Note from BBT: I thought I had seen it all in terms of people defining themselves as black in order to take advantage of affirmative actions policies to benefit black and brown people, or pretos and pardos, as they are called in Brazil.
I mean, there are those claiming to be black because they have a black grandparent, there are folks who don’t look like they have even “one drop” of African blood and every other situation between that you could imagine. For years, Brazilian univerities have been expelling people after having discovered that the people declaring themselves black were either not black at all or not “black enough”. I guess it’s now in fashion to “pass for black” when there are benefits involved.
But this case from a few weeks ago has got to be one of the most bizarre cases I’ve seen yet.
Check the details out below and I’ll return with my analysis of this situation.
“I am black,” says a woman accused on the internet of defrauding quotas
Glaucielle Dias passed the Federal Police exam in 2018. Images comparing their appearance in the self-identification exam and on social networks started circulating on the internet a few days ago
Glaucielle da Silva Dias, also known as Glau Dias on social media, released this Thursday (9/17), a video in which she defends herself against the accusation of having defrauded the selection of quota candidates in a 2018 Federal Police exam. In the recording, she says she is “negra parda” (a brown black woman) and that she did “nothing wrong”.
Ordinance No. 12.863, published on May 24, 2020, promoted Glaucielle da Silva Dias to the position of Chief of the Federal Police Precinct Operations Center in Guajará-Mirim, in the state of Rondônia.
A few weeks ago, a photo began to circulate on the internet showing Glaucielle in the self-identification exam, which serves to verify that the candidates registered for the vacancy of quota candidates are, in fact, black. The appearance of the digital influencer at the time was compared to other images, taken from her social networks. Because she appears, in the photo taken by the exam panel, with wavy hair and darker skin, Internet users accused her of defrauding the quota system.
After the images went viral, Glaucielle posted a video on her lawyers’ Instagram profile. In the video that lasts 12 minutes, she denies that she had defrauded the exam and that, when she started to act as a federal police officer, she approached other approved quota candidates, her initiative being to create a WhatsApp group that brings them together. “I never hid from anything nor will I hide, because I know I never did anything wrong,” she says.
Dias says that the photo circulating on the networks was taken by the examining board, Cespe/UnB, and that five people were in the room at the time and that it was up to them to authorize her to compete for one of the quota vacancies. She calls the claim that she painted herself absurd and says that photographs can change people’s skin color. Glaucielle then shows pictures of family members to show that her mother and grandmother are black. She also says that she comes from a poor family, who always studied in public schools and who suffered racial prejudice throughout her life.
It was the prejudice that made her dislike her appearance, which led her to straighten her hair and have plastic surgery, even on her nose. “I always suffered prejudice with my appearance, with my hair, my nose. It’s my right to change my hair and my nose,” she argues. Glaucielle also says that blacks are not just those with darker skin, what Brazilians call “retintos”.
“I’m black, yes. Black is not only those with dark skin. If you suffered prejudice, suffered discrimination at some point in your life, you are. I will never tell myself that I am white. I’m not. That would be to deny my origin. I’m a negra parda,” says Glaucielle, who still mentions the player Neymar and the singer Beyoncé as examples of black people who appear with lighter skin in photos. By using the term negra parda, Glaucielle is defining herself as a black woman of mixed race.
She also denies that the fraud led to her resignation. Glaucielle says that she and her fiancé decided to leave the public service to dedicate themselves to a family business. The resignation was published in the Federal Official Gazette on the 3rd of September. The document states that the resignation occurred upon request.
Glaucielle’s husband, who also resigned, used his Instagram account to retract the case. In the video, he informs that she went through all the steps that the competition imposes, including the examining board of the quota system.
Finally, she says she will take legal action against those who have offended her. “When you offend my hair, you really offend my hair”
Cespe-Cebraspe, the exam’s organizing committee, said in a statement that it repudiated any attempt to defraud the quota system and that its function is, in case of suspicion of illegality, to forward the data to the police authority, which should conduct an investigation.
According to Glaucielle’s lawyers, Rinaldo Mouzalas and Valberto Azevedo, the images that determined the candidate’s color were done by Cespe itself. “The panel responsible for the hetero-identification exam was composed of five examiners, all members of black movements”, points out the defense in a document shared on social networks.
The defense also argues that the young woman “is the daughter of a maid, a member of a humble black family in the interior of Rio de Janeiro”, adding that she has always been a victim of prejudices like this.
In a note, Cespe informed that it didn’t take photos on the day of the selection. “Cebraspe doesn’t take photos in the self-identification stage, this stage takes place in person and is recorded on video at the moment it is happening,” it explained.
The agency also said that the panel “assesses whether the candidate has physical characteristics of a black person, by checking the texture of hair and skin color, among others”. Also according to Cespe, the procedure is performed by people “with experience in public policies to combat racism”.
With Cebraspe denying that it was responsible for taking the photographs, the defense also claims that ‘the panel responsible for the self-identification exam was composed of five examiners, all members of black movements’, Cebraspe counters:
On the internet, several people were shocked by Glaucielle’s change in the interview compared to her appearance in daily life. “So bizarre that it took me a while to understand what was going on,” says an internet user.
We need to receive insalubrity for living in Brazil and having to see something like this.
These situations are killing a little bit of us every day.
And they came to tell me that everything there is a montage. EVEN IF IT IS, it is evident that she set herself up to force a blackness that she doesn’t even believe she has. Look, revolting. I’ve spent too much energy on this today.
Kunoichi da Akatsuki ⚔️
Bizarre!!! I went to look at her Instagram and her boyfriend is there crying on stories. She didn’t even show up. He said that there are people in the Federal Police supporting them … Geez. Using fraud for quotas is a crime. They need run a fine tooth comb in these exams.
12:07 AM Sep 16, 2020
GLAUCIELLE DA SILVA DIAS, through her lawyers, makes public that circulating, on social networks, images of her person, which would point out the alleged fraud in the CESPE/UNB self-identification exam (Center for Selection and Promotion of Events University of Brasilia), in the 2018 Federal Police exam. Acocrding to the posts, she would be white, but would have declared herself black in order to benefit from vacancies for black and brown (preto and pardo) people.
The photos shown with the identification “GLAUCIELLE DA SILVA DIAS 10026374” were taken by a panel composed of five CESPE examiners (following recommendations by the Federal Police), all of whom are members of black movements, on the occasion of the self-identification exam. She never sent any photo of herself to CESPE, having attended the exam in person when she declared herself black and narrated her MINI family history, which touched the examiners.
The daughter of a maid, a member of a humble black family in the interior of the state of Rio de Janeiro, GLAUCIELLE studied in public schools and as an adult, attended private college, having to work to pay tuition. She reached a higher level, which enabled her to combine work with dedication to studies for public tenders. After a year and seven months, with virtually no leisure time or even beauty care, was approved to join the Federal Police.
It remains, therefore, to regret that, without giving opportunity for any clarification, they are using photographs with “filters” of her social network Instragam (@glaudiass) to attack her, her family and above all, black people, that suffered a lot in achieving its current achievements, among them, the allocation of vacancies in public competitions for blacks and browns. That’s why we’ll use all available means to hold these offenders responsible for the illicit acts committed.
João Pessoa. September 16, 2020
RINALDO MOUZALAS VALBERTO AZEVEDO Lawyer OAB/PB No. 11.589 Lawyer OAB/PB No. 11.477
Note from BBT: So let me just say that, even after reading through numerous articles to get to the bottom of this story, I still don’t quite get what really happened here. And I weighed numerous possibilites.
My first thought after seeing the photos of Dias in the photos of her when she defined herself as black during the self-declaration phase was, ‘Is she wearing blackface?’ The photo just doesn’t look real to me. Even the hundreds of thousands of Brazilian I’ve seen over the course of two decades and the diversity of phenotypes, Dias’s image just looked fake to me.
Just to remind you, my thought shouldn’t be considered outrageous because Brazilians seem to have a thing for making themselves up in blackface. But I’m going to rule that out because I found another photo of Dias on the same day the photo was taken. She has on the same clothes, but her light skin tone looks more normal.
So then what happened here? Convinced that she hadn’t painted herself in blackface, my next guess was that someone who knew her found her photos on the day of her self-declaration, considered her appearance and then concluded that she didn’t deserve to take advantage of quotas meant for black and brown people.
As we’ve seen in recent years, due to so many cases of fraud, black students have formed groups and panels to call out the fraud artists so that affirmative action policies benefit those who have the appropriate pheotype. So, maybe someone got a hold of her photo, darkened her skin via PhotoShop and then released the images online to create the controversy. It’s also possible that the lighting in the room at the time the photo was taken was little dim. It’s hard to say.
There’s yet another problem though. The Dias legal representation claims that the judgment panel itself took the photo of Dias, while the panel, Cebraspe, denies having taken the photo. I also find it a little more just a councidence that Dias stepped down from her position in the Federal Police just after the scandal broke.
No, it’s not impossible that she was planning to step down anyway, but I just find it hard to belief that she resigned right around the time this contorversy started. It just looks a little like she saw that the jig was up so she ran for cover.
Regardless of what actually went down here, this is yet another example of my positioning on this topic. The Movimento Negro, Brazil’s collective of black rights organizations, needs to acknowledge and enforce the fact that not all pardos are black. Which means that a large percentage of about 90 million or so pardos also aren’t black.
To put it simple, if they’re not judged as being black enough to qualify for quotas, they also shouldn’t be counted as black on census and population estimates according to race/color.
The last thing that sticks out in my mind about Glaucielle Dias, the woman at the center of this controversy, is her appearance. OK, after looking at her photos I can concede that she’s not what I would call white…at least not from American perspective. But in Brazil, there are literally millions of women who look more or less like Glaucielle and a large percentage of them define themselves a s white and are accepted as white. But, based on what she says, Glaucielle defines herself as black. Brown, but black.
Again, I do see her as being non-white, but not black, so once again we come to this question of who in Brazil is black. It’s not an easy question if one wants a clear answer applied to an overall population of about 215 million people. But looking at this case tells us a lot about Brazil, some of which we already knew. Let’s take a look at a few of these points.
First, in her video explaining her situation and how she feels she did nothing wrong, Glaucielle shows photos of her mother and grandmother, both black women with the grandmother beong darker and the mother being lighter-skinned.
Once again I have to ask, if Brazil has always maintained that it doesn’t judge race according to one’s ancestry but rather only the appearance, why would it be necessary for Glaucielle to show photos of her mother and grandmother? It’s almost as if she’s admitting that people don’t see her as black thus the need to “prove” her blackness. Well, to keep it 100, if it’s necessary to show pictures of your mother and grandmother to “prove” she’s black then perhaps she shouldn’t be someone who benefits from the affirmative action program.
If it is true that the infamous “one drop rule” has never applied in Brazil, then Glaucielle having to “justify” her blackness by referring to ancestors sounds almost fraudulent. Like, her blackness doesn’t stand up to scrutiny so she must refer to her family tree to get some sort of a “black pass”.
The second thing is, I honestly can’t see anyone disciminating against her based on what she looks like. Well, unless were talking about people who are clearly white who want to make it clear that she’s not quite white. But if that is in fact true, this would mean that in some ways Brazil does in fact follow a type of hypodescent, one drop sort of judgement of race.
Which leads me to my final point. As Glaucielle has pointed out, if you have some physical feature that subjects you to discriminatory treatment, this would mean that you’re not white…wouldn’t it? Looking at this case makes me wonder. It may be true that Dias is not exactly white, but does that mean that she is automatically black or just trying to “pass for black”?
I may have thought that way many years ago but today I can’t co-sign on this. Of course there are plenty of light-skinned people in the world whose physical features still clearly denote their African ancestry, but, in my opinion, Glaucielle Dias is not one of them. Whatever turns out to be the truth about this particular story, one thing should become very clear for Brazil’s black leaders.
In a land where millions of clearly black people have mixed with persons of European ancestry for centuries, we must understand that, at a certain point, the offspring of such unions won’t necessarily be black. And if people continue to claim all of the racially ambiguous people as black also, pretty soon, fighting for black rights and representation will all be a waste of time. And that’s because most of the “black” folks they’ll be fighting for will look like Glaucielle Dias.