Note from BW of Brazil: Let’s face it. We’ve seen enough cases of both racism and sexism to know that Brazil has plenty of both. Regardless of how much people like either deny the existence of the two, downplay both or define those who report it as “whiners”, the rest of us simply want to expose the facts, understand why such behavior exists and prepare its victims and potential victims the best we can.
In today’s incident, one might be tempted to come to the conclusion to define the case as sexism rather than racism, but it’s not quite that simple. It never is. The thing for me in cases such as these is whether I can see a white woman in the same scenario being disrespected for the same reason. In Brazil, I’ve seen numerous cases of of white women being physically assaulted, brutally punched, kicked and beaten. The difference for me in today’s case that crosses over into the realm of racism are the emerging politics over the usage of turbans in recent years.
Black women have adopted the accessory as a means of re-claiming their ancestry and demanding a certain air of royalty that has been denied them in Brazil for centuries. White women adapting the headpiece have been attacked with cries of cultural appropriation. The tie-breaker for me is that turban or not, physically assaulted or not, white women will always be put upon a certain pedestal that black women will always be denied. Even being a frequent victim of sexism, she still benefits from a system of white supremacy that will always seek to keep the black woman “in her place”.
As such, in an environment such as the one presented in today”s story, I don’t see a white woman being disrespected by either white men or black men because of her daring to wear a turban. The setting here is a graduation party for a course of Civil Engineering, an overwhelmingly white field. As such, a white woman would not be seen as being “out of place” in such a setting, whether she was a graduate or the wife/girlfriend of a graduate. In fact, a white woman would probably be even more adored had she worn a turban! Because the way that “race and place” plays out in the minds of Brazilians every day, skin color would make all the difference in how two women were treated…Is there any doubt?
Young woman is a victim of racism and has her turban ripped off at a graduation party
She had her turban snatched and thrown to the ground by a man while others present threw beer at her. In addition, she was cursed at, threatened and was the last to leave the party for fear of further assaults.
The representative of the National Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality and director of the State Union of Students of Minas Gerais (UEE-MG), Dandara Tonantzin Castro, was physically and verbally assaulted on Saturday night (23) by a group of men during a graduation party for the course of Civil Engineering of the Federal University of Uberlândia – UFU.
She had her turban snatched off and thrown to the ground by a man while others present threw beer at her. In addition, she was cursed at, threatened and was the last to leave the party for fear of further assaults.
Dandara wrote the following case report on her Facebook account:
“OUR PRESENCE MAKES PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE
About racism at a graduation party.
This week I participated in the graduation of my friends of civil engineering at UFU. Last night at the dance, I went wearing a TURBAN. At first, (I saw) many bothered looks, but the various compliments calmed me down. Almost at the end of the party, outside a cara branco (white guy), strongly pulled my turban. I told him to let go and I left. When I passed him again, alone, he pulled it a second time, I was so angry that I screamed for him not to touch my turban. He waved his friends to come, when they gathered in a circle, one of them snatched the turban from my head and threw it to the ground. When I went to get him, incredulous of what was happening, they threw beer at me. Lots of beer. I was blind, desperate to find my friends. I knew that if I stayed there might have been even more physical assaults.
My friends immediately called security (all black) who soon understood that it was racism and soon they were taking them out of the party. One of them with a straight face said to security that he didn’t assault me, “I just took that turban from her head.” The girlfriends (all white) came to me. I tried to explain that it was racism, cynicism prevailed and unsuccessfully I walked away. They got on the security guards asking them to throw me out of the party too, as if my presence was a problem. My friends still tried to talk but hatred blinds. When I went to the bathroom I still had to hear indirect threats, about hitting myself and other terrible things that I cannot even say here. We were the last to leave for fear of them doing something to us outside.
Black people at the graduation? (Working) in cleaning, security or serving.
I kept myself strong for a long time. But racism is cruel. My tears are wetting the cell phone screen, just thinking that these and so many others have gone unpunished. I am very proud that a black man, poor from the countryside like Filipe Almeida graduated, we continue with the certainty that we will resist.”
Source: Revista Forum