The myth continues: For Brazil’s President and Vice President, racism ‘doesn’t exist in Brazil’

Note from BBT: When I first became fascinated with the topic of race and black Brazilians two decades ago, I was amazed at how bold representatives of the country were in denying the existence of racism in the country. Brazil was promoted by its leaders as a ‘racial democracy‘, a paradise where races mixes with no problems and everyone lived in harmony. To this day, most Brazilians will still deny being racist even though they are quick to admit that know racist people. My initial investigation into this produced various results to the contrary. The more I dug the more, the more it became very clear how one was treated if they happened to be black.

Shortly after my introduction to racial issues in Brazil, I would soon learn just how far Brazil would go to protect this mythical racial democracy ideology. Its most vocal black activist of the 1970s that spoke out against racism in the country, Abdias do Nascimento, had to leave the country in order to speak openly on the issue. When Nascimento attempted to unmask the reality of race in Brazil during the Nigerian black arts festival of 1977, the Brazilian government’s representives effectively barred Nascimento from speaking…in Africa! During the hardline years of the Military Dictatorship, speaking against racism could actually be interpreted as a threat to national security.

Even with countless books and studies exposing racial inequality and beliefs that white Brazilians held about black Brazilians, the myth persisted, often with black people themselves buying into the fairy tale. One of the Brazilian elite’s favorite ways of deflecting accusations of racism was by consistently comparing the racial sitution in Brazil with that in the United States, the place they declared was the real racist society.

Here it is over 60 years after the first studies reporting the depths of racism in Brazilian society and still its leaders continue to promote the idea that “não existe no Brasil” (racism doesn’t exist in Brazil) and that it was in fact, “coisa dos Estados Unidos” (a United States thing).

As of a few days ago, I’ve been documenting racial issues in Brazil for nine years and there are literally hundreds of reports in the archives documenting the experiences of black Brazilians with racism, racist comments, racist jokes and racist behavior so I won’t even bother getting into the question of the existence of racism in Brazil. In fact, speaking of the US, it seems that the Americans have learned a few tricks from the Brazilians on denying the very existence of racism and racial discrimination it is still clearly there. All I can say is, be careful what you listen to or the lie will eventually start sounding like the truth.

Vice President of Brazil states “For me, racism doesn’t exist in Brazil”

“In Brazil there’s no racism,” says Mourão about the murder of a black man in Carrefour

Hours after João Alberto’s death, the vice-president says racism “is something they want to import” from the United States

For Hamilton Mourão, racism in Brazil does not exist

The Vice President of the Republic, Hamilton Mourão, declared on Friday (20) that there is no racism in Brazil when he commented on the murder of João Alberto, a black man killed in a beating in a supermarket in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.

“For me in Brazil there is no racism. That’s one thing they want to import, it doesn’t exist here. I say to you in all tranquility, there is no racism,” he said.

Pressed by journalists to analyze what he was saying, he didn’t change his mind. “No, I tell you this because I lived in the United States. Racism has there. I lived in the United States for two years. At my school, the people of color were separated, [something] that I had never seen here in Brazil. I left Brazil, went to live there, I was a teenager, and I was impressed with it there.

The vice president said he lived in the United States at the end of the 1960s: “People of color sat at the back of the bus, that’s racism. It doesn’t exist here. Here, what you can take and say is this: there is inequality. This is something that exists in our country. We have a brutal inequality here, the result of a series of problems, and most of the people at the poorest level, who have less access to the goods and needs of modern society, are people of color.

Shortly before, despite questioning that racism was the cause, Mourão lamented Beto’s death. “Regrettable that there. At first it is the security totally unprepared for the activity it has to do”, he commented.

As if Mourão’s denial wasn’t enough, right on cue, the President pretty much echoed his Vice-President’s sentiments. Not surprising as he’s already made this claim before. Denying racism is about as Brazilian as acarajé, especially when it’s coming from someone who strikes me as only missing a white hood.

President Bolsonaro once again denies racism is a problem in Brazil

Bolsonaro remains silent about Carrefour murder and calls those who ‘preach discord’ trash

“As a man and as president, I’m color-blind: everybody has the same color”, said president in a social network.

Courtesy of HuffPost Brazil

In Twitter posts attacking protests on Black Consciousness Day, Bolsonaro did not even mention the murder of João Alberto Silveira Freitas in a Carrefour store in Porto Alegre.

The day after the murder of João Alberto Silveira Freitas, a 40-year-old black man, in a Carrefour store in Porto Alegre (RS), which took place on Thursday night (19), President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party), without quoting the murder, used his Twitter account to attack those he classified as promoting discord and conflict.

“Those who incite discord in the people, fabricating and promoting conflict, attack not only the nation, but our own history. Whoever preaches this is in the wrong place. Your place is in the trash!”, he stated in the post.

The president of Brazil also made no mention of the Black Consciousness Day in his message on the social network, making a point of indicating that the country is a “big family”. “We are a mixed people. Whites, blacks, browns and Indians make up the body and spirit of a rich and wonderful people,” reiterated the president.

“As a man and as president, I’m color-blind: everyone has the same color. There is no better skin color than the others. There are good men and bad men. It’s our choices and values that make the difference”, he added.

See here the complete message of the president Bolsonaro on his Twitter account:

Jair M. Bolsonaro@jairbolsonaro – Nov 20

– Brazil has a diverse culture, unique among nations. We are a mixed people. Whites, blacks, browns and Indians make up the body and spirit of a rich and wonderful people. In a single Brazilian family we can contemplate a greater diversity than entire countries.

Jair M. Bolsonaro

– It was the essence of this people that won the sympathy of the world. However, there are those who want to destroy it, and put in its place conflict, resentment, hatred, and class division, always masquerading as “fighting for equality” or “social justice”, all in search of power.

Jair M. Bolsonaro@jairbolsonaro Nov 20

– We are far from perfect. Yes, we have our problems, problems that are much more complex and that go beyond racial issues. The great evil of the country continues to be the moral, political and economic corruption. Those who deny this fact help to perpetuate it.

Jair M. Bolsonaro@jairbolsonaro Nov 20

– There is no point in dividing the suffering of the Brazilian people into groups. Problems such as violence are experienced by everyone, in every way, whether it is a father or mother who loses their child, a case of domestic violence, or a resident of an area dominated by organized crime.

Jair M. Bolsonaro@jairbolsonaro Nov 20

– There are various interests to create tensions among our own people. A united people is a sovereign people, a divided people is a vulnerable people. A vulnerable people is easier to control. And some people benefit politically from the loss of our sovereignty.

Jair M. Bolsonaro@jairbolsonaro Nov 20

– Let us not allow ourselves to be manipulated by political groups. As a man and as President, I am color-blind: everyone has the same color. There is no better skin color than the others. There are good men and bad men. It is our choices and values that make the difference.

Jair M. Bolsonaro@jairbolsonaro Nov 20

– Those who incite the people to discord, fabricating and promoting conflicts, attack not only the nation, but our own history. Those who preach this are in the wrong place. Their place is in the trash!

Source: Brasil de Fato, Huff Post Brasil


About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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