Note from BW of Brazil: What can be said about this story except that it’s not surprising. I mean, covering incidents of racism has been one of the principal topics on this blog, just as reactions that deny or attempt to minimize racism. Actress Taís Araújo, who has become very vocal on issues of race in recent years, is the latest example of how Brazilians absolutely hate to deal with the race issue in a straightforward manner. Araújo was a featured speaker at the popular TED Talk events in the city of São Paulo. While many praised the actress’s candid discussion, others blasted her. See the story below.
Actress Taís Araújo target of prejudiced attacks after TEDTalk speech on racism
The actress was one of the speakers at the TEDx São Paulo meeting, which took place on August 12 of this year, and had the theme “How to raise sweet children in an acid country”
On Thursday, November 16, a video of a lecture by Taís Araújo debating the impact of themes such as racism and machismo on the education of the children went viral on the Internet. Nevertheless, the speech of the actress ended up yielding a series of attacks in the social networks.
“What does Taís Araújo want? A race war like the one there was in the United States? Where does this speech come from? I don’t think it’s consistent with an actress who is part of the elite,” a Twitter user said. “Taís Araújo and her husband, a casal vitimista (victim-playing couple). They earn millions in advertising and now use their children to victimize themselves,” another criticized.
The actress was one of the speakers at the TEDx São Paulo meeting, which took place on August 12 of this year, and had the theme “Como criar crianças doces num País ácido” (How to raise sweet children in an acid country). Her speech went viral on the internet and the name Taís was one of the most talked about topics on Twitter on Thursday, the 16th.
At the beginning of the chat, Taís emphasized the difference between being the mother of a girl and a boy.
“When I got pregnant with my son, I was very, very relieved to know that I had a man in my womb, because I was sure that he would be free from going through situations experienced by us women, right? Wrong. Wrong because my son is a menino negro (black boy) and freedom is a right he will not be able to enjoy if he walks the streets barefoot, shirtless, dirty, coming out of futebol class. He runs the risk of being pointed as an offender – even at the age of six,” she said.
“In Brazil, my son’s color is the color that causes people to change sidewalks, hide their bags and bullet-proof their cars,” she continued.
Note from BW of Brazil: As I wrote above, I was not the least bit surprised by common reactions against Araújo’s speech. After all, we’ve seen ridiculous “banana campaigns”, t-shirts and continuous acts of denial. Remember we are dealing with a country that has long presented itself as a ‘racial democracy’. In past material, we’ve seen numerous stories of black children being discriminated against, even black children of middle-class families, including those adopted by white parents. We’ve seen middle-class or elite Afro-Brazilians continuing to struggle with racist attitudes, so how ridiculous is it to believe that someone would treat the son of an actress any different from any other black child, especially if people don’t know who he is? Do I need to remind you that it has been two years since Rio police took more than 100 shots at the five black youth killed in a car? Do we need to recap how common it is for police to murder black teens in Brazil? It seems that people are actually offended that someone as successful as Taís Araújo would continue to discuss a social disease that continues to contaminate society. It isn’t the first time people have reacted against her stance.
But this aspect of the story concerning the president of a major media outlet just goes to show that even those that one would think would understand the issue of racism just goes to show the depths of denial on this topic. EBC is a news outlet that has been cited in numerous articles on this blog, so the company’s president’s making jokes about the issue, while not shocking, still caught me off guard. I mean, if the president of a major media company that frequently discusses racism in society can make jokes about the severity of the issue, what does this say about everyday people?
President of EBC makes jokes about Taís Araújo’s speech on racism
Courtesy of Revista Forum
After journalist William Waack was dismissed from Globo TV for racism and Rio de Janeiro’s secretary of education, César Benjamin, classified the speech of actress Tais Araújo as “idiotic”, it was now the turn of the CEO of the EBC (Empresa Brasil de Comunicação – Brazil Company of Communication), Laerte Rimoli, trying to make fun of the subject in his Facebook account.
Tais Araújo said in a speech recorded at TEDxSãoPaulo on August 12 and divulged on Saturday, November 18 that “in Brazil, my son’s color is what makes people change sidewalks, hold their bags and bulletproof their cars.”
The president of EBC shared at least three posts ironizing the speech of the actress:
Revista Forum asked him to comment on the posts and so far he has not received any answers. We also contacted the EBC who, so far, did not respond.