Note from BW of Brazil: One of the purposes for the existence of this blog is to show how race, or if you prefer, color, plays a factor in the way that Brazilians are treated. Much to the contrary of the ideology of the famed ‘racial democracy’ that Brazil successfully passed itself off as for decades and the ‘somos todos iguais’ (meaning ‘we’re all equal’) discourse that so many Brazilians subscribe to, when you break down the rhetoric with facts, actual data and stories, these mythologies fall to earth like a ton of bricks. I mean, let’s get real: Is there anywhere in the world where a black man will have a fair judgment in a ‘mundo dos brancos’ (world of whites) (1)? Is there anywhere in the world where a white man will be at a disadvantage in comparison to a black man? How much more proof does one need to totally defeat the fallacy that we will all be judged equally in the court of public opinion?
In a country like Brazil, black people are consistently judged as the criminal element while rich white ‘playboys’ even when caught up in crimes and scandals never seem to have to pay the cost. Anyone who lives in Brazil is familiar with scandals connected to the names of politicians such as the late Antônio Carlos Magalhães (Bahia), José Serra (São Paulo), Anthony Garotinho (Rio de Janeiro), José Sarney (Maranhão) Paulo Maluf (São Paulo) and José Dirceu (São Paulo). These names have had careers in various capacities on the local, state and federal levels, some for more than four decades and many have built dynasties that include their families. They are all also connected to scandals that cost Brazilians far more than the petty crimes and small time thieves that often commit such crimes precisely because of vast social, political and economic inequalities in Brazil. All white men. All presumably rich or very rich. And there are numerous others just like them yet no one will ever stereotype or prejudge a white man as a criminal. As the saying goes: “A white man running is an athlete; a black man running is a thief”.
We’ve already seen examples of how race and class privilege don’t mean that people don’t commit crimes (here and here), it simply means that that this privilege won’t automatically judge them as guilty in everyday life or call for their death in the event that they commit violent or criminal acts. Unfortunately, on the other hand, one can be black, have social credentials and still be treated as common criminals or disrespected (see here, here, here or here). Beliefs in social stereotypes connected to race and class is one of the main reasons for the recent push for the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility. Today, we see another example of the privileges and penalties of race and class.
And when it’s a ‘playboy’ that does the stabbing?
Courtesy of Brasil 247
One is 28 years old, tall, strong, rich, white and has eight prior charges for bodily injury, burglary and illegal constraint. The other is 16 years old, short, thin, black and has 15 priors for robbery, theft and drug use. The first, on the 6th, pierced a corkscrew into the chest of a young woman and cut off the ear of her fiancée. He confessed to the crime. The second was seized on May 21st, accused of having stabbed the doctor Jaime Gold, 57, to death in Lagoa. He denied the crime that was confessed on June 2nd by another youth. Read comparison of media behavior, police and social networks between the two cases.
When it’s a playboy who stabs
Courtesy of Notas Vermelhas
One character is 28 years old, tall, strong, and has eight priors with the police for bodily injury, burglary and illegal constraint, being known for his violent temper. Last Saturday (6), in Gávea (Rio de Janeiro), carrying a corkscrew, he drilled three times the breast of Ana Carolina Romeiro, 21, who has since been in an ICU, fighting for her life. The girl’s boyfriend, Gabriel Silva, who tried to defend her from the attack, had his ear cut off by the aggressor, and is also admitted.
The police chief overseeing the case said the accused, who confessed to the crime but claims only to have defended himself, “must answer for it, regardless of his social class.”
Some and others
Another character is 16 years old, short, frail, with 15 priors for robbery, theft and drug use. On May 21st he was apprehended, accused of having stabbed to death the doctor Jaime Gold, 57, two days before in Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro. The minor denied the crime. He said he was at home in the Manguinhos favela (slum), when the assassination happened. The police chief responsible declared at the time of arrest, “two things caught my attention in this case: the coldness of the adolescent offender and cowardly manner, without any feeling for another human being (how he acted).” On June 2, another minor turned himself in to the police, confessed to involvement in the crime and cleared the first minor of any blame. Below, on the left of the picture we see the police leading the Manguinhos resident. In the right picture we see the same police cleading José Phillippe Ribeiro de Castro (who used the corkscrew). According to the newspaper O Globo, he is from a family “who owns a sugar mill and does business in the livestock sector and in the financial market.” The law firm of Bergher & Mattos, is defending Phillippe and has announced it will “go to court to try to free him soon.”
Some and others – the sentence on social networks
The tragedy that killed the doctor Jaime Gold had wider repercussions media. His case was used as an argument to defend the reduction of legal age of criminal responsibility. When the first minor accused of the crime was arrested, the network was flooded with prolific examples of hate and intolerance, enough to nauseate the stomach of a Tyrannosaurus. One web user posted on Facebook: “This minor was apprehended. He should have been dead.” The hashtag this citizen is #balaneles, meaning “shoot him”. He said about juvenile offenders, “these seeds of evil must be eliminated.” One citizen said, also on Facebook, that parents are to blame: “Parents who want to have sex, protect yourselves in order not to place these worms among us.” The authors of these statements are Christians. They were outraged at the gay parade and the “disrespect” to the image of the “Savior”.
The “Savior” in question would have taught his followers to love their neighbor and, according to legend, was so disgusted by the violence that, if attacked, the faithful should turn the other cheek. But after all, this approach would only be for people like the playboy from Gávea that, by the profile must have participated in marches against corruption, in defense of meritocracy and, slipped up and, before bed, prays always asking God’s blessing and, therefore deserves God’s mercy, after all, whoever lives in Manguinhos, is already used to hell.
Source: Brasil 247
A reference to the 1972 classic book O negro no mundo dos brancos (The black in the world of whites) by sociologist Florestan Fernandes, one of several of the author’s books detailing the depths of racism in Brazilian society and the difficulty of Afro-Brazilians in achieving equality in the country.