Note from BW of Brazil: And yet another example of how Brazil treats its black people. Last week, Huffington Post did a piece on the country’s unwritten policy of the extermination of young black males that has been consistently featured on this blog. In a shocking photo reminiscent of a similar incident posted on this blog approximately a year ago, a young naked black male was pinned to a post in Rio with some metal apparatus around his neck.
The image of a black male tied to a post may be disgusting and a symbol of how black life is still seen in Brazil, but it is also historically relevant. In the article below, the word “pelourinho” is mentioned. “Pelourinho” means whipping post. During the slavery era, a slave would be tied to this post and publicly whipped as a warning to other slaves.
Today, when people hear the term Pelourinho, they mostly think of the historic area of downtown Salvador, Bahia, that is a popular tourist area of the city. But the history cannot be forgotten.
The idea of tying a black male up is also reminiscent of a famous picture taken by photographer Luiz Morier in Rio de Janeiro in 1983. Taken from a series of shots taken by Morier, the photo shows a group of black males tied together by a rope around each of their necks before being loaded into a police wagon.
It seems things haven’t changed much in Brazil in the last few centuries. Let’s keep this in mind as everyone gets into the party vibe with the coming of Carnaval and the World Cup in June.
Below is how the incident was originally reported on the Controvesias blog. Yesterday, the mainstream press picked up the story and gathered more details. I will chime in with my thoughts below the reports.
Racism and its tentacles in the XXI century
February 3, 2014
February 2, the Day of Iemanjá. While samba was happening in Pedra do Sal, a few miles away, in the Flamengo neighborhood, they put a naked black man pinned by the neck in an improvised pelourinho (or pillory). He was mugging people (or so says whoever published the photo). To serve as an example to black thieves. Recently, a similar case happened on the beach.
This young man was not in the Pedra do Sal listening to the high poetry of black music, drinking beer and talking to his friends about working on his masters not because he has an evil delusion of assaulting people, the result of a malignant nature more or less human than anyone but because there is no objective space for dignity and happiness for all in the capitalist, racist and violent country project that drives Brazil. Without understanding this, they don’t understand anything, and easily, without even realizing it, they fall into the lap of the fascists.
And now, little has changed
The portrait of neglect
There is no historical vaccine policy, nothing is guaranteed and nothing is assured; humanity reinvents itself every day. Utter abhorrence and urgency of addressing this to the hilt. One cannot naturalize this in any way. I ask everyone to go to all political organizations, mandates, democratic entities, movements and organizations that they have knowledge of.
Teen robbery suspect is beaten and tied up naked on a pole on the south side of Rio
Young says he was approached by a group called Justiceiros, or vigilantes
Courtesy of R7
A teenager suspected of practicing thefts on the south side of Rio was beaten, wounded with knife, stripped naked and tied to a pole on Avenida Rui Barbosa in Flamengo. The case was reported through a social network by Yvonne Bezerra, coordinator of Projecto Uerê and activist in causes of human rights. Yvonne said she was alerted by a friend about the tied up young man late on Friday (31).
She went to the scene and summoned police and firefighters, who were able to remove the bike lock that held the boy. The teenager said he had been approached by three men who called themselves Os Justiceiros (meaning “vigilantes”) and rode motorcycles. The trio beat the young man and stabbed him in the ear before removing his clothes and tying him to the post.
By way of the same social network that reported the incident, Yvonne vented against those who stood against her posture of helping the boy.
“I want to warn publicly here on face(book) that those who send me messages in my inbox, accusing me of several things I helped a person to be removed from a pole, naked on my street, to be careful with words. I’ve already summoned my lawyer and will sue one by one. I will never allow torture or groups of idiots who call themselves “justiceiros” to practice these acts. Bandits have to be arrested…”
Note from BW of Brazil: I’m curious to know how people feel about this piece but here’s where I’m coming from. First things first, no one actually verified if the young man in fact stole anything. There are various stories on this blog featuring young black males who were accused of robbery or attempted robbery. There were the accusations of arrastão (groups robberies on the beach), the recent profiling and mall restrictions of black youth due to the so-called rolezinhos (flash mobs) and well as the normal everyday harassment and accusations, often showing that nothing had been actually stolen.
The second thing is Brazilian society has always reserved this type of treatment for black Brazilians in general. The term “justiceiro” has been around for a number of years and describes vigilantes and/or death squad groups, often times off-duty police, who decide to remove from society the “undesirable” element. In other words, the social order of inequality must be upheld. This speaks of a much deeper problem within Brazilian society.
People protested and were outraged when affirmative action policies were introduced to balance the huge racial disparity of those who have access to college. The university area has always been generally a whites-only club and only in the past decade with the introduction of quotas has there been a marked change in racial representation on college campuses. People are quick to make sure to “keep people (ie blacks) in their place” but prefer to maintain the country in a permanent state of apartheid in nearly every area of life. Discussing the bankers and politicians who constantly assure that rules in society are tipped in their favor and thus help to create the social imbalances that lead to petty crime is not a topic that people want to seriously address. After all, it’s easier to point the finger at society’s rejects. This is the same petty crime that is created by elites who in turn put vigilantes and police in place to repress the supposed “criminal element.” It’s so nice to know that so many people want to ensure that inequality is as Brazilian as beaches and soccer.