Why is it that white people only listen to white people? Especially when the subject is racism

por que brancos escutam apenas pessoas brancas
por que brancos escutam apenas pessoas brancas
Blogger Aline Ramos and humorist Gregório Duvivier

Note from BW of Brazil: It’s a trend that we saw very often and it is yet another excellent example of how Brazil doesn’t know how to deal with race. Over the past several decades, Brazilians have gone from outright denying the existence of racism, to viewing itself favorably in topics of race in comparison to other multi-racial societies, to admitting its existence but minimizing its effects to acknowledging its existence while avoiding personal responsibility. Yet another facet of this sophisticated matrix in the avoidance of instigating real change in terms of race is the constant accusing those who are in fact victims of this terrible disease of “playing the victim” and yet more deceptive ploys.

We’ve seen, for example, scenarios in which racism is discussed but only from the perspective of individuals speaking of their personal experiences with it rather than approaching the institutional attributes. Ultimately, this space of discussion is often wasted as beyond allowing people to speak of being victims of racial insults or acts, there is no objective of responding to the issue. Another ploy is the practice of giving more space in the discussion of racism to those who are members of dominant group. It’s as if even in speaking about a problem that affects black Brazilians, white Brazilians who are responsible for such behavior are still more qualified than blacks in speaking on the subject. This last ploy is a vicious reminder of how black Brazilians are not allowed representation even when the topic involves them. Blogger Aline Ramos senses this too and addresses it in the piece below. 

“Why do white people only listen to white people?”

The journalist Aline Ramos wrote an article for Favela 247 questioning acclaim given the comedian Gregório Duvivier when he deals with racism in his column: “Why is it still not blacks who raise the discussion on major media outlets?” For the author, the arguments used by Duvivier are “the obvious that we, black communicators and militants are trying to convey and reverberate on the network for a long time.” Aline reminds us of the 555 columnists on eight major media outlets, only 6 are black.

By Aline Ramos

Racism is in the details

Gregório Duvivier
Gregório Duvivier

As Gregorio Duvivier says he does not want to be the leader in any struggle. However, our racist social structure makes him the protagonist even without his individual will. Everything that he said in the column “Mundo, Brasil, Rio, Casa” (World, Brazil, Rio, Home) is the obvious that we, black communicators and black militants have been trying to convey and reverberate on the network for a long time. What was written is not unheard of and I believe that even you intend to be.

However, why did Gregório gained so much attention only repeat our discourse? Why do vehicles that call themselves leftist give him the title of best analysis of the current social structure? Why does a white person gain more attention talking about racism than a black person? In some way if the writer and humorist should be silent before the debate on racism and decriminalization of marijuana is not the point. The question is: Why do white people only listen to white people?

Gregório’s text, that sounds like a kind of confession of his privileges, raises many questions about the racist social structure in which we live. This is not the first time that the writer has discussed the racial issue in his column, but until when will the most that we read about it is the recognition of privileges? Until when will the few columnists who address the race issue be in the shallows? I once heard that for the Movimento Negro (black movement) nothing is good (enough), and in fact, nothing is good for us as long as racism exists. Nothing is good if the maximum reached is praise for Gregório.

The attention given to the writer indicates one detail that for the black population is structural: racism is also in the details. No doubt the racial debate has gained more visibility in recent years, however, why are the blacks who raise the discussion not on major media outlets? The author of Um Defeito de Cor (A Defect of Color), Ana Maria Gonçalves, wrote for Folha (newspaper), the same vehicle that Gregório is a columnist, a scathing analysis: “Of the 555 columnists and bloggers in eight media outlets (Folha, O Estado de S. Paulo, O Globo, Época, Veja, G1, UOL, and R7), 6 are black.” To add more data on the representation of blacks in the media it’s important to turn to some information from the National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj). The report published in 2012, which outlines the journalist’s profile in Brazil, indicates that only 5% are black and 18% brown, totaling 23% of professionals who are not white.

It’s impossible to compete for space equally in the debate of ideas and information on racism. To believe that we are all equal and that everyone has the same voice is a truth that exists only for those who are on the privileged side. When we point to the social differences we don’t want whites to be silent, but that they understand that the simple act of recognizing privileged treatment does not alter the exclusionary social structure. We need to qualify the racial debate in the country, however, it will be unviable to advance if blacks are far from the principal communication channels.

* Aline Ramos, 25, a native of Cubatão and resident of São Paulo, a journalist and recent graduate of Unesp in Bauru and the blogger of the site denies Que nega é essa?

Source: Brasil 247

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


  1. Problem is perhaps not so much that white people only listen to white people, but that fact that we also listen too much to them.

    White people are rediscovering everything all the time. That’s how they managed to “discover” all the sciences and even discover continents that were already inhabited by other humans.

    This comedian is “discovering” what racism is for white Brazilian people. It’s just laughable.

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