Note from BW of Brazil: I wanted to share these two incidents that happened last month in two different states just to expose how Brazil’s job market acts when applicants for job vacancies are treated when they are black. Although the incidents happened in two different states, one, of a snack bar and the other of a company that cares for the elderly, what the incidents have in common is that they went down by way of the WhatsApp phone application. The main objective of sharing these two stories is just to expose the difficulties people have in securing employment simply due to structural racism that discriminates against black Brazilians.
As anyone who has studied racial issues in Brazil for any amount of time knows, no one likes to admit that racism is a serious problem and often times people will altogether deny its very existence. This even with the overwhelming evidence we already have to prove this. Considering this, how blatant is it that employers have the nerve to state their racist practices via a phone app where such accusations can actually be proven?
Snack bar is accused of racism after denying job vacancy: “I don’t hire black people”
A snack bar that sells açaí fruit in Mossoró, located in Rio Grande do Norte state, is being accused of racism. According to the victim, an employee of Alô Açaí – located on José De Almeida Machada Street in the district of Barrocas – denied him a job vacancy on the grounds that he does not hire black people.
The case happened last Tuesday, November 5th, when the guy contacted the snack bar via Whatsapp. The dialog is in the image below. Sought for comment, the snack bar has yet to position itself on the subject. According to witnesses, Alô Acaí has deactivated its Instagram account and is already responding to other complaints.
– Good evening! I would like to talk about the vacancy that came up at Alô Açaí, is it still available because I am interested.
Good evening. Yes, but I’m not.
– I didn’t understand lol
LOL, I don’t hire black people. And it’s not out of prejudice. But out of passion. To work here you have to be that raw, ugly white. To avoid lol
– OK, thank you.
At least laugh, my friend, this (comment) is just to relax. For God’s sake
The young man published images of the conversation on social networks and said he would go to the police to report the case. The young man, Laaci Freitas, explained that he is unemployed and has the objective of studying physical therapy at a private university in Mossoró. In order to be able to pay the tuition, he was looking for a job and received information from his sister that a shop selling açaí fruit had a vacancy. However, when contacting him through a messaging application, he was surprised by the response from the owner of the establishment.
Note from BW of Brazil: From a vacancy in a snack bar in Rio Grande do Norte, we go to another incident that went down in the state of Minas Gerais.
Belo Horizonte company demands that elderly caregivers not be ‘black and fat’ and provokes revolt: ‘I was desperate’.
In a country where unemployment is the reality of approximately 12.5 million Brazilians, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the difficult mission of getting a job opportunity can be even more complicated for those who are black and must overcome another barrier beyond the economic crisis: prejudice.
A victim of this situation, a 41-year-old woman, who works as a caregiver for the elderly in Belo Horizonte, decided to go to the Civil Police earlier this month to report a case of explicit prejudice in a job opportunity in the capital city of Minas Gerais. The description demanded that the candidates not be “black and fat”.
The position was advertised through a psychologist who maintains a transmission list with dozens of professional caregivers of the elderly. The opportunity was for work as a volunteer in one of the branches of “Home Angels” in Belo Horizonte, a reference company in the sector (see what the company says below).
The company, in turn, denies that it disclosed the vacancy with the racist description and claims that, in fact, the text was changed by the psychologist who disclosed the opportunity on a transmission list. The psychologist claims that she didn’t make any changes to the message and states that she reviewed the job “without reading correctly” and “without the necessary care”.
The case occurred on October 31 and the victim, who preferred not to be identified, sought the police to report the incident on November 1. “I’m currently working, but these opportunities are publicized and a lot of people get pick this up to do freelance work and increase their income. At that moment, I realized that if I had been unemployed, I would still be out of work, just because of my color. We go through a lot in life, but that was absurd,” said the woman.
The caregiver of the elderly is part of a transmission list created by psychologist Fernanda Spadinger (check out the version of the professional below), which offers courses and job opportunities for professionals in the area. The woman said she was disgusted and called Fernanda to question her position.
“I told her everything I was feeling and showed her how torn my heart was. This broke me down, I was desperate, crying, because it is very painful to go through this,” she says.
According to the victim, Fernanda had subsequently apologized and offered her psychological support. However, the victim rejected the service and assured that she would take the case to court. “How am I going to have follow-up with a person who caused such a situation? There is no way,” says the woman.
Translation of above text messages
People. Home Angels south center called me now requesting 10 relief staff to work as on duty attendants They pay 100.00 per shift with VT (transportation voucher) included. The only demands are that they cannot be black, fat and need at least 3 months of experience. I need 5 caregivers with availability to work during the day and 5 caregivers with availability to work night! Who’s interested?! Interview today at 3pm on the Tupis street downtown!
– But such prejudice. Can’t be Black or fat. I’m shocked
Their demand, not mine. There’s nothing I can do.
Many people are questioning me for sending a message specifying that fat and black will not be accepted ! I don’t feel good about it, but it’s a requirement of the Home Angels company! I’m here to try to employ you! The lightness of affection loves the chubby ones, the black ones the white ones and everything else! Don’t get me wrong! But I need to send people who meet the demands of the contracting company, I just do mediation! I’m just trying to preach you and improve your living conditions!!!!!
– I’m devastated !!!
Company defends itself
The report spoke with Taís Arantes, who owns “Home Angles BH Centro-Sul”, the company responsible for the vacancy. The businesswoman states that the vacancy was disclosed, but without the requirements stated in the message.
“Our company has been on the market for 8 years and repudiates any kind of discrimination we will issue a note to remove this history and make a clarification. We always disclose these vacancies because we do the hirings of the company. Now, it didn’t have these specifications, because I need all types of employees because my type of customer requires an employee profile, so I have to have a diversified database,” says Taís.
According to the owner, the psychologist Fernanda Spadinger would have changed the message before forwarding it to professionals. “I was amazed and was super scared by the way Fernanda made this disclosure, being a psychologist and having to work with this. I know she gives caregiver courses, does the selection process, does the work with it, and needs it to survive. For her, this situation was very annoying,” she says.
The businesswoman also says that she called the psychologist after the repercussion of the complaint. “I questioned her and she apologized a thousand times. She said she would assume everything she did, that she released that message to a transmission list she has, which is very big.”
“We are taking steps not to have problems with the company name and franchise. This is not part of our motto and what we preach. I don’t want the image of my company to be racist, I have several black employees, here we don’t have that, no,” added Taís.
“I only wanted to employ”
Fernanda Spadinger, the psychologist who forwarded the vacancy, also spoke on this issue. She, who owns the company “Leveza do afeto”, assumes that she has responsibility for disclosing the vacancy with prejudiced content, but claims that the text was sent by “Home Angels”.
“I received this message from a Home Angels employee on Thursday, 31, late afternoon. She said she needed people for the next day to interview. I didn’t filter it. I have my responsibility, I don’t want to throw everything on the company employee, I need to take responsibility. Obviously, I should have filtered, edited the message, and forwarded it another way. But in the rush, without reading properly, without filtering, I sent it. Of course, I’m wrong and I’m responding for that,” says the psychologist.
Fernanda forwarded the messages she exchanged with an employee of the company who requested disclosure of the vacancy. “In my defense I say that my intention was to employ 10 people. My mistake was to collude with a company that has this attitude. In an ideal world, I would have read the whole message and refused to spread the vacancy. But my intention was to employ ten people who train with me and trust me,” says Fernanda.
The psychologist also guarantees that she sent a message to all contacts, including the victim who recorded the occurrence, apologizing for the fact. “I sent a message retracting myself saying that it is not a posture of my company, that I am here to train and employ. It was a company requirement, I was wrong, I should have filtered it, it’s horrible. I should have been critical and refused to refer to a company that has this stance. But my intention was to employ these people,” concludes the psychologist.
Note from BW of Brazil: So, in this situation, we have a few different people representing the caregiver company passing the blame back and forth over who was responsible for a racist hiring standard. Having heard from the woman who shared the job vacancy and the company’s representative, it seems that there is still a third party missing from this whole ordeal. That is whoever actually forwarded the message to the woman who shared the message. Perhaps it’ll never come to light who actually passed the description and requirement along. But does it really matter?
The way I see this, the woman who divulged the message is ethically wrong but not professionally if she in fact simply shared a message she was told to share. In terms of the company representative saying not hiring black and fat people not being their policy, as there are already black people working there, this doesn’t necessarily mean the message couldn’t have come from the top. Some companies, while hiring blacks, will stop at a certain quota because they don’t want their company to be seen as one that has a primarily black staff.
The bottom line here is that both of these companies provided evidence of what many employed and unemployed black workers have known for years: entering Brazil’s job market is much more challenging when you have black skin.
Information courtesy of Mossoro Notícias, Notícia Preta and BHAZ