A million ways to be racist; choose one – Black lawyer barred from entering a club because of “looking like a security guard”

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julianotrevis 851x670
Lawyer Juliano Trevisan was barred from entering a nightclub in Curitiba because he “looked like a security guard”

Note from BW of Brazil: Ya know, even covering racism in Brazil as much as I do, I am still sometimes amazed at how many ways this social illness manifests in everyday life. It’s not that I’m at all surprised, it just amazes me the ridiculous justifications people come up with in order to practice racism all the while denying that that is in fact what they’re doing. Take today’s case, for example…First, read the details below and I’ll chime in a little later…

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Trevisan shared his ordeal in his social network profile wearing the clothes that led to his being barred

Black lawyer barred from a club for “looking like a security guard”

The case happened in Curitiba. Lawyer Juliano Trevisan wore exactly the same clothing as the photo and was barred at the door of the James Bar, on the grounds that he would be mistaken for a security guard. “I know several people who go there wearing a shirt and a tie and they have not been barred,” the lawyer lamented.

Know more about the case.

The post in which lawyer Juliano Trevisan tells an episode of racism he suffered in a bar in Curitiba (capital of the state of Paraná) already has more than 900 shares on Facebook. A black man and with dreadlocks, Trevisan reported that after an event with fellow lawyers last Thursday (13) he was barred at the door of the “James Bar” under the allegation that he would be mistaken for house security.

Juliano wore exactly the same clothes as the picture. “When I arrived, the clerk looked at me from head to toe and informed me that in my style, with ‘the clothes I was wearing I could not enter’. I looked at my clothes trying to understand why, and he continued ‘black tie and such, you will be confused with security inside, so you can’t go in,’” reported the lawyer in the social network.

In addition to being a lawyer, Juliano is YouTuber and has a channel that deals precisely with negritude e preconceito (blackness and prejudice). “As a militant, I expose situations of prejudice and discrimination and various biases. But when it happens to me, I was shocked with no action. I feel humiliated,” he lamented.

The James Bar, in turn, apologized to Trevisan when it learned of the case and reported that it fired the employee who barred the lawyer.

Check out the full post below about the episode


“Imagine the following situation: A man is informed that he will not be able to enter a nightclub because he is not wearing the right clothes.

What would such inappropriate clothing be?

The first image that would come to the mind of most of you (and even to me if anyone told me this) would be someone wearing a tank top, maybe shorts, maybe flip-flops, maybe shirtless and so on. BUT NO.

The man I cite here, WAS ME.

The clothing in question was EXACTLY THE CLOTHING IN THE PHOTO (black short sleeve shirt, dress pants, brown shoes, and black tie).

It sounds like I’m telling a joke, but it happened.

Yesterday (07/13), leaving a lawyers event, of which I participated in the organization, I arranged with friends to go to James Bar, (and) as we left the event late, we decided to go in the same clothes.

A few minutes after arriving and standing in the line at James, I was approached by one of the security guards who called me to talk to an employee of a relevant position in the club.

When I arrived, the employee looked at me from head to toe and informed me that in my style, “the clothes I was wearing I could not get in.” I looked at my clothes trying to understand why, and he continued “black tie and such, you will be mistaken for security inside, so you can not enter.”

The security guard who was at my side had a ponytail still went on: “and you can’t say (it’s) about your hair, because I also have long hair, look”.

At the time the situation shocked me so much, that I thought it was silly. I didn’t want to argue, I didn’t want to ‘end my night and my friends’, so I simply said that I would leave.

It was when I got into my car to pull away that it hit me.

As a militant, I expose situations of prejudice and discrimination and the various biases. But when it happens to me, I was shocked with no action.

I feel humiliated, I’ve looked at my clothes a thousand times, until understanding that the problem is not my clothes, it’s not my style, it’s not me. And I need to expose this situation to you and demonstrate how serious it is, and what it represents socially speaking these days.

“Looking like a security guard”

I know several people who go there with a shirt and tie and they have not been barred. The truth is that as much as I looked the club’s security, this does not justify barring my entry. Social clothing is not an exclusive uniform of security companies and what about graduations where security guards are dressed equally to the guests?

This attitude only demonstrates the employee’s partiality, and amateurism by the security company, which has already been noticed by several other situations in the club.

For a social problem to be solved, it must first be pointed out. This is because part of society insists on being reluctant to face the countless situations of blacks, women, gays and other minority groups today, insisting that prejudice and discrimination are now mimimi (whining).

I hope that one day the night clubs will have adequate professional training so that no one else goes through situations like this and that they apply the measures legally applicable to those involved when events like this happen.”

Note from BW of Brazil: This incident is absurd on so many levels. Let me see if I can address everything here. First things first, as the man said, he’s seen other men come to that same club dressed similar to him and they never had any problems getting in. So, apparently, being dressed “like security” doesn’t affect all patrons of the nightclub. Gee, I wonder what could have been different about the other guys who didn’t have any problems getting in. Two, as ridiculous an excuse as it is, so what if he’s mistaken for security; I’ve been mistaken for being an employee at certain places more times than I can remember, and? Someone asks if he is security, he says ‘no’, case closed. 

The third thing that stuck out was the fact that the second guy felt the need to say “and you can’t say (it’s) about your hair, because I also have long hair”. The comment suggests that the guy knew very well that they were practicing racism and for this reason, he had to anticipate and try to dismiss any argument the lawyer might have had for why he was being barred. What’s silly about making such a statement is that black Brazilians are normally discriminated against for a number of reasons, including hair, skin color and the assumption of lower class status. So, this security guard could negate discriminating based on hair but not even address the other two reasons of which black people are usually victimized by. Another reason for why the security guard’s reference to hair doesn’t stick is due to the fact that, afro-textured hair is so despised in Brazil (see here, here or here, for just a few recent examples). As I mentioned in a recent post, two men, one black and the other white, could have the same length of hair, but the black man (or woman) will always lose when it comes down to choice because, in a country ruled by a Eurocentric standard of beauty, straight hair is ALWAYS considered better/acceptable. 

The fourth thing I must mention is that, considering the three reasons for which black Brazilians usually face discrimination, Trevisan is actually a lawyer and thus most likely earns more money than either of the two men who interrogated him. So once again we have a situation that debunks the idea that black Brazilians are victims of class discrimination rather than racial. The black man in this case was not only dressed well, but also has a high-status occupation but yet and still, he was discriminated against by two men who one would assume were beneath him in terms of social status. As his job title didn’t even come up, there seemed to be another situation in which white men of inferior status felt the need to try to keep a would be socially superior black man “in his place”, after all, “who does this nig…black guy think he is?” In other words, regardless of the black man’s status and credentials, the white racist will still want to see himself as being superior to a black person because this is the way white supremacy has taught him. Like, “he’s educated, has a respectable, high-paying job, is dressed well, drives a nice car and has money, but I’m still white and he’s not!”

Tell me that one about “we Brazilians aren’t racists” again

Source: Revista Fórum

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. Racist acts like this are disgusting, and I’m glad Mr. Trevisan shared it publicly to alert others and shame them, and that this blog is too. I also hope that he sues the club.

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