Note from BW of Brazil: Today’s post is a continuation of a controversial story that made national headlines last month and continues to be a popular topic of posts and commentaries online. The incident and its fallout represents yet another intriguing microcosm from which to gauge the question of race as it is seen, understood or misunderstood from the Brazilian perspective. We speak of the incident involving a young woman, Patrícia Moreira, who was caught on an ESPN camera calling the black goalie Aranha a “macaco”, meaning monkey, on national television. The incident provoked a landslide of opinions of a topic that once again shows how difficult it remains to deal with a topic that, for many years, Brazilian society denied even existing. In many ways, reactions to the incident show that many people see nothing wrong with the situation and seem to be in direct allegiance to white privilege. Along the way, we have seen some very typical responses, ranging from the absurd to the puzzling, but also some surprising, thought-provoking opinions.
Fan accused of racist insult: “I know I’m not racist. I’ve already been with a black guy.”
“I know I’m not racist. I’ve already been with a black guy. I was taken much by my fanaticism for Grêmio, only that I was never wanted to offend. Grêmio fans are not racist, they’re not,” said the fan Patrícia Moreira da Silva, who is responding to a lawsuit for an injuria racial (racial injury/slur) after being caught calling Santos goalkeeper Aranha monkey.
September 18, 2014
Courtesy of Brasil 247
Accused of a racial slur, the Grêmio fan Patrícia Moreira da Silva, denied being racist. “I know I’m not racist. I’ve already been with a black guy. I was taken much by my fanaticism for Grêmio, only that I was never wanted to offend. Grêmio fans are not racist, they’re not,” she said to Jornal Zero Hour.
She was spotted calling Santos goalie “macaco” (monkey) in a match against Grêmio. The episode yielded a punishment of Grêmio from the STJD (Superior Court of Sports Justice) that eliminated the club from the Copa do Brasil (Brazil Cup).
Patrícia was fired and had her house fire bombed. “It trashed my life. I don’t go out anymore, I have no more social life, I take sleeping pills. I am not the same as I was before – cheerful, playful, always laughing, every day had something to do. Today I feel like a prisoner, I don’t have a home anymore, my things are a bit out of place,” she said.
Fan will work for NGO in slums and meet with Tinga, another player affected by racism
Moreira will now be a part of the Central Única de Favelas (Cufa or Central Union of the Slums), an organization that fights racism
by Mauricio Tonetto
September 18, 2014
The young woman will work in the administrative sector of the organization and participate in a panel with former Gre-Nal player Tinga in Minas Gerais
After being fired by the Centro Médico-Odontológico da Brigada Militar (Dental-Medical Center of the Military Brigade) after the match back in August, Moreira will get another chance to work in the NGO Cufa, the Central Única de Favelas, whose ambassador is rapper MV Bill.
The young woman will act in the administrative sector of the organization and participate in a panel with former Gre-Nal player Tinga in Minas Gerais, that still has no scheduled date. On Monday, Moreira became a part of Cufa. The NGO has offices in several cities around the country. In an interview with Zero Hour on Tuesday, she said she aims to become a national symbol against racism and said that she’s had been with black men.
Afraid to continue living in the same neighborhood, on the north side of the capital city, the Grêmio fan left the house where she lived that was stoned and burned, and took refuge with relatives. Moreira said that she quit seeking to meet with the Santos goalkeeper who refused meeting with her and reported that it was normal to hear other fans shouting “macaco” in the Grêmio stadium.
Note from BW of Brazil: Wow, so it’s the old, “I’m not racist, I’ve had sex with a black guy” excuse. First, Moreira’s black friends stepped forward to defend her and now she is playing another infamous card in the “I’m not racist” reactionary slogan book. We’ve already addressed this sort of ridiculous statement in a previous post, but the second piece leaves me a little baffled. Moreira was fired from her job for her racist insult, but then an organization that has a reputation for working with poor, mostly black communities hires her?!? What does this prove? What are the motives? What is the message? You can keep calling black people monkeys and black representative groups will still give you a job?
We know that there are black women who are routinely passed over in job interviews for white and sometimes less qualified women but this white woman blatantly displays racist action and earns a position with an entity that allies itself in the fight against racial discrimination? There are surely many women who the organization could have given this job to, but hiring a woman who gained fame for an open display of racial hostility against someone who is part of the group that the organization purports to defend seems almost opportunist, at best. At worst it appears to be symbolic of the old “good/house negro” syndrome in which “good/innocent white folks” can do no wrong. This woman’s actions were neither good nor innocent, so what is the true message here? I would file this in the “Brazil’s peculiar way of dealing with racism“ file.
Boos against Aranha are the victories of racism in the Grêmio Arena
by Jose Antonio Lima
September 19, 2014
Brazilian racism that denies the existence of prejudice and denies blacks even the right to be offended, scored a significant victory in the Arena of Grêmio, on the evening of Thursday (18) in Porto Alegre. Three weeks after Aranha was called “macaco” (monkey) and “preto fedido” (stinking black), the Santos goalkeeper was insulted with the terms for “viado” (faggot) and “Branca de Neve” (Snow White), booed as the game heated up and also every time they touched the ball during rematch between the two clubs, this time the Campeonato Brasileiro (Brazilian Championship). It was a clear demonstration of “outrage” by many Grêmio fans caused by the simple fact of his having denounced the act of racism that he suffered on August 28th.
As usual, there was a cynical attempt to deny that the boos directed at Aranha were critical of the goalkeeper and thus supported the previous act of racism. During the game, on social networks, arguments that “booing is normal in futebol” thrived. After the match, this thesis was accepted by two reporters connected to Globo TV, one from SporTV and another for RBS.
SporTV: Aranha, but don’t you think boos are normal? (sic) What happened abnormal beyond the boos?
Aranha: I don’t care about boos, as an expression of fans, since it is (part of the) sport. And we, without being hypocritical … Because sometimes also things we say, everyone starts to think what they want. Everyone knows that the boos today were different.
SporTV and RBS: Different why?
Aranhar (looking at the RBS reporter): Do you know why? Why was it was different?
RBS: It’s the question that we want to know.
Aranha: For everything that happened in another game, or was it not? Or do you agree with what happened? Do you agree?
RBS: I have to agree with anything.
Aranha: Oh, you don’t have … (to agree or disagree)? Why? So you’re not even there, is that it?
The comment is shocking and disturbing on two levels. Firstly, because journalists from the principle of the boos having no relation to the episode of racism, a conclusion that disregards any context and therefore constitutes a blatant and pathetic lie. Secondly, the blind pursuit of “exemption” by the RBS reporter of the clear racist act during the previous game, a posture resulting, obviously, from the rules of the broadcaster and the result is the dissociation between journalism and its primary cause, the defense of truth.
Behind the boos against Aranha and the questions asked of the goalkeeper after the game is also the construction of a false truth, that the goalkeeper was not the victim of a racist act, but blamed for making Grêmio fans “lose their heads” purposely delaying during the match between Grêmio and Santos for the Copa do Brasil (Brazil Cup). They defended this thesis, keeping with two examples, the directors of Grêmio, and Eduardo Bueno, also from SporTV. The last to do it was Luiz Felipe Scolari, the coach the National Team’s 7-1 World Cup disaster, who compared Aranha’s denouncement was victim playing.
The case involving the Santos goalkeeper and the Grêmio fans is another in a list of the alternative morality that prevails in futebol, but is also symbolic as a tool of analysis of Brazilian society. Whoever accuses Aranha, and whoever is silent in the face of the pressure suffered by the goalkeeper in one way or another strengthens the reaction to the quest for equality, perversely contributing to attempting to “put blacks in their proper place”, invisible and subordinate, where they don’t bother anyone with their insolent complaints about “supposed” racism. It is a simply abject posture, ignoring decades of struggle and, as Aranha himself said, the pain of many people whose suffering is the basis of the laws against racism.
Note from BW of Brazil: The writer of this piece hit the nail on the head with this article. The crowd’s hostility toward Aranha simply shows the demand of maintaining the white privilege of disrespecting black humanity and banding together to protect this privilege if the oppressed group dare to stand up and fight back. More proof of this is Moreira’s comment in which she noted that calling players monkeys is common among fans at the games. It’s almost as if the crowd was uniformly saying, “Look, monkey, there’s no racism in Brazil and how dare you stop entertaining us to say that there is.” The only thing missing would be a repeat performance of comedian/TV host Danilo Gentilli asking Aranha “how many bananas will it take to make you forget this whole thing?” In other words, “Yes, we are racists! And we demand the right to keep expressing ourselves!”
Note also how the press treated the goalkeeper. Is that what we call impartial journalism? Yes, it’s true, booing an opponent IS indeed part of sports. If the athlete blatantly fouled or injured another player or even if the player’s play on the field was decisive in defeating the other team, that is expected. But booing Aranha had nothing to do with this. It was his will to stand up against a routine practice of racism that black Brazilians have accepted for far too long; a demand to disrespect his very humanity. A humanity that the crowd apparently rejected. Let’s be real, if Aranha had never stood up to the racist hostility, and instead just accepted being called a monkey and kept playing with no reaction, the crowd would never have booed him. Again, when blacks stay “in their place” everything is fine, but when they object to this predetermined place, in this case, willingly accepting de-humanization, the forces of white privilege rise again to maintain their top place in the hierarchy of racial inequality.
This brings us to yet another intriguing piece of this whole controversy.
Racist Facebook page is created in “support” of Grêmio fan
Courtesy of Folhapress
In a Facebook page created on September 14 entitled, “Apoiamos Patricia Moreira contra a hipocrisia do Politicamente Correto”, meaning, we support Patrícia Moreira against the hypocrisy of the Politically Correct – uses the image of the fan to attack critics from the definition of racism to the arrival of Haitian immigrants to Brazil.
In one of the posts, a montage shows futebol players like Neymar, Pelé, Tinga and Robinho accompanied by blond women in order to criticize the hypocrisy of black pride. Another text, posted by the page on Tuesday (23), brings a message in respect to interracial relationships: “Say no to racial miscegenation. If the people of Israel don’t mix, we also have the same right to talk about it, without politically correct censors.”
The only administrator of the community is Jefferson, that says is he is a Rio de Janeiro lawyer, 27 years old, a fan of Flamengo and sympathizer of Corinthians and Grêmio (futebol clubs) and affirms that the page was made to expose “contradictions of the leftist movement.” He responded to some questions from the Folha newspaper.
“The hypocrisy of people saying that the fan is white, disgusting that she should be raped by blacks, anti-white racism is permitted in Brazil and they come out unpunished, a law that only enforces one side should be revoked. I made a page to cite various pathologies, contradictions of the leftist movement,” he affirmed.
For him, Aranha “accepts victimhood” and is among blacks that work as “pawns” of leftist politicians. His counterpoint would be the ex-president of the Supremo Tribunal Federal (Supreme Court), Joaquim Barbosa. “I am proud of being Branco (white) (sic), I was already labeled many things and I’m not even bothered by this, here there is partiality, blacks can say that they have pride, whites no, it’s hypocrisy, leftists always hate Homen Branco (White Man)”, he defended.
Note from BW of Brazil: I must admit something here. After becoming aware of the creation of this page last week, my first thought was, “Wow, incredible how people fight for their right to be racist and support racist thoughts.” But then, after visiting the page, I was actually surprised. Let me explain. Whenever we get into debates with people or groups that we immediately assume to be our polar opposites, we sometimes overlook those rare times in which our opinions and that of our opponents are actually similar. I went to this page and expected to see followers of neo-Nazis or Skinheads. I didn’t read all of the posts or the hundreds of comments but a few posts caught my attention. Let’s take a look at a few of the posts.
First there was the photo showing various colors separated and then all mixed together. The top photo says “Respecting diversity” and the second caption reads “Destroying diversity”. The point of the photo is that while leftist organizations indeed scream for diversity, sometimes we must take a step back and understand what this actually means. Brazil has long been called the world’s greatest mixing pot; a land where the world’s races mix together into one big racial stew. But the question is, how is this diversity if everyone looks the same? Diversity is in fact respecting the differences. If out of four colors we come to one uniform color, this does NOT represent diversity. It is actually uniformity. As we pointed out in a previous article, interracial unions are personal choices but we cannot negate some of the factors that may be part of the selection process of a potential partner. And as millions of persons of visible African ancestry are either directly or indirectly victimized by Brazil’s anti-African ideology, we cannot rule out the possibility of the pain and suffering inflicted due to such widespread beliefs may play a role in the conscious or unconscious choice of social or physical “embranquecimento” (whitening) of one’s self or one’s offspring.
The second photo touches upon a phenomenon that BW of Brazil has pointed out in several articles. In the past few decades, there has been a noted rise in black consciousness and the will to stand up against racism among Brazilians of visible African ancestry, whereas in previous decades millions from this same group simply didn’t react, tried to ignore it and didn’t discuss it. But interestingly, this rise in black consciousness has come with a similar rise in the rates of interracial marriages. What are we to assume from this simultaneous increase? In previous posts, articles have shown how the social indicators of many of these unions, rather than proving a lack of racism in the society, actually provide yet another example of how Brazil racial hierarchy remains in place. Another post brought to fore a view that many Brazilians have of black men of high status married to white women beyond the “we’re all equal”/“race isn’t a problem here” rhetoric: The contradiction of one screaming about how proud they are of their blackness while simultaneously choosing partners that seem to suggest otherwise. Aranha, in fact, is one of the players that falls into our category of black players who denounce racism and coincidentally have white wives.
Again, to be absolutely clear, the point is not to demonize interracial marriage, but point out the fact that nearly a century and a half ago, Brazilian elites decided that its large Afro-Brazilian population was a symbol of the country’s backwardness and, as such, developed a plan for massive European immigration while simultaneously promoting interracial unions with the ultimate goal of the disappearance of the black race (including those of mixed race) within a century. The plan didn’t exactly work but one could argue that the process continues. With this in mind, there are a few points to consider.
In Brazil, the vast majority of persons of visible African ancestry choose not to define themselves specifically as negros. This has long made the struggle to organize a widespread black rights movement all the more difficult as so many people who themselves could be victims of racial discrimination don’t identify with this struggle. As interracial marriages continue to increase in Brazil, there will be more persons born of these unions and many will either identify themselves as brancos (whites) or at least some other terminology that avoids a direct identification with blackness. Aranha’s son, for example, while saying he is proud of having a black father, most likely doesn’t identify himself as black. With this in mind, where does this leave the struggle of the black population in years to come as millions more persons distance themselves from this struggle?