Note from BW of Brazil: Brazilian-styled racism has shown its ugly face for years centuries. Seriously, anyone who continues to believe that all Brazilians are perceived and treated as equals is either in serious denial, out of touch with reality or flat out lying. Between countless books, articles and every day news stories, there is simply no way to seriously argue that in Brazil “racism doesn’t exist”. But the past few months in particular have provided a number of intriguing examples of how blackness, Africanness and African ancestry is seen in the Brazilian mind. What’s perhaps more dangerous than this denial is the fact that such open displays of racism continue to be explained away, denied or pushed under the carpet with worthless apologies. These types of reactions ensure that such behavior will simply continue to go unchecked. After all, admitting the depths that racist thoughts occupy in the Brazilian psyche would mean shattering a national discourse of denial that has existed for at least 80 years. After all, racism is only a thing of the United States, right?
Ten reasons showing that in Brazil, blacks are still is seen as objects
I decided to write this list to explain the different ways of how racism operates in Brazilian society.
By Marcos Ferreira
The legacy of colonial Brazil is still so alive that people not affected by racism believe they have possession to control when and where a black person should or should not not talk about the oppression he/she experiences.
- Do you work here?
The presence of black people not connected to servitude in reclaimed environments is synonymous with suspicion.
- Humor for whom to laugh?
“Now in the TeleCine King Kong, a monkey that after going to the city and getting famous he gets a blond. Who does he think he is? A futebol player?” – Danilo Gentili (full story here)
Brazilians believe that art and humor is passable to reinforce negative stereotypes and oppression of blacks (and if we complain we are censors)
- They want to be valued?
When a black person in Brazilian society decides to wear his/her own hair it is questioned, viewed as sloppy and even dirty because the black aesthetic in Brazil is marginalized (full story of above photo here).
- Somos todos Maju…Somos todos Aranha….Somos todos iguais (?!)
“I think that I’m an African descendant because I like to get beaten”, says Dunga (National Futebol Team coach) about his critics. (see the full story here)
Blacks are still seen as tools of work, strength and extreme resistance, a slave era stigma which reiterates the idea that the black body is automatically less sensitive as a human being
- Nothing against him/her, but ….
Brazilians believe that black people are unable to hold positions of high responsibility and hierarchy. The efficiency of blacks in these conditions is always questionable;
“(She) only got the job at Jornal Nacional because of quotas, filthy black” – “White (clear) weather? (That’s a) lie you black” – “(She) only got the job at Jornal Nacional because of quotas, black monkey” – “What are 100 miilion blacks on the moon? A total eclipse” – “In the middle of 2015 we still have blacks on TV” – “It was only her coming here that the weather got dry equal to charcoal into ashes” (see the story here)
“- Nothing against him/her, but I was never attended by a black doctor”
- Aiii but you complain so much!
“Serious @LasombraRibeiro let’s forget this…How many bananas do you want to let this story go?” – Danilo Gentili (see the story here)
In Brazil, when a black person points out racism he is labeled a vitimista (one who plays the victim), crier, etc.
- Ahh, but it had to be…(a black)
“Not even competency (that) Joaquim Barbosa can allege that he has or one day had. Because we all know he was chosen by the simple fact that he’s black. And only that.”
The nature/character of black people is always assimilated to the color of their skin, regardless of their social status; “- Ah but it had to be a black”, “- cool car, he must be a footballer”
- Racismo à brasileira (Brazilian-styled racism)
Senegal denounces racism in the of “The Africano” skit on the Pânico program on the Bandeirantes TV network
“Brazil is an extremely racist and negrophobic country” – “Brazil, a racist country? See how they laugh at Africa!” “The world see the racism in Brazil, except the Brazilians themselves” (see the above story here)
Racism in Brazil is interpreted as culture, so the racist in Brazil is not seen as a criminal but as any citizen, because culture is not a crime, therefore, racism is a crime that no one commits
- In Brazil, talking about Buddhism is tradition, following the Hare Krishna movement is culture but believing in Ogun is being the son of the devil,”
“Girl (who was) victim of religious intolerance says that it will difficult to forget being hit with a stone – Child (follows) Candomble and was assaulted leaving from worship. Grandmother began campaign on the internet and received support from friends” (see full story here)
Religions of any culture are more easily accepted and respected than religions of African origin, and this is because it is a legacy of blacks who were enslaved for centuries in Brazil, and to arriving here, were taught to extricate themselves from all their origins and customs. At the same time, society was shaped to believe that all that was of African origin was not worthy of respect quite like blacks.
- This is a reference to the Brazilian habit of creating ridiculous online campaigns and artificial displays of solidarity when an Afro-Brazilian is the victim of racism or racist sentiments. Slogans usually proclaim “we are all” this or “we are all” that without actually truly opening a dialogue on general racism in Brazilian society. Intriguing how this denial of mistreatment of black people under the rhetoric of “we are all equal” is playing out similarly in the United States, where there is an attempt do replace the “Black Lives Matter” slogan with “All Lives Matter” in response to an alarming number of African-Americans being murdered by police in that country. Interestingly, similar to widespread acceptance of the “we are all equal” catchphrase among Afro-Brazilians, if we are to believe reports, two-thirds of African-Americans also prefer the slogan “All Lives Matter”. This latest example of the attempt to direct the national discourse around the issue of race provides us with yet another example of how, in many ways, regardless of differences in their respective histories, Brazil and the United States have numerous similarities. This includes the desire of people, in general, wanting to live in a world in which everyone is in fact treated equally although many show no desire to put in any effort to make this a reality.