Note from BW of Brazil: OK, so what else is new? Racism or racial slurs or “injuries” as they are called in Brazil. The comment about a recently deceased woman just goes to show how black people/life is viewed in Brazil. I mean, even someone didn’t like the teacher, there is a little thing called “respect”. In terms of the second incident, there seems to be a general rejection to Afro-Brazilians stepping outside of the “place” society has reserved for them; and apparently more hostility when they have “the nerve” to stand up on issues of race, access and equality. Oh well, can’t say I’m surprised! It’s good to see so many people speaking out in the school environment…I’m actually prepared to see even more of this as more black Brazilians become conscious of racism and how to fight back!
Students take action against racism in Santa Terezinha
A movement against racism was held by students of the Escola Sebastião Patrus de Souza (Sebastian Patrus de Souza School), in neighborhood of Santa Terezinha, in the northeast of Minas Gerais, between Wednesday (2) and Thursday (3). The demonstration was articulated after the comment of a former student in a social network, in relation to the death of a black teacher last Monday. The prejudiced words of the student – “negra, maldita, nojenta” meaning “disgusting, damned black (woman)” – caused the repudiation of students.
According to the principal, Miriam Ramalho, the students came to class in black clothes, representing mourning and disapproval of the prejudiced act. Students also made posters with slogans of protest. “We had a teacher who sadly passed away, it was a shock to all of us, friends, family, students and alumni of the school, but even more shocking was that comment. This caused outrage among everyone,” says a former student of the school, Juliana Guedes.
The deceased teacher was teaching sociology for the first year high school students in the mornings. The demonstration Thursday brought together approximately 700 students. Moreover, according to the director, teachers also covered the theme of racism in the classroom.
Any type of offense said or expressing prejudice concerning the color of a person is considered a crime of racial slur, in which there is injury to the victim’s subjective honor. The indictment allows bail and is a penalty of the maximum of eight years. In the case concerning the teacher, according to the coordinator of the Comissão de Promoção de Igualdade Racial da Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil (Commission for the Promotion of Racial Equality of the Bar Association of Brazil, OAB – Subsection Juiz de Fora), Jorge Alexander Pires, the family may press charges in the a civil sphere for damages.
UNESP student registers police report over racist message
Repudiation of act was made by university students and disrupted classes on campus.
by Vinícius Pacheco
A student at Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), in the city of Presidente Prudente, Taís Evandra Teles de Carvalho dos Santos, 26, registered a police complaint for libel, after finding, next to the ladies’ room, a message reading “Thaís Telles, black, dirty and monkied”. Because of this, students on campus rallied together in an act of repudiation on Wednesday (2), which led to interruption of geography classes, that the victim is studying.
Participants beat drums in the open spaces of the university, which disrupted and even canceled some classes of university. “For a UNESP free of racism” and “With how much sexism and racism does one become a five star in geography” were the phrases written on signs scattered around the campus.
According to Thais, the suspicion is that the message has social motivations. “I have no personal problem that would lead to this, though I belong to groups that discuss issues such as racism, the quota policy and implementation of classes on African culture within the university. I believe this goes beyond the offense. The intent is to go against my positions,” she says.
The student explains that she is part of the Coletivo Mãos Negras (Black Hands Collective), created within the institution in November of last year to raise issues about blacks and appreciation of their culture. She was born in São Paulo (SP) and has been in the city of Presidente Prudente since 2011.
“I found the message in the morning, shortly after the election process for the student union. My friends came to tell me. Afterward I registered a police report as a slur because the clerk said it could not be identified without proof that racism was the real intention and not knowing who did it,” she says.
Taís says she has attended meetings to discuss measures regarding this case. “UNESP has shown solidarity and support, and will publish a report with its official position,” she says.
In social networks, colleagues of the geography student and entities created within the institution, such as the Athletic of UNESP, showed support for actions to repudiate racism on the campus. In an open letter, the student informs that the message represents “the feeling of many within the university.” “This is just a free sample of Brazilian society,” she says.
The case was filed with the Civil Police and will be investigated by the Delegacia da Mulher (Women’s Police Station) of Presidente Prudente.
In a note sent to the G1, UNESP said it will file a notice of a preliminary investigation to determine the situation and that the directors consider “unacceptable the occurrence of such acts, as well as any type of prejudice or discrimination within the university.”