Brazil: Why has Bolsonaro declared war on diversity?

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A commercial that included minorities has revived the struggle of the Brazilian president against diversity in his country

Brazil: Why has Bolsonaro declared war on diversity?

This week an ad of the Bank of Brazil that included colored and transgender people was removed. It was an assembly of young people who represented the profound diversity of the new Brazilian generations in different scenarios, including bars, swimming pools and in the cities in general. However, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has done his best to withdraw the announcement from the public scope.

Leer en español: Brasil: ¿por qué Bolsonaro ha declarado la guerra a la diversidad?

In a statement, issued by the president of the Bank of Brazil, Rubem Novaes, it is explained that " [t] he president and I agree that the piece should be taken out of circulation." Bolsonaro was the one who put Novaes as head of the bank. Moreover, whoever was the marketing manager was fired after the decision to withdraw the ad.

Subsequently, and as is customary with censorship in the times of the Internet, the announcement went viral in social networks and aroused all kinds of reactions. According to El País, the fast-food chain Burger King has ironized the case, so it has sought to cast the protagonists of the banned announcement. "Everyone is welcome in Burger King," was the company's reaction.

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The issues of cultural and gender diversity in Brazil are on the surface since Bolsonaro assumed the presidency of the country. During his campaign, he was criticized for some phrases against Afro-Brazilians as "they do nothing. More than a billion dollars a year we are spending on them" or "I think that even to procreate they are more useful".

In the past he also made commentaries against the LGTBI community, saying things like "[I] would not be able to love a gay son. I prefer that a son of mine dies in an accident rather than to see him with a man with big mustache out there."

The question is: why has Bolsonaro declared war on diversity? Since his campaign for the presidential elections, Bolsonaro made very clear his position on social issues. At the beginning of his government, the Ministry of Human Rights  one of the achievements of leftist governments in the last decade in Brazil—  was reformed in the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights.

The human rights component, although not revoked, was complemented by the family component, one of the slogans of conservative governments. According to La Vanguardia, the head of the ministry, Damares Alves, is an evangelical pastor, who defines herself as "terribly Christian" and an advocate of "family, life and human rights."

This debate has been taking place since the emergence of what some sectors call 'gender ideology'. The most conservative fear it, while the progressives defend it. The idea is that the traditional and nuclear family model is the model for Brazilian society. However, it is a concept that seeks to face a diversity that is not only explained through family models.

In general, the diversity that Bolsonaro resists has to do with gender identity, feminine and racial minority empowerment. If one thinks with caution, the making a family has little to do with this.

Perhaps the most important reason for this phenomenon is the supposed 'cultural Marxism' that, according to its proponents, is the tendency of the elimination of the fundamental institutions and beliefs of Western societies. In fact, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, headed by Ernesto Fraga, they want to fight against this trend at a global level.

Those who believe in 'cultural Marxism' see environmentalism, feminism and basically any current that opposes the way western societies construct the status quo as a threat. In practical terms, Bolsonaro tries to maintain the structure of society as it is and thinks that diversity is an obstacle to that end.


LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández

Translated from "Brasil: ¿por qué Bolsonaro ha declarado la guerra a la diversidad?"