Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bruno Borges: Classism and Prejudice courtesy of the Brazilian middle class!

I vote this guy...idiot of the day!

Read this passage below written by Bruno Borges a 26 year old resident of Rio and his opinion of favela residents. His comments were posted on website which is a website that supposedly supports anti discrimination written material! We were discussing foreigners and their wanting to visit favela comunities.

I am going to pick apart what he say and why I have a problem with his statements. His comments are in bold smaller print.

Bruno: "I'd say that: it's not a rule that anyone who lives in a Favela is a criminal, rather most criminals live in Favelas. Why? Because the way they are. Disorganized, out of control and geographically well positioned."

Yet he fails to mention that the "so called criminals" are tightly joined at the hip with the corrupt police forces and politicians that control the very city he lives! We all agree that the drug dealing criminals certainly make favelas dangerous places to be if you do not know somebody there or being there for some purpose. Nobody likes the drug situation, but as I have said so many times..if there were not buyers, the sellers (traficante) would not exist! So, my blame is put on the users. I am not perfect, but I am not into drugs of any kind, even if I have headache.. And regarding drugs, so I wonder what Bruno thinks of the drugs that are peddled in the nightclubs outside of the favelas. I had a guy try to sell me Acid and "E" (ecstacy) outside a club in Botafogo and this guy was not "some guy from the favela."

Bruno: "I do not suggest people to go to a Favela because poor people live in there and because I think this would look like going to a zoo - even this thoughts come to my mind - but yes, I do not suggest simply because, there are criminals living in there, and at any day, any time, a war between dealers and cops, or dealers and dealers, can suddenly start. And from this situation, there's nothing you can do except hide and pray for not being hit by a bullet."

It's obvious that this guy has no idea what he talks about. He assumes only POOR people live there. Yes, the majority may be poor, but more middle class are moving to favelas becase rents in their own comunities are too much. Also how do we define "poor"? There is Africa "I havent eaten in a week and have no clothes" poor, then there is how we in favelas live. Yes, it is poor but nobody is "starving"! And what... nobody should go there, just because there is poor people. Bruno, then what do you think of the varios non profits that go there to help the people. They should not go there either?

He also mentions that "there are criminals living in there", does he really think favelas are the only places criminals live?? You know Bruno, I live there and I am NOT a criminal..Of course there are criminals that live there just as there are criminals who live outside of favelas too! It is a bigger subject matter in trying to determine why "people become criminals?" That is a question that is left to sociologists, but I can tell you that, in general, when people are not given "equal" oportunity in education, job oportunities, healthcare etc..many do become criminals. Is it right? Of course, NOT, but it is reality. If I am some 18 year old from a poor comunity who is not given equal oportunity in the job force, eventually I may turn to crime to survive. I in no way condone crime of any kind,but I am not living in the shoes of somebody who makes that choice,
so I cannot judge.

Although "invasions of cops or dealers do happen", how about the "arrastao" or the robberies and such that happen all the time in Copa or other tourist areas in Rio. And Rio is not the only place that has this problem. My best friend was pickpocketed in Rome, Italy. One of my martial arts students was beat up and robbed in Paris by three guys, so this kind of crimes can and do happen everywhere. Sad but true.

Bruno: "Please, don't get me wrong here as it follows.
The Amazon is a cool place. Lots of people live in there. Lots of tourists go there too. But I would not suggest a walk in the middle of the jungle, as it is not safe just as a Favela isn't. The "tour" sounds like the same. A guide takes you to dangerous areas, risky areas, but they tell you they will protect you, will overlook for you. But this is not always true. Warm situations turns people into savages, and their first instinct is to regard for themselves. What does this means? Watch your back."

So now he go on his writing about comparing the Amazon Jungle to the favela. This is where I have a BIG problem. Becase he is comparing people of the favela to animals. I have never heard of ANY tourist visiting a favela being killed or hurt in any way. So, again he has no idea what he is talking about!

Bruno: "The people who live in the Amazon are like the average people who live in a Favela. Cool people, honest, but as in a Favela, the jungle has a higher concentration of dangerous animals that won't miss an opportunity to hit your back if they think they need to. Animals will attack if they must, if they feel alarmed and if they feel ... hungry."

Sounds passive agressive to me..he says the people are cool, honest but then goes on to again mention the comparison of people to animals in a jungle. I find this offensive. HELLO! BRUNO...I LIVE IN A FAVELA and I am NOT an ANIMAL!!! Its obvious this guy has never travelled and seen anything more than his protected middle class life.

Bruno: "As in a Favela, animals from the jungle can surprisingly act weird. People from the Amazon will warn you about how dangerous can be to walk around in the middle of the jungle. They will tell you to not go just to "take pictures" and "to know how does it feels". They will ask you: "do you REALLY NEED to go there?!".

More of his rant of favela=animals in jungle stuff and how "People" can act weird..bla bla bla..

Bruno: "For me, who wasn't born in the middle of the jungle, I'd think twice, or even more times, before going there just to "walk around and get to know the place". I don't need, I don't want to know a Favela. My curiosity in favour of that is the same as about the Amazon jungle. None."

Ok here he is just saying his opinion of not having a desire to go there, ok, no prob there. But the fact that he still is using the word jungle when we all know he is referring to the favela does show his discrimination against the favela and its residents. So by his not wanting to "know a favela", he will never be open to changing his idea that there are good people there too. His mind will be stuck forever thinking the same way..sad! Maybe is he got to know some of the people there, he would then realize that the people there are not ALL criminals. I consider myself a good person who lives a honest life, I do not drink alcohol and never use drugs. So, I take his remark in not wanting to "know a favela", that he would have no interest in knowing me.

Bruno: "Just for a thought: ask a Yankee who was born in Manhattan, if he would take you to walk around the Brooklyn, or Bronx."

Here he mentions not only the word "Yankee", which is offensive to any American, but includes
places he has never been as an example of prejudice too. I wonder what the people of the Bronx or Brooklyn would think of this guy prejudice against their neighborhood? I have been to the Bronx and Brooklyn and I am sure there are areas that are more sketchy than others, I never felt fears when I was there.

Bruno: "To conclude my opinion, I'd like to ask people who live in a Favela, specially for those who were born at: if you were born at somewhere else, would you really take someone to a Favela Tour?
Zezinho, I honestly think you are happy living in there, and I'm glad you feel that way. For all the people that think like you, I feel happy. And I respect that. I truly do. Again, don't get me wrong here. If you think you got the wrong idea, please reread this whole text over and over. But just consider others' opinion as most of us consider yours."

Dude, you wrote offensive, bigoted, prejudiced comments about people and places that you have even said that you have never been and have no interest in knowing! This is the place I live and you just made it sound like I am in a jungle which I feel I am NOT. And that everybody around me is like somebody waiting to kill somebody..Then you try to be all passive with me after equating my neighborhood to being a jungle full of wild animals just waiting to attack.

This guy is an ignorant and as long as this attitude persists, racism, prejudice and bigotry will continue to keep Brazil a third world country!

I think the thing that is more upsetting to me is not so much this guys attitude (I think amoung the Brazilian Middle class this is so common) but that Couchsurfing would allow this kind of prejudice to be posted publically especially in this day and age.