Cordial » racism, really? Or how the murder of a young Congolese man reminds us of the old demons of Brazilian society.

A young congolese man brutally murdered in rio

The oxymoron « cordial racism » mocks these old demons that we cannot see. Concomitant with an anthropological violence that can be traced back to the origins of the country born in the violence of slavery and the pillories, racism is omnipresent in Brazil, as it is in the United States. When historians evoke the « café au lait » Republic of the inter-war period, they cannot speak of misconception, nor of a « mestizo epic », but rather of a form of monopoly of power exercised by the politicians of Minas Gerais, breeders, and those of Sao Paulo, coming from the great families of coffee planters.

Being black or mixed race in Brazil means three times the risk of dying from homicide. Violence is present in the heart of the favelas, often controlled by powerful gangs and the arbitrariness of justice tends to hit the Afro-Brazilian community more, respecting, alas, an aphorism of Moliere « depending on whether you are miserable or powerful… ». 

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Source Latuef 2018,

Latuef’s caricature amplifies without diverting a reality. The poverty and violence suffered have a color.

« According to the IBGE synthesis, we can reaffirm who is the poor population in Brazil. Poverty in Brazil has a color, and it is hegemonically black, » said Professor Richarlls Martins, who presented figures: « Of the total number of poor people in Brazil, 73% are black, 38% being black and brown women and 35% black and brown men. In extreme poverty, the black population is even more important. The latest official data from the Brazilian government indicates that 77% of extremely poor people in Brazil are black; of these, 40% are black women and 37% are black men. »

The crime committed against a young Congolese man near one of the kiosks in Copabana traumatized a large part of Brazilian society, brutally confronted with the reality of daily racist violence. Four rioters beat to death with baseball bats the young man of 24 years whose only fault was to have had the audacity to ask for his due, that is to say a few days of wages. We can fully understand the proposals of Elza Soares « I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of life, it is so bad that I say to myself my god, how do they do to support it? The good thing is that a great number of Brazilians, in a society that is certainly more and more divided, say « never again.

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