Blacks Are Not Welcome: Scenes of Racism and humiliation in Banks
Note: It’s no secret that people are often treated according to the perceived notion of the place in which the individual’s group belongs in the society. In the case of black Brazilians, people can say that “we are all equal” all day long, every day, month, year, decade, century, etc., but the treatment of black Brazilians will always contradict this idea. Whether followed around in stores or malls, questioned about their ability to pay for costly items, maintaining residence in certain buildings or neighborhoods, or treated harshly by security guards or police, the question always boils down to, if you cannot imagine a white man or woman being treated in a similar manner, you must question your belief that “we are all
treated equal ly”. Another place where Afro-Brazilians clearly feel feel the sting of racist hostility is in the banking industry. From being denied loans at a much higher rate than whites, to receiving different treatment from bank employees, the question “Is it because I’m black?” also applies in the place where the only color that should matter is green. Entrepreneur Crispim Terral recently discovered this when bank security put him in a headlock simply because he insisted on clearing up a discrepancy in his account. You can best believe, Terral isn’t the only one who felt his presence wasn’t welcome at a bank. Have you ever received treatment that you thought was clearly racist in a banking establishment? In the piece below, others share their experiences.
Racist banks: “The teller said that I was only there thanks to Princess Isabel”
By Silvia Nascimento
The horror scene that entrepreneur Crispim Terral spent inside a branch of the Caixa Econômica Federal bank, in the Largo do Relógio de São Pedro, in Salvador, shocked many people, but unfortunately for those who are black, this kind of event was not a surprise.
Scenes of racism, prejudice and humiliation are unfortunately common within Brazilian banking establishments. The color black is seen as the color of the assailant, the bad customer, the kind of person who does not deserve a respectful treatment, in a place where we trust our money and help the economy to circulate. According to the IBGE, more than 60 million people in Brazil do not have access to basic banking services and it is not difficult to deduce the color of these people. Blacks are not welcome in banks.
On the Instagram of the Mundo Negro site asked readers if they had ever experienced racism inside a bank branch. The names will not be revealed, but one of the comments that caught my attention came from a black woman employee of an agency of Caixa in Rio de Janeiro.
“I work at Caixa and look, it’s painful. It’s a colleague calling a black client macaco (monkey), it’s a manager saying that the lost process was in the middle of the braids of the black intern, it’s a manager saying that a possible fraud, could be explained by the Angolan nationality of the alleged perpetrators, it’s a manager saying that he will send black employees to the tronco (whipping post) and much more. When I decided to denounce it, I’ll become irritating and a troublemaker who sees racism in everything,” said the reader who works at a Caixa branch in Rio de Janeiro.
Here are the cases of clients who experienced racism at the bank:
“My brother-in-law already suffered racism at an agency when he went to apply for financing his car. He is black and was in the presence of my sister who is also black. Both were the first to arrive, but the manager waited until someone else (white) arrived and went to the front for service, making my brother-in-law wait longer. When he noticed what happened, he complained, even the girl who was attended first said that they had arrived earlier and had to be attended first, but the manager refused to attend him and prevented the white girl from leaving the place where she was, claiming that my brother-in-law should wait if he wanted to be attended to. Angry, my brother-in-law asked someone else to see him and said that he himself refused to talk to the manager.”
“I was humiliated by a teller that told me to shut up and said that I was only there, thanks to Princess Isabel.” (see note one)
“A guard thought my 9-year-old son was stealing my cell phone. He was caught up in the revolving door. Meu filho é negro e eu sou branca (My son is black and I’m white).”
“I was the only black woman to come in and I was the only one not to have the door released without taking everything out of my purse.”
“I went to open an account and to fill out the level of education the employee didn’t even consider higher education.”
“The security guard followed me from the time I entered, until it was time to leave.”
The Central Bank of Brazil does not have legal competence to act on the individual case of the citizen. In case of conflicts, it recommends that:
The place of the service or the Customer Service Department (SAC) of the institution itself;
The ombudsman of the financial institution;
Consumer protection agencies.
It is also worth remembering that in cases of explicit racism, it is worth resorting to services such as SOS Racismo in your region.
Source: Mundo Negro
- Princesa Isabel signed the Lei Áurea, or the Golden Law, on May 13, 1888, thus abolishing more than 350 years of slavery in Brazil.