Note from BW of Brazil: Racism and its denial in Brazil is such that, unless one actually points out the facts of everyday routines and representations, people don’t really notice the clear racial hierarchy that exists in nearly every realm of society. I’ve had this conversation with numerous people over the years (both black and white) and the general consensus is that 1) racism is not a problem, 2) whites also face some sort of discrimination, 3) everyone is equal or 4) “I never noticed”. As such, it’s sometimes a good way to present the facts by simply doing the ‘teste de pescoço’, or the ‘neck test’ and put these opinions to the test. Or, a simple Google image search will also provide a few clues. Check it out…
Do the ‘neck test’ and know if there is racism in Brazil
Apply the ‘teste de pescoço’ (Neck Test) everywhere and then draw your own conclusion. Ask yourself if in fact we are a multicultural country; a Racial Democracy
By Luh de Souza and Francisco Antero.
1.Walking through the streets, turn your neck inside the jewelry stores and count how many black men and women are clerks.
2. Go to any private schools, especially those such as; Objectivo and Colégio Dante Alighieri (in São Paulo) among others, stretch your neck inside the rooms and count how many black students there are. Take advantage of the opportunity and also count how many teachers are black and how many are sweeping the floor.
3. Go hospitals of the Sírio Libanês type, stick your neck in the rooms and count how many patients are black, turn your neck to count how many black doctors are there, and take time to peek your neck in the corridors and count how many black men and women are cleaning the floor.
4. When passing through a shopping (mall), or in the commercial center of your neighborhood, turn your neck and look at the windows and count how many shop mannequins represent the black ethnicity consumer. Turn your neck in the fashion magazines, television commercials, and count how many black models there are in perfume, car, travel, clothing advertisements, etc.
5. Go to public universities, turn your neck and count how many blacks are there: teachers, students and servants.
6. Turn your neck at a meeting of the PSDB and DEM (political) parties, for example, count how many politicians are black from the foundation thereof, and then consider in respect to them all being against all demands of the black race.
7. Turn your neck 180° in the marches of doctors in protest against the Cuban doctors who will possibly come, and count how many black you see at the march.
8. Peek your neck in prisons, in orphanages, correctional facilities for children, count how many are white, it’s easier.
9. Turn the neck to see how many maids, servants, cleaners, squatters and beggars are of the white ethnicity. Then ask yourself what is the cause of European or Oriental descendants not being seen under bridges or in slums or begging or sweeping the floor.
10. Turn your neck at the time of Rural Globo (TV program) and count how many farmers are black, then draw the conclusion of those who are landless, how many are homeless. In Globo Pequenas Empresas & Grandes Negócios (Globo Small Business & Big Business magazine), how many entrepreneurs are black?
11. In free television programming, accessible to the majority of the population, rotate your neck in the programming and count how many hosts, journalists or news anchors, artists of stardom status, are black. Where do black children see themselves represented?
More suggestions sent:
- Peek your neck inside the banks and count how many black managers there are, how many are tellers and how many are janitors. (Margot Jung)
- I never had black teachers. I was never consulted by black doctors. In bank accounts, I never had black managers. And many still insist that in our country all have the same rights and opportunities. Where are they? (Priscila Gomes)
Apply the Neck Test everywhere and then draw your own conclusion. Ask yourself if we are in fact a multicultural country, a Racial Democracy and we are treated equal before the law?!
* Have you discovered anything else? Send us any additions to this list.
* * This test was taught to me by my friend Francisco Antero, and I have adapted it in my day to day. That’s how I began to realize all existing inequalities in my country and changed my opinion in regards to Racial Quotas for Blacks and Indians.
Source: Pragmatismo Político
White supremacy is a global problem. It spreads anti-blackness everywhere on the planet! Brazil is no different. Great post by the way.
Black Folks have the numbers, it’s time you all start using the numbers to your advantage.
At some point us Africans/Blacks in the Diaspora need to link up, and have a Day of International Solidarity
That’s true! I agree with you on that!
Great article! I am going to use this the next time I speak to a white person here about the racism that they keep insisting does not exist here! These are some good, concrete examples that can be used to discuss how it manifests here in Brazil, as many (white) Brazilians honestly believe that – since there never official segregation laws here – racism does not exist here!
Small grievance, but it should be pointed out for #9, the term Oriental can be considered offensive in English. It’s usually preferable to use Asian.
Also, white is a race, not an ethnicity.
Otherwise, great article.
Thanks for comment.
Let me say, the articles here are translated from the Portuguese and in Portuguese the term amarelo, meaning yellow, is the actual term on the Brazilian census. Usually, I translate amarelo as Asian or put it in parentheses, but in this article, the writer actually used the term “orientais”, meaning the plural of “Oriental”.
In Brazil, the term “japa”, in reference to a person of Japanese descent is offensive, but I have seen persons use the term “oriental” here and I have yet had anyone tell me that it is offensive.
I am familiar with how the term is used in the US. And because of the usage of the term “Jap” used in the US and its pejorative meaning from WWII, many Brazilians copy the term and say “japa”, which is offensive to many.
But sometimes there is a choice to make between using a term that is in current use here and those in use in the US or other countries. Today, the term “negro” is used by Brazilians of African descent who have pride in their blackness whereas in the US, the term is now used to describe African-Americans who are “sell outs” or very accomodationist or assimilationist in their racial views.
The same with the term “coloured” from South Africa, an officially used category there but (“colored”) is pejorative and very old in the US.
As such, here, I simply chose to translate the term as it is because that is how the writer wrote it and I decided to leave it as it is.
Using terms in translation can sometimes be a challenge as we must translate, maintain the integrity of terms that don’t exist in other languages and others that may be interpreted in different ways in different cultures. Another example is the term “crioulo”.
In Brazil’s slave era, it was used to describe Africans born in Brazil whereas in the US, the term “creole” refers specifically to light-skinned or mixed race persons of African descent, specifically in Louisiana. There is debate about the term “crioulo” as some blacks don’t have a problem with the term while others don’t like it. Still others have told me that they accept the term if it comes from another Afro-Brazilian, but not from a white Brazilian. This is not to say this is the absolute rule. But interestingly, in the film “Django” which used the term “nigger” more than 100 times, here in Brazil, the term was often translated as “crioulo” even though “crioulo” doesn’t have the same strong, racially offensive overtones.
All this to say that I know how the term “Oriental” is viewed in the US, but things are not always exactly the same in Brazil.