Society

Brazil’s supposed ‘racial democracy’ has a dire problem with online racism

Demonstrators join an anti-racism protest in São Paulo. Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock
Demonstrators join an anti-racism protest in São Paulo. Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock

Brazil has for years presented itself as a “racial democracy” – a land of harmonious racial relations and free of racism. This image has many times been questioned, while the murder in April 2018 of social justice campaigner Marielle Franco shed new light on the violence many of the country’s black women face. And today, a particular form of racism is increasingly on display online.

In Brazil, as around the world, Facebook, Twitter, and the like have become a sort of modern-day pillory for distilling varied forms of racism, bigotry, and misogyny – and Brazil’s digital public sphere is seeing a distinctive, deep-seated, colonial-like racism...

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