Note from BW of Brazil: Oh well, here we go again. Over the years I’ve covered quite a few of these beauty contests that take place in Brazil. I’ve seen those in which one or a few black women are among over 20 or so white women. I’ve seen contests in which white women are the vast majority of contestants even in states in which they are not the majority. I’ve covered the last two Miss Brasil contests in which black women won back-to-back titles, which was more than the previous 60 years of the contest combined.
What I always note in these contests in that there are ALWAYS comments that express the idea that black women don’t deserve to be in the contests and don’t deserve to represent the beauty of the Brazilian woman, this regardless of whether people define the woman as black or the so-called “mulata”. I say “so-called” because most activists reject this term and also because the so-called “mulata” or woman of mixed African ancestry is generally treated as a black woman when she is the only woman of color in an environment dominated by white skin.
Year after year, we see this bickering because white people reject seeing black people in spaces they basically define as being for white people and black people up in arms because white people are behaving in very segregationist manners. Today’s feature demonstrates this reality once again. Let’s get to the story before I weigh in…
Finalist of Miss Rio Grande do Sul contest is targeted by racist attacks but is not intimidated
Representative of the city of Tramandaí, Samen dos Santos, was the victim of prejudiced posts: “Many people ‘confuse’ opinion and freedom of expression with hate speech”
The representative of Tramandaí in the Miss Rio Grande do Sul contest, Samen dos Santos, was a victim of racist attacks on the social network. According to the site Donna, the model responded to the comments through the Instagram, repudiating the attacks and biased comments and said that she is taking the necessary measures.
One of the biased posts said that she “does not represent the gaúcha (native of the state of Rio Grande do Sul) woman (who) is white and beautiful, not black.” Other: “She does not represent the beauty of Brazilian women either. She represents Africa.” One more: “They say that she is beautiful just because she is black and in Brazil (an Afrocentric country) it is almost an obligation to think that blacks are beautiful and the vast majority of them are feios pra caramba (ugly as hell).”
The 26-year-old said she blocked the profiles responsible for the attacks and excluded comments. “I can arm myself against everything negative that involves my name, (by) simply ignoring (them). For years I’ve heard and read the most absurdities, that I ended up become stronger,” she wrote on Instagram.
Check out Samen’s full response:
“Whoever has known me for some time knows how much I am averse to controversy, but I feel obliged to clarify some things. Some of you must know that I have a trajectory in contests and I am currently participating in Miss Rio Grande do Sul. So far so good. In these disputes, we, the candidates, are susceptible to the most diverse comments, and that is where the problem lies. In particular, I can arm myself against everything negative that involves my name, (by) simply ignoring (them). For years I’ve heard and read the most absurdities, that I ended up becoming stronger.
But I decided to expose this situation because of the people who like me and who were very offended by something that was commented on my Instagram.
Guys, I don’t have the pretension that everyone like me or that cheer for to become the new Miss Rio Grande do Sul. I am disputing with meninas belíssimas (very beautiful girls) and I know that they all have their merits and also their fans, each one has his favorite candidate. What can’t exist is perversity against any competitor.
I have noticed that many people “confuse” opinion and freedom of speech with discurso de ódio (hate speech), thus distilling all their anger, prejudice, hostility and offenses against others, but this is very wrong. For these people, know that the attention they will get from me will be only this, since, after printing, I always block and don’t pay attention. I just hope they know that using fake (profiles) can hide the name and face, but not the IP. I say this because the necessary measures are already being taken.
Oh, and I apologize for the text, but I wanted to clarify that the reason I block these people is intolerance and prejudice, and not simply because they don’t cheer for me.”
Note from BW of Brazil: So again, beyond the rhetoric that says “we are all equal“, we clearly see that Brazilians DO NOT see us all as being equal. The comments tell us that a black woman should not represent Brazilian beauty. In other words, what they are really saying is that white people should be the recognized as the face that represents Brazil. In reality, against the long-debunked myth of a ‘racial democracy‘, Brazil says this every day in a myriad of ways. Before I go any further, it is necessary to point out that a gaúcha is the nickname for a woman from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. Rio Grande do Sul is one the three states in Brazil’s south, along with Santa Catarina and Paraná, that represent the region of the country with the largest percentage of Brazilians who define themselves as white. Between those three states, 80% of the citizens define themselves as white, with this region being populated by massive European immigration during the late 19th and early 20th century.
This and other factors are at the crux of this issue. You see, we have all been socially programmed to believe that all groups of people are supposed to live together in peace and harmony in a sort of literal “we are the world” ideal. The problem with this view is that time and time again, we show that this was simply not meant to be. In Brazil today, and since the very beginning, white people have enforced their outlook that they are the most beautiful and the most intelligent and they have imposed this view on non-whites, who for all intents and purposes, have accepted this to a certain degree, even while appearing to fight against it. Here’s my thing. Why do we continue to fight for this impossible goal of equality? We are NOT all equal. Neither as different groups nor on the individual level.
I accept the fact that, generally speaking, white people consider their people to be the most beautiful on earth. I don’t have a problem with that. The problem I have is that these same people have the resources and power to subject non-white people on a global level to accept this whiteness as the ideal representation of the human race. White people have the right to see their race as the most whatever in the world but black people should also have the right to see our people in the same manner. In a racialized world that will ALWAYS be racialized, this shouldn’t be a problem. In my view, if we all had our own, we wouldn’t have this problem and we wouldn’t have to waste so much time and energy on trying to attain a goal that can never truly be. I mean, let’s look at the reality.
The land that would come to be known as the Federative Republic of Brazil brought between 4-5 million Africans to this land mass and used and exploited them as slave labor for most of its history. These Africans were a dark-skinned people. Today, although there are still brown-skinned people, you see masses of light-skinned, not quite white people, who are the products of racial intermingling for centuries. With all the evidence we’ve seen, it would be ridiculous to believe that this mixture, at least to some degree, is not due to black Brazilians accepting the idea of white superiority and having a desire to whiten themselves and their offspring. Contests such as these are simply an indication of the problem.
When you have an environment in which one group is constantly trying to prove that they are as good, intelligent and beautiful as the group that dominates them in every fashion, the desire is planted to not only be as good as the dominant group, but to in fact be part of the dominant group. The dominant group responds by either rejecting the advance of the dominant group or partially accepting them only if they assimilate ideologically and, often times, physically. This is the problem with sociological studies, both in Brazil, the United States and other countries around the world. The idea of the integration of non-whites into the white group is always postulated as the ultimate solution. But why?
If the non-whites must assimilate into the white group, this often entails a loss of identity and, in the case of Brazil, the very physical attributes that mark them as being non-white. In the contest featured above, assumedly white people argued this black woman has no place in this contest because Rio Grande do Sul is an overwhelmingly white state. Even though Rio Grande do Sul is about 82% white and 18% non-white and having one black woman in a contest of probably 20 women represents less than the non-white representation in the state, there are quite a few people who believe this to be legitimate stance, even if they don’t verbalize it.
So, why keep pushing for this? The white population will continue to see itself as superior and the black group will forever continue to try to prove itself “worthy” of being in the white world. What would be the psychological effects on both groups as this struggle goes on and on? What would be the benefit of black people constantly raising their children to compete against and be as good as “the white man” and his descendants when ultimately, the only way to attain such status would be to become white, which is often what happens after a few generations anyway. Ultimately, in a world dominated by group think and group allegiance, integration is detrimental to us all. Without the push for integration, there would be no necessity of one group always defending what they feel is rightfully theirs and another group constantly trying to enter a world in which they are not wanted.
With that said, where is the Black Miss Rio Grande do Sul contest?
Source: Revista Fórum