AFRICANGLOBE – Since the PSL party’s Jair Bolsonaro became a serious candidate for the presidency of Brazil, many, including myself have wondered what effect his offensive commentary and the politics he stands for would have on his supporters. Well, even before winning the election on Sunday, we got clues throughout Brazil about what the future may hold. Bolsonaro supporters have taken the politician’s cue and expressed how they really feel about a number of topics being discussed amongst Brazilians.
One worrying thing we keep seeing popping up is the manner in which Bolsonaro supporters feel in relation to Black Brazilians. Several recent incidents signal what the next four years may be like for Black Brazilians under a Bolsonaro presidency.
In one incident, a man identified as 25-year old Pedro Bellintani Baleotti recorded a startling video that went viral a several days ago. The video shows Baleotti in a car on his way to casting a vote in the election. Speaking into the camera, Baleotti is heard saying:
“At the sound of Zezé (Di Camargo and Luciano), armed with a knife, a pistol, the devil, crazy to see a bum, a vagabond in a red shirt and to kill soon.” In this phrase, Baleotti’s reference to a red shirt speaks of the main color of the PT (Workers’ Party), the party of Bolsonaro’s opponent, Fernando Haddad, and the party that ruled Brazil between 2003 and 2016.
Continuing on, he turns the camera and films two Black people on a motorcycle which provokes him to say: “Do you see that negraiada (group of Blacks)? They will die! They will die! It’s the f*cking captain.”
According to reports, the video began spreading in the WhatsApp photo app the day after the election, Monday, October 29th.
Having worked at the law offices of De Luca Derenusson Schuttoff e Azevedo Consultoria (DDSA), the young man was immediately fired when the firm discovered the video. The man in the video refused to return calls when press agents sought comments on the video he released.
Students at Baleotti’s university, Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo, began protesting the contents of the video shortly after its release. Baleotti is in the 10th semester of a Law course at the university. The dean of university Benedito Aguiar Neto revealed that the student had been suspended pending an investigation and taking of appropriate measures.
In a totally unrelated incident, actor Caio Paduan and several other celebrities were sharing a phrase in their social networks that read, “No one lets go of anyone else’s hand,” along with a photo of one hand holding another. But under the post, an internet follower took advantage of the opportunity to attack one of Paduan’s colleagues, actress Érika Januza, with whom he co-starred with in the hit Globo TV novela, O Outro Lado do Paraíso. In her comment, the internet user wrote: “I loved that Bolsonaro won, it’s only in this way he will order to kill these negros fedidos (st*nking Blacks) and this @erikajanuza goes along. I hate this woman.”
In response to the post, the actor wrote: “Your response was printed and taken to the police. RACIST,” he wrote, with the post having been shared on pages of other social networks.
And if the previous two stories weren’t enough, then we have reports coming from the University of Santa Maria in the city of Santa Maria, located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of the country. Last week, photos from a women’s bathroom showed images of a white toilet cover with the words “Esses pretos fedidos vão morrer”, meaning “These stinking Blacks are going to die”, written in Black. The graffiti also included a swastika and the hashtag “b17”, which is reference to the voting number of president-elect Jair Bolsonaro. After discovering the words on the toilet cover, police are trying to use fingerprints in an attempt to identify the culprit.
Of course, as is standard in any such situation, the university issued a statement repudiating the act. A note issued by the university read as follows:
The Federal University of Santa Maria deeply regrets the episode recorded on the 26th, in one of the bathrooms of the institution, where racist inscriptions were found. The institution declares to the whole community that it strongly condemns any form of discrimination and intolerance. Racism and apology to Nazism constitute crimes, and the case is already being investigated by the Federal Police.
The university may be sincere in its repudiation of the racist act, but this isn’t the first time racist messages have been found on the campus. A few weeks before this latest incident, students were called “negros sujos” (dirty Blacks) on the same campus. In that case, the perpetrator was immediately identified and will respond to accusations of injúria racial (racial injury/slur).
In another incident from September of 2017, phrases that read “o lugar de vocês é no tronco” (your places are on the whipping post) and ‘fora negros’ (get out Blacks) were found written on walls of the Free Academic Directory of Law department.
In November of that same year at the university, racist messages were found on the walls of Social Sciences classroom directed at three students. Those messages read “Fora macacos” (get out monkeys) and “Brancos no topo” (whites on top), again alongside a swastika symbol. Both of the previous scenarios led to protests and requests for the university to take action.
The previous three incidents in this story are all connected to supporters of president-elect Bolsonaro but it’s important to point out that there is no apparent connection in the latter two (occurring last year, before Bolsonaro’s candidacy became well-known) also taking place on the campus of the university. What I’m pointing out here is that, as evidenced by the numerous incidents of racist phrases being found on university campuses, these sentiments against the Black presence in institutions of higher learning have existed for some time. What I get from these anti-Black expressions is that with the election of extreme-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, people who believe that Blacks must remain “in their place” or worse, “must die”, feel that they have a leader who represents their ideals and positions on race.
With the election of Bolsonaro we’re seeing a segment of Brazil’s population express their true feelings about Black Brazilians in a manner that may make one think about what the next four years could be like. Thus, at this point, perhaps the ultimate question for Bblack Brazilians, especially those who cast their vote for Jair Bolsonaro, may be: Is it or isn’t time to wake up?
By: Marques Travae