“You monkey, disgusting black!”: After attempting to intervene in a situation on a bus, young black woman is insulted, slapped and scratched by elderly woman
Describing her ordeal, popular YouTuber Alanne França defined the incident as “the worst and one of the greatest humiliations” she ever experienced in her life
By Marques Travae; images courtesy of REDE 1000 GRAU
Yet another incident shows us how many Brazilian citizens continue to view black people. The whole thing started after an elderly white woman began to insult a child on a bus in Campo Grande, São Paulo, after the child accidently stepped on the elderly woman’s foot. Even after the child apologized, the woman continued to verbally assault the child, causing França, who had just shared a seat on the bus with the woman, to step in and try to calm the woman down.
“Ma’am, you don’t need to swear at her like that, she has already apologized,” said França, who shared the entire ordeal through her social media page.
What França may not have expected to happen was that the 62-year old then began hurling a series of insults at her as well and even slapping her in the face twice causing a scratch that began to bleed.
Calling França a “macaca” (monkey) and “preta nojenta” (disgusting black), the woman didn’t stop her aggressions even with a bus full of people witnessing the entire event and calling her a racist.
“She just responded ‘look at her, look at this disgusting black.’ While she said this, she gave me two slaps in the face and then scratched my face with her nails. This cut me. My face started to bleed,” wrote the young YouTuber about the incident. To distance herself from the aggressive elderly woman, Alanne grabbed her by the hair and shook her.
França described the drama as “the worst and one of the greatest humiliations” she had ever experienced in her life. The incident was recorded on video and in photos and posted online.
Although people on the bus managed to separate the two, the woman even threw one of her shoes at Alanne and screamed, “if you like defending yourself so much, you need to start defending yourself by being born white!” As França sat and cried, someone told her that she needed to call the police. But even being taken to the police station didn’t stop the woman from hurling insults at the victim.
“This is wrong and you’re a racist vagabond,” Alanne said to the elderly woman. Following the incident, a member of the Military Police even said that the woman needed to be handcuffed and taken away.
As the incident was clearly an act of racism, which is officially a crime in Brazil, the woman wasn’t allowed to get off the bus but rather taken to the nearest Military Police precinct so that the incident could be registered. But here, once again, we see how interpretation of the law allows racists to basically walk away with a ‘slap on the wrist.’
In Brazil, the law provides for punishment of crimes of injúria racial (racial injury/slur) and racism (racism). Racial injury is typified in article 140, paragraph 3 of the Brazilian Penal Code, and consists of offending the honor of an individual using elements referring to their race, color, ethnicity, religion or origin. It is, for example, insulting a person with the term “monkey” because he/she is black. The crime of racism is provided for in Law 7.716/89 and consists of discriminatory conduct addressed to a particular group or collectivity, which is considered even more serious. The crime of racism is imprescriptible and inviolable.
In essence, if such an incident is defined as simply an injury or slur, the accused can pay a fine, and avoid serving any sort of prison sentence, the longest of which can extend up to five years. And this is exactly what happened here. The incident was defined as an ‘injúria racial’ instead of racism as well as bodily injury and the woman paid a bail of R$1,000 and was freed. The case was registered and defined at the 99th precinct (Campo Grande)
França, explaining her disappointment in the case, went on to say that the faith she had in humanity was now gone.
Not having faith in the justice system, Alanne doesn’t think the woman will get the type of punishment she deserved even though she has video, proof, witnesses, and even a confession. The aggressor’s daughter also revealed that, although she couldn’t prove it at the time, her mother has Alzheimer’s, leading Alanne to believe that if this were proven, she would become just another statistic of a black Brazilian experiencing racist aggression and not be able to do much about it. And to add yet another injury to the insult, this whole thing actually happened on July 25th, The International Day of Afro-Latin American and Caribbean Women!
“Once again, I get beaten because of being black,” Alanne wrote in her post online about the incident. For França, it was the second time she was the victim of racism followed by a physical assault. The first time she ended being interned. Not having the courage to continue fighting, Alanna feels that sooner or later racism and incidents such as the two she has already gone through will eventually kill her.
“What makes me sad is that she signed for a racial insult, which is bailable, not racism, which is non-bailable. Now it’s going to be difficult to prosecute this woman,” she said. “I’m going to sue, but I don’t think she’s even going to appear in a hearing,” she said.
Any wonder why I say that racism in Brazil is the perfect crime?