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Religião e Espiritualidade / 24/03/2021

Pope Francis: "Racism is a 'virus' always on the lookout"

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Pope Francis: "Racism is a 'virus' always on the lookout"

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On the International Day of Struggle for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Pope Francis denounced racism, comparing it to a virus. In the US and Europe, Asian, Arab and black immigrants are still discriminated against.

Pope Francis denounced racism in his speech this Sunday (21.03), comparing it to a "virus that changes quickly and, instead of disappearing, hides, and lurks waiting".

The Pope's statements were made through a message on the social network Twitter, on the date that the United Nations marks as the International Day of Struggle for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

"Instances of racism continue to embarrass us, as they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think," he wrote, adding the hashtags #FightRacism #FratelliTutti.

"Fratelli Tutti"

“Fratelli Tutti” is the title that the Pope issued last year, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, to push for solidarity, brotherhood and care for the environment around the world.

However, in his tweet, Pope Francis did not specify any particular case of racism.

Throughout his papacy, he has defended the rights of marginalized people in societies, including migrants.

On International Day Against Racism, US President Joe Biden also called on the population to denounce acts of racism, in an intervention on racial violence against Asian Americans, and who criticized Donald Trump's designation of the coronavirus as the “China virus”.

"Silence is complicity"

“Our silence is complicity. We cannot be accomplices, ”said Biden at the end of a visit, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, to the city of Atlanta, this week eight people, six of them Asian, were killed by a sniper.

Harris, the first vice president of Asian descent, the daughter of an Indian mother, has pledged to continue to "condemn violence, hate crimes and discrimination, ver they happen and in whatever form they take".

“Racism exists in America. And it has always existed. Xenophobia is real in America. Sexism too, ”said Harris at the end of the visit.


Although most European countries do not collect data on racial discrimination, some reports provide an insight into the extent of the problem.

Protester in protest against racism in Berlin in 2020.

In France, a survey by the independent agency Defenseur des Droits (Defenders of Rights) showed that young people of Arab and African descent were 20 times more likely to be arrested and searched than any other male group.

Similar problems have been encountered in other countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, according to Equinet, the European network of equality bodies.

In 1966, the United Nations proclaimed March 21 as the “International Day of Struggle for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” in memory of a demonstration repressed by the police, years ago, in South Africa.

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