Note from BW of Brazil: Racism in Brazil just goes on and on and on…Need another example? As if we haven’t presented enough over the past four years, here we go again. The topic of hair, like racism, is one that continuously comes up on this blog. And understandably why. Hair texture is often one of main targets of racist comments, jokes and insults. And as we’ll see in today’s article, the attitude being such a natural part of Brazilian society, it should surprise none that it also permeates the school system.
We’ve seen numerous Afro-Brazilian children who often reject their physical appearance usually due to some form of verbal assault on their appearance. The standard discourse of what is accepted as a beauty that all should strive for is clearly visible in today’s article. And in typical fashion, when the complaints started rolling in, the guilty party issued the standard response for “clarity”.
São Paulo school is accused of racism after communicating that it requests students with ‘straight hair’ for a presentation
By Pedro Willmersdorf
A school located in the Jardim Vergueiro district of São Paulo (SP), has been accused of racism after the impact of a statement sent to parents, requesting students who attend a year-end presentation, on Thursday (3 ), with “cabelo liso e solto” (straight and loose hair). Therefore, according to the statement, the presentation would be “mais bonita” (more beautiful).
As an illustrative example, the school also made an unfortunate choice: the picture of Maria Joaquina, the character of a racist nature played by actress Larrissa Manoela in the remake of the novela (soap opera) Carrossel, on SBT TV. For those who don’t remember, in the plot Maria Joaquina constantly insulted her classmate the Cyril (played by actor Jean Paul Campos), black, poor and in love with the girl (1).
The reaction on social media was immediate, with posts from people close to some responsible that received the warning demonstrating their outrage.
EXTRA (news/site) tried to contact the board of the Associação Cedro do Líbano de Proteção à Infância (Cedro Association of Líbano of Childhood Protection) without obtaining a response by press time.
The association, however, issued an official statement in which it apologized for what happened, attributing the statement to an employee who acted without authorization from their superiors. Also according to the report, administrative measures are being taken.
See the text of the note in full:
“São Paulo, December 1, 2015
NOTE OF CLARIFICATION
Associação Cedro do Líbano de Proteção à Infância comes by means of this note to clarify that all issues of diversity, racial and religious are included in the Plano de Trabalho da Associação (work plan of the Association), this plan monitored and authorized by the Supervisão de Ensino da Diretoria Regional de Educação (Supervision of Teaching of the Regional Board of Education).
The mistaken and individual procedure for an employee without the authorization of directors (to which administrative measures are already being taken), cannot represent the image of an entire volunteer work of 68 years for equality and against any type and form of prejudice (2).
We further cite that recently the Indicadores de Qualidade de Educação (Indicators of Education Quality), of which this institution was highly evaluated by the community and parents, and the same is the object of training in the education of our children, was implemented by the Municipality of São Paulo.”
- For background on this TV program and the characters in the context of the European standard of beauty and enforcing this upon black children, see previous articles here and here.
- Excusing the flyer as the mistake of an employee doesn’t address the deeper implications here. In a racist society, people will behave with racist behavior as it is part of the culture in which one racial group is deemed superior to another. As usual, Brazilian schools prove themselves to be unwilling/unable to address racism in the system.