Note from BW of Brazil: Really bizarre this situation. Of course, as this blog is full of discriminatory incidents involving race, hair and skin color, but we always like to consider every possibility before coming to a judgement that a certain behavior was clearly racist in intent. Take a look at one teacher’s experience in store in Rio de Janeiro and tell us what you think. It does seem to be another case of that shameful word starting with an ‘r’, but one can’t always be sure. Anyway, just another experience of being black in Brazil.
Black teacher says she was discriminated against by Ágatha store in shopping mall in Rio’s south zone
By Diego Iraheta
“The color of the skin and the clothes you wear are still criteria to judge you.”
The statement could be taken as playing the victim, as often occurs in (social) networks.
Who disdains racism may not want to see it. But it exists, often times implicit and hidden, as the teacher Magna Domingues, who dedicated herself to childhood education in Rio de Janeiro, denounced.
After a strenuous day of work last week, she was exchanging her gift certificate from R$700 in the Rio Sul shopping mall in the Botafogo, in the south zone of the state capital.
Presenting the certificate for exchange, the teacher was surprised by the response and attitude of the supervisor at Ágatha.
“The manager made a phone call and minutes later came back saying that the promotion was over. I found it strange, after all, the person who gave me this would never allow me to suffer an embarrassment such as this. But anyway, I decided to resolve it later. So I asked for the gift certificate back, and the manager simply refused to give it back to me saying that she was following orders and that the ‘check’ belonged to the store and not me.”
Magna felt “robbed” by the institution
“It seemed to me that the store doesn’t believe that a gift certificate of R$700.00 could have been given to someone with such a beautiful appearance, black and free as mine. [They] appropriated something that belongs to me, saying it belongs to the company … I was robbed.”
The educator was also surprised by the retention of the gift certificate: if it didn’t have any value, why should the store keep it?
For Magna, the “theft” was an attempt to mask the discriminatory act:
“The store manager was so ‘fake’, that it became clear to me that she was being advised to treat me gently in order to try to not show what it really was:. A violent act of prejudice (…) What’s the difference between having R$700.00 stolen by a boy on the street or a made-up and perfumed woman manager of a store in the south (zone)? For me, none.”
Magna Domingues filed a complaint at the local police station and in Rio Sul’s customer service. She also demanded the return of the gift certificate, but hasn’t recovered it.
The store has published a note on Facebook, apologizing for the “distress and embarrassment it caused,” the teacher.
Ágatha reports that it lacked information from the store staff at the mall and admitted the error in retaining the gift certificate of R$700:
Sought by Brasil Post, an Ágatha spokesperson said the store has offered a voucher for purchases of R$1,000 to Magna Domingues.
Also said the manager who retained the gift certificate didn’t suffer any punishment.
In a statement, the store also said there was no racial prejudice in Magna’s case.
“No action taken by any member of staff took into account skin color or appearance of the client. No kind of prejudice and discrimination reflects the brand’s position. In 25 years of existence, it has never been approved or incited this kind of attitude, valuing diversity and inclusion, equality and respect.”
Brasil Post tried to contact the office of Rio Sul shopping, but didn’t receive any positioning on the case.
Source: Brasil Post