Globo TV journalist received racist message, responds with thought-provoking poem; anchor thanks father and speaks on black representation
By Marques Travae
Let’s all say it again. Racism doesn’t exist in Brazil because ‘’we are all equal’’. You know the line and you know the routine of denying racism even with nearly 500 years of evidence. It’s been quite clear for a long time that, regardless how well Afro-Brazilians perform their specific duties, there are still those who believe they shouldn’t be in the places that they occupy. That could be on modeling runways, in companies, airplanes or anywhere else.
Pedro Lins recently experienced an example of this. Lins is a journalist who has been gaining prominence at TV Globo Nordeste, where he has been the host of the news program NE1, proving to be to be very comfortable and competent with a role that places him in front of millions of viewers.
However, a few days ago, even showing himself to be more than adequate to carry out such as important role, got a taste of the type of racism that Brazilians continue to say doesn’t exist when an internet user asked: “Who do I talk to at Globo to stop putting you, black people, on to present the news?”
Already an activist in social networks on race issues in defense of the black struggle, Pedro didn’t simply let the incident slide, as her shared what had happened in a video via his personal Instagram account, responding to the comment.
“I am sharing this here to tell you, whoever also goes through this, that you are not alone. And take this opportunity to also say, as I said yesterday to this racist person: luck? No, love. Here there is a lot of work, a lot of study, a lot of strength, a lot of focus, and a lot of competence.”
“And I will use poetry as I always do, a text by Pedro Martins, from São Paulo, which says the following: prejudice is an action when the lack of virtue prevails in the attitude of a heartless being. He thinks he is better, has more capacity, but in fact his imbecility is greater,” he continued.
“If blood, is the same color, and appeal is just a carcass, why so much unloving, so much arrogance of grace? We are all different, because that’s how we were made, intelligent creatures, despite our flaws,” concluded Pedro.
In the comments section of Pedro’s video response, many supporters came to his defense as the story and response quickly went viral online: “Very worthy of being in this place, I admire you, ” wrote one, while another read, “In the middle of 2021 there are people who still open their mouths (without any shame) to say such nonsense. I’m sorry, Pedro,” wrote one follower.
Lins had already been prepared for such attitudes. Back in November during the commemoration of Brazil’s annual Day of Black Consciousness, an emotional Lins paid tribute to a very important person in his life.
During one of his newscasts, Lins spoke on the necessity people being able to recognize their color and have references to look up to and be proud of. As anyone familiar with Brazil’s history knows, it is often difficult for people of African descent to accept their identity due to the strong stigma created by Brazilian society.
Like perhaps millions of other Brazilians, lawyer José Antônio Gomes of Turmalina, Minas Gerais, is familiar with this. At 57 years of age, Gomes always defined himself in terms of race in the manner in which he was raised. He was ‘pardo’, ‘mestiço, or ‘moreno’, all meaning light, brown or mixed race. These were the terms that his parents and people in Turmalina used.
In 2020, after seeing the color of most of the people protesting the brutal killing of the African-American George Floyd in the United States, Gomes came to identify with the faces in the streets.
At that point, Gomes was ready to stop defining himself as ‘pardo’ or any other racially ambiguous term. He was black, and he knew it. Formally identifying himself as black when he decided to run for city council, explained.
“In reality, I’ve always been Black. But I didn’t think I was black. But now we have more courage to see ourselves that way.”
Black identity in a clearly anti-black country such as Brazil is often a struggle, even when one is clearly black. Which is one of the reasons that Pedro Lins speaks on the topic from time to time, as a black man who has risen to a position that has always been rare to see black Brazilians in.
“We reinforce how important it is to be proud of your color, of your origin. And we are going to do a Friday of tributes here. Who is the person you admire?”, he asked.
Pedro then requested that viewers excuse him and discussed who that important person was for him: his father.
“This is my father, Pedro Lins de Souza. He didn’t have the same conditions that I had. He couldn’t study because he had to work”, he said, visibly touched. In a choked voice, the journalist continued to talk about why his father meant so much to him.
“But he battled all his life so that all his 11 children could have a better life than his,” he continued. “Today is another day to reinforce the fight that is daily. The fight for opportunity, equality, dignity. And to say that racism does not exist is to run away from a responsibility that we all have,” he said, almost as if he was forecasting the incident that would happen in the coming year.
His response to the recent incident wasn’t new for him. Lins developed a habit of reciting poetry live. Lins host left his post on ‘’Bom Dia Pernambuco” in September to take over as the host of the midday news.
“The challenge is new, but God is in control, always,” he wrote when taking on the new challenge.
Yes, but as one person wrote, it is the 21st century, but Brazil is still Brazil.