Note from BW of Brazil:I will say this about social networks. The traditional Brazilian modus operandi is to deny the existence of racism even in the face of overwhelming evidence. But racism and prejudice plus social media and video cameras are combining to put racist sentiments of the average Brazilian online for the entire world to see. Nothing new here. We’ve know it all along! Please DO feel free to leave a comment if you seriously wish to defend the idea of a ‘racial democracy’ or that ‘we are all equal’.
Woman posts photo on social networks and suffers a spate of racist attacks
In support of the journalist Cristiane Damacena, many internet users also commented on repudiation of prejudice
By Mirelle Pinheiro, with Kelly Almeida and Ana Carolina Torres
A journalist from the capital city of Brasilia has been a target of racism on social networks since last week. Cristiane Damacena posted a picture on Facebook on April 24 and since the 29th, she has received a barrage of aggressive comments.
Until the publication of this report, the picture had more than 13,000 shares and thousands of comments. After a series of attacks because of her skin color, internet users against the prejudice published messages of support telling her not to bow before what they considered “cowardly” acts. Cristiane’s beauty and its similarity to the Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o (1) were cited as an incentive.
Translation of above messages:
“Cristiane my flower, you are beautiful, racist comments should have disappeared in the middle of so many compliments, but don’t lower your black head, keep on movin’ and seek your rights, racism is a crime!!! Empower yourself!!!
“Congratulations for being beautiful!”
“Beautiful, much more than many “whites”, so much that they are so ignorant that they don’t know that being Latinos they suffer prejudice. You are beautiful inside and out.”
Sought by Extra (news), Cristiane declined to comment about what happened. She has contacted a lawyer to know how to position herself on the incident:
“At the moment, I can’t speak. It was a lawyer’s advice. We are still contextualizing it and we have no definition yet of how we will act.”
War on racism
Thousands of Americans are protesting against police violence involving blacks. The riots that paralyzed Baltimore, Maryland in the US, began after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a black 25 year old who died of serious spinal injuries eight days after being arrested by police. Advocates of Gray’s family explained that the death of the young man who spent a week in a coma, was caused by serious injuries suffered after his arrest.
Even deleted, a racist profile can be traced, says expert
Police can find the perpetrators of racist comments against the young woman Cristiana Damacena on Facebook, even if the profile is deleted from a profile on the network.
An investigation between police and a social network can identify perpetrators of racist comments against the Brasilia journalist Cristiana Damacena, 25, even if the user account is false, or removed from the web. This is what Leonardo Zanatta, a specialist in digital rights, explains. “If there is cooperation between the social network and the Brazilian police it’s easy to reach those responsible for racist acts, although everything is deleted,” he said. In many cases, the attackers use fake profiles to spread messages of hate, but still, according to the lawyer, the user can be tracked.
Zanatta stressed that the use of the Internet deserves care and one of them is paying attention to the ‘use policy’ available on social networks, and blocking the access unknown persons to personal profiles. “Prevention inhibits numerous crimes, not only racism,” he added. Thiago Pierobom, responsible for the Núcleo de Enfrentamento à Discriminação (NED or Center for Combating Discrimination), of the Ministério Público do Distrito Federal e Territórios (MPDFT or Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories), said the case of the journalist has not officially reached the PM (Military Police), but the police will forward it as soon as the inquiry is complete. According Pierobom, those responsible may be terminated for the injúria racial (racial injury/slur crime) and face up to three years in prison.
Remembering the case
Cristiane posted a picture on April 24 and received dozens of prejudiced comments since the 29th. “Quanto está esta escrava?” (How much is this slave?) and “macaca” (monkey) are just a few of the harsh offenses.
Others read: “Quem deixou essa macaca fugir do zoológico?” (Who let this monkey escape from the zoo?), “Teve que acender todas as luzes da cidade para ela poder aparecer na foto” (You have to turn on the lights in the city so she can show up in the photo), “Fugiu da senzala?” (Did she escape from the zoo?) e “Se reparar a cor do vestido é amarela porque lembra a banana para ela. Cor preferida do macaco” (If you notice the dress color it’s yellow because it reminds her of a banana. A monkey’s favorite color).
In the face of unprovoked aggression, Internet users stood in solidarity with the journalist and they used the same space, before taken up by insults, to highlight Cristiane beauty and provide support.
1. Since winning an Oscar award, the actress has had a tremendous effect on the self-esteem of black Brazilian women. A number of posts on this blog have made reference to her success.