Note from BW of Brazil: In recent times, this blog has focused specifically on many outrageously racist acts as main stories, but every now and then, it is necessary to share stories such as this one to remind readers of unfortunately common experiences of black Brazilians. In recent weeks, two incidents of ridiculous racism really caught my attention due to the details of the cases. I will be posting the other incidents in comings days, but for now, let’s focus on the one at hand. There are two things that immediately jumped out at me about the case below. One, the offensive comments of the aggressor shows that, once again, even in 2018, Brazilian society continues to connect its black population to a past in which it was enslaved. In some ways, this shouldn’t come as a shock as the land that came to be known as Brazil has still had more years in which it practiced the institution of human bondage than liberty (about 350 years to what will be 130 years next May 13th).
The other thing that grabbed me is the appearance of the offender. I mean, look at the guy. Clearly not a white man, this guy looks as if he could have also been a slave a few centuries ago. On the other hand, he also looks like a mestiço type of indigenous ancestry (what Americans would see as Hispanic/Latino) who clearly doesn’t see black people as any sort of ally in struggle. Just another example of how strong the roots of racist ideologies are implanted in the minds of Brazilian citizens. I don’t know what this guy considers himself, but he clearly identifies with a value system that teaches people to avoid blackness at all costs and even if you have more than a few drops of African ancestry, the best way to (try to) distance yourself from this ancestry is to belittle those who more closely approximate the African phenotype.
Photographer suffers racist attack on social network and contacts police
Courtesy of O Bom da Notícia with additional info courtesy of G1, RD News and Única News
Being called ‘mucama’ (house servant), ‘saco de lixo’ (trash bag), ‘crioula maldita’ (‘damn nigger’), among other innumerable insults, photographer Mirian Rosa, 32, recorded a boletim de ocorrências (police report) on Wednesday (02) against two people who have not been located by the police.
According to the victim, the offenses began on Tuesday (01) after a Whatsapp conversation with a friend of hers, in which a man used his account to utter words of hatred and threats. Miriam ignored a message from the “friend” who even criticized her hair.
In the audio, the man calls her “escrava” (slave) and “maldita” (damned) and continues attacking her inconsequently.
“Desde quando preto é gente? (Since when are blacks people?) I’ll tell you one better: who are you in the butcher’s line? I will answer for you: poor people don’t eat meat. So, you’re not even in the butcher line, damn crioula (nigger),” he said in one of the audios.
In an interview granted, the photographer reported that she met the author of the audios through a meeting of friends. But during the meeting the man was been visibly annoyed by her presence. But at that moment, he didn’t attack.
“He went out with a mutual friend and we sat down together in a bar. I saw that he was annoyed by my presence, but in the day nothing came of this,” she said.
In the messages that are being shared by numerous application groups, the suspect even asks “the price” of the photographer and invites her to a barbecue.
Man leaves racist message through WhatsApp application
“I want to know if you have an owner or not. I went to the mercado de escrava (slave market) in Porto and I didn’t see any slave women at your value. I want to buy a slave, a maid, a cook, a cleaning lady, or something like that for my house. I want to see these crioulada (group of niggers) work for me,” he continued.
“It’s the following: I’m going to burn meat at home. I need you, as the material: the charcoal and the trash bag to collect whatever remains,” he says.
In another section, he goes in even heavier. “You can shoot a crioulo, set him on fire, and he doesn’t feel anything. The only thing that the crioulo feels is he on the tronco (whipping post) and the whip on his back.”
Miriam vented through her social network, stating that this was be the first time she is targeted by racism. In another situation, the vendor of a downtown store offended her. “I couldn’t go near the place any more. I was sick for three weeks at home,” she said.
The recent attack reminded her of the situation.
“The other times I let it go, but this one messed with me a lot. I thought I’d go through it all again. And, basically, by someone who is thinks he is superior because of skin color,” she said.
Rosa is monitoring the investigation of the Civil Police, which has not yet had access to the accused, because they have disabled the accounts on the Internet.
The Institute of Black Women of Mato Grosso (Immune) issued a statement on Thursday (03), in repudiation against this absurd racial violence. Below is the full message.
The Institute of Black Women of Mato Grosso (IMMUNE) comes to the public to announce its repudiation of the racial violence committed by Mr. Rafael André, that has gained repercussions in social networks on Wednesday, when he delivered several racial and gender offenses against the black photographer Mirian Rosa, 32 years old, trying to defame her in a cowardly way, with curses of low slang that we are not prepared to repeat.
This man has violated not only a black woman, but the collective of these women, who, like Miriam, are hard-working and hard-earned, composing, today in Brazil, the majority among heads of families.
Such an individual visibly manifests the neurosis, the racial and gender hatred that the “racial democracy” insists on hiding, but which has increasingly shown its faces lately.
His language sounds disgusting, absurd, revolting, unacceptable and sad.
It denotes the existence of a portion of the Brazilian population that, even being black (with elements of indigenous origin, as can be seen in the photo of the aggressor), insists on remaining blind by publicly supporting conservatism and even regression.
Until when will we hear, in astonishment, the words “criola maldita”, “mucama”, “carvão”???
Until when will we be treated like garbage bags for your racist verbiage?
Faced with such violence, we repeat what Marielle said: stop killing us (physically and symbolically)!
We are part of the constitution of the history and memory of this country.
Our ancestral roots, our intellectual wealth and our affective capacity, our strength and our unity guaranteed the survival of the black people in Brazil. We are builders of history, although many do not like to admit it.
We demand the minimum (or rather, the maximum) respect.
On the other hand, the attitude of this citizen shows us the urgent need for people to be better informed about their origins, about the history of the country and about national politics, about the importance of black people in history, not wanting with this to say, that lack of information justifies violence.
Lack of information and education, there is a lack of debate about this racial democracy in co-exist both racial discrimination and praise to the race. A sad contradiction, which demands urgent discussion, here in Cuiabá, where we compose more than 180 thousand inhabitants, without proper representation.
But along with the social movements, we remain united and will keep demanding the arrest of this criminal, as well as protective measures for the victim, in view of the imminent risk of further verbal and, perhaps, physical assaults.
In this regard, we urge the competent authorities not overlook this clear manifestation of racism, insisting that it is a “injúria racial”(racial injury/slur) because we have been collectively assaulted.
In Mato Grosso, we are the majority of assaulted women, and the most frequent victims of feminicide.
This alert will go from Cuiabá (capital city of the state of Mato Grosso) to all the entities and collectives with whom the Imune (Institute of Black Women of Mato Grosso) maintains contact, so that the violence committed against the councilwoman Marielle Franco, in what is yet another attempt to erase the figure of the battling black woman, beautiful, positive and strong (characteristics that both Mariele and Miram have) does not repeat, trying to return them “to their place.”
But black women are organized. There is a new united and well-informed generation, which is supported by means of collectives or in everyday relations. We will not take any more of these aggressions in silence.
In the words of the poetess PachaAna, “lowers the crest, today it is we that dictates. The girls so assembled and the game is reversed.”
Therefore, we demand:
- The arrest of Rafael André
- Protective measure and social and psychological care for the victim, ensuring that she is not oppressed by the aggressor or relatives, since they live in the same neighborhood
- That the crime is characterized as racism and not as a racial injury (see note one)
- That the aggressor and his family can undergo training on the themes of racism, racial violence, gender violence, etc.
We will continue fighting! #paremdenamosmatar (stop killing us)
Cuiabá, MT (Mato Grosso), May 3, 2018.
Institute of Black Women of Mato Grosso (Imune)
- The problem with denouncing racist incidents in Brazil is the manner in which the crimes are registered. An incident labeled as racism draws stronger penalties in comparison to those that are classified as “racial injury/slur“. For more, see here.