Black 5th grade student “protests” all-white images on test; colors characters equal to his skin color

"Turma da Mônica" (left) is a popular Brazilian children's comic book. A student, frustrated with the lack of black characters, colored the characters brown
“Turma da Mônica” (left) is a popular Brazilian children’s comic book. A student, frustrated with the lack of black characters, colored the characters brown


Note from BW of Brazil: In today’s piece we share an example that shows that it’s not only experts who can perceive Brazil’s insistence on only featuring white people as the standard in some many areas of society. Some children who have not been completely indoctrinated with the “whiteness as representative of humanity” ideology also notice such things. 

5th grade student makes ‘protests’ against racism in school test in Nova Iguaçu

Courtesy of Diário do Centro do Mundo

The teacher Joice Oliveira Nunes was surprised to receive the bimonthly test of one of her students of the 5th grade, of the Escola Municipal Professora Irene da Silva Oliveira (Municipal Professor Irene Oliveira da Silva) school in Vila Cava neighborhood of Nova Iguaçu, in Rio de Janeiro.

Once again seeing a drawing with characters that did not look like him, the child identified as Cleidison, decided to make an artistic protest against the lack of representation for black children and colored all of the characters. Joice embraced the cause of the boy and shared the image on Facebook. In the message, she hints that she will seek to diversify the drawings.

Teacher posted the student's alteration of the drawing in her social network page
Teacher posted the student’s alteration of the drawing in her social network page

“Every two months there is a vote in my room to choose the cover of the test. The cover this time was Turma da Mônica (1). My student Cleidison handed me the cover of the test telling me: ‘I painted it my color, okay? I’m tired of these drawings different from me.’ (2) Message given,” wrote the teacher on Facebook.

Jeremias is the only black character of the popular "Turma da Mônica" children's comic series
Jeremias is the only black character of the popular “Turma da Mônica” children’s comic series

The story, of course, was a hit among social networking users. Some of them joked with the teacher, cheering for a perfect score for the engaged student. The image has been shared over 1,200 times.

Note from BW of Brazil: The teacher in the story should be at least partially commended for recognizing the child’s feeling of exclusion. I say partially because had the child never said anything the teacher would probably not have recognized this exclusion as studies show that Brazilian teachers simply aren’t prepared to deal with the exclusion of blacks in their curriculum. In fact, often times, the teachers themselves are directly involved in contributing to this exclusionary process. The process then often leads to the fragmentation of identity among Afro-Brazilian children


1. Turma da Mônica, which could translated as Monica’s Gang, is a popular Brazilian comic book franchise created by Maurício de Souza. The series was originally based on a newspaper comic strip in which the protagonists were Blu (Bidu) and Franklin (Franjinha), launched by the newspaper Folha da Manhã in 1959. Over the years the series has been earning his large audience and audience, plus a large development going to have new protagonists, Jimmy Five (Cebolinha) and Monica (Mônica) leading the series title. Also the characters stood out in the media with cartoons, video games, movies, a wide range of products. Source

2. Jeremias is the only black character in the stories of Turma da Mônica and was one of the first created by Maurício de Sousa, even before Monica, created in 1959. Since its creation, the character Cebolinha has held the position of president of the clubhouse of the boys in the gang in their stories but in the latest edition, a new vote was taken and Jeremias was elected to chair the clique. Some have speculated that this may be partially due to the “Obama effect”, in reference to the election of the first black president in the United States. In his election speech in the comic, Jeremias uses phrases like “Eu tenho um sonho”, meaning “I have a dream” (in reference to the Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King) and argues for change, unity, cooperation and prosperity.

Source: Diário do Centro do Mundo, UOL Ohayo

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


      • It’s a wide open blog on several different things. Some adult so you might not want to be exposed to that sort of thing. I have to throw that in to gain and keep followers. Or at least that’s my story. Am up to about 7000 followers so I guess it’s working. You should think about branching off to tumblr. It’s super easy and you can just cut and paste from your main blog.

      • Actually, I don’t mess with anything but tumblr and WordPress. I don’t really feel like all extra stuff the others offer and I don’t trust FACEBOOK.

      • Word. How long you been been blogging? I’m on FB but it’s “The Empire” if you know what I mean. To be 100%, I don’t trust any of them. They’re all watching us! Where do you get most of your traffic?

      • Most definitely tumblr – because it’s so easy to navigate people are always on. I get hits 24/7, but you gotta be okay with adult material because it’s here heavy. It doesn’t bother me at all so, but what I can’t deal with is the negro madness. Some Black people on tumblr are living in some parallel universe where white folk love them.

      • Will have to check it out. I actually created an account some time ago but never used it. I’ve seen it; there is MAD adult stuff on there. I won’t be posting any but it won’t offend me. But how long you been on Tumblr to get so many followers?

      • Yes. That’s how you get traffic and then you add in the stuff that you came for. No doubt. But my content has changed greatly since I first started and I get followers from personal commentary. The stories like yours and other current events articles are mostly what I post now. All Black centered and even the adult content is Black centered and by adult I mean women not porn. I also post a lot of music and just everyday things of interest. My adult a content is very limited now, but to be honest I like Black women a lot.

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