Note from BBT: Well, well, so here we go again with Brazil’s obsession with presenting a ‘’we are the world’’ image on the racial question even with all of the evidence to the contrary. You know, in some ways, I do believe it is better to put one’s racial politics to the side when competing for a job or title of some sort for the very reasons presented in today’s story.
The fact is, in terms of race and representation, Brazil is a complete contradiction. The discourse on race that all are taught to believe or at least present as true is that Brazil is a mixed-race nation with respect for all of its people. ‘’We are all equal’’ is a common phrase that people will utter when incidents of racial discrimination occur.
It’s as if people are programmed to automatically repeat this rhetoric even though everywhere you look (TV, film, advertising, politics, etc.), Brazil prefers to present itself, not as the mixed-race nation it claims to be so proud of, but rather an extension of Europe in the tropics. It’s only been in recent years, after decades of struggle of the Movimento Negro (black rights movement), the establishment of the affirmative action system and companies presenting diversity and racial inclusion policies that we are starting to see some non-white faces in varying genres. This is not to say that the society as a whole has whole heartedly accepted these changes.
In my view, much of these policies of inclusion are simply window dressing. It’s as if the power structure is saying, ‘’give these negros something so they’ll shut up.’’ In my view, portraying the acceptance of racial diversity is a sort of scheme to convince black Brazilians that things are getting better. They will keep spending their money with these top companies because they perceive a slight improvement in racial representation although these changes will probably not be long-lasting nor extensive.
I warned some years ago, after black women won the title of Miss Brasil two years in row that things would so go back to ‘’normal’’, meaning white or near white women representing the beauty of Brazilian women. Well, after Raissa Santana won in 2016 and Monalysa Alcântara won in 2017, things did in fact get back to ‘’normal’’ in 2018, 2019 and 2020. This means that in 66 years of the Miss Brasil contest, there have only been three black women to wear the crown. As I said, ‘’give these negros something so they’ll shut up’’.
In today’s story, a young black woman was seen as a favorite in another of these popular Miss contests and she probably would have won….but then she spoke in favor of more black representation, which basically sealed her loss. This is what we learn from Brazilian racism 2.0. Black representation can continue to be low, but we must maintain the idea that all representation matters. But, using the Miss Brasil question as just one example of this myth, if all representation matters, why have only three black women won the Miss Brasil contest in 66 years?
I know, I know, such a radical question…
Black model is eliminated from miss pageant after giving speech in favor of representation
Courtesy of Mídia Preta
For the organization of beauty pageants, the goal of the annual event is to “elect the most beautiful woman”. Although the candidates always follow a standard with sculptural bodies, besides being absurdly beautiful, the participants must be attuned to their time, express themselves very well, be intelligent and have knowledge on several current topics.
But the speech of one candidate at “Miss Teen Earth”, in Salvador, Bahia, didn’t please everyone and was very decisive for the elimination of the participant.
The model Thasilla Brandão, 18, was eliminated from a Miss contest after making a speech about black representation. According to TV Record, Thasilla was the favorite to take the Miss Teen Earth national award, in Salvador, Bahia, but was penalized when she said she dreamed of seeing young black girls reaching their goals.
One of the organizers of the event, Neto Santos, confirmed to the report that the words of the contestant affected her score. The allegation was that the miss “should defend all races”. Santos said in an audio sent to the model’s mother, Joseane Carla: “The phrase was ‘I am here to defend the black cause. When you say you are defending a cause, great, but she, in the position of miss has to defend all races.”
Thasilla is the winner of six other miss titles: “I want other people to look at me and think ‘she did it, so I can do it,'” she said.
After repercussions of what happened, Thasilla posted a brief manifesto on her Instagram:
‘’Our fight is constant and daily where black people need to prove by various ways that they are capable. What I’ve been through other girls have also been through and I feel the racism in my skin, how long will this continue? It’s not easy nor will it be but the persistence and support of my family and our jurisdiction has also been important in this process because only those who suffer know such injustice. As a miss and a representative, I will not remain silent!
Thank you @recordtvoficial @recordtvitapoan for giving visibility to this case, showing the reality. @tvalba @liviasantanavaz. My lawyer @prof.marinhosoares @luiz.montal. My team @josycarla.n @gestoremersonsantos @_iris.victoria @veracysantos @pierry_photos @belezaporsuellen @cruzedmundonunes @cleiton.nerii.
All my sponsors and fans from all over Bahia and Brazil’’
Human Rights Commission receives accusation of racism in beauty contest
From the Editorial Staff
The State Representative and President of the Human Rights Commission (CDH) of the Legislative Assembly of Bahia (Alba), Jacó (PT), received in his office, on Monday, 17, the model Thásilla Brandão, 18 years old, in order to denounce the crime of racism, of which Thásilla would have been a victim by the Brazilian organization of Miss Teen Earth International.
The international beauty contest is aimed at teenagers. According to Thasilla, she had prepared herself for three years and invested more than BRL 20 thousand in trips and hotel daily rates in São Paulo, as well as clothes, makeup, photos, rehearsals and courses. However, the model ended up disqualified in the final stretch, finishing in 3rd place in the dispute.
“We were stunned, she (Thasilla) was always excelling, judges and competitors commented. She was the only one in the oratory contest to speak in two languages, which would have given her a place to represent Brazil in the international stage. We hope that the contest will retract. And we need to open people’s eyes to faithful businesses without prejudice or racism,” says the mother.
The young woman said that her speech made in the final stretch of the contest was the main reason for taking away points and “destroying her dreams”. During her speech, Thasilla said she wants to “influence other black girls”, so that they believe that they are also capable of conquering their goals.
In a recording obtained by the model’s mother, the coordinator of the Brazilian stage of Miss Teen Earth, Lizioneto Santos, would have justified the disqualification: “When you say that, you are defending a cause, great, defend it, that’s very good, but she in the position of miss will have to defend all races”.
According to Thasilla, she faced the dispute in the condition of “representative of the black girls not only from Bahia, but from Brazil”. The family’s lawyer, Marinho Soares, filed a lawsuit requesting compensation for material and moral damages. According to the state deputy, the case will not go unpunished.
“We are going to sue the HRC and the Commission for Promotion of Equality at Alba, because we cannot accept that any Bahian citizen should suffer any kind of racism. It is lamentable and we strongly repudiate it. We will disclose the name of this contest so that other mothers don’t fall in the same trap”, concluded the parliamentarian.
Source: Mídia Preta, A Tarde
On one hand, I’m like, “Figures. Just like North America, South America hates it when black people mention black-people things.”
On another hand, I’m like, “Beauty pageants aren’t dreams. They’re stupid contests. Ones we didn’t even create, so why try to conform to its standards?”
But I get how we may try to use the latter as a platform for the former. I just think we don’t need to try to fit ourselves into their Barbie world as “chocolate-dipped white girls” to do it. I dunno. We’re always in lose-lose scenarios, aren’t we?
I’ve said this for years. Beauty pageants are very frivolous and sometimes I wonder if they aren’t more harmful than good. I mean, I’ve seen contests in which there are all black girls in them and some of the girls compete year after year and don’t win. Competition can always have positive and negative effects, but this outcome, again, falls into the situation of trying to fit into the controlling society. If this would have been held at all-black contest, with black sponsors and black judges, the scenario would have been different.