Note from BW of Brazil: As we’ve seen time and time again, in Brazil, a darker color of skin continues to be a sin. Nothing shocking in today’s story if you’re accustomed to reading about such incidents on this blog, but perhaps surprising when we consider that it’s almost 2019 and many places still see black people as being “out of place” when they frequent certain areas, businesses or institutions. But rather than simply pointing out a common type of treatment reserved for African descendants, I’d like to point out the fact that not even being with close white associates, friends or in this case, a white husband, will shield black people from being such targets.
Hotel in Copacabana is condemned to indemnify guest, a victim of racism
The woman was the only one in a group of four people to be approached by the receptionist at the reception to identify herself
By Luiz Orlando Carneiro
The Novotel Rio Copacabana, in Rio de Janeiro, was condemned to pay compensation of R$ 19,080.00, for moral damages, to a guest, a victim of “discriminatory treatment” due to skin color. The sentence was handed down on Tuesday (12/11), by the substitute judge of the 4th Special Civil Court in Brasilia, Simone Garcia Pena.
According to the indictment, the plaintiff stayed at the Novotel Rio last February, together with her husband – a Spaniard who has been living in Brazil for more than six years. Upon returning to the hotel at the end of a tour of the city, after midnight, she was the only one in a group of four to be approached by the receptionist at the reception desk.
The identification condition imposed on her to go up to her room was maintained, even after her husband had informed them that they were together and that they had already checked in. After the incident and the release of the access, the plaintiff went up to the room and, very shaken, called relatives to inform them of the racist situation that she had gone through.
In defense, Novotel argued that the plaintiff did not provide evidence that she had been embarrassed; that the hotel was only exercising its right to consult the registration of the guest – a security measure adopted by the hotel, because it was a pre-carnival week; and that moral damage was not present, and there is therefore no reason for retraction.
When deciding, the judge Simone Garcia Penalty consigned: “Analyzing more what the records contain, I have that the plaintiff’s request deserves to prosper, and that human dignity (article 1, III of the Federal Constitution), the constitutional objective of the Federative Republic of Brazil of promoting the common good, without prejudice of race and any other forms of discrimination (article 3, IV of the Federal Constitution), the assumption of equality (article 5, caput of the Federal Constitution), the prohibition of degrading treatment (article 5, subparagraph III of The Federal Constitution), the inviolability of the honor and image (article 5, subparagraph X of the Federal Constitution), these fundamental rights of Constitutional stature, as well as the postulate of the objective reparation to the injured consumer, foreseen in the protection system of the Consumer Protection Code (article 14), shelter the author’s right to be morally compensated for the degrading situation that she was exposed to in the hotel establishment of the defendant.
It was incontrovertible that the author was the only one of the group called to be identified at the reception, and if the motive was indeed the alleged security, “the most logical and respectful thing would be the approach of the four people who entered the place together, as any one of them could be dangerous.”
The judge concluded: “The diminution of the human person due to the color of the skin is characterized, in clear detriment to the postulate of human dignity and equality. It is necessary that this abhorrent and disgusting institutional practice be extirpated from corporate governance measures, and it is the duty of the service provider to implement serious and continuous training of its employees, as well as active conduct, in order to reject any kind of prejudice in its institutional environment.”