Note from BW of Brazil: I gotta admit, this has me scratching my head. How is it that a man can say crude, disrespectful, outrageous things about certain groups but still gain supporters from the very group that he insults? I mean it’s true that we all have the right to cast our votes for any candidate of our choosing but given the racial issues that have increasingly taken center stage in recent years, and the inflammatory rhetoric used by PSL candidate Jair Bolsonaro, Afro-Brazilian support of the candidate is quite intriguing. In the same manner, after massive protests organized around the hashtag #Elenão (not him) by women a few weeks back, one has to wonder how it is that so many women voted for Bolsonaro in the first round of the election as well as those who intend to vote for him in the October 28th run off election between Bolsonaro and PT candidate Fernando Haddad.
One of the more intriguing details that I’ve seen, and there have been many, during Bolsonaro’s campaign is his friendship with fellow PSL politician Hélio Fernando Barbosa Lopes, better known as “Hélio Negão”. Of course, the term “Negão” can be translated as “big black man” or even “straight up black man”. The term is fitting for Lopes, as he is very dark-skinned black man. But Lopes is definitely a success story as he is the state congressman that garnered the most votes in the state of Rio de Janeiro. A few weeks ago in one of my social networks, a photo of Negão at the side of Bolsonaro began circulating. Of course, the interpretation for most was the Bolsonaro had this photo released to speak to voters who may believe he is racist. I covered this tactic of Bolsonaro taking photos with the negros in a previous post and keeping with this tactic, one can find numerous photos of Bolsonaro with Negão online.
To play the devil’s advocate, taking photos with Negão could actually mean nothing as politicians take thousands of photos with all sorts of people during their campaigns and in the case of Negão and Bolsonaro, they are from the same party. But on the other hand, posting photos with the state congressman who garnered the most votes for that position, a dark-skinned black man, can surely be used to earn the support of black voters. Has it worked?
Well, it would be quite a stretch to suggest that Bolsonaro could win over black voters by being pictured next to Negão but it surely didn’t hurt. And considering a statement by Negão last week, he would be the perfect man to be aligned with Bolsonaro. In typical Brazilian fashion, Negão was quoted as saying, “Let’s end this division of class! Somos todos iguais! (We are all equal! My color is Brazil! The strength of Brazil is the unity of its people!” I’ve already spoken various times on the nauseating use of the phrase “Somos todos iguais” and dealing with Bolsonaro, a candidate who proclaims there is no racism in Brazil, such a proclamation by Negão simply adds to the state of denial many Brazilians continue to have in terms of the race issue. Negão took it even a step further and challenged anyone who believes Bolsonaro to be racist.
But what are the numbers saying. Well, the most recent numbers placed Bolsonaro ahead with white voters by a margin of 60% to 29% over Haddad. A poll from last week gave Haddad the lead amongst pretos (blacks) and pardos (browns/mixed) but the most recent polls also gives Bolsonaro a lead over Haddad among pretos and pardos by a margin of 47% to 41%. Curiously, even after the massive protests organized by women against Bolsonaro a few weeks ago, he also leads in voting intentions of women by a margin of 46-40.
I do have to wonder, do black people really understand what Bolsonaro stands for? Do they know that he wants to diminish the percentage of quotas in universities? The same quotas that have helped hundreds of thousands of Afro-Brazilians attain a college education in the past few decades.
Bolsonaro also supports death squads, organized extermination groups often consisting of off duty police that disguise their identities and murder black youth in states such as Bahia. In August of 2003, Bolsonaro spoke during plenary of the Chamber of Deputies and defended crimes of extermination. For the price of R$50 to R$100, he openly supported the murder of what he defined as “delinquents”. The following is what Bolsonaro was quoted as saying:
“I want to say to the comrades from Bahia – I recently heard a parliamentarian criticize the extermination groups – that as long as the state does not have the courage to adopt the death penalty, the crime of extermination, in my opinion, will be very welcome. If there is no space for it in Bahia, it can go to Rio de Janeiro. If it depends on me, it will have my full support, because in my state only innocent people are decimated. In Bahia, due to the information I have – which are illegal groups – the marginalization has declined. Congratulations”!
So, this is what black Brazilians are supporting? A man who openly supports their extermination? The man promoted as the “Brazilian Trump” has also received a number of displays of support from some of Brazilian futebol’s top players in recent weeks to the dismay of many black activists. Manuel Jabois weighs in on this below.
Homosexuals, blacks and the poor voted for a candidate who considers them inferior or hates them
What ‘Ronaldinhos’ and ‘Rivaldos’ (see note one), and other Bolsonaro voters defend, is that any crime of hatred legitimizes itself if government action matches electoral expectations
By Manuel Jabois
One night in São Paulo I got into a taxi where the driver started to inform me about the types of criminals I would encounter in the city. There are people who talk to you about monuments and then there are good people. “The worst,” he said, “are the blacks.” Not the mulattoes, the watery blacks, the milk chocolate blacks, who were also dangerous. “The black blacks, the black Africans.” He smiled looking through the rearview mirror. Until that day I had never seen a man who was blacker than he in my life.
I wondered if his was a superlative degree of concealment or racism. The second wouldn’t be strange. Nor is it Brazil’s patrimony, of course. Although electorally it is about to take a giant step towards the last frontier of humor. Jair Bolsonaro has the support of 46% of the Brazilians after saying that his sons would not date blacks “because they were well educated”, that the inhabitants of quilombos, a nuclei formed by descendants of slaves, “don’t serve to procreate”, that a congresswoman “doesn’t deserve” to be raped (“because she is ugly,” he later clarified), that he would prefer that his son die in an accident that be gay (“homosexuals are like that because of the use of drugs, only a small part is by factory defect”) that the poor should have fewer children and that the dictatorship should have killed another 30,000, starting with the then President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
When she was 23, (former President) Dilma Rousseff was arrested for three years and tortured with beatings and electric shocks by the dictatorship. Upon being dismissed from the presidency in 2016, Bolsonaro dedicated his vote to Rousseff’s torturer: “For the memory of Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, the terror of Dilma Rousseff.” His son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, made the gesture of the machine gun when voting. This is the fifth most populous country on the planet, the sixth largest economy in the world.
To prove the scope of such a simple and striking brain mechanism, these two statements from Bolsonaro to EL PAÍS in 2014 are sufficient. “Death penalty? I’ve never seen a dead man come back to commit a crime.” “Crimes of homophobia? Many more heterosexuals die.”
Homosexuals, blacks, the poor, the leftists, and women who can be a little of this or nothing of that, simply women. All of them are the absolute majority of Brazil. Many of them voted for a candidate who considers them inferior or hates them. This is the passage from the jogo bonito (beautiful game) to the shitty game that Ronaldinho and Rivaldo undertook with their explicit support for right-wing extremists, and Neymar and Gabriel Jesús with a like in a message from a former soccer player to the retired army captain, in which he says that a president cannot teach values, but govern. The same rationale as Rivaldo, who believes that “gender ideology,” machismo, racism and feminism are values learned at home and at school: “Voting is for choosing a president, not a father.”
It turns out that Rivaldo won’t care if Bolsonaro, if he reduces crime and unemployment, laughs at his black children if they approach his daughter. The shitty game that Bolsonaro’s voters got into is that any hate crime legitimates itself if its governing action matches electoral expectations. Management above morale in a universe where reducing violence in public justifies killing a man in private.
Source: EL PAÍS
1. Both Rivaldo and Ronaldinho took on status of legends of futebol wearing the Barcelona jersey. Both won FIFA player of the year, with Ronaldinho winning the honor twice. The two continue to represent the Spanish team as part of the Barça Legends veterans team and also in the world events as representatives of the club. But this week, the club announced that it is taking steps to distance itself from the two stars after their public support of Bolsonaro, above all Ronaldinho, who is the team’s international ambassador. As spokesperson Josep Vives put it, “Our democratic values do not coincide with the words we hear from this candidate.”