Note from BW of Brazil: The issue of race, Brazil and yet another controversy. Why would I be surprised? I’ve been covering just on this blog for more than five years now and honestly, as I’ve stated before, I often believe that such things are
sometimes often done on purpose just to garner attention. What? You still need more proof? Well, before I analyze this latest case it’s worth remembering that another case of an advertisement associating a black man with crime was found on buses in the city of São Paulo. Needless to say Brazil has a LLOONNGGG history of associating certain stereotypes to its black population as we’ve seen time and time again (remember the street billboards, the soap opera intro or restaurant greeter ad, among numerous others?) without even mentioning the racist comments that people make everyday. So, as I’ve said, how is today’s feature any different or surprising? Today’s case comes courtesy of the Federal government.
Ministry of Transport promotes racist campaign on networks and in the streets
By Douglas Belchior
Every year about 23,100 young blacks aged 15 to 29 are murdered in Brazil. That’s 63 a day. One every 23 minutes. Between 2002 and 2012, the homicide rate for the white population fell by 24.8%, while that of the black population grew 38.7%, which means that blacks died 72% more than whites. Despite repeated studies, such as the Map of Violence 2016 that brings us the numbers above, and the ongoing campaign of movimentos negros (black movements) to denounce the genocide, to the Michel Temer government and its Ministry of Transport, the one who kills is the young black.
This is how a young black man is portrayed in the publicity campaign of the Ministry of Transport, launched on January 2. The intent seems good: keep the population alert to the danger of using a phone while driving. The problem is in form and content, starting with the theme: “Gente Boa também mata” (Good people also kill).
The campaign, promoted through social networks, folders and videos, besides posters at bus stops and airports, brings people who rescue animals on the street, volunteer and plant trees, but irresponsibly, then answer the phone at the steering wheel and cause accidents.
In the case of the young black, the character is of an “above average” student. Curious is that even when the context does not match how normally – and mistakenly – blacks are portrayed in advertisements, in this case yes, he’s black. Perhaps because, as the goal is to relate the person to violent action, it would be good if he were black. My exaggeration? Imagine if the purpose of the advertisement was specifically to highlight a brilliant, above-average student “the best in the room”, how likely is an agency and/or government to pick a young black for the advertising campaign? Think.
Racist stupidity blinds the well-meaning. This worsens in a context of a racist government such as the current one, after all, on the one hand we have advertising agencies occupied by professionals mostly taken by biased common sense or, at best, unfamiliar with racial issues and diversity in their practice of work. On the other hand, we have Secom – Secretariat of Social Communication of the federal government under coup management, which would have among its attributions, review and quality control of contracted products. Here we have an explicit example of what black movements characterize as practice of institutional racism to the extent that direct government/state action – primarily responsible for the promotion of racial equality – does exactly the opposite.
It would not be too much to demand a sense of perception about the meaning of spreading in a country like Brazil, with its history of 388 years of black slavery and other 128 of criminalization of this people, a campaign that presents a young black man accompanied by bold letters, with the idea: “Cuidado, ele pode matar” (Watch out, he can kill).
The advertising campaign is bad as a whole. It devalues noble actions of solidarity and relates them to irresponsibility and homicide. Above all, its result seems to represent objectively what the most conservative part of society, well represented by this government, thinks about the black community and the proactive, communitarian and solidarity behaviors of people.
The minimum required and expected is that this campaign be withdrawn from circulation immediately and Secom-PR and the Ministry of Transport publicly apologize to the black Brazilian population for this deplorable, irresponsible and racist act.
After pressure, Ministry of Transport removes racist advertisement
By Douglas Belchior
The Ministry of Transport will remove the controversial traffic safety propaganda “Good people also kill”.
Minister Maurício Quintella said that the most controversial posters should be withdrawn without saying what they would be. Next week, new pieces must be aired on TV, with the promise that it will have different content than the current one.
The news was confirmed through the Twitter account of the Secretary for the Promotion of Racial Equality, led by retired judge Luislinda Valois (PSDB-BA).
The great and negative repercussion in social networks led the government to retreat.
This blog published a quick review of one of the pieces of the campaign, where a young black man is shown next to the phrase in bold letters “O melhor aluno da sala pode matar” (The best student in the room can kill).
In fact, according to most expert analysis and demonstrations on social networks, the campaign was unfortunate and misguided. It devalues noble actions of solidarity and links them to irresponsibility and homicide. Above all, its result seems to represent objectively what the most conservative part of society, well represented by this government, thinks about the black community and the proactive, communitarian and solidarity behaviors of people.
We will continue following this story…
Campaign ‘Good people also kill’ becomes target of lawsuit
Courtesy of Catraca Livre
The Conselho Nacional de Autorregulamentação Publicitária (Conar or National Council of Advertising Self-Regulation initiated a lawsuit on Tuesday to judge the “Gente boa também mata” (good people also kill) campaign launched last week by the Ministry of Transport.
The lawsuit was opened after many consumers denounced the campaign for promoting improper association between people who do good deeds and those who kill in traffic, and asked for the withdrawal of all advertising pieces.
According to the complaints, the campaign “denigrates the image of people who fight for society”. According to Conar, the campaign is expected to be judged by the agency’s ethics council in up to 40 days.
Last week, after negative repercussions on social networks, the Ministry of Transport requested the withdrawal of the posters distributed in urban areas, but said that the campaign was maintained on TV and the internet. See the video.
In an interview with the G1 (news site), Transport Minister Maurício Quintella confirmed the government’s decision to collect the campaign posters. He also said that a new phase of television advertising would be broadcast, “lighter” without “content to shock and attract attention.”
Note from BW of Brazil: I think the absurdity of this case pretty much speaks for itself. The only thing I would ad is that I’m sure there are those out there who would make the argument that we shouldn’t necessarily see the ad as being racist as one of the posters also featured a white women as a “good person” who could kill. But you see this is exactly how racism plays out in the subconscious. Between the two figures, a white woman and a black male, absolutely no one is going to associate the white woman with an image of criminality. It comes with the package of white privilege. White women are consistently that element of the population that is adored, considered the standard of female beauty, motherhood, etc and even when she does get caught committing illegal or immoral acts, her group will never be demonized but rather she as an individual will judged as just a “bad apple”.
So even as the two photos postulate that good people can do bad things regardless of race, this image has already been associated with black Brazilian men for nearly five centuries and remains present in “the mind of the Brazilian”. Any black man who had been followed around in a shopping mall, accused of stealing something (even when its his) or aggressively approached by police or security guards can attest to this (for many examples see here). When we consider this along with all of the other examples we find on this blog, the message is pretty clear: the black male college student, who “shouldn’t even be there because he’s probably there due to affirmative action“, is dangerous and not be trusted. Again, in Brazil, business as usual!