Following up on a story first reported on this blog last month, various groups affiliated with the Movimento Negro (Brazil’s black civil rights organizations) held a protest and demonstration in front of the Colégio Internacional Anhembi Morumbi in the Brooklin region of São Paulo in a show of solidarity with a black student that reported being intimidated and discriminated against because she chose to wear her natural hair down. The act of discrimination that the student experienced must be taken in context of the way black hair texture is viewed in Brazil. Brazil imported more than 10 times more African slaves than the United States and today is said to have the largest population of black people outside of Nigeria. Yet, historically, Brazilian society has deemed the hair texture of African descendants to be “bad (ruim)” while straight is considered “good (bom)”. Speaking directly to this historic association, groups carried banners that read:
Movimento Negro protests in front of school accused of racism.
Activists of the various groups of the Movimento Negro including UNEafro, Levante Popular, Circulo Palmarino, Sarau da Brasa, Coletivo Feminista Yabá, Collective Law Students of PUC-SP (university) and independents occupied the street in front of the Colégio Internacional Anhembi Morumbi, in protest to allegations of racism made by the intern Esther that had been coerced into straightening her hair in order to continue working at the institution.
In addition to expressing their repudiation of the arrogant attitude of the college, that on one side vehemently denies racism and the other does not explain what happened to the public, the movement demanded the implementation of Law 10639/03 which established the promotion of Afro-Brazilian culture and history also in public as well as private schools and demanded immediate reparation and compensation to the intern Ester Elisa da Silva Cesário.
Another protest was scheduled for sometime in January, during the registration period of the college depending on how the case unfolds in court and how the college responds the accusations and demands of the movement.
Unacceptable: Racism at the Colégio Internacional Anhembi Morumbi
UNEafro Brazil sympathizes with young victim of discrimination
The UNEafro Brazil has gone public to protest the case of racial discrimination experienced by Esther Cesario Elisa da Silva at her job where she works as an intern in the marketing department. The student decided to appeal to the courtroom to denounce the racist practices of which she was a victim.
We want to say to the young Esther, like most members of UNEafro, that we hear daily reports of black women, black youth, parents, and many others that report racial discrimination as you suffered. We want you to know, Esther, that you are not alone! Our hair is not what is bad It is racism that is bad! The offense against you is an offense against the entire black population. The fight against racism is everyone’s fight! Express your indignation; let’s unite against any type of offense and discrimination!