Note from BW of Brazil: Brazil, Brazil, Brazil…So Brazilians really think this is funny? Beyond our previous post on the topic of the popularity of blackface in Brazil being due to “ignorance about racism”, I’m also beginning to believe that this flights of absurdity could possibly be being staged simply to attract attention and in the case of the mainstream media, ratings. But echoing what this writer posted in that previous article, this may be a case of two separate viewpoints. That of one of Brazil’s main TV network’s (Bandeirantes) knowing full well the type of trash they’re peddling as entertainment but also its audience that has been molded to find the most ridiculous, crude performances to be humorous. But seriously, what should we expect from a TV show that has already put a performer in blackface and fully exploits up close booty shots to keep its audience?
This latest display of the lowest levels of performance that Brazil’s media will stoop to for a laugh is also dangerous in the fact that many of its viewers (both in the audience and watching on TV) will defend this as just ‘fun’ with no racist intent. As Brazil usually shrugs off such accusations, “you blacks see racism in everything“. But you see it’s deeper than that. The “comedian” who put on this performance knew enough about centuries-old depictions of Africans as savages (2) to know that such a skit would become a hit in a country that continues to deny that it has a serious problem with racism. And true to the typical response “script”, he simply apologizes as if he feels the pain of those who have been the target of such racist depictions for so long. And you know what? He’ll get away with it. As we’ve seen with that other comedian who consistently gets away with racist humor, the power of Brazil’s decades long denial of its racist views/actions, the show will go on.
It’s time to take the struggle up a notch! What say you?
Web users denounce racist character of the program Pânico na Band
Entitled the “black face”, the character played by Eduardo Sterblitch behaves like a wildman, mocks religions of African origin and does dances and gestures that refer to a monkey (1); the prejudice even found its way into a Senegalese newspaper: “Is Brazil a racist country? See how they laugh at the Africans!”
From the Newsroom
Shown on TV every Sunday night, the program Pânico na Band in recent weeks has been condoning racism with the new character “Africano”. Played by Eduardo Sterblitch, who is white and is pintado de preto (wearing black face) to represent a black person, the figure ridicules Africans and African descendants with words, gestures and dances considered extremely prejudiced and offensive.
“We reject the disgusting way in which they depict the peoples of Africa in order to intensify the myth that everything that comes from Africa and all its people have no education and deserves mocking laughter,” wrote the organizers of the event “Repúdio ao racismo do personagem Africano no Pânico na Band” (Repudiation of the racism character African on Pânico na Band) on Facebook. On the page, web users discuss the above prejudice and study means to sue the program and remove the character from the air.
“Besides the unfortunate practice called black face, this program places the character as an imbecile being, which contributes to the low self-esteem of people, the stereotyping of segments of the population and brings the remnants of slavery,” said Humberto Adami, president of the o Nacional da Verdade da Escravidão Negra no Brasil (National Commission of the Truth about Black Slavery in Brazil).
Created last month, the “Africano” is part of the “Pânico Chef” skit, a parody of the reality cooking show Master Chef. When he appears, “Africana”, pejoratively, “receives entities” – ridiculing religions of African origin – does not communicate in a civilized manner, throws himself on the floor, makes monkey gestures and at various times is shown as a primitive being. “Planta e colhe” (Plant and harvest) appears in the subtitle of his “attributions” such as “cook”.
“The depreciation of the African and Afro-Brazilian image is closely linked to a process of domination and oppression, from the symbolic and maintaining the privileges of a white racist elite. Another aspect that deserves to be highlighted in this discussion is frequencies of transmission of the channels are public and broadcasters receive concessions to exploit these spaces with a commitment to look after the public interest. It is also important to note that the right to freedom of expression is not above any other rights, especially human rights and respect for human dignity,” Juninho Palmarino, journalist and militant of the Movimento Negro (black movement) of Círculo Palmarino wrote on his blog.
In addition to the Brazilian social networks, the prejudice distilled by the program even reached African newspapers. SeneWeb, of Senegal, for example, published on Sunday (9), the following post of a video of the character: “O Brasil é um país racista? Vejam como eles riem dos africanos!” (Is Brazil a racist country? See how they laugh at Africans)
It’s not humor, it’s racism!
First I want to note that I consider Pânico na Band one of the worst programs of the Brazilian TV, full of sexist, homophobic and racist stereotypes, followed by humiliation, depreciations and bullshit that, in my view, are very far from being considered humor, or even entertainment.
Shielded by the concept of freedom of speech, those responsible for the program don’t have limits. The latest news is the creation of the “Africano” character, performed by actor Eduardo Sterblitch, a white man, dressed in black and with the rosto pintada de preto, the famous and abominable “black face” as a representation of an African that refers to the idea of tribal, rude, talking in an intelligible way, doing a clumsy dance, that has a large penis, that satirizes the religions of African origin, that is, an animal-like and racist construction of African people and Afro-Brazilian people.
Our country, for a long time, tried to impose the idea that we live in a racial democracy, with a harmonious relationship between the races. But it always built an imaginary that what is considered good is associated with the ideals white and European and all that is pejorative is linked to the black imaginary. This symbolic construction will define the places that one can have in society. Whites occupying the spaces of decision spaces and blacks that of inferiority.
In addition, Afro-Brazilian cultural elements are incorporated as part of the Brazilian national identity, such as Samba, Capoeira, Feijoada, among other expressions with a logic far from integration, but as an element to empty the construction of a historical black identity that is capable of opposing the established structures.
In this regard, the formation of derogatory stereotypes of black men and women also help to reinforce this denial of identity, because no one wants to have their image associated with something that is symbolically bad. This is also part of the political engineering of embranquecimento (whitening), which was very widespread in the political project of the Brazilian elites in the post-abolition of slavery.
Therefore, the depreciation of the African and Afro-Brazilian image is closely linked to a process of domination and oppression, from the symbolic and the maintenance of the privileges of a white racist elite.
Another aspect that deserves to be highlighted in this discussion is that the broadcast frequencies of channels are public and broadcasters receive concessions to explore these spaces with a commitment to looking after the public interest. It is also important to note that the right to freedom of expression is not superior to any other rights, especially human rights and respect for human dignity.
I found very interesting an interview I read of a young comedian who said making humor against those who are already historically oppressed is easy, the hard part is making humor where one questions the power structures and make the people think. Thus, what Pânico does isn’t humor, it’s racism. It should respond, including in courts, for this.
The African Challenge: The fuse of xenophobia and racism incited by Pânico na Band
By Marcos Romão
Not even the Brazilian neo-Nazis dreamed of so much repercussion of a racist posting on Facebook.
“Desafio Africano” (African Challenge) is the name of the skit that actor Eduardo Sterblitcht launched in a program in early August, challenging viewers to present a more crazy dance than his.
Within the skit Eduardo Sterblitcht, a white actor, performs pintado de preto (in blackface) and mimics an African imaginary, which only emits guttural sounds, makes a mockery in his dance of religions of African origin, and imitates a monkey, just as he imagines that an African behaves.
The host of the show challenges the audience to do something more “eccentric that the actor and his racist pantomime.
After much protest on social networks, complaints of referrals to the Department of Racial Equality and the Federal Public Ministry in addition to protests on social networks of African online newspapers, the actor seems to have fallen onto himself and posted a message in which he says he regrets what he did and cries.
But the tactic has already been done.
Taking the cue, or “license to be racist”, thousands of people began to post videos, in which the peoples of Africa suffers every type of scorn and where the lowest racism that most closely matches the most worthless pornography are presented. Even children join the wave of racism prompted by the program producers of Pânico na Band.
The cry of the racist
Already 40 years that Brazil was considered the country with the second largest population of African origin in the world. But Brazil is also the country with the highest number of negligent people in relation to racism and xenophobia. Only the failure of our entire population, being of the origin that it is, can allow a public concession that is a television channel, specialize in propagating racism and xenophobia, just so that we stay on topic.
Despite the repentance of naive but no less racist actor (because of his ignorance and naivety), the production of the program production Pânico na TV, maintains a link to attract an audience with a hashtag, in which the worst racist trash that fills the mind of our Brazilian people, is a platform to expand.
The authorities and those who defend the dignity of the Brazilian people need to wake up and put a stop to these programs and editorial lines of TVs that incite racism and xenophobia.
There is still time.
Here are some examples of this racist and xenophobic excrescence encouraged and incited by the Program Pânico na Band that as a fuse of horror has spread on social networks in recent days:
Pânico Ao Vivo: “The craziness of the Africano challenged Pânico Ao Vivo (Pânico Live) viewers! And next week he continues with the challenge! Send your videos with your crazy dances with the hashtag #DesafioAoAfricano”
- Not coincidentally, the term that we have repeatedly proven is Brazil’s favorite insult for its black population.
- A simple Google image search with the words ‘african stereotypes savages’ will provide ample examples.