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“I found this slave in the smoking area! Whoever the owner is let me know!”: Student at FGV College suspended for racist comment/photo of black student

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Note from BW of Brazil: Ya know, if you’ve read enough stories on this blog, you just might come to the conclusion that certain (white) people don’t like seeing black people on the campuses of Brazil’s most prestigious universities. I mean what other conclusion would you come to after you’d seen racist graffiti at one institution, and then another and then another, or you heard a professor making an openly racist statement in front of a class, or if you saw a black professor targeted with racist slurs? And all of these are just a small fraction of the all of the racist incidents coming out of Brazil’s colleges and universities in recent years. I won’t even go into the fire-bombing of a dormitory of African immigrant students. Let me just say that today’s story, which took place at the same college that someone said is not the place for “little nigger girls“, once again shows how uncomfortable people are with the presence of black Brazilians in places where, historically, they’re not expected to be.

whatsapp

Message posted in WhatsApp: “I found this slave in the smoking area! Whoever the owner is let me know!”

FGV suspends student for 3 months after racist offense

The accused shared a photo of the victim in a WhatsApp group and said, “I found this slave in the smoking area! Whoever the owner is let me know!”

Courtesy of Diário de Pernambuco

A photo shared in a WhatsApp group generated revolt among students and coordinators of Faculdade Getulio Vargas (Getulio Vargas College or FGV), in downtown São Paulo. A student from the institution took a picture of another student from the same educational institution and shared with the following phrase: “I found this slave in the smoking area! Whoever the owner is let me know!” The victim recorded a police report of racial profiling and the author of the photo was suspended from the college for 3 months.

João Gilberto Lima, aluno da FGV

João Gilberto Lima, is the student at FGV whose image was shared in WhatsApp with a racist caption

On Facebook, the young man says he was called by the Public Administration Coordination on Tuesday (6) and informed that a student of the 4th semester of Business Administration shared the photo with the phrase.

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In the post, the victim says that the colleague had a “cowardly” attitude. “So close to me … why didn’t you say it to my face? But you chose the cowardly attitude of taking a picture of me and putting in your group of friends. If your intention was to make a joke, you definitely don’t have that gift. Do you think there are no black people here? Do you know that long before you thought of going to FGV I was already walking through these corridors. If you knew me, you would not have dared. What you have done besides being immoral is a crime! The legal steps have already been taken and you will pay for your actions,” said the student in a post on Facebook.

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Gustavo Metropolo, also a student at FGV, is accused of sharing the photo and caption

“I will not rest until you are expelled from this college. People like you should not and cannot have a degree from Fundação Getulio Vargas. The message is short and direct. But it’s fitting for any other racist at the Fundação. This will not pass!”

Further commenting on the situation, the victim of the offense, João Gilberto Lima, said: “I was shocked.  I never went through this at GV. I thought of seeking my rights. It’s important to expose (this) because racism in Brazil is very veiled.”

The bulletin for racial insult was registered on Thursday (8), in the 4th Police District of Consolação, in the downtown region of the city.

In a statement, Faculdade Getúlio Vargas said that before “possible racist connotation of the offense” it “applied severe punishment to the offender, who was suspended for three months.”

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“The offensive comment was made in a private group of which the offender was part, without any participation, albeit indirect, from the FGV. Faced with the possible racist connotation of the offense, firm in its rejection of all forms of discrimination and prejudice, FGV, as soon as it became aware of the facts, as provided for in its Code of Ethics and Discipline, immediately applied a severe punishment to the offender, who was suspended from his curricular activities for three months, being prevented from attending school, without prejudice to the adoption of complementary measures, from the investigation that the facts are determined by the competent authorities,” the text says.

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Student responsible for photo and image studies at FGV’s department of Administration

The Academic Directory of FGV said, by means of a note, that a letter of denunciation will be presented to the Congregation, a collegiate body capable of deliberating about the expulsion of the student.

“We reiterate, further, our profound repudiation of the event. Our management has taken on the DAGV with the commitment of working together with the collectives for a more inclusive and democratic faculty, and for a truly welcoming university environment for all those who are in it,” says note.

The black collective Novembro 20 FGV (see note one) also manifested itself and asked for “enough with prejudice”. Check out:

“We live in a free country. Unfortunately, this freedom is often times only formal. The inequalities of income, class, gender and color in the lands of Machado de Assis, Dandara, Luís Gama, Carolina de Jesus, Joaquim Barbosa and Tais Araújo, tells us that individuals are still barred from being who they really are. Black men and black women are a minority in prestigious institutions of higher education. Black men are the majority of the country’s prison population. Black women suffer twice as much from feminicide as white women. Black children are the vast majority of the student body of the poor public education. Black LGBTSs are among one of the most vulnerable populations for the development of mental illness, so the Novembro 20 collective stands up and says: Enough!”

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Note from BW of Brazil: Just a few closing comments to point out that 1) due to Brazil’s 350 plus year experiment with the institution of black slavery, regardless of the progress Afro-Brazilians make in society, they will forever remain connected to servitude and bondage in the minds of many everyday citizens as we’ve seen time and time again and 2) as I’ve argued time and time again, although veiled racism does exist in Brazil, so does blatant racism, as shown in proven once again in today’s piece and 3) the victim spoke of never having gone through such a situation at the college, which again shows us that, simply because people don’t always express such sentiments, doesn’t mean they don’t feel a certain way.

Source: G1, Correio Braziliense

Note

  1. Obviously, the name of the group, November 20, is a reference to the National Day of Black Consciousness, which itself refers to the date of the death of black Brazil’s most important historical figure, Zumbi of Palmares.



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