Ballet teacher on her experiences with racist security as she escorted her black students in a mall: they’re looked at “as if they had a contagious disease”

Group of ballet students coordinated by ballet teacher Kátia Cruz
Group of ballet students coordinated by ballet teacher Kátia Cruz

Note from BW of Brazil: The practice of shopping mall “apartheid” has been a hot topic in the Brazilian media as of late due to the suspicion and attitudes provoked by the presence of mostly black teens in ritzy Brazilian shopping malls.  Below, a ballet teacher recalls her own experience when she simply wanted to take her young students to a movie. 

“At each turn and each escalator, we were escorted by security guards.” – Kátia Cruz , 47 – ballet teacher

Courtesy of O Tempo

A few years ago, the ballet teacher Kátia Cruz, 47, underwent a very embarrassing situation at a mall in the capital city Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte. She took the movies a group of nearly 20 dancers ages 10 to 15, her students in a dance workshop in Aglomerado da Serra in the south central region of the city when she was barred by from entering the entrance of the establishment by security guards. Kátia only managed to enter with her ​​students when she presented to the guards the tickets for the movie, of which they had been invited to watch. Nevertheless, the group was watched and followed throughout the path that ran inside the mall.

Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil

“At each turn and escalator, we were escorted by several security guards. It was extremely inconvenient and unpleasant,” recalls the teacher. “It seemed that my students were outside of the standard visual aesthetic of traditional customers of that mall.”

And the situation wasn’t limited to commercial centers. Kátia says that even today, in some theaters and cultural spaces where she takes her group of black students, it’s clear how they are perceived, “as if they had a contagious disease.”

“These situations are totally uncalled for, simply because the girls differ from a visual standard that people usually receive in certain places. It’s very sad,” she laments.

Source: O Tempo

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


  1. Because in these people’s minds these children and their teacher were out of their place. Even children who pose no threat to anyone, is a threat to the institution of racism, because they are Black they are not welcome to enjoy as common an activity as watching a movie. So the issue is not the watching of the movie, or being scared of a group of Black girls, the issue becomes one of deservedness, and staying in your place. Because of the perceived low value of Blacks they are then expected to participate in activities and socialize in places of the perceived same low value. Basically, Blacks are not deserving of anything good or equal to that of whites, whether it is something material or an experience as commonplace as watching a movie. Being in the favela is fine, doing favela entertainment activities also fine, working in a subservient position, washing my underwear and cooking my meals, fine; Entertaining yourself in my neck of the woods, not okay; moving into my neighbourhood, definitely not okay, having a good education and being a professional, absolutely not okay – who will clean up after me, who will be there so that I can look at them and feel better about myself and thank God I am not in their wretched economic state ?

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