Note from BW of Brazil: Another day, another racist act; so what else is new? As has been regularly pointed out on this blog, in Brazil the racist association of African descendants with monkeys has been and continues to be a common sentiment. Recently a student at a federal university in southern Brazil took to a social network group consisting of students from that university to divulge yet another racist “joke”. Not a good look and an act not be taken lightly. In the message (seen above), the first comment below the posted image reads, “Cara no Brasil isso da processo, apaga a foto!”, meaning, “Dude, in Brazil this leads to a lawsuit, delete the photo!” The student who posted the image responded with the letters “kkkkkkkkk”, which in Brazil means laughter, something like “LOL (laugh out loud).” No one knows what provokes this type of behavior and the audacity to believe such an act would go unpunished. But keep two things in mind here: 1) Santa Catarina is one of the states in Brazil with the largest percentage of people who considers themselves to be white, and 2) Another recent display of racism at a federal university was initially judged as not having racist intent. Curious to see how this one turns out….
Note repudiating the racist image conveyed in a UFSC Group
by Luciana Freitas
The university space has long been an elite and European space of dominance. However due to Law 11.645/08 – a law for the entry of Indian students in universities and law 12.711/2012 – known as the Lei de Cotas (Quota Law) – the space has modified its public ensuring the presence of black men, black women and indigenous students, as well as students from public schools.
While at the same time there has been a social breakthrough in that there is a social advance in regards to this space, the same law and the presence of black men and women students provokes negative actions coming from conservative and racist students that manifest themselves in many different ways. There are reports that in the first year in which the policy of affirmative action was implemented at the university, in 2008, black students when they arrive in their classes, in the classroom, found bananas left by other students, in order to associate them with monkeys (1).
Now, even after 5 years, even after the law was established and approved unanimously by the Supreme Court, the highest body of Brazilian justice, racist attitudes like the one above are still present in academia.
On December 5th, student Igor Westphal published in a virtual social network group, which takes its name from that institution, the image of a black couple. In the image, the man is on his knees in front of a black woman handing her a bunch of bananas in a clear reference to calling her a monkey. This image represents an offense since the monkey is a backward animal with no knowledge and uncivilized.
After such an image reached us, the Movimento Negro (black movement), a survey was conducted among other racist acts of that individual, which has been found to be a common practice of said student. Seeing that on the day of the death of an icon in the combat of racial intolerance, Nelson Mandela, a sentence of sadness was issued by a participant in the same group and other acts of a racist nature by Igor Westphal were found. All these reports can be proved by means of files and testimonies.
We believe that these attitudes should be repudiated, and, moreover, strong measures should be taken to curb this type of event so that they are not repeated in the future.
We demand that the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Federal University of Santa Catarina) cancel the enrollment of that individual, as well as expel him from the academic environment. The act produced by the student is of a racist tone and disrespect to the black population, especially the black woman, besides reinforcing the stereotypes that the Movimento Negro, governmental and social movements and organizations have been incisively fighting.
That is all for the moment
Signees of this manifesto:
CEPA – Conselho Estadual de População Afrodescendentes (State Council of the African Descendant Population)
COPPIR-SC – Coordenadoria de políticas Públicas para a Promoção da Igualdade Racial (Coordination of public policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality)
COMPIR – Conselho Municipal de Promoção da Igualdade Racial (Municipal Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality)
UNEGRO/SC- União de Negros Pela Igualdade (Union of Equality For Blacks)
MNU/SC – Movimento Negro Unificado (Unified Black Movement)
Capoeira na Escola (Capoeira in the School)
Grupo Negro 4P – Poder Para o Povo Preto (Black 4P Group – Power for the Black People)
1. While not the same incident, something similar happened in another federal university in April of 2012