Black skin (always) = “suspect”: Man in Salvador, Bahia removes his clothes to prove he hadn’t stolen anything

Homem tira roupa em shopping de Salvador para mostrar que não roubou (capa)


Note from BW of Brazil: Alright, so surely there will those who think that such a reaction is blowing things out of proportion, but then there’s the old saying, “don’t judge a man until you’ve walked in his shoes.” In shopping malls and almost anywhere else in Brazilian society, men of visible African ancestry have always been treated as common criminals; always a possible assailant, always the “suspect” element. It is this type of treatment that led to the so-called “rolezinhos” in shopping malls several months ago. It is also the cause of what many consider “beach apartheid” on the beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Of course, one could argue, there really are criminals that scheme on unsuspecting people, and while this is also true, those same people never want to deal with the social inequalities and prejudices that cause such acts. This is a topic that was already touched upon in the past so I won’t get into that here.

The point of today’s post is the psychological effects of always being a target for mistreatment simply because of skin color. No one knows who the young man in the video is, and we also don’t know how many times he or someone he knows may have been a victim of the regular “suspect” treatment given to Afro-Brazilians by Military Police, security guards and even the Brazilian media. But at a certain point, it should be expected that someone would react and just blow up. In fact, having a reaction was one of the pieces of the advice given by black activists in the nationwide marches that took place two Fridays ago: “React or you will be killed“. I guess the guy in the video saw it that way too!

Man takes off clothes in Salvador shopping mall to show that hadn’t stolen anything

Courtesy of Revista Black Life Brasil

A video showing a man undressing in Salvador Shopping (mall) has been circulating through social networks since Thursday (28). He is heard saying it won’t bother him to go to the police station. “I’m a worker, man, I’m no thief, no.”

 The images show that, while screaming, he takes off his clothes. “Where’s the theft? Show me the theft, here, d …,” he says. Other shoppers at the mall stop to watch the scene and applaud his attitude.

According to witnesses who recorded the video, also on Thursday, the incident happened at the sporting goods store Centauro, but the scene shot happens in the middle of the mall. A security guard is seen approaching the boy after he takes off his pants. “I didn’t steal anything, no. You came from over there following me,” he says, still screaming.

Soon after, he picks up his backpack and leaves. Still from the side, he continues yelling at the security guard. “I leave the mall and the guy is following me (…) Just because he’s negro, he’s negão (big black), he will steal. Go fuck yourself …”

Salvador Shopping was sought and stated that the case happened after an argument between a salesperson and the customer and the latter left willingly, from the store. A spokesperson didn’t confirm that the case happened in Centauro and said he still didn’t know if the client had been accused of theft. Representatives of Centauro were not found to make a statement on the issue.

Source: Revista Black Life Brasil

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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