Racismo Virtual, Consequéncias Reais
December 1, 2015 8:41 AM   Subscribe

The Virtual Racism, Real Consequences campaign in Brazil geolocates racist Facebook and Twitter comments and puts them on billboards near the posters' homes, with names and faces blurred. The campaign started after a torrent of racist comments on a Facebook picture of Afro-Brazilian weather presenter Maria Júlia "Maju" Coutinho.

CRIOLA, which runs the campaign, is an organization of black Brazilian women that works "to defend and promote the rights of black women in an integrated and transversal perspective." (translated from Portuguese)

via the Beeb
posted by Etrigan (25 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
The idea is great, if that wasn't for the detail some people are proudly racist (and other -ists). You can't shame someone for shit they're already publicly embracing. For them, this would be a badge of honor, even.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:57 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


lmfsilva, I doubt the goal of the campaign is to change the minds of the individual racists in the billboards so much as to raise awareness of how virtual racism has real world effects, create a dialogue about it, etc.
posted by signal at 9:00 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


At first, second, and third pass, it seems very clever indeed. Not sure about how I’ll feel on the tenth or twentieth, but then it’ll probably be time for something new. Kudos for creativity, definitely.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:03 AM on December 1, 2015


You can't shame someone for shit they're already publicly embracing.

I get this, but I think the realization that what I thoughtlessly tweeted was such a big deal that they put it on a billboard in front of my house would still rattle me.
posted by Beardman at 9:09 AM on December 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


You may not be able to shame the racist folks, but you can shame the people that give them a free pass on it.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:15 AM on December 1, 2015 [11 favorites]


Maybe I'm losing something in the Portuguese-English translation, but I don't really see how this works. At least by leaving up the poster's name or picture, there's the possibility of a real-life consequence: shame. I can understand completely why that's a bad idea (vigilantism, liability, etc), but I don't see how posting something despicably racist even more publicly than it was in that person's feed is showing any real-life consequence at all. All I see is amplifying the racism, and causing more pain, just because maybe the person that posted / tweeted it might see it, recognize it as themselves and feel guilty?

This feels to me like compounding the problem, making blatantly racist statements even less taboo because hey, we're plastering it all over the neighborhood.
posted by Mchelly at 9:17 AM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't know that amplifying racist remarks is the most helpful thing to do. For some people impacted by stigma, it's another reminder of the shitty people out there. I mean, it's not like the people who live under the stigma of racism aren't made aware of racism existing all the time and need to be reminded that people say shitty things online. To me if feels like taking "the comments" off the bottom of a web page and putting them IRL. For perspective, if those were transphobic/transmisogynistic comments I would have a really difficult time with those comments being up like that and be very deeply bothered.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:27 AM on December 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'd like to throw out there that my comment is based on a "USA person" perspective. How things happen in different cultures with different people in other places of course changes things in ways that I am blind to.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:32 AM on December 1, 2015


Signal / Beardman: that's not what I'm getting from "make people think about the consequences before posting this kind of comments on the internet". For some racist shithead, the "consequence" will be a billboard dedicated to them. If their goal with racist comments is getting attention (as I've seen many times), this might create a discussion, yes, but where the racists are getting the spotlight they're craving. It's the Tea Party/Trump effect Mchelly mentioned.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:41 AM on December 1, 2015


lmfsilva: yes, but I doubt they went to all the trouble, expense, etc., to influence a handful of racists. It's obviously about the impact on society as a whole, not about the few people singled out on the billboard.
posted by signal at 10:01 AM on December 1, 2015


This feels to me like compounding the problem, making blatantly racist statements even less taboo because hey, we're plastering it all over the neighborhood.

One of the main problems of racism in Brazil is that, for a lot of people, "there is no racism in Brazil" (Previously). So I imagine that of the goals of the campaign is showing people that yes, there is a lot of racism, and it's not far away.

Also, there is still a perception that the internet is "not a real place," so you're free to make racist/homophobic/sexist comments without any real consequence. By putting the message in a different context, it emphasizes how nasty they actually are.
posted by florzinha at 10:06 AM on December 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


In other dealing-with-racist-comments news, the CBC has temporarily closed comments on stories about indigenous people.
posted by ODiV at 10:17 AM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Zalzidrax: You may not be able to shame the racist folks, but you can shame the people that give them a free pass on it.

In addition to dispelling the notion that there is no racism in Brazil (thanks florzinha), I can see these billboard applying more broad social pressure. While the offenders and some like-minded individuals may not mind the attention, their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers may well have different reactions.

(I can also see teenagers trying to get on these boards by making comments on random people, or joking with their friends who aren't fazed by these kinds of comments and instead treat it as trading outrageous barbs)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:43 AM on December 1, 2015


Thanks for that link, ODiV - for those that didn't click through, the CBC is acknowledging that comments on stories about indigenous people tend to draw more hate speech and personal attacks, and that:

This comes at the same time CBC News has made a concerted effort to connect with indigenous communities in order to improve our journalism and better reflect these communities to a national audience.

TLDR they don't want hate speech in their comments to derail their efforts to improve their coverage of indigenous people, and that they plan on rethinking their strategy to enable them to reopen their comments section early next year.
posted by ianhattwick at 11:26 AM on December 1, 2015


Turds with bad opinions: not just for Twitter/Facebook any more!
posted by trunk muffins at 11:38 AM on December 1, 2015


Foi no dia 3 de julho, justamente Dia Nacional de Combate à Discriminação Racial, que cerca de 4 criminosos publicaram, na página do Jornal Nacional no Facebook, comentários racistas contra a apresentadora Maria Júlia Coutinho.
Can any Brazilians help me out here - who are the criminals? Is it against the law to make racist facebook comments in Brasil?
posted by pmv at 11:59 AM on December 1, 2015


Foi no dia 3 de julho, justamente Dia Nacional de Combate à Discriminação Racial, que cerca de 4 criminosos publicaram, na página do Jornal Nacional no Facebook, comentários racistas contra a apresentadora Maria Júlia Coutinho.

Can any Brazilians help me out here - who are the criminals? Is it against the law to make racist facebook comments in Brasil?


It is not clear exactly who are the criminals. According to this article, they identified a group on Facebook that also attacked the actress Taís Araújo in October.

Racism is definitely a crime in Brazil, and there are (a few) cases of people being convicted over racist comments like this one against people from the Northeast, back in 2012. The main challenge is the huge number of messages and the task of connecting them with the real authors. The result is a process that take years with only a tiny percentage of offenders being actually punished.
posted by florzinha at 12:46 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


This seems like an awful idea. How is this any different from somebody spraypainting some hate speech on a billboard? It certainly "raises awareness" of racism and the perpetrator gets to stay anonymous. Sure, the intention is different, but the result is the same. I know racism exists because I am occasionally the recipient of it; I would prefer not to have hate speech blaring down at me from billboards just for the sake of people who don't experience racism.
posted by pravit at 4:15 PM on December 1, 2015


You know, there's a lot of cheap billboard space in rural Kansas, and it right now it goes to churches. Anyone game for a "Only You Can Prevent Racist Relatives on Facebook " campaign?
posted by pwnguin at 12:12 AM on December 2, 2015


Does this count as doxing? If the avatar pics and names of the accused racists are clearly visible, then it could lead to direct action against them by other citizens, with potentially scary consequences. I wonder if they have a legal fund to defend themselves if someone's house gets burned down by vigilantes in response to one of these posters.
posted by theorique at 3:25 AM on December 2, 2015


I wonder if they have a legal fund to defend themselves
You really don´t understand Brazil very well do you; and don´t get me started on misogyny
posted by adamvasco at 3:46 AM on December 2, 2015


And here is the latest atrocity involving Police and black youth in Rio.
posted by adamvasco at 4:08 AM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know very much about Brazil, no. (Aside from what I learned watching the No Reservations episode in São Paulo, and Cidade de Deus.)
posted by theorique at 9:46 AM on December 2, 2015




The Guardian has a great section called Rio voices where Residents of Rio de Janeiro reflect on life in the Olympic host city, revealing the impact of the 2016 Games on their day-to-day lives.
Thaís Cavalcante from Maré favela complex: -
Scroll to 23 September......According to data released by Amnesty International, more than half of registered cases of killings by on-duty police in Rio de Janeiro between 2010 and 2013 were of young people between the ages of 15 and 29. Of those killed, 79% were black. This is our struggle.
posted by adamvasco at 3:58 PM on December 14, 2015


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