In another example of Brazilian style racism at its finest, a little black girl was insulted at a public school in the southeastern region of the country. After reading this article, one can understand why so many black Brazilian women featured in this blog speak so much about having pride in being black, being good examples for other black Brazilians and learning to accept their facial features and hair textures. It is because from the time they are small children, black Brazilian children learn that they are denigrated and unappreciated. Sad as it may sound, experiences with racism in Brazilian schools from from primary to high school is very common. Among other insults that Brazilians of visible African ancestry experience on a daily basis, from an early age, they are taught that they are ugly (feio), have “bad hair (cabelo ruim)” and that beauty is represented by whiteness. This is a dilemma in a country with such a huge contingent of non-whites, more than 100 million of the country’s 200 million citizens.
Little black girl is called “monkey” and “chimp” in school
Can you imagine what it’s like for a black child to be called “macumbeira”*, “little black”, “chimpanzee” and many other offensive terms? And the worst thing about this story is that this happened in a municipal school of Serra**. One of the victims is a girl that hasn’t even entered adolescence, but is already suffering trauma. She can’t even remember what happened without starting to cry.
“They called me macumbeira, monkey … They see me and say: ‘Oh that’s scary!’”, said the girl. And even the teachers, she said, are biased. “The teacher said to my mother who would take me to the salon to tighten my hair. I’m don’t even want to go to school because they made insult me,” she says, crying.
And her younger brother suffers from the same sort of thing. “They were insulting me, calling me monkey, ugly, little black from Africa and chimpanzee,” he said.
The racist behavior of his schoolmates of the children left the mother incensed. She went to the school board but has not received the attention she demands. “She told me it was only the children that were involved and that my children are the ones that were nicknaming the others. He does not want to accept his color anymore”, she said.
The Serra Secretary of Education said through a spokesperson, that the mother was heard by the directors of the school at the time of the facts. The secretary also said that an educational work was done in the classroom and in the next months, the unit will host an educational event about the importance of black consciousness.
“This is Brazilian racism. It’s the kind of racism that exists in the country. It’s veiled, but it’s like acid that corrodes the life of person from childhood to the end of one’s life. This is what makes black people not accept themselves as black”, says Josy Karla Damasceno of the Fórum Estadual de Entidades Negras(State Forum of Black Entities).
* – The term “Macumba” was the name used for all Bantu religious practices mainly by Afro-Brazilians in the northeastern state of Bahia in the 19th Century. “Macumba”, and the term “Macumbeira” (one who practices Macumba), became common in some parts of Brazil and this word is used by most people as a pejorative word meaning “black witchcraft”, although actual practitioners don’t view the term negatively. In some ways, it is equal to saying someone practices “Voodoo” or “Voudoon”, another misunderstood, negatively viewed religion practiced in Haiti.
** – Serra, is a city that is located in the greater metropolitan area of the city of Vitória, the capital city of the small state of Espírito Santo, located in Brazil’s southeastern region.
Source: Black Women of Brazil
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