Note from BW of Brazil: Bravo! Brazil’s top television network Globo TV has long had a reputation for the manipulation of its viewers and many other questionable practices in its quest to remain on top. The network has been criticized for having supported Brazil’s brutal 21-year military dictatorship, supporting police occupations of poor, mostly black neighborhoods, that has led to numerous murders of these citizens, positioning itself against affirmative action measures and presenting Brazil as an overwhelmingly white country, a charge that applies to Brazil’s media as a whole. We’ve also seen seen the channel’s fake support of one of its black journalists when she was victimized by racism on social networks, a ridiculous showing seeing that Globo’s consistent stereotyping and under-representation of Afro-Brazilians (see here, here or here, for just a few examples) is a major mechanism for racist ideologies being consistently updated. These are but a few of the numerous charges over the years. And while it is true that Globo remains far ahead of its competitors (SBT, Record and Band TV), many people are weary of the channel’s shenanigans and recognize manipulation when they see it. (It must be pretty obvious when even the New York Times is calling them out!)
One such recent example shall serve as an example. Probably everyone has watched more than a few episodes of the Saturday variety show Caldeirão do Huck hosted by Luciano Huck. The programs has a similar format as other such programs on Globo as well as other networks: musical guests, interviews, inspirational stories, etc. As like may other TV programs, the program follows a similar approach in terms of presenting Afro-Brazilians. This writer hasn’t watched this program for several years, but in the years that I occasionally watched it, I knew that every year during the countdown to the Carnaval season, Caldeirão presents numerous black women competing in full Carnaval costumes in a competition to earn the title of “musa”, or muse. Similar to other programming, it is one of the few times of year one sees so many black women on the program.
Over the years, host Luciano Huck has developed a reputation for doing any and everything to remain popular or earn money. The above presentation of Afro-Brazilian women in their stereotypical role as Carnaval dancers is but one. Then there was Huck’s involvement in the “we are all monkeys” “campaign” that was promoted after a racist event against a Brazilian futebol player in Spain that made headlines. Not only was Huck quick to promote the absurd slogan on a t-shirt almost immediately after the episode, but there was also a report showing that the whole event that sparked the “campaign” was staged and that someone connected to him threw a banana on the field that sparked the whole controversy! Then there was the incident that many Brazilian women interpreted as Huck basically promoting the prostitution of Brazilian women to “gringos” during Brazil’s hosting of the World Cup in 2014.
Needless to say, accusations and denouncements against Huck and Globo TV could probably fill up several dissertations, but you get the idea. A perfect lead in to today’s story that was picked up by numerous websites including Brasil 247 and Vio Mundo. The work of the woman featured in today’s material was featured here several months ago. Her post about rejecting an appearance on the TV program is spelled out below, but it must be understood in the context of the more than decade-long debate over affirmative action policies in Brazil. Those opposed to quotas have long argued that meritocracy should be the only manner with which students should be allowed to enter the nation’s best universities, which, in their view, would impede the entrance of poor, mostly black students into the halls of higher education, this despite the fact that studies continuously show that students getting into college through the system of quotas perform as well or even better than non-quota students.
Luana Tolentino says NO to Luciano Huck: “He used the Caldeirão (show) to offer Brazilian women to foreigners, as a commodity”
Courtesy of Vio Mundo
Today [February 18] afternoon I was surprised by a call from the producers of the Caldeirão do Huck (Globo TV variety show). In March, the program will pay tribute to International Women’s Day. According to the producer of the program “I am an inspiring woman.” So they thought that Luciano Huck (the show’s host) should interview me.
I didn’t accept it. My decision was not made because of Caldeirão do Huck being part of the programming of Rede Globo, a station for which I have a myriad of criticism and that I haven’t watched in a long time. Far from it. I refused because I don’t like the spectacle that is made of the lives of people who have a “story of overcoming.”
I refused because I will not place myself in the role of strengthening the discourse of meritocracy of which I disagree and fight vehemently.
“Luana, you are proof that when people really want (something), they can do it!” that’s what the producer told me.
But it’s not quite like that. In fact, I wanted to study, I wanted to write, I wanted to be a teacher. I feel grateful, rich, accomplished in the power to do everything I always wanted. However, everything would probably have been very different had it not been an unequal, racist and sexist structure of our country.
To get here I had to break visible and invisible barriers. Along the way I was breaking myself in every way so that I sometimes have the feeling that I’m all broken inside. These are issues that need to be said, but the production and Luciano Huck don’t have the slightest interest in discussing them or seeing them.
I agree that black men and women we should occupy spaces, that our voices should go beyond the internet, the academy, and in my case, the classroom, but I don’t think it’s necessary to lose sight of the assumed commitments: with me and with those who I represent through my speech and my writing.
I respect the work of the professional who contacted me. Because of this I thanked him immensely for the invitation. On the other hand, I don’t see any sense in being honored on March 8th by Luciano Huck, who during the World Cup used the program to offer Brazilian women to gringos (foreign men), as if we were merchandise.
Luana Tolentino is a teacher and historian. She is an activist of black and feminist movements.
Source: Brasil 247