Friday, April 23, 2021

Racism is not ‘controversial’: Why it is important to name discrimination

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Rodolffo Matthaus’s racist comment about João Luiz Pedrosa’s hair on BBB21 resonated on Globo’s programs. On Monday’s Mais Você (5), the subject became an issue in the Giro BBB board, but was treated by reporter Ivo Madoglio as a “controversy”. The term was used inappropriately, as it is very important to name types of discrimination, without reducing them to sensational words.

During the chat with Ana Maria Braga, Ivo fired: “It was not a polemical comment that Rodolffo made again at the house. Now regarding João”.

In the sequence, he showed a video of the moment when the singer compared the teacher’s hair to that of a caveman’s wig that he had to use in the monster’s punishment. “I am not the caveman because I have hair like this”, defended the educator, visibly embarrassed.

At no time did the reporter use the term “racism” to define the sertanejo’s speech. The omission of the word that defines discrimination can influence the way the public sees the brother’s prejudiced attitude.

Rodolffo with the wig he compared to João’s hair (Reproduction / TV Globo)

It can even reinforce the idea that it was all just a joke and that Rodolffo did not do it out of spite – an idea that he himself defended in the Discord Game -. It may seem that it was just an episode that “polemicized” inside the house.

Bruna Rocha, journalist and researcher in Communication of Contemporary Cultures, reinforced the wrong position not only of the reporter, but also of other programs in relation to the subject.

“There is a spiral of silence placed historically in Big Brother, where violence cannot be named. This silencing, the omission of the possibility of naming the concrete violence that is suffered by the participants is also a violence”, he explained to the TV News.

According to IBGE data (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), 55.8% of the population in Brazil declare themselves to be black or brown. From this, it is possible to affirm that the correct information about discriminatory terms – which also includes machismo, homophobia, among others – does not reach the minority of the population.

However, this minority is responsible for commanding communication vehicles, TV programs and disseminating the culture that reverberates more easily.

“This non-naming of violence also constitutes institutional violence. [A Globo] In addition to not taking any stance, it still silences and makes it impossible for the debate to be done in the right way “, adds Bruna.

“I was wrong”

This is not the first time that Mais Você shows how much the population is still uninformed about how to treat racism. On March 1, Ana Maria Braga criticized the former participant of the reality show Lumena Aleluia, who is black, and insinuated that there was “reverse racism” on the part of the Bahian woman with Carla Diaz.

“We are to blame for this [ser branco], huh? There is a [racismo] reverse there, right? “, she declared at the time.

The next day, the presenter started the morning by apologizing. “I was wrong. I really like to assume my mistakes. After yesterday’s program, I saw many messages on social media saying that I had made a wrong comment, which I didn’t know,” he said.

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