A 20-year-old black girl, who lives in Minas Gerais (Southeast Brazil), posts a photo with her white boyfriend on Facebook. What should be something simple for anyone using social networks becomes news in the country. She’s the target of racist attacks.
The girl, whose name hasn’t been publicly shared, authorized the media to publish her Facebook photo when her story became news. She admitted to be upset with the situation and decided to report the racist attacks to the police.
Personally, I feel many people feel intimidated and prefer to remain silent when facing situations like that. But feeling cornered is one of the worst sensations—even the animals know it—and it shouldn’t prevent us from speaking out.
The girl did what she had to do. I’m clapping hands to her, so young but already brave. If everyone who faces racism or any sort of discrimination adopts similar attitudes, we’ll help to stop this. We don’t have to like people who are different from us, but we must respect them.
Some of the comments left on the girl’s Facebook page are outrageous. “Is he your owner?” somebody asked her. “Where did you buy this slave?” someone asked her boyfriend. “Sell her to me.” Other people wrote, “A white and a nigger” and “I guess you got a white man only for the photo.” To the media, the girl said she was bold to report the crime. “Everyone [in the same situation] should do the same,” she said.
The police is investigating the crime with the support of the department in charge of cybercrime. Most of the messages were posted by people living in Sao Paulo. According to the police, some profiles are fake, but others can be identifiable.
I think it’s easy and coward to offend, discriminate and disrespect others using fake accounts, with no photos, faces or names. I feel pity for people who aren’t bold enough to say what they want, and need to hide themselves behind social networks.
Unfortunately for them, it won’t be that simple. Facebook is being asked to identify the racist comments’ authors’ Internet Protocol addresses (IPs). These people will be subpoenaed to testify through letters rogatory. Racial libel and racism are considered crimes in Brazil. The penalty for racial libel includes jail and fine.