Brazilian all-star ‘Hulk’ the latest victim of racism in futebol stadium; Russian fans made monkey gestures at him

Spartak de Moscou é punido por racismo de torcida contra Hulk (3)

Note from BW of Brazil: So what else is new? Fan racism in a futebol stadium, this time in Russia. If this hasn’t happened to you before, welcome to the club Hulk! Below is a short report on what happened. 

Spartak Moscow is punished for fans’ racism against Hulk

Club fined 450,000 rublos (rubles) because of offenses

Courtesy of Spartak Moscow

The Brazilian player known as "Hulk", Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, is the latest victim of racism in futebol stadiums outside of Brazil
The Brazilian player known as “Hulk”, Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, is the latest victim of racism in futebol stadiums outside of Brazil.

Spartak Moscow managed a feat at being the first team to take points from Zenit in the Russian Championship. But during the game its fans imitated monkeys and sang racist songs directed at the Brazilian player Hulk. As punishment, the team of the Russian capital will be without its fans in the next match, away from home against the Ural Yekaterinburg.

Congolese player Christopher Samba of Dínamo de Mosco (Dynamo Moscow) was also a victim of racism
Congolese player Christopher Samba of Dínamo de Mosco (Dynamo Moscow) was also a victim of racism

The RFU (Russian Football Union) warned that if racist acts persist from Spartak fans, more drastic measures will be taken by the organization of the Russian Championship, which curiously suspended defender Samba, of Dynamo Moscow for two games. The Congolese player showed the middle finger to the fans of Moscow Torpedo, which was also being racist to him. The Torpedo team will have to play their next match at home with part of its indoor stadium closed.

Besides the punishment of not having visiting fans in away game (which will be 1,100 km from Moscow), Spartak was fined 450,000 rubles (R$28,100) because of the racism directed at Hulk.

Note from BW of Brazil: This latest case of racism in futebol once again confirms a point that BW of Brazil has long maintained on this blog. I cannot personally say how Givanildo Vieira de Sousa (aka Hulk) identifies himself as I haven’t watched every single interview he’s ever granted, but for the fans in Russia, he experienced a common racist gesture directed at persons/players of African descent. Online, as in Brazil itself, millions of people will endlessly argue that players and people who look Hulk are not negros/blacks but rather mulatos, pardos and mestiços. One cannot deny that Hulk is a racial mixture that is typically Brazilian, but in world of white supremacy, it is his non-European ancestry that people see and treat him accordingly. (Call me crazy, but because of the beard, I always thought that Hulk favored actor Lawrence Fishburne in the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood, released as Os Donos da Rua in Brazil. Interestingly, the two are about the same age when the photos below were taken). 

Lawrence Fishburne in the 1991 film "Boyz in the Hood" and Hulk
Lawrence Fishburne in the 1991 film “Boyz in the Hood” and Hulk

The argument here is that there are at least two ways of seeing race: 1) how people see themselves and 2) how society sees them. 

In Brazil, many Brazilians accuse the Movimento Negro (black rights movement) of simply imitating North American standards of race because they consider pretos (blacks) and pardos (browns) combined as being the população negra (black population). But as the above example proves once again, whether one is very dark-skinned like the Congolese player Christopher Samba or a light brown color like Hulk, in a situation of racism they are treated in the same manner. And we have several examples of people who many Brazilians would consider mulatos, pardos and mestiços who experience racism due to their African ancestry outside of Brazil (herehere and here in reports about Neymar and Roberto Carlos among others). 

To address the idea that this is simply a “North American thing” and that it doesn’t work this way in Brazil, we also have examples of persons of a lighter shade of brown who have also been insulted in ways that define them as black within the country as well (see here, here or here, for examples). This reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a friend who works in a publicity agency in São Paulo. “Marcelo”, who defines himself as negro, explained to me his first experience with racism. In terms of skin color, “Marcelo” is a little darker than Hulk, but not by much. He also has a very loose curl pattern in his hair texture that is almost straight. In other words, “Marcelo” would be defined as a mulato or moreno by most Brazilians.

Thinking back to when he was 15 years of age, “Marcelo” revealed how he dated a young white girl in his neighborhood at the time. The young girl’s mother affectionately referred to him as a “moreninho” (meaning “little moreno” or “little dark one”), which many people accept as an affectionate term that people use to define light or dark-skinned persons of African descent in order to avoid using the term negro, which is often deemed offensive by those who don’t want to be considered black. The relationship lasted for a short time in which the girl’s mother always treated him well. But when he broke up with the girl, he remembered how her mother had seen him in the street one day and angrily called him negro because of the break up. Although “Marcelo” himself was a product of an interracial relationship, he had already had an idea that he was black. In other words, as long as he was on good terms with the girl, the mother didn’t mention the way she really saw him in terms of race. But the moment he did something wrong she made sure to throw his membership in the “stigmatized race” in his face. 

Unfortunately for many Brazilians who look like “Marcelo” or Hulk, the way society may see them may never really hit them until the moment that racism hits them. Yet another peculiar way that race plays out in the República Federativa do Brasil. 

Source: Correio do Povo

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


  1. Ukrainian fans mocked and made monkey gestures at Black players a few years ago when the World Cup European semi-finals were in the country.

    Is any of this shocking???? Okay news flash there are ignorant people out there.

  2. Have you read this blog?? The purpose of the platform is to highlight these incidents in a country (WORLD) that has a tendancy to overlook the existence of racism. Straw man arguments that try to derail discussions about race are SO stupid and counterproductive!

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