Note from BW of Brazil: People often wonder how it is that racism and prejudice persists throughout Brazil and how. Well, the fact is that racism and prejudice have a long history in the country that received the most Africans during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade than any other country in the Western Hemisphere. And the racist/prejudicial sentiments of the population remain embedded in the psyche of the population and people continue to deny its existence until the moment in which they are caught in the act humiliating someone with a racist insult, at which point many show an artificial display of shame. Not so much shame in what they said or believe but in the fact that they were caught! These sentiments have existed for hundreds of years but are often fomented by subtle and blatant racist stereotypes divulged in the media but also by unabashed displays of such sentiments.
One case in point is TV host Danilo Gentili. This personality has appeared various times on times on this blog and always associated with some disgraceful display, racist comment or action. From an episode of his late night talk show in which performers wore blackface or offering bananas to a viewer who was offended by the host’s penchant for racist or disrespectful humor. As one post pointed out, it is the disgraceful attitudes of personalities such as Gentili that play an influential role in the encouragement of everyday Brazilians to express such sentiments, often without fear of any sort of retaliation. Gentili’s brand of ‘humor’ would lead to consequences in countries such as the United States but in Brazil it’s usually downplayed as ‘jokes’. After seeing such behavior time and again, this writer sometime wonders if this ‘comedian’ says such things just to stir up controversy. Could it be that he knows how his comments will be condemned but also knows that it will keep his name in the spotlight? Or does he simply express the same thoughts of so many Brazilians who insist that they harbor no such racist sentiments? Whatever the case may be, the fact that he continuously gets away with it shows that, in many ways, Brazil has no intention of condemning those who express sentiments that adhere to an ideology of white supremacy or even addressing the problem in a serious manner.
Danilo Gentili distills prejudice in calling Regina Sousa, a black senator from Piaui, a ‘coffee servant’
By Ana Julia Gennari
During the vote on the impeachment proceedings in the Senate late Wednesday (11), Danilo Gentili did not cease from his tendency to dump prejudices on Twitter.
When Regina Sousa Senator (PT/PI) was speaking against the impeachment of President Dilma Roussef, Gentilli tweeted:
SNAP: Danilo Gentili ✔ @DaniloGentili
Senator? I thought it was the tia do café (coffee aunt/coffee servant) RT @ Link_jr87: @DaniloGentili Can can understand what Sen. Regina Sousa is talking about?
Regina is a black woman and senator of the PT (Workers’ Party) of the state of Piauí. In her comments in the Senate, she criticized the sexism and misogyny that she sees as strong components in this process:
“It’s like they’re telling us a ‘woman can’t’. I re-affirm that from the beginning this was a game played, decided. (…) The history of humanity is full of coups disguised as democratic acts. Who is that hasn’t heard that a dictatorship would be implanted to preserve the democracy?” she said.
According to the senator, the Temer government will not contemplate the subsidy of programs that favor the poorest of the population: “Soon will soon be clear who will pay the piper: blacks, Indians, women, the LGBT population, religions of African origin, quota policies, Bolsa Família (Family Stipend program), Minha Casa, Minha Vida (‘My House, My Life’ program), luz para todos (lights for all program).”
The racist and elitist comparison made by the host divided the people on social networks.
Some supported him and endorsed the chorus of prejudices: (comments translated below images)
Nuti Pai @papainuti
@DaniloGentili @ Link_jr87 @DaniloGentili Look at the prejudice…just because she looks like she came from a festa junina? hehehe
Kaio Andrade @ Kaiodeandrade2
@DaniloGentili @ Link_jr87 I thought she was the cleaning lady kkkkkkk
Ewerton Oliveira @vetololiveira
@DaniloGentili @ Link_jr87 She’s a fusion of Sibá Machado with Benedita da Silva, ie, the devil himself
GABRIEL PINHEIRO ن @GABRIELPlNHEIRO
@DaniloGentili Delete this or tomorrow the tia do café will release a note against you
Still others strongly criticized the comments:
@DaniloGentili thought that @SenadoraRegina was a tia do café. And I think he is an assumed racist. And you?
Bruno Lopes @brunoroots
@CacauOttoni @Kaiodeandrade2 @DaniloGentili @Link_jr87 In the past, the racist was a fake profile, today he really shows his face, he’s brazen.
Prof. Paulo Netto @paul_grandson
@DaniloGentili You don’t miss the chance to stay quiet huh? I think many “tias” do café (so-called coffee aunts) have more sense and respect than you to the world
@danilogentili @link_jr87 Look at the xenophobic! And when the crowd says he’s wrong, he’ll say that it’s “whining”. Prejudicial!
@DaniloGentili CHAUVINISTIC, XENOPHOBIC and PREJUDICIAL!!
EXTRA newspaper made a note, still on Wednesday night (11), on the impact of Gentili’s comment.
The comedian was irritated by the article and said on Twitter that he only “made fun of the Senator” because of the difficulty she had in expressing herself – as if that would improve the scenario and was not extremely elitist:
SNAP: Danilo Gentili ✔ @DaniloGentili
I made fun of the Senator because she couldn’t even express herself right – she seemed lost over there – someone (cont) http://tl.gd/nmc7qg
According to EXTRA, last night Senator Regina Sousa’s spokesperson was still unaware of Danilo Gentili’s comment, but affirmed that she would address it on Thursday (12).
Note from BW of Brazil: So as we can see, not only does Gentili feel at ease to drop such racist gems, but as suggested in the opening text, his bold demeanor in expressing such thoughts encourages others to make similar comments. As we’ve often discussed the idea of racial hierarchy and ‘place’ in Brazilian society, Gentili’s choice of defining Sousa as a ‘server’ and one of his followers comparing her to a ‘cleaning woman’ shows that this idea of black women being associated with the kitchen and domestic chores continues to be a strong sentiment. But then, numerous previous posts have demonstrated the ‘place’ that Brazil reserves for black women. In the consciousness of many Brazilians, black women will forever be thought to be best suited for household work, Carnaval or the bedroom. Earlier today we saw yet another example of how Brazilians see black women. These associations destroy the long-held argument that would have us believe that if black Brazilians went to college, studied hard and attained good jobs and salaries, racism (that they believe doesn’t even exist) wouldn’t exist. Apparently, even being a Federal Senator doesn’t shield one from such stereotypes and verbal assaults.
Regina Sousa will sue TV host for racist, misogynist offense
By Jane de Araújo
Senator Regina Sousa (PT-PI) announced in Plenary Session that she will initiate legal actions against SBT TV host Danilo Gentili. Last May 11th during the session which decided the expulsion of President Dilma Rousseff, Danilo Gentili commented on Twitter that Regina Souza didn’t look like a senator, but rather “uma tia do café” meaning an aunt that serves coffee or coffee servant.
The senator made a point of saying that she didn’t feel diminished by being compared to a “tia do cafezinho”, after all she was once a “quebradeira de coco”, meaning a coconut breaker. Regina pondered, however, that the comment was racist and prejudiced. She recalled that Gentili has been recurrent in “nasty comments, especially in relation to women.” Regina also pointed out that the majority of the followers of the host on Twitter reacted badly to the comment and condemned his attitude.
“But I will make it let cheap for Danilo Gentili. It’s not about compensation, but I will represent in the name of the tias do cafezinho. What comes from this action I’ll take will be dedicated to women that serve cafezinho (little cups of coffee),” said the senator, on Wednesday (18).
As an aside, Senator Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP) supported the senator and ranked Gentili’s comment as “fascist”. Senator Simone Tebet (PMDB-MS) also expressed support for Regina Sousa. And Senator Antonio Carlos Valadares (PSB-SE) said that the host’s comment was “a lack of respect.”
Regina Souza also criticized the first steps of the interim government of President Michel Temer. She regretted the choice of the first step, with no women and with no representatives of minorities, and the end of the Ministries of Culture and Social Welfare. For the senator, the first days of Temer have been “blunder after blunder”.