restricted to students of the institution.”
The student victim of racism is part of the group of low-income students who entered college this year – which has monthly fees above R$3,500.
To enter the teaching system of FGV-SP, the student passed the traditional selection process of the institution and obtained the full scholarship for her performance on the test and proof of income.
Graziela Larissa – Note of repudiation (in English)
“The Coletivo 20 de Novembro – a group formed by black men and women grad and post-grad students of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation of São Paulo – comes to the public to issue a note of repudiation of acts of racism practiced within one of the Institution’s units, more precisely on the EAESP court, during a sports event for the integration of freshmen, “Interbixos”, on March 3rd, 2017. We will not allow acts like these to continue to take place within the walls of the Institution. We demand that the Coordination of the Economics course investigate the fact and hold those involved accountable. Facts such as these show us that racism, as the structure of social relations in Brazil, is manifested in different spaces and with different actors, therefore, it is up to us, as a civil society, collective and Brazilian citizens, to keep vigilant attention by demanding the competent authorities of exemplary positions with the confronting of racism, in any and every space in which this type of practice manifests, even within the university.
The recent development demonstrates that it is necessary to create a space conducive to social inclusion, and especially to racial inclusion, that is, it is necessary for inclusion mechanisms to extend beyond the entrance of these students, but also for their permanence, the in order to provide a complete development of the student. Such racial abuse, publicly manifested within the school, brings with it negative impacts related to the inclusion of this victim, since it damages the dignity of the human person, undermines self-esteem and, therefore, may cause a series of barriers to the development of this person. In this way, we reinforce the need for an institutional response to what happened.”
FGV statement on incident (in English)
“The FGV Cursinho has, among its values, promoting and respecting PLURALITY through actions permeated by NONCONFORMISM with the inequalities established in our society. We believe that KNOWLEDGE must be democratized and EMPATHY must be present in our relations with the other, with the different.
With this, we repudiate any and all acts that hurt these and other values that we cherish, and we have positioned ourselves in relation to what happened this week with a black student of the course of Public Administration, victim of racial discrimination in the dependencies of the FGV-SP during the sporting event between freshmen, the Interbixos. Our entity presents condolences to her, and to the Coletivo 20 de Novembro 20, and makes ourselves available for any type of support.
We also solidify with the other black students of the FGV, the Cursinho FGV and the universities of Brazil that suffer constantly with racism that permeates so many environments, such as the academic; this that hurts the principles of equality among individuals in our society as well as compromising the physical and mental health of those who suffer from such abuse.
We reinforce that no one should be de-merited by their color, race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, and social conditions.”
The path to diversity
With information from Livros só mudam pessoas
With monthly fees of more than R$3,500, FGV (Getulio Vargas Foundation) has among its students the children of some of the country’s richest businessmen and presidents of the largest companies. Since it intensified the offer of scholarships to low-income students, about three years ago, the institution created a coordinating diversity to promote integration among students.
There are no quotas in the FGV, all the scholarship holders of the program have been approved in the conventional selection processes. This year, the foundation enrolled two African refugees, one from Cameroon and another from Angola, who will be funded by resources offered by the Mattos Filho office.
As has been pointed out in previous articles, education and unequal access to it remains one of the principle manners for which Brazil remains divided along lines of race and color. As the public education system is one of the worst in world, parents that want to provide their children with a brighter future absolutely MUST invest in expensive private schools on the elementary and high school level to prepare their them for the vestibular, the college entrance exam, that can give good students access to Brazil’s best and free federal universities. If students aren’t so fortunate enough to pass the vestibular test, there is always the expensive private colleges and universities.
FGV, or the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is a good example of this. With monthly tuition rates at about R$3,500 per month, the school is for the most part out of the financial reach of the average Brazilian and the student body usually consists of the children of rich businessmen, CEOs of the nation’s top companies, judges, lawyers and other elites. As we saw in a recent study, white men come in at the top of the nation’s social pyramid, but even they, on average, earn only about R$2,500 per month.
With the average black man earning about R$1,400 per month and the average black woman earning about R$1,000 per month, we can easily understand how a school such as FGV is far out of the reach of the average black family. This is the reason that the struggle over affirmative action policies has been so important to Afro-Brazilians over the past decade and a half. The program puts access to higher education within this population’s reach when it often seems all but impossible. FGV doesn’t offer a quota system, but in the past three years, it has offered a scholarship program that has opened the door to low-income students in an effort to promote diversity and integration across a wider range of classes. In this school year, the institution opened its doors to two refugees from Africa, one from Angola and the other from Cameroon, who have entered the university thanks to funding resources from its Mattos Filho office.
According to Danilo Santos, a black scholarship recipient, the aggression racist against a black student is a revealing moment. “We are living a moment of entry of the different at FGV and it has this type of reception by those who have always reigned,” he said defending the cause of diversity. It must be noted that while FGV stated that it “repudiates any type of discrimination, be it race, color, sex or religion,” it also did not admit involvement of one of its students (1).
Questioned for this report, the institution didn’t reveal inform if its security cameras recorded the incident on the court where the sporting event took place and its board of directors also declined an interview.
- Although the university doesn’t seem to want to completely cooperate with the investigation and we don’t have complete evidence suggesting that the person who made the comment was a student, obviously the person who uttered such a phrase has a sort emotional, exclusionary investment in the school. And even it wasn’t necessarily a student, I would be willing to bet that anyone expressing such a sentiment has be connected the university in some way. I don’t see an average person will no connection to the institution taking such an offense.