When you are a black person in Brazil, the simple ritual of leaving home is accompanied by some guidance and blessings from the elders of the family, with questions that have already become a kind of survival manual or a “checklist” of items to survive. a day and, mainly, to guarantee your return.
Even today, while I, Ariel Freitas, rummage through the pockets of my jeans for my identity card and other essential documents for this battle between me and a society that assesses someone’s danger based on their skin tone, I hear Dona’s voice Marilene, my mother, who accompanied me to the gate to say: “Go with God, son”.
Living in Rio de Janeiro for two years, I realize that this phrase full of faith said by the matriarch of the family in the times when we shared the same roof in Porto Alegre also represents the context that a black body faces on every corner of the wonderful city.
Sometimes, even the belief in a divine force doesn’t take us away from the sad history of racial segregation that we still routinely experience, whenever we see the glow of the gyroflex and the imminent feeling that “we are to blame”. Even being innocent, what the rifle points show is another reality, in which being black and, often, peripheral is a marker synonymous with danger or guilt.
According to data from the study “Por que eu?”, which evaluated police approaches in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, carried out by IDDD (Instituto de Defesa do Direito de Defesa) in partnership with Data Labe, our Afro-descendant characteristics guarantee four times more likely to be framed.
To carry out the research, the institutions collected 1,716 responses about police approach in Brazil. Of this total, 1,018 are from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro — 510 in Rio and 508 in São Paulo. Among those interviewed, 80% have the same profile: blacks. Of the total, 60.3% are men, 36.6% women, 2.5% declare themselves non-binary and others represent 0.6%.
The numbers reflect a structure that still prevails in the supposed public security strategy in Brazil. In addition to skin color, origin is also related to the level of hostility and embarrassment in these procedures, which, according to police institutions, are procedures seen as normal.
However, the common method directed at a specific group is, nothing more, nothing less, racism in its most raw state, tormenting the physical and moral integrity that, when passing to a State action, becomes something that seeks a more specific specificity. profound: that of institutional racism, in which the State, through its structures of power and control, determines which are the profiles and which are the targets of its actions, mostly those of coercion.
The title of the survey “Why me?” meets one of the most asked questions before, during and after a police approach by those who go through this type of situation. Most of the time, the standard response from agents is that “your characteristics match that of the suspect”. For us black people, the weight of this sentence means that our image is a sign of threat, distrust and other attributes related to risk.
As Emicida says, in the song “Cê lá Faz Ideia”: “You know how common it is to say that black people are thieves before we even know what a black person is”. For most of us, the first time we hear this sentence is in childhood, when a colleague, teacher or even a “friend” notices that some of their belongings are missing. Automatically, or rather “racistly”, the eyes are directed towards the black person in the room. However, if you question the reason for the presumption of guilt, they will come up with a thousand excuses to escape from what they really are: racists.
The name of the study, however, could be “Why us?”. A clear and direct question about why the blame, the sentence and the target of operations, deaths and approaches are mostly black people. As Abdias do Nascimento said in his book “The genocide of the Brazilian black”, with or without law, discrimination against blacks remains: diffuse, but active.
In other words, the approaches are a procedure of the State, but, because they turn to blacks, they represent a cruel and painful reality for all of us in all our days. Again, to paraphrase Emicida in the song “Ismália”, there is white skin and white skin.
Pain, indignation, shame and suffering are some of the feelings that arise. The systemic problem existing in the approaches appears in the report. It diagnoses, reveals and characterizes a status quo of public policy, and requires urgent and necessary change. The State, in its simplest and most fundamental functions, must guarantee protection and respect for all, not judging and sentencing us as targets of its approaches.
LINK PRESENT: Did you like this text? Subscriber can release five free accesses of any link per day. Just click the blue F below.