Note from BW of Brazil: It’s a question we’ve long pondered here at BW of Brazil. In our almost four years of existence we’ve documented numerous cases of racism, racist comments, racial insults and prejudice. And these are only the cases documented here. Can you imagine the cases we haven’t featured as well as the cases that ever make the headlines or those attacks and acts that people suffer everyday throughout the country but never report them for whatever reason? But the question is, what does Brazil plan to do about this? Sure there’s a law that criminalizes such behavior with fines and jail time, but really, how often do these cases actually receive the most severe punishment of the law? The fact is, in a country that has so long denied the very existence of racism itself, we shouldn’t be surprised that such behavior often winds up with a “slap on the wrist” or are archived because it is not judged to warrant a penalty.
In the past, we’ve seen enough evidence that shows that Brazil doesn’t know how to seriously deal with racism and we have no reason to believe anything has changed. What we have repeatedly seen is the creation of frivolous hashtags of the “we are all this” or “we are all that” variety, which while in some cases offer the victim moral support, do nothing to seriously address the issue. For some reason, I’m just not surprised.
When will racism in Brazil end up with imprisonment and instead of these “we are all such and such” campaigns?
By Marcos Sacramento
The story is familiar: a famous black receives racist insults on Facebook and solidarity comes in the form of a hashtag. This time the victim was actress Taís Araújo, offended by a bunch of racists, mostly hidden in fake profiles.
The question is whether it will all end up like other similar cases, where no one received an exemplary punishment for committing a crime of racism or racial insults on social networks.
In the post in which she commented on the attacks, the actress would not hear of giving a kiss on the shoulder and said she would send everything to the police. Depending on the analysis of police, comments can be classified as injúria racial (racial injury/slur), punishable by up to three years in prison, or a racist crime. In this case the penalty is bigger and can come to five years.
In the case of the aggression suffered by journalist Maria Júlia Coutinho, of Jornal Nacional, it didn’t take long for one of the suspects to be identified. It was a 15 year old and according to the latest articles on the subject, he was heard at the police station and would stand in court for an offense, with the possibility of receiving some socio-educational measures in the Fundação Casa.
In other similar instances, at least apparently no one received a sentence that may be considered proportional to the offense. The funkeira (funk singer) Ludmilla, the child actor Kaik Pereira, the SBT TV host Joyce Ribeiro and journalist Glória Maria were some of the famous victims of racism on social networks.
And the list grows. One day after Taís Araújo, it was the turn of futebol player Michel Bastos, of São Paulo, being insulted in Instagram. “Macaco negro safado respeita a torcida, otário vagabundo faz por merecer o dinheiro que recebe” (Black monkey bastard respect the fans, what does the sucker vagabond do to deserve the money he receives), bellowed the internet user nanda_cominni. Bastos, just as Taís will press charges for racial crimes.
Now, it’s easier for a camel to go through a keyhole than racists being punished with the rigors established by law.
To conclude this, just remember the controversy involving the goalkeeper Aranha, one of the most emblematic of recent years. Although the Grêmio team had been penalized with the elimination from the Copa do Brasil (Brazil Cup) of that year of 2014, the four fans who called the player “macaco” (monkey) did not come to be judged for the crime of racial slur.
Instead, they were required to appear for ten months at a police station on the days of Grêmio games, where they should be during the duration of the game. If they breached the agreement, the process would be reopened. The sentence expired on August 25th this year.
“Judicial power lacks black consciousness in Brazil,” Carmen Dora, lawyer of the Commission of Racial Equality of the São Paulo Bar Association told BBC Brasil, at the time when the sentence came down.
As punishments rarely come, and when they do come they are mild, there remains the hope that a new hashtag appears for the next case of racism involving someone famous, because this “Somos Todos Fulano de Tal” (We Are All Such and Such) has already worn itself out and has no use.
Source: Diário do Centro do Mundo