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Racist Incidents at Soccer Matches Spark Outrage

Posted on the 06 May 2014 by Angelicolaw @AngelicoLaw

President Dilma Rousseff used Twitter to condemn recent racist acts against a Brazilian referee and soccer player. “Brazilian football was marred by scenes of racism against the referee Márcio Chagas da Silva and Arouca,” Rousseff said in her Tweet on March 9th. “It is unacceptable that Brazil, the largest black nation outside of Africa, should meet with these scenes of racism.”

During a match in Mogi Mirim stadium in São Paulo, a fan shouted “monkey” and other racist taunts at midfielder Marcos Arouca da Silva. After the match, Arouca urged authorities to take quick and “severe” action against the fan. Another incident occurred during a match in Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul, where fans called referee Márcio Chagas da Silva a “monkey” and left bananas on his car and in his exhaust pipe.

President Rousseff can now add racism to one of the many challenges facing Brazil as it continues to prepare to host the FIFA 2014 World Cup.

Brazil Still Struggling With its Heritage of Slavery

Nearly half of the 10.7 million African slaves shipped across the Atlantic Ocean between the 16th and 19th centuries landed in a place once called Valongo, a former slave port in Rio de Janeiro. To understand the massive scale of the slave trade in Brazil, it helps to know that only an estimated 400,000 slaves went into the United States.

Having been the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery in 1888, Brazil has struggled long and hard to reach legal, social, and economic equality among all of its citizens. According to the 2010 census, 51% of Brazilians classified themselves as “black” or “brown.” The census also reported that, on average, black and brown Brazilians have an income that is less than half of white Brazilians.

Brazil has fought racism over the years in ways similar to other countries, using laws against racism and affirmative action policies in employment and education. Whether dealing with race or a stratified class system, the hardest thing to change is attitude.

President Rousseff sees these most recent racist incidents as an opportunity to lead the charge against racism when she says: “Let’s tackle racism! I know with the UN and FIFA this World Cup will also be the Cup of Peace and Cup against racism.”

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