How racist is Bolsonaro

Anyone who denounces racism is betraying the nation: Bolsonaro and his Vice President consider racial conflicts to be "imported from outside"

After two white supermarket guards beat a black man to death, Brazil is discussing structural racism again. However, the government does not want to know anything about it.

Two security guards from the Carrefour supermarket in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil, held 40-year-old Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas on the floor for five minutes on Thursday. They had previously taken the man out of the supermarket because he had allegedly insulted an employee. On the way out, Freitas beat one of the guards, who then beat him wildly and kneeled on him. An emergency doctor could later only determine death.

Social disadvantage

Videos of the incident spread across the Brazilian media on Friday, Black Awareness Day. The holiday is intended to commemorate the 350 years of slavery in Brazil and is dedicated to the struggle for social and legal equality for Afro-Brazilians. On Friday and the following weekend there were protests in front of Carrefour branches and protest marches against racism in several cities.

The frustration of social disadvantage and violence runs deep among dark-skinned Brazilians. It was not until 1888 that Brazil became the last country in the western hemisphere to officially abolish slavery. But Brazil is still considered to be one of the most unequal countries in the world. Black people top the statistics of poverty and are around three times more likely to be victims of violence than their fellow citizens. The police are accused of being particularly brutal towards black people. In Rio de Janeiro alone, police kill around twice as many people as in the United States as a whole, and 80 percent of those killed are black.

The violent death of George Floyd, who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, USA in May, led to protests against police violence in Brazil as well. The president's son Eduardo Bolsonaro, who describes himself as a close friend of Donald Trump's family and was therefore originally intended by his father for the post of ambassador in Washington, called the “Black Lives Matter” protests “acts of terrorism” and compared the movement to National Socialism .

The father Jair Messias, a fan of the American president, now used Trump's anti-Black Lives Matter discourse. Trump dismissed the movement in September as anti-American, claiming that its aim was to divide American society. Bolsonaro used the virtual G-20 summit on Saturday to condemn the anti-racism protests in Brazil. There are people who bring external tensions to Brazil in order to divide the country and to incite Brazil's races - the whites, the blacks and the indigenous peoples - against one another. The intention is to make Brazil submissive. This attack on the nation is being disguised as a struggle for equality and social justice, Bolsonaro told the astonished G20 summit participants, according to media reports.

Racial Democracy

Bolsonaro is thus following his paranoid argumentation already chosen in terms of coronavirus and the destruction of nature in the Amazon. He suspects that behind both events there are forces from abroad who are weakening Brazil and trying to subdue them. The son Eduardo, who has headed the South American offshoot of Steve Bannon's right-wing populist movement Movement since the beginning of 2019, sees the Jewish financier George Soros behind the attacks on Brazil and the “Judeo-Christian values”, as he has already said several times.

Bolsonaro's deputy, General Hamilton Mourao, also denied the existence of racism on Friday. "That is something that you want to import into Brazil," says Mourao. Instead, Brazil's problem is social inequality. The general is not alone in this view. The ruling elite, including the military, see Brazil as a “democracy of the races” with structural inequality. Racism is located elsewhere. As a young man in the United States in the 1960s, for example, he experienced what real racism was, Mourao said. In Brazil, he had never seen dark-skinned people having to sit in the back of a bus, as in the USA. “They were never allowed to sit in front. That is racism. "