Note from BW of Brazil: Over the past six decades, numerous studies have pointed to how racism in the job market helps to maintain the status quo that punishes black Brazilians simply based on their phenotype while providing benefits to those who are considered “white enough”, according to Brazilian standards that is. It should come as no surprise and even as many Brazilians want to continue denying the factor of race in nearly every category of society, downplaying it as just “mimimi” (whining) or “vitimismo” (playing the victim), the numbers and reports present the reality in very clear terms, and some white Brazilians, clearly less than are willing to admit it, KNOW that they have advantages based simply on their phenotype. I mean, even Brazil’s top television network made a joke of the privileges provided by whiteness. But it’s no laughing matter.
Whether we consider classic studies from the 1950s and 1960s by Florestan Fernandes and to ground-breaking reports by Nelson do Valle Silva and Carlos Hasenbalg in the 1970s and 80s, to early 21st century works by Rosana Heringer and continuing to the present with academics/activists such as Marcelo Paixão and Maria Aparecida “Cida” Silva Bento, there is simply no denying the part racism plays in the vast racial inequalities in Brazil’s job market. It is a factor that white Brazilians never have to consider while for blacks, one can never rule out the possibility. And today’s brief report gives a crystal clear example of how racism functions in the moment that an Afro-Brazilian seeks to fill a job vacancy.
“I don’t hire blacks”. In social network, President of Bayer Brasil denounces case of racism during selection process
By Silvia Nascimento
Racism in the job market is nothing new to anyone. Now a powerful white man is denouncing and leading his followers to reflect on how many highly competent and well-prepared black professionals are discarded during a selective process just because of skin color, this is something rare but necessary. And that’s what Bayer’s president here in Brazil, Theo Van Der Loo, did through his Linkedin profile, last Sunday, March 26.
“I DON’T INTERVIEW BLACKS”
Theo van der Loo: “Yesterday, March 24th, I heard an unacceptable and revolting story. An acquaintance of mine, an afrodescendentes (African-descendants), with an excellent background and resume, went to do an interview. When the interviewer saw his ethnic background he told the HR person that he didn’t know this detail and that he didn’t interview blacks! I told my friend to file a report. Then another surprise! The response: “I thought (about it), but I thought it was best not to, because I can burn my image. I’m from a simple and humble family and it took a lot to get where I am.” (see note 1)
Loo was also very puzzled by his friend’s attitude in not exposing what had happened, which is very understandable. Although it sounds convenient, the coward (this was not suggested in the post), sometimes choosing to shut up in order to not be discarded elsewhere is one of the most painful decisions, especially for those with training and experience. It’s not engolir sapo (swallowing a frog/tucking your tail between your legs). It’s strategic. And it’s a thing of suffering.
Racism is a crime, but it is also violence. Each victim reacts in some way, but there are cases of people who, even aware of their rights, know that they too are the most vulnerable and can compromise their career in an irrecoverable way, because the complaint would become a police case.
There are few blacks in leadership positions who can raise this flag to show that denouncing racism in the corporate world and in selective processes, specifically, is not dirt to be thrown under the rug. This can’t be a solitary fight of a discriminated candidate, nor of the only black executive of the company. Nor is it just a black cause.
So attitudes like Van Der Loo are precious. White leaders will not be fired for denouncing racism, machismo, or any kind of affront to law and human rights. People stop to listen, they react and this is how things change.
I believe in joining forces for broader and more effective advances, men and women, blacks and whites. After all, if we don’t create the problem, why is eliminating racism only our task?
Source: Mundo Negro
- This attitude in the acceptance of rejection provides a clear example of the precarious position that black Brazilians find themselves in. With no recourse to fall back on (major black-owned businesses for example) and a necessity to depend on the attitudes of whites in powerful positions, Afro-Brazilians often feel that it is necessary to simply allow clear examples of racism pass and survive to see the next opportunity rather than possibly closing the door on any future by making a fuss about racial discrimination.