The role that the BBB exercised in recent editions by bringing several important social discussions to the open TV, such as the issue of chauvinism.
However, in this last edition, the focus is being more on the racial issue, mainly after the several cases of discrimination against the two black participants in the program, Thelma and Babu, which have occurred since the beginning of the reality.
Well, before starting the discussion, we need to clarify a point. Like us, the two editors of this subject, we are white, we have no property to define what is and what is not racism. It is not our place to speak to define such a broad, and at the same time specific, concept like this.
However, the role of combating racism in Brazil, a country that has this prejudice at its roots, belongs to all of us, and we use our voice on this platform to bring the matter up for debate with society in general.
Therefore, this text was made in collaboration with sources that identify themselves as black – it is the term that they consider to be the most correct and that they feel most comfortable with – who discussed the matter with us and explained their reality.
In addition, the text was subsequently revised by each of them, to make sure that nothing that is written here is a misconception about the subject, and that all the points presented are consistent with the context of everyday life in which they live and which is reflected inside the BBB home. With that in mind, let’s go to the text itself.
First of all, we can see that, just today, Thelma and Babu are framed in different social classes, they had a very similar origin.
Both came from peripheral areas of their respective cities and had few opportunities to start their careers. Denis Santos, Thelma’s husband, said in an interview that “Everything in Thelma’s life was achieved thanks to scholarships, [foi assim] even in the ballet company where she graduated and danced for eight years ”, a fact that shows the difficulty that the doctor went through to get to her current situation and that depended on support to graduate from a private college, inside a room where she she was the only black student.
Babu, who was born in Morro do Vidigal – a community in Rio de Janeiro – went through several minor professions until he was able to consolidate himself as an actor and, when he did, he faced several difficulties to maintain himself and leverage his new career, in which he does not have much prestige and that suffers from several ups and downs, in addition to getting roles, mostly, of stereotyped characters, such as bandit, drug dealer, doorman and others. In the print below, it is possible to analyze the profiles of the papers he has managed in recent years:
However, despite a very similar context, the social distances in which they are currently causes them to suffer different types of prejudice inside the house, a fact that also happens outside the house.
Thelma, being a successful anesthesiologist, has greater credibility with people, especially girls, within reality because she is more “studied”. Because of this, racism directed at her is more veiled. There is no harassment of her figure, no personal attacks, but when possible, she is always the first to be excluded by her companions in the house.
It is possible, at times, to observe that many of the relationships that the participants establish with Thelma are based only on the interest and strategy of the game, because she was a leader and for her positions within the house. So much so that, for example, at the beginning of the game it was seen as the “floor plan” of the house, which had no clear positioning and people did not approach it.
In the case of Babu, it is a much more explicit prejudice. Due to his appearance and his way of being, in addition to always manifesting himself against the injustices and prejudices of the game, an image of a “monster” was created on top of the house, which was reproduced several times by many participants inside.
Ivy has stated in countless situations that she is afraid to talk to Babu, and when he went to confront her, she said: “He went and said, ‘You created a monster in relation to me’. I created? He made me create. ”.
In addition to it, Manu she has also had several racist speeches in relation to Babu, such as the time when she said she was afraid to ask her brother something and he would hit her, since he never showed any aggressive behavior of this size inside the house, with any participant.
Countless times throughout the program, Babu’s image has been linked to lower positions and places. Daniel, a former participant who did not have a good relationship with Babu, once declared that he could not see the image of the other in the VIP part of the house. To be in the VIP, participants must receive a bracelet from the leaders of the week. Babu spent more than half of the program at xepa, feeding on a restrictive menu, with specific foods and portions.
Once, Marcela considered taking him out of the shape if she won the leadership, but said she would not do that because she was afraid he would end up fighting with the other people in the house, once again reinforcing the image of an aggressive monster that was created on top of the participant.
Because of this erroneous view over him, Babu has always been the main target of the house, being placed on the wall 5 times, 11 in total, through votes from the leader and the house itself.
However, even having the title of the brother who faced the most walls in this edition, at all times, he was the one who received the least votes to leave by viewers, who do not add up to 10% of rejection in the program. In this way, we can see the strength of the fans that Babu has outside the house and that has increased more and more.
Despite not being liked inside the house, outside of it Babu is one of the most loved on social networks. The public itself began to denounce the countless cases of racism and persecution that the participant has suffered since the beginning of the program and they made a large campaign on social networks to defend the image of the brother.
Many black people saw in the treatment that Babu receives, traces of the behavior that other people have with them, in the way of speaking, in the expressions and in the discriminatory acts themselves. Thus, many of them began to report cases of abuse and prejudice suffered because of their skin color, mirroring the situations suffered by Babu, and showing how his and Thelma’s representativeness within the program promotes a commotion for a large portion of the population Brazilian, who can see herself in both personalities.
In addition to representativeness, their presence in the program generated a series of debates, outside and inside the house, about the structural racism that is rooted within our society. Babu and Thelma have already discussed the subject several times with the other participants, in order to show a different view from the one they already have, since all are white and the majority are middle class.
In one of these conversations, Babu was explaining to the other girls about the history of African peoples, with respect to the origin of this view of race inferiority, and started to debate the question of using the term negro and why he prefers to use the term “black ”.
Black-skinned people were not called black, they were Moors, Africans, whatever. Negro comes from ‘Nigro’, from Greek, which means enemy. That’s why I disown that name. If you look at the Portuguese dictionary, it says: ‘That doesn’t send light, sinister’. It has no positive attribution for that word.
As the Americans say: ‘I’m black man’ – black man, in English. Nowhere in the world is a black-skinned man called black … Only here in Brazil, because that word is already conditioned to the black-skinned man.
Bringing up this type of debate on the national network is very important, given that Rede Globo is one of the main broadcasters in the country, with the largest number of open television audiences today. This type of attitude generates a reflection among viewers, and can be the beginning of a change in behavior and speech that we had before and that can be offensive to other people, serving as a means of awareness.
Brazil is a country that still suffers today with the marks left by European colonization, which has at its base the enslavement, responsible for decimating, both physically and culturally, the African peoples who arrived here. The presence of Babu and Thelma in the program makes us think more about how this prejudice is hidden and disguised in small acts and speeches, which must be combated.
The responsibility to fight racism in Brazil is far from being exclusive to the black movement. It is a structural problem and we all have a duty to identify and undermine this type of attitude and thinking. In order for us to achieve the much acclaimed equality provided for by law, it is necessary to reverse and repair the historical damage caused to this population.
It is also necessary to emphasize that cases such as those suffered by Thelma and Babu occur every day, in large proportions, with thousands of people. Whether at work, in which black people are not chosen to win big promotions and high positions, or in interpersonal relationships, where the figure of the black woman is still extremely sexualized, in addition to the idea of ”whitening” the family still prevailing.
However, just because they are on the national network, the cases with the two participants gain prominence and due attention. Giving victims of this prejudice a voice should also be a priority, in addition to taking measures to reverse this situation.