Revolt of the Turbans

Brazil’s massive demonstrations have been streaming across news outlets for the last week. Since the protests began, millions of Brazilians have taken to the streets to object to their government’s massive spending in advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic games, while education funding, social services, and local infrastructure spending have all taken a hit.

While images of the protests have been seen around the world, one voice has been conspicuously missing: black Brazilians.

For a country that has the largest population of African-descended people outside of Africa, you’d think images of black Brazilians taking to the streets would be splayed across social media feeds and TV screens, but they haven’t. Not because black Brazilians decided to opt out of the protests; they’ve been right in the mix. But the lack of coverage about the concerns of black Brazilians could be due in part to the very thing they’ve taken to the streets to protest: racism.

While the international media has failed to cover the concerns of black Brazilians,  blogs, artists, and local Brazilians have been spreading the word.

Filmmaker and blogger Vilma Neres and photographers Antonio Terra and Afronaz Kauberdianuz documented black Brazilian protesters in what has been dubbed, “Revolta dos Turbantes” (Revolt of the Turbans).

The blog Black Women of Brazil explains the desires of black Brazilian protesters:

The list of demands to the State and to Brazilian society reflects the invisibility of blacks and the violation of their rights in various sectors of the country. These demands cover even basic rights, still nonexistent in some regions, such as access to health care, education and decent housing. Among other specific demands of the black population, and in support of PEC of the Domestics (domestics law); against the extermination of black youth, for the demarcation and titling of Indigenous and Quilombo lands, for the effectiveness of Law 10.639/2003 and 11.645/2008 that established the mandatory teaching of African, Afro-Brazilian and indigenous history and culture in the school curriculum for respect of religiosity of African origin; access to income and the labor market; against the removal of families in areas where there is real estate speculation; against the Statute of the Unborn, for the demilitarization of the PM (military police); against lowering of the age of being tried as criminals in court and the end of racism in SUS.

Though Brazil prides itself on being a democracy that welcomes and engages all of its citizens, black Brazilians are often shut out of opportunities that their white counterparts enjoy.

Afro-Brazilian groups have been advocating for more rights, access, and opportunities for black Brazilians for decades, and if the recent protests are any indication of their commitment to their cause, the Brazilian government may have no choice but listen.

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  • The Comment

    Wow……I had no idea that Brazil had the largest population of African people outside of Africa. That’s deep!

    Proof to me that there is a global effort to make sure we never rule the planet ever again.

    • Whatever

      Outside of Nigeria. They have the second largest population of people of African descent.

    • Kacey

      Yep. And the media tries to fool us into thinking that most Brazilians resemble Gisele Bundchen (who is the descendant of Germans who settled in Brazil after WWII) and Alessandra Ambrosio (who is of Italian heritage). SMH

    • I know, it’s a shame that people don’t know that. I always tell people that a)Brazilian isn’t a race and b)Gisele represents the tiny minority of white Europeans that have been in the country for barely 60 years.
      But nope, people will insist that all Brazilians are tan white people who speak Portuguese.
      Clearly you know it but most people don’t know that way more Africans were shipped to South and Central America than were EVER brought to the US.

    • aziza123

      When did we ever rule the planet? Sorry, trying to learn.

    • AJ

      LOL….you just made me chuckle
      Africa/blacks were the center of the world from the beginning of written history and even prior to that.

      Please learn your history.

    • The Other Jess

      I’m always amazed at how many people in the U.S. don’t know this well known fact.

  • lya

    This will sound bad but I have to say it. Why don’t black people just stop having children that they can not afford. If you can barely take care of yourself. Have no intentions of furthering your education. Why not just burn the tubes. I think that it is pathetic of every country that if filled with poor black out there looking for superman to take care of them. I am for sterilizing blacks that can not take care of children. I know that there are whites too but its their country they will look out for their own. The only thing that we are good for is for making babies for prisons or white women. If you can afford a child then go for it otherwise sterilize.

    • The Comment

      Oh Dear!

    • Your entire comment proves that you are completely ignorant or a troll.

    • TrulyPC

      “This will sound bad but I have to say it” Iya, this sentence along with the rest of your comment doesn’t just sound bad; it is overwhelmingly ignorant.

      In a world and a community that makes it difficult (and often a crime) for women to make their own reproductive choices either by destroying women’s rights via laws, religious indoctrination, patriarchy, social structure, rape culture and lack of access to birth control your comment is beyond infuriating. Women that have limited or no choices at all must do the best that they can to do right by their children when they do have children. They deal with their circumstances the best way that they can despite judgments being passed by uninformed people like yourself. When they expect for their needs and concerns to be heard and met they have every right to speak to them. Also, life happens and many people that were in the very position that you deign to be the supreme for choosing to have children had the rug pulled from under them. So there is that.

      I would suggest that you seek more knowledge and reflection instead of offering up judgments in an area that you obviously haven’t taken the time to evaluate in any real, helpful or positive manner.

    • truth hurts

      lol @ this blatant cracka. You’re going to have to try a little harder next to you want to convince us you’re “black.” Step your troll game up.

    • The Other Jess

      troll alert!

    • Kay

      Wow. I’m sure there is a white sheet with holes punched into it and a cross with lighter fluid next to it in your back yard. Jeez…..troll much???

  • I love that, at least in Brazil, the black population has unified in an effort to change things for the better!

    • Actually they are WAY behind Black Americans…one thing that has actually helped keep people separate is the fact that Brazil has numerous classifications based upon skin color so a lot of people who are “black” in the US call themselves things like pardo or a myriad of other terms that describe the different types of brown, light brown, etc.
      At any rate, it has meant that people are divided way more based on skin color b/c many black people don’t call themselves black (however even in their system, the majority of Brazilians do identify with being of African descent/black).
      The other interesting fact is that being able to CALL themselves something other black doesn’t change the fact that darker-skinned Brazilians suffer the same kind of institutional and systemic racism that we had in the US despite hte fact that they didn’t try to politicize or define race as much as we did.
      But they had slaves for as long as we did, but the movements did not take off b/c fewer people identified and they are still very much in a time of “firsts” for black Brazilians…
      So if you have ever worked for a company that has a significant Brazilian presence, one thing you’ll notice is that ALL of the corporate Brazilians are white…you’ll far fewer black people who have “made it” than you have in the US, and yeah, we still have a lot of people struggling up here.

  • This is very true, tumblr had pics all day of protest but let’s just say those pics were in black and white with very little black in it.