Tumblr Account Shames Online Hate Directed at Brazil's North

Woman from the northeastern state of Piauí. At her door, a poster from a Worker's Party candidate. Image by Otávio Nogueira

Woman from the northeastern state of Piauí. On her door, a poster from a Worker's Party politician. Image by Otávio Nogueira on Flickr. CC BY 2.0

A Brazilian Tumblr account is collecting xenophobic messages published on social networks following current President Dilma Rousseff’s passage to the runoff in the country's elections.

The Worker’s Party candidate earned a large number of votes in the poverty afflicted regions of the north and northeast, where a significant portion of the population are beneficiaries of cash transfers and social benefits, like “bolsa família”. Since 2006, critics of the Worker’s Party have labelled cash transfers as a way of “buying votes” from the poor. 

The Tumblr account, called “Esses nordestinos…” or “Those northeasterners” in English, encourages users to file complaints against those who are are posting the negative messages with the public prosecutor's office, called the Federal Public Ministry, since posting such comments may fall under the definition of the crime of racism. Following Rousseff's victory in 2010, law student Mayara Petruso faced criminal prosecution after making racist comments on Twitter about northeasterners. She was originally sentenced in 2013 to a year and 5 months of prison, but that penalty was reduced to community service and a fine.

Many of the online users who have come under the Tumblr account's scrutiny have deleted their social media publications, but “Esses nordestinos…” is taking screenshots of the offending remarks: 

Eleição devia ser feita só no sul e sudeste

Elections should be done only in the south and southeast

Engraçado: Nós estados responsáveis pelo trabalho e pela economia nacional, em sua maioria (salvo MG e RJ) o Aécio ganhou da Dilma. Já naqueles com baixo índice de desenvolvimento econômico a Dilma vence. Desse jeito começo a pensar em um movimento separatista… se vocês gostam tanto do bolsa família, ótimo, fiquem com o PT e o retrocesso que ele representa… it is up to you! Aqui para baixo e para o centro-oeste nós vamos trabalhar para ter o que comer e produzir. Só não acho que precisamos ficar vinculados a esse atraso econômico e comodismo social….

 funny: In the states that actually work and are responsible for the national economy, for the most part (except in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janerio) Aécio Neves beat Dilma. In the ones that have a low level of economic development, Dilma has won. It really makes me start considering a separatist movement. If you like ‘bolsa família’ so much, great, stay with the PT [Worker's Party] and all the stagnation it represents… it is up to you! Down here and in the center-west we are going to work to have what to eat. I just think we shouldn't be hostages to economic failure and laziness…

The bolsa família, implemented by ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2003, gives families with per-capita monthly income below 56 US dollars (the poverty line) a monthly stipend of 13 dollars for each vaccinated child under 16 years old and attending school (up to five children), and 15 dollars for each 16- or 17-year-olds attending school (up to two). To families whose per-capita monthly income is below 28 dollars (the extreme poverty line), the program offers the “basic benefit” of 30 dollars per month in addition to the child benefits.

These types of remarks are evidence of the long-documented economic gap between the north and the south in Brazil that has developed since the political and economic center shifted from the northeastern coastal cities to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo at the end of the 19th century.


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