Note from BW of Brazil: When reading our numerous posts on racism in Brazil, new readers who might have only recently become conscious of a racial problem in Brazil and might ask, how is it that this racial hierarchy continues to exist. And those who discover the racial issue might then come to the conclusion that the situation can’t possibly be as bad as that in the US. Responding to both of these comments can actually make a lot of sense after reading today’s article.
You see, this blog’s position on comparing the racial situation of Brazil with that of US is that there’s no sense in arguing which is better or worse because racism in racism regardless where one lives. What BW of Brazil argues is that Brazilian-styled racism is more effective than that that exists in the US. And one of the main reasons is that often times, it is the black population itself that is convinced that racism doesn’t exist in Brazil or that it is something that only happens in the United States. With countless thousands of cases of racism happening across the country every day for many centuries, it is beyond absurd that people continue to live in denial. After all, as anthropology professor Kabengele Munanga explained, ‘the myth of racial democracy is part of the education of the Brazilian.”
The fact of the matter is that stories such as those of Afro-Brazilian activists such as Frei David and Jurema Batista are very common among the black population. Davi didn’t know he was black and Batista simply didn’t believe that racism existed in Brazil. This self-deception in relation to matters of race is something that doesn’t often happen in the US as most black Americans haven’t been under the illusion of racism not existing in that country. In Brazil, the culture of denial is such that it disarms so many of the very people that will be the ones affected by this social disease. This and other reasons are examples of why this writer argues that Brazilian styled racism is actually more effective.
Accused of theft, young black university student repents having said that “racism doesn’t exist”
The university student David Castro was offended and accused of stealing a cell phone in a snack bar in Fortaleza; soon after, the woman found the device inside her bag
The Civil Engineering student David Castro said he had been a victim of racism in a snack bar in Fortaleza. On Tuesday (5), he was near a lady who lost her cell phone, called one of her associates at the location and the accused the young man of having stolen the object. “I hadn’t realized that the lady was talking about me until got in front of me and said, ‘Give me back my iPhone, you black crook. You’re black, you could only be a thief,’” he reported.
The woman then requested that David be searched, but then she found the cell phone inside her bag. “I remembered every time I opened my mouth to say that racism didn’t exist and now I know how much I was mistaken. We are victims of a cruel and ignorant society,” lamented the student.
David called the police, took witnesses to the police station and filed a lawsuit against the aggressor. “I had never suffered racism explicitly and I keep thinking that if this happens in a ‘bourgeoisie’ place, imagine the peripheries of our country,” he said.
Read his social network post on the incident below
IT’S NOT “MIMIMI” (whining)
By David Castro
July 7 at 6:31 pm ·
Tuesday (07/05) I went with a friend to a hamburger place in Don Luis, as usual I requested my snack, until at a certain moment, a lady that was at the table in back, started talking about the disappearance of her mobile device that was allegedly on the table she occupied, all who were in the establishment perceived the lady’s reaction until she called André (one of the establishment’s partners), who by the way, is my friend, and said loud and clear that a NEGRINHO LADÃO E SAFADO (a little black shameless thief) had stolen her cell phone, I hadn’t realized that she was talking about me until she got in front of me and said, “Give me back my iphone you nego bandido (black crook), you’re black, you could only be a thief.” (1) There were several people inside the establishment but I was the only black near the lady, I was stunned and helpless, no one NEVER, NEVER had called me a crook or a thief, at the time I responded that I hadn’t picked up any cell (phone) and she continued “call security, don’t let him leave because he has to give me back my phone” so I, not believing what I was hearing politely said, ma’am, I didn’t take your phone, if you want to search me do it, she said “I don’t argue with crooks, you (addressing André) frisk him because he’s got my phone,” he said he knew me and that I would be incapable of stealing anything and so it was not necessary to search me. Long story short, after much scandal André asked her again to calm down and search for the phone inside her purse and the result, the phone was in her purse. She looked at me and said “my son, I’m sorry, I was wrong” I held her arm and that’s no excuse, and that she would leave to go to the police. At the time, I called police who quickly arrived, I explained everything and they led her to the police station, I called the lawyer who went straight to the station, I took two customers and André as witnesses and opened a case against Verônica Castilho de Brito Monte (a middle-aged woman, upper class, white, military daughter), for defamation and racism. I went back home crying and completely devastated to learn that in the 21st century there are such small people, able to accuse someone of being a thief because of their skin color and realizing that racism is at all levels of society, I never went through this in my life, I was not dirty or badly dressed (even if it was) the only reason to have been charged, was my color that I am very proud of having.
Não é mimimi (it’s not whining), going through this was the worst experience of my life. I grew up surrounded by amazing people and friends, colleagues, acquaintances filled with light, I had never suffered racism explicitly and wondered that if in a “bourgeoisie” place this happens, imagine the peripheries of our country, I remembered every time I opened my mouth to say that racism didn’t exist and now I know how mistaken I was. We are victims of a cruel and ignorant society.
Coming home, I did a google search to learn more about racism data and violence against blacks in Brazil and was shocked by what I read and wanted to share it with you guys.
Did you know that in 2014, 49,932 died in Brazil victims of homicide, or 26.2 people per 100 thousand inhabitants. 70.6% of the victims were black. In the same year, 26,854 young people between 15 and 29 were victims of homicide, i.e. 53.5% of the total; 74.6% of young people killed were black and 91.3% of homicide victims were male. The young victims (between 15 and 29) account for 53% of the total and the difference between white and black youths jumps from 4,807 to 12,190 homicides between 2004 and 2014. It’s scary to think that more than 70% of homicides in Brazil are against blacks. And there’s a certain congressman in Brazil (some mindless ones call a myth) that when asked about his children marrying a black woman quoted the following gem “I don’t run that risk, my children were very well educated,”. It’s such people feeding racism in society.
I didn’t stay quiet, I hope that you don’t remain quite, denounce it, racism is a crime and these people need to be punished.
I don’t want anything from this woman but respect, and as Andréia Coelho says “the world needs more light.”
Source: Revista Fórum
- Once again, the woman’s comments show how Brazil views its black population. If a black Brazilian is in a mall, he must have stolen something. If money’s missing on the beach, it had to be the black people. If a black woman is outside and has a child, she must be homeless. Black man with BMW? He had to have stolen it. This is everyday Brazil!
I remember reading this story a couple of days ago, as I live in Fortaleza. This man received what Black Americans call the “nigga wake up call”. Segregation is so strong here that, in the neighborhood where this man was accused, you simply do not see dark skinned people out at restaurants or at the malls, etc. – not unless they are there in the capacity of a waiter, maid, cleaner or baby sitter (because rich bitches cannot be bothered to push their own strollers),. It really is a bizarre twighlight zone kinda situation. Most likely, this man has spent most of his time around other Black people and younger people, without really attempting to interact with the “rich” of the society. He was lulled into thinking that there was no racism here. In fact, for many of them, if you point out something that is clearly classist or racist, they try to explain it away as a “joke”!
In any case, I am so happy that this young man woke the hell up and sent the signal to other Black folks by sharing the story AND calling the police on this hoe. I was also happy to see that he is an engineering student because it is yet more evidence of Black Brazilians continuing to move into the areas where they are most needed. He will not be the last victim, and I hope that Brazilian victims of racism will continue to call it out when they see it as this young man did~
Interesting. Never been to the Northeast but seems things are like in Rio in the 80’s.
What’s also interesting about this guy is that (judging from the bad photo) is that he does no strike me as the typical “negro” in the average Brazilian mind because his hair seems to be not really African. I saw countless times people trying to (in a way to give a sort of weird compliment) that I guy like him is not really black. And that is of course until something like this happens. Than the true colors appear.
The race mixture in Fortaleza tends to read more as “heavily indigenous with some African”, among those who are considered “Black”. Here, “Black” is not necessarily the same as “Negro” and it is not quite “Indigenous”. The term seems to cover “anyone with dark skin who is not completely indigenous”.
When I look at this man, though, I can DEFINITELY read his “Blackness” in his features and build. If he were in the US, most people who saw him would think that he was Afro Puerto Rican, Afro Dominican, or African -American-with-“good hair”.
As well, in this city, the words “Preto/Negro/Neginho-a/Pretinho-a” are all considered a complete insult. But words like “Negao/Negona/Moreno-a” are all considered acceptable ways of acknowledging a person’s Blackness. What is MOST striking here, however, is how heavily segregated this city still is. As I said before, in the “bairros nobres” here (Aldeota, Meireles), I STILL have not observed any dark skinned families that actually LIVE here! And the illegal redlining that happens in this district (like immobiliarias/real estate companies illegally asking for 6 months of security deposit instead of the legally mandated 3 months, or requiring a guarantor that owns a house in the state of Ceara or the city of Fortaleza, or requiring that the guarantor be married) are all illegal ways that non-whites are kept out of these neighborhoods. However, if you drive 5 minutes in any direction of these neighborhoods, the whole world is suddenly FULL of dark skinned people!
Thanks a lot Bama, this is all new t me. Just to clarify I completely agree this guy is black beyond any reasonable doubt. I was just pointing to a phenomenon I’m sure you experienced in that whites try to “un-black” someone, and this guy fits the profile.
And it’s time blacks take over these nice neighborhoods. We are the majority and this is our country.
No Probs! To be honest,” white “people in this country are dumber than most I have met in my life. The richest ones seem especially…i don’t know how to explain it…disconnected, needlessly fearful, and honestly retarded (not as an insult, but as an actual condition!) I don’t know if they are like that all over the country, but they DEFINITELY seem a bit “off” up here. The only exception I have seen to this seems to be with ones who no longer live in the country and then return, or who just choose to stay out permanently. They are more likely to study in private school and go to college, but they are SERIOUSLY dumb as F@ck and cannot seem to analyse information in the world! I am not EVEN joking about this! I love lists, so these are my top 10 observations about “white” Brazilians
1. NONE of them know any of the specifics about programs like bolsa familia
or affirmative action (so its pretty easy to argue with them if you have the facts)
2. Most white people I have met in my life are, underneath it all, quite sociopathic.
The ones here are SCARILY sociopathic in their thoughts and behavior. Scary
because this is a culture where people are taught to smile a lot. The ones
here are constantly brimming over with violent and evil thoughts about
poor people and non-white people.
3. I am surprised by the high number of them who attend private schools, but who
are functionally illiterate. I am also surprised by the high number of these
private school educated white Brazilians who do not have a firm grasp of
the Portuguese language. They really do believe that Portuguese is the
hardest language in the WORLD!
4. They – particularly the rich ones – have no thoughts….about ANYTHING!!! It is
impossible to, for example, practice English conversation with the majority
of them because they just don’t think anything about anything.
5. They are lazy as F@ck! I have observed laziness in them that I didn’t even
know could exist (like never throwing things in the trash, never washing their
own plate or clearing a table, etc.)
6. Most of the “Complexo de Vira Lata” applies to “white” Brazilians. I have NEVER
seen a group of people express so much absolute hatred for who they are as
a people or where they come from. I almost never see this in darker skinned
Brazilians – even those who no longer live in Brazil.
7. Most of them lack REALLY basic life skills (washing clothes, planning things in
an agenda, solving basic problem in life, painting walls, moving furniture,
caring for their own children without the help of a nanny – even if one of the
parents doesn’t work, etc.)
8. A LOT of the rich white men here are closeted homosexuals, and are often
married to women and with kids! I do not have a problem with homosexuals.
I am just surprised that there are so many closeted, rich, white, male ones
9. They are absolutely terrified of non-rich brown people and cannot distinguish
between those who are up to no good vs those who will rob them!
10. They are TERRIFIED.ALL.THE.TIME! They think that Fortaleza is one of the
most dangerous cities in the world! This is mostly due to those websites that
talk about homicide rates without specifying WHO is being killed (here, its
mostly poor Brown people with some involvement in gangs or drug trafficing).
They all know a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who had
something bad happen to them once. They do not have basic “street smarts”
and are usually victims of petty crimes (the infamous stolen iPhone). They
also refuse to believe having your phone stolen is not as dangerous as, say,
being at school and getting shot to death by classmates! They also refuse to
believe that white people who get shot to death may have been involved in
illicit activities that made them targets.
11. Those who know, deep down, that they are not really white, are OBSESSED
with non-Brazilian white people – particularly if they have blond hair and
light colored eyes.
Ok thats eleven! Oh, there is much more, but I will save it for another time!
It is ridiculous to say that racism is racism whether in the US or Brazil. Brazil is known for its “mulatto escape hatch”. That makes a difference and explains why Brazilian racism is more effective. Not surprising that initially the guy did not realize that he was the one being referred to. How much would a pardo identify with an African in the way that a white Brazilian would identify with an Italian? Get real and let us recognize colorism as another evil. It may exist in other parts of the Americas but Brazil takes the cake (after the Dominican Republic). This is from someone who has observed Latin American students abroad. But BW of Brazil is a great start.
Ridiculous? Hmmm…So you’re saying that racism is something other than…racism? Now THAT sounds ridiculous! The so-called “mulatto escape hatch” doesn’t actually speak to the issue of racism, so why are you bringing this up? It is more of a reaction to racism. And the point of the guy having been in denial that racism exists in Brazil further proves my point. Again, racism is racism, regardless of its particular brand or country, although it may have specific nuances. Some of the very same incidents of racism, racial insults and attacks happen in Brazil as those that happen in the US. So how does the so-called “mulatto escape hatch” disprove anything? And I say so-called because, regardless of certain privileges bestowed upon mulattos, socio-economically-speaking, they are in the same boat at negros.
He looks Arabic from the African Continent where Arabs had mixed with Africans. He would stand out amongst African Americans, because we are a very Black people. His experience in America would be much improved. Arabs don’t get accused of stealing, but they are looked at as terrorist. They are able to move into white neighborhoods much easier than blacks. He will have trouble attracting the same kind of women that African Americans males usually get. This is the only real advantage of being an African American male or a very black looking people.