Note from BW of Brazil: Let’s be real. Is anyone really surprised by this? In a country where the labor force was based on black slavery for 350 years, where Afro-Brazilians are continuously insulted with racist epithets, and are all but totally excluded from the media, politics and many other areas of society, how could anyone really be surprised with this news? OK, granted, there are still millions of black and white Brazilians who insist that race is not problem in Brazil. This story is especially important for those people who send messages to this blog and other websites saying things like, “I’ve never experienced racism in Brazil.”
In the 1950s, sociologist Florestan Fernandes was one of the first prominent Brazilian social scientists to study racism in Brazil. In his opinion, “the negro doesn’t enter into the world of the whites. It was the white man that constructed, in his vision, the myth that the negro entered his world by means of the ‘preconceito de não ter preconceito’ or the prejudice of not having prejudice, the basis of the myth of the Brazilian racial democracy” (1). In his classics, O Negro no mundo dos Brancos (The Black in the World of Whites) (1972), A integração do negro na sociedade de classes (The Integration of the Negro in the Society of Classes) (1964) and Brancos e Negros em São Paulo (Whites and Blacks in São Paulo) (1958) (authored with Roger Bastide), Fernandes exposed the depths of personal and institutionalized prejudice and racism that reenforced “the place” of blacks in Brazilian society.
Today’s piece simply exposes the fact that these mechanisms for keeping blacks “in their place” remain active to this day (as shown repeatedly on this blog). And as this “place” of exclusion and under-representation can be noted throughout the country, even in areas where Afro-Brazilians are the vast majority, it would be no exaggeration to recognize this practice among companies and entities around the country.
Santa Catarina company violates the anti-racist law and prefers white men, says newspaper
From the newsroom of Afropress
Companies from Joinville, the most populous city of Santa Catarina with about 500,000 inhabitants – are privileging 25-35 year old white males in the processes of hiring, openly violating the Statute of Racial Equality – Law 12.288/2010 – which prohibits and punishes with penalties of fines and the provision of services to the community to whoever “in ads or any other form of recruitment of workers , demand aspects of appearance of race or ethnicity for employment whose activities do not justify these requirements.”
The discriminatory practice of companies in Santa Catarina was reported by journalist Claudio Loetz , who writes the column Livre Mercado, an analysis of business and economic trends in the A Notícia newspaper. Citing data from the Vice President of the Assosociação Brasileira de Recursos Humanos (Brazilian Association of Human Resources in Santa Catarina or ABRH-SC), Pedro Luiz Pereira, journalist, in a utterly natural tone, reports that “the ideal profile of procured worker is a man, white, 25 to 35 years old.” (2) It adds that the 7,000 open positions in Joinville companies “in part are not filled because applicants do not have the skills and competencies necessary.”
Article 60 of the Statute which amended Law 7.716/89 – the antiracism law – states in paragraph 2 that one “will be subject to penalties of fines and the provision of services to the community, including activities to promote racial equality, whoever, in ads or any other form of recruitment of workers, demands aspects of appearance of race or ethnicity for employment whose activities do not justify these requirements.” Santa Catarina is the state with the lowest black population in Brazil – only 11% – according to data from the IBGE Census 2010.
In the journalist’s blog (Loetz’s Blog) there were quick reactions to the news by outraged readers. “Branco (White man)? How will a company advertise the position with one of these preferences?” asked one of the readers, Fernando.
In her piece, Juliana Wilke spoke out against the strangeness; “Loetz, as a journalist I have always been a follower (of your blog) and I suggest several guidelines, also, but I couldn’t pass up making a comment on this note, in which you refer to the preference of workers “man, white, 25 to 35 years old.” I know you’re only reproducing the information, but I must admit that it is full of prejudice, gender, age and most serious race. Incidentally, I would like to know from Joinville entrepreneurs, what is difference of the potential between a white man and a black man,” she wrote.
Sérgio Zeh, another reader, questions the racist practice: “The ideal profile (?) of procured worker is a man, WHITE, from 25-35 years old. I have lived 13 years outside of Joinville and did not know that racism is so strong in Joinville. Is it permitted by law for the employer to ask for this ‘ideal profile’?” For their turn, Cássia Eskelsen and Francisco Nascimento protested: “And later they say that there is no racism in the South,” said the former, while Nascimento concluded, “Lamentable that the profile required ‘white’ in these times. Racism is a crime and shame.”
Racism in Joinville
by Councilman Adilson Mariano
On October 17, in his column, journalist Claudio Loetz of the A Notícia newspaper (AN) published a note stating that there are seven thousand jobs in Joinville, considering companies of all types and sizes. The source of information is the vice president of the Brazilian Association of Human Resources in Santa Catarina (SC-ABRH), Pedro Luiz Pereira. He said the “ideal profile” of the worker, demanded by businesses would be male, white, 25-35 years old.
The article also says that the positions are not filled because applicants lack the skills and competencies needed and the highest unemployment rate is among women and people over 40 years. This statement is bigoted and reactionary in the same week that the holiday of black consciousness was approved in the Câmara de Vereadores de Joinville (CVJ or Joinville City Council).
The date suffered great opposition from the Associação Empresarial de Joinville (ACIJ or Joinville Business Association) and the Câmara de Dirigentes Lojistas (Chamber of Store Directors or CDL) that have now promised to file lawsuits because the holiday provokes “economic damages”. The weekend edition of the newspaper approached the issue again. The vice president of ABRH says, “There are various prejudices: against women, against the obese, against skin color or against whoever is over 40 years of age. This is a reality in Brazil, and not a specificity of the job market in Joinville.”
These two facts make us think about the need for a holiday of black consciousness; a day that reminds us of the struggle of black people for equal rights. After all, our elites are trying to erase at all cost the history of struggle of our people. For them, as I said before, what matters is profit. Many of them want the end, not just the holidays, but all of our rights.
Racism is an instrument of division of those who represent the oppressed majority. Acts of racism demonstrate degeneration and only serve to oppress the most excluded extracts from the working class. However, when the ruling class uses racialist policies, our struggle is the struggle and the union of all; our struggle is a revolutionary action, after all, as Steve Biko said, “racism and capitalism are two sides of the same coin.”
Note from BW of Brazil: In a piece entitled “Apartheid, we see it around here”, Clóvis Gruner expressed his opinion this way.
If there are still those who put in doubt the existence of ethnic and gender biases in the city, do the math: how many women are on the city council or the board of ACIJ? Even living in Curitiba, I learned of many of the sexist comments made about Marinete Merss throughout the administration of former Mayor Carlito Merss, all because she never resigned herself to occupy the place that it is for “great women”: always remain in the shadow of the “big men.” And what is there to say of the two players JEC, embarrassed in being searched by police because a deputy thought they had a suspicious attitude? After all, they were two black men with money, riding in a cab and having dinner in a restaurant where, as in the job market, the entry is franchised mainly to white men. And if I mention here only those most clear and obvious examples, I don’t ignore that the reality is as hard or harder in what a friend called “Soweto catarinense (Santa Catarina-styled Soweto)”.
I’m sure there won’t be a lack of those who defend or justify the comment of the Vice President of ABRH/SC expressing the old fallacy that he just “expressed the reality.” Or worse: there are those who, as in the text of the Felipe Cardoso, published here in Chuva, will argue using numbers: if blacks are in the quantitative minority they say, there’s nothing more natural” than employers favoring white men. It’s a choice. It is the banality of evil, Hannah Arendt has taught us, that fosters indifference, and indifference is what legitimizes intolerance, and allows prejudice and violence to flourish.
1. This translated line, “o negro não entrou no mundo dos brancos. Foi o branco que construiu, na visão dele, o mito de que o negro entrou no seu mundo, por meio do preconceito de não ter preconceito, a base do mito da democracia racial brasileira”, is credited to Leonardo Trevisan writing for Estado de SP.
2. The practice of openly proclaiming a preference for white men or women in employment ads has a long history in Brazil. See here and here, for example. In later years, to avoid blatantly stating a white preference, employers began to use the infamous “good appearance” tag ie, non-black, in search of prospective employees.