Brazilian police investigates if black Spanish boy was the victim of racism in Sao Paulo

Jan 3, 2012 - The Brazilian police will investigate whether a Spanish six-year-old boy of Ethiopian origin was a victim of racism at a restaurant in the city of Sao Paulo that was apparently expelled for being black, official sources have reported on Tuesday.

It opened an investigation to verify if happened, at least, unlawful coercion, but we will also try to establish whether the case can be framed in the Brazilian law that criminalizes the offences of discrimination by race or color”, said the Commissioner Marcio of Castro Nilsson, responsible for the inquiry.

The fact occurred last Friday at a pizzeria in Sao Paulo, the largest Brazilian city, and he was denounced on the same day by the mother of the child, a 42-year tourist identified only as Christina, who was on vacation in Brazil since mid-December with her husband, Jordi, and his son. According to the Spanish, who on Monday returned to Barcelona, where they reside, his son, 6, adopted in Ethiopia, was expelled from the Nonno Paolo restaurant (see photo), in the District of Vila Marina, by an employee of the establishment which was initially identified as Manager.

According to the complaint, the minor, apparently by their race, was mistaken for a child of the street and taken by the arm to the door of the establishment. The mother said the child, who does not speak Portuguese, was alone at the table while his parents served in the buffet and that, after not able to respond to what an employee of the restaurant asked, was expelled from the premises.

The parents said that, after repairing the child was not in the table, they went out to look for him and they found him almost a street from the restaurant crying and very scared. Restaurant managers claimed that the boy was confused with one of the street children who regularly enter the pizzeria begging, according to the complaint.

Restaurant, however, alleges in a statement that nobody touched the boy and he rose from the table and left the establishment when questioned by their parents that apparently had been lost. “Until now I not heard anyone in the restaurant, but I want to know what happened, how treated the child and who were in the premises at the time,” said De Castro Nilsson, of the thirty-sixth police station of Civil Police of São Paulo.

“My thesis is that, by the described situation, at least happened illegal coercion and perhaps the crime of racism as a black Ethiopian boy was expelled from an establishment apparently by their physical characteristics,” he added. Brazilian law provides for penalties of up to four years in prison for perpetrators of crimes of racism. (Source: The Delta World)

In a response to the incident Sueli Carneiro, the director of the Black Woman's instute "Geledes" of the University of São Paulo, writes: "I was not there, but by the reaction of indignation from the child's mother and his friends it's reasonable to assume that the child in question is loved and well cared for, therefore, was not as dirty and ragged as most street children in the city of Sao Paulo."

Carneiro sees it as racism. She writes that the black boy was possible the only "dark spot" between the customers of the restaurant, and for this "dark spot" socially predetermined locations are excluded. These locations include restaurants in areas which are considered "noble" in the city of São Paulo.

She ends with a call for action: “The myth of racial democracy is revealing, shamelessly, its true face. So it's time to design and carry out new strategies to fight! Read the full interview on

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