Mother accuses childcare center in Belo Horizonte of racism against children

UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) students protest against cases of racism in Belo Horizonte BH City daycare center on campus last Friday (20) Natália Andrade/Rádio UFMG Educativa
UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) students protest against cases of racism in Belo Horizonte BH City daycare center on campus last Friday (20) Natália Andrade/Rádio UFMG Educativa

Note from BW of Brazil: So what else is new? Another day, another racist incident. What’s really a shame about this is that black children must grow up knowing that their physical attributes are rejected by Brazilian society. As we have seen in a number of posts, these children often grow up with a strong inferiority complex and difficulty accepting themselves and developing an appreciation for their appearance. This is day to day life in a country in which everything associated with beauty, power and intelligence is associated with white skin, light-colored eyes and straight hair, preferably blond. Which is why programs and groups such as Manifesto Crespo and Afro-betization are so necessary. The case below is somewhat reminiscent of a similar case that happened in December of 2013 in the city of Guarulhos.  

Mother accuses childcare center in Belo Horizonte of racism against children

Two-year boy cried and asked his mother to cut his kinky/curly hair

By Miguel Archangel Prado of R7

A complaint of racism against a two-year old child and other children of around four-years old mobilized dozens of students at UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) and representatives of the Affirmative Action Group of the university’s Faculty of Education, the Coletivo dos Estudantes Negro (CEN or Collective of Black Students) and of the Academic Center of the Course of Social Sciences.

Last Friday (20), they protested at the door of the Alaíde Lisboa UMEI (Municipal Unit of Child Education) on the Pampulha camous in Belo Horizonte, where the incident caused an uproar.

The reason for the protest was the latest case of racism that happened in the day care center run by the city of Belo Horizonte, where students of the university community leave their children.

According to the report of student social sciences Ana Gabriela Terena, her son, only two years, said he was instructed at school to cut his cabelo crespo (kinky/curly hair). In an interview with Rádio Educational UFMG, in Natália Andrade’s report, the mother recounted the episode.

Ana Gabriela revealed that her son asked her to “cut his hair to make it soft and fragrant.” The mother is outraged by what happened.

“Wednesday of last week I knew from my son that he had been a victim of racism. My two year old son went to sleep crying, asking me to cut his hair.”

In other cases

Also according to the complaint of mothers, other children in the four-year range suffer discrimination against for being black with the omission of the general staff of Alaíde Lisboa UMEI.

Speaking to R7, Ana Gabriela says that “this is the first public complaint, the others were restricted to the directors of UMEI.”

“I wanted to give visibility to this denouncement because my son is not the first victim. We have known of cases of racism in the institution since 2009.”

Also according to the mother, at a meeting last Friday (20) with the presence of directors, mothers and representative of the City Department of Education, defined the creation of measures to combat racism in the institution were defined.

“We want the commitment of the school and Secretary in compliance with legislation requiring the confronting of racism and the inclusion of the ethnic-racial theme in the school curriculum, addressing Afro-Brazilian and indigenous culture. After all, Alaíde Lisboa UMEI is still an elite space, since the majority of students are children of the academic community, in its majority white. The black minority is also in numerical order in the institution.”

Belo Horizonte City Hall following the case

R7 news called Alaíde Lisboa UMEI Alaíde, but no one answered the phone.

The report also contacted the Municipal Education of Belo Horizonte. The press reported that the organ is following the case closely, but that it will not issue a note about it.

A bonequinha preta
A bonequinha preta

By phone, the Secretariat also said, through his counsel, that Alaíde Lisboa UMEI  informed the court about the case and the demonstration and oriented directors of the institution. The Secretariat also said that the mother will be called for a meeting later this week, so that she can explain the case to the entity. And the Núcleo de Relações Étnico Raciais (Nucleus of Ethnic Relations) will monitor everything closely.

The Secretariat also informed that it is conducting teacher training to use in the classroom along ethno-racial curriculum guidelines. It also reported that, on Friday (20), an Afro-Brazilian literature kit for teachers was handed out.

According to the organ, in the case that racism on the part of any employee of any UMEI Alaíde Lisboa is proven, this will be forwarded to the Internal Affairs of the Municipal of Belo Horizonte

Ironically, the UMEI Alaíde Lisboa logo is a black doll in reference to the character A Bonequinha Preta (The Little Black Doll), who gave title to the famous book by Minas Gerais author Alaíde Lisbon (1904-2006), of whom the school is named after.

Source: R7

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


  1. I applaud the good mothers for standing up against this disgusting 3 year old daughter goes to an international school here in Atlanta Ga and has faced similar things from fellow students who are the children of French citizens..meaning France is no different, despite what they claim. Ironically my din faced a similar situation from a black teacher, who said his uncombed afro was a distraction. Ha, like I stated she was black..peace.

  2. “My two year old son went to sleep crying, asking me to cut his hair.”

    As a father, I feel like crying reading this.

  3. I want to visit Brazil once I complete my BA (hopefully by next year). I’m a Sudanese/Afro-American living in California and I was always interested in the plight of Afro-Brazilians. If anyone associated with this site can email me that would be great because I don’t know anyone in Brazil lol. A tour guide/ someone who is aware of the issues on racism would be very helpful. I want to interview the black people living in Brazil and also take photos to start a blog. It’s kind of far fetched but I want to shed light on the issues that Brazil tends to sweep under the rug. My people in America and Sudan face injusticies because of their skin color so I’m very passionate about exposing systematic racism. I would appreciate the contact.

    – Muhammad S.

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