Note from BW of Brazil: Let’s face it. We’ve seen enough cases of both racism and sexism to know that Brazil has plenty of both. Regardless of how much people like either deny the existence of the two, downplay both or define those who report it as “whiners”, the rest of us simply want to expose the facts, understand why such behavior exists and prepare its victims and potential victims the best we can.
In today’s incident, one might be tempted to come to the conclusion to define the case as sexism rather than racism, but it’s not quite that simple. It never is. The thing for me in cases such as these is whether I can see a white woman in the same scenario being disrespected for the same reason. In Brazil, I’ve seen numerous cases of of white women being physically assaulted, brutally punched, kicked and beaten. The difference for me in today’s case that crosses over into the realm of racism are the emerging politics over the usage of turbans in recent years.
Black women have adopted the accessory as a means of re-claiming their ancestry and demanding a certain air of royalty that has been denied them in Brazil for centuries. White women adapting the headpiece have been attacked with cries of cultural appropriation. The tie-breaker for me is that turban or not, physically assaulted or not, white women will always be put upon a certain pedestal that black women will always be denied. Even being a frequent victim of sexism, she still benefits from a system of white supremacy that will always seek to keep the black woman “in her place”.
As such, in an environment such as the one presented in today”s story, I don’t see a white woman being disrespected by either white men or black men because of her daring to wear a turban. The setting here is a graduation party for a course of Civil Engineering, an overwhelmingly white field. As such, a white woman would not be seen as being “out of place” in such a setting, whether she was a graduate or the wife/girlfriend of a graduate. In fact, a white woman would probably be even more adored had she worn a turban! Because the way that “race and place” plays out in the minds of Brazilians every day, skin color would make all the difference in how two women were treated…Is there any doubt?
Young woman is a victim of racism and has her turban ripped off at a graduation party
She had her turban snatched and thrown to the ground by a man while others present threw beer at her. In addition, she was cursed at, threatened and was the last to leave the party for fear of further assaults.
The representative of the National Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality and director of the State Union of Students of Minas Gerais (UEE-MG), Dandara Tonantzin Castro, was physically and verbally assaulted on Saturday night (23) by a group of men during a graduation party for the course of Civil Engineering of the Federal University of Uberlândia – UFU.
She had her turban snatched off and thrown to the ground by a man while others present threw beer at her. In addition, she was cursed at, threatened and was the last to leave the party for fear of further assaults.
Dandara wrote the following case report on her Facebook account:
“OUR PRESENCE MAKES PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE
About racism at a graduation party.
This week I participated in the graduation of my friends of civil engineering at UFU. Last night at the dance, I went wearing a TURBAN. At first, (I saw) many bothered looks, but the various compliments calmed me down. Almost at the end of the party, outside a cara branco (white guy), strongly pulled my turban. I told him to let go and I left. When I passed him again, alone, he pulled it a second time, I was so angry that I screamed for him not to touch my turban. He waved his friends to come, when they gathered in a circle, one of them snatched the turban from my head and threw it to the ground. When I went to get him, incredulous of what was happening, they threw beer at me. Lots of beer. I was blind, desperate to find my friends. I knew that if I stayed there might have been even more physical assaults.
My friends immediately called security (all black) who soon understood that it was racism and soon they were taking them out of the party. One of them with a straight face said to security that he didn’t assault me, “I just took that turban from her head.” The girlfriends (all white) came to me. I tried to explain that it was racism, cynicism prevailed and unsuccessfully I walked away. They got on the security guards asking them to throw me out of the party too, as if my presence was a problem. My friends still tried to talk but hatred blinds. When I went to the bathroom I still had to hear indirect threats, about hitting myself and other terrible things that I cannot even say here. We were the last to leave for fear of them doing something to us outside.
Black people at the graduation? (Working) in cleaning, security or serving.
I kept myself strong for a long time. But racism is cruel. My tears are wetting the cell phone screen, just thinking that these and so many others have gone unpunished. I am very proud that a black man, poor from the countryside like Filipe Almeida graduated, we continue with the certainty that we will resist.”
Source: Revista Forum
This is just the beginning. The racist devils are getting more and more upset everyday as people of color no longer accept their chains of oppression.
I second your comment.
I read the article, opened the accompanying picture into another window, zoomed up to 250%, and W-O-W!!! “What a beautiful woman!” was my first reaction.
This very beautiful woman should unquestionably be encouraged to live out her culture as comfortably as anyone else, as well as express herself with personal attire she has chosen as fitting of her culture. Actually, the turban headdress, laced formal gown, and exquisite earrings are obviously eye-catching, unique, and very complementary of her natural beauty. Among real men, her attributes would draw considerable attention for the better. At the same time, there are also many people in this crazy world who cannot accept, let alone appreciate real beauty.
The attitude of racism (a particular way of thinking that produces a particular type of behavior that produces a particular type of result) is indeed global. Experiences of this nature are becoming more frequently disseminated across global media of late. As this happens, it allows the rest of the world to witness what is unfortunately common behavioral patterns exhibited by certain individuals that have existed for decades, if not centuries in social interactions within settings involving People of Color.
In a way, this is a good thing because, just as in the United States and elsewhere, we can see certain hidden aspects of Brazilian society firsthand, where these types of incidents helps to erode the denial of colorism which oftentimes lead to civil, constitutional, and human rights violations.
With good and frequent information as given by sites such as Black Women Of Brazil, it allows the reading audience a chance to think critically and ask pertinent questions on “why” certain individuals perform such irrational (and sometimes injurious and fatal) acts based on their attitudes, presumptions, and ignorance about another individual’s physical appearance. For a “real” man would not exhibit nor expect such unacceptable behavior from himself or allow it from others around him. The entire formal event, I’m led to surmise, involved graduating “professionals” who will be engaging themselves not only within their chosen field of civil engineering but people from many diverse backgrounds, experiences, and tolerances in Brazil and possibly across the world. What will these people think when they have to meet, work, and communicate with civil engineers, structural engineers, architects, surveyors, developers, contractors, and marketing pros, all of whom just happen to be People of Color?
Unwarranted physical contact also sets the basis for criminal charges. No one, absolutely no one, should have to experience being touched nor physically assaulted without permission or provocation. I don’t know exactly how the law works under Brazilian jurisdiction, but applicable legal remedies and just compensation should undoubtedly be pursued to prevent future escalations and pre-empt the casualness of others committing similar assaults against not just People of Color but anyone. .
The best thing we can do for this beautiful woman is to encourage her to faithfully continue being herself, doing those things that fulfill her self-respect, self-esteem, and self-worth, The only cure for the invented system of racism is justice, where justice is defined as not mistreating anyone based upon the color of their skin. Justice, we must remember, includes the pursuit of constant civility within our respective societies so that we all can become productive beings as The Creator & Mother Nature meant it to be.
Thank you for taking the time to express your sentiments so well!