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June 12, 2005

That Riot in Portugal

You may have heard about the little episode on the beach here in Lisbon on Friday. We didn’t think it would actually make the news but as I see from Laban’s place, the BBC have indeed reported it.

Some 500 youths, mainly teenagers, have raided a popular beach near Lisbon spreading panic among beachgoers and mugging a large number of people.

Carcavelos beach, 15km (10 miles) west of the Portuguese capital, was crowded on Friday because the country was celebrating a national holiday.

Policemen in riot gear were confronted by gangs and struggled to restore calm, making four arrests.
The attackers are believed to come from some of the capital's poorest suburbs.

Carcavelos is about 5 miles down the coast from us on the direct train line into Lisbon. Several people I know were on that beach that afternoon and at least one saw the aftermath. I also see from Laban that BBC Radio reported that they perpetrators were Cape Verdean.

Perhaps I might be allowed, however un-PC this is, to tell you what the Portuguese are saying about this? The first thing any of the say is that they were black. Perhaps this is hugely reprehensible, perhaps such things should not be mentioned, but there it is, the locals round here are saying that 500 black kids carried out a wilding attack on the beach.

This is most unusual here in Portugal, both the style of the attack and the identification by race (partly because the Portuguese when Empire building made little distinction about race in marriage and breeding, race is less important here. Origin is still important, distinctions being made between Angolans, Brazilians, Mozambicans, Verdeans and Portuguese, but not so much racially).

What really has people worried is that this might catch on, making the beaches as unsafe as those in Brazil, where it is assumed the idea for the attack came from.

Update. Sorry, I should have explained. I toned down my comments about the Portuguese attitude to race and breeding in the Empire after Tina’s comment. She was right, I was needlessly rude about it. (The meaning didn’t change much, rather the tone with which I made it.)

June 12, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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I am very disappointed on you about your comments about how Portuguese behaved during Empire building. And save me your apologies now, I´ll never visit your blog again.

Posted by: tina | Jun 12, 2005 11:42:10 AM

And what amazing insight have you provided with us in this blog post? That the Portugese are racist? That you don't like the Portugese? That there is a move to racist stereotyping rather than xenophobic stereotyping? Do explain...

Tim adds: What? You don’t like someone actually on the spot telling you what people are saying? I’ve actually pointedout that the Portuguese are not racistand that this incident has made some of them, in my hearing, to use language and attitudes that I thought did not exist here. What’s wrong with that?

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 12, 2005 12:53:04 PM

What on Earth are the above posters complaining about?

First, Tina objects to Tim lauding the fact that the Portuguese ignored "racial" distinctions within their Empire. This is somehow bad? I really don't understand this. They should have instigated some sort of Apartheid setup perhaps? No, sorry, I don't get it and I don't agree with it.

And then "Anonymous" makes an equally fatuous comment that makes about as much sense as the first one.

I'm quite happy to disagree with Tim on issues like the FairTrade movement, but at least I try and make my comments *rational*.

Posted by: David B. Wildgoose | Jun 12, 2005 2:26:27 PM

Thanks Tim.

Posted by: tina | Jun 12, 2005 4:47:12 PM

I think you should have given other readers (portuguese or not) the opportunity to decide by themselves on your comments Tim. You've the right to alter your blog post as you like, of course, but I think you could have corrected or clarified your point of view without actually editing the post. It leaves the rest of us, who got here after that edit, without any way of knowing whether that comment by Tina was justified (reading your entire post, and knowing that your description is quite accurate of things here, including the reaction to the Cascais incident, I tend to believe that comment was not justified - but again, now I don't have anyway of knowing).

Tim adds: What I originally said was, instead of this:

"partly because the Portuguese when Empire building made little distinction about race in marriage and breeding,"

was something like this:

"When Empire building the Portuguese shagged anything"

There was a difference between the way in wihch the Portuguese and, say, the Spanish or English, dealt with sex between conquerors and conquered. I used words which I rather regret, for I prefer the Portuguese method, one that does not take skin colour into account.

I think that’s probably enough apologies on this specific failing of mine.

Posted by: Pedro | Jun 12, 2005 8:24:26 PM

Oddly enough, the English were rather similar in such behaviour to the Portuguese right up until the early 19th century (hence the large mixed Anglo-Indian community that still exists in India). Bloody Victorians, stopping everyone's fun and imposing mad racist taboos on who you can shag...

& I don't think there was anything wrong with your original comment - anyone who took offence at it *really* needs to develop a thicker skin.

Posted by: john b | Jun 13, 2005 1:03:31 PM

Tim, thanks for your response. I also agree with John B.

Posted by: Pedro | Jun 13, 2005 1:16:51 PM

Further to john b's comment, I wonder how many people know that the UK has already had a non-white Prime Minister, (by Apartheid standards anyway)?

Step forward Lord Liverpool, Anglo-Indian, and who referred to his origins at the time quite openly and without comment.

Posted by: David Wildgoose | Jun 13, 2005 1:18:32 PM

Hi Tim,
The French actually have an old saying going back a couple of hundred years, apparently:

"God created the Portuguese, the Portuguese created mulattos." [just reporting a fact here, so no one get upset.]

When I lived in Cascais, I noticed a lot of ambivalence about race myself, too. I happened to have known a lot of returnados (sp?) from Africa as well as a smattering of Brasileiros. You're right, the distinction was more about where you were from, black and white Africans considered themselves being treated as second-class citizens.

I always liked that, in sharp contrast to the US where I'm originally from, blacks and whites could hang out in the same places at night en masse without there being an issue of race. (I learned how to dance properly in African clubs in Lisbon!)

Posted by: James | Jun 13, 2005 8:52:20 PM

Sorry to disapoint you, but there is racism in Portugal. There is racism everywhere in the world.
However, racism in Portugal is different than in, say, Northern Europe. The Portuguese are much less prejudiced. We get on easily with africans, indians or chinese outside the work. But you can see people geting on with blacks, and then, saying the worst things about them, when they are not present.

There is also some job discrimination, concerning race, unlike some Northern European countries where that is illegal.
It is hard to find in Portugal, black bank attendants, for instance.

Posted by: Joao | Jul 11, 2005 8:47:56 PM

I am a black female from Portugal... my parents moved from Cape Verde islands at young ages. I now live in London, I moved here with my parents when I was 7. I can tell every one on this site the Portugal and more to the point the cities surrounding Lisbon are full of racist people.

My family in Portugal constantly complain of lack of job opportunities, the education system and the general views that the Portuguese people have of black people.

My parents moved to London to find better jobs as in Portugal at the time it was proving very difficult. Without giving my life story I can honestly say that life here is nothing like it was in Lisbon. In Portugal I had to sit at the back of the classroom, have lunch at the back of the canteen and basically I was encouraged to keep quite not answer or ask questions. Portugal to me at that time (1996) was a night mare.

Here I have noticed so many differences and I thank my mum and dad for moving my family here. When I go back I see what would have happened to my family had we stayed. My friends are always broke, money is hard because jobs (4c black ppl) are limited.

Portugal has a low death rate; any one that has ever been to Portugal should know that the elderly are everywhere. Maybe this is the reason why it is taking Portugal longer to change its views say for example on inter-racial relationships
However I can say that it is improving slowly. Mostly because the youths in Portugal are starting to think that its cool to be black bcaz of rap and reggae and other factors.

Please don’t be discouraged to visit Portugal because of this I certainly have not been, also I do not apologise for any comment made. I know what I am talking about and I will revisit this site to c ur responses.

Posted by: nadia | Mar 30, 2006 6:58:09 PM

I am a litle concerned how easy ethnic minority groups get away with calling the whole population of a country, which they have been welcomed into, as'racist'!!!! Why are the protuguese racist? If you look at the video clip from the bbc webite of the muggings on the beach you can clearly see that those concerned are mainly black youths. thats not a racist statement , it is a fact!! People like yourself , nadia, need to stop playing the race card and start looking at facts.
What worries me more is that major cities in europe such as Paris , London , Lisbon etc are experiences race diturbances that are taking on an anti white attitude. (i.e paris riots in france last year). (I.e. Bradford riots in england last year). In each of these instances non white youths have caused millions of pounds of damage in an excuse to loot and cause panic to residents of these respective cities and the theme of there actions seems to have anti white beliefs behind them....
I can tell you , from a perspective of a white youth growing up as a minority group in an east london community,that there is an alarming increase in anti white and anti christian moods developing in many communities. I worry that these major european nations will one day experience some kind of civil war unless there is a sharp change in views of many non white communities. SOme of the american style 'ghettos' that have formed in England are causing tension which has seen a record number of BNP seats taken at the local elections. In some of these areas , there are places that are considered 'no-go' areas for white people , as witnessed in oldham in 2001. We should all be concerned by this as it represenets what people are thinking in modern london at the moment.
Maybe its about time that we ignore the brainwashing propaganda that is so often thrown at us via the media and realise that white people are also too the victims of racism.
No doubt I will be called a racist but If you read carefully all I am saying are things that are happening today . I will be happy to discuss and provide you with further evidence to any of my points above.
Many Thanks

Posted by: London Male | Jun 4, 2006 7:37:02 PM

listen here london male as u let ur self b known have u read d previous posts i don fink u have u confused lil 1. i have lived in lisbon n i can tell u dat der is racism der whether u londoner want to believe it or not................. n futhermore wat d hell u chattin about no 1 understands y ur chattin a bout london when d issue was PORTUGAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! neways im ova dis site(PORTUGAL 2 WIN WORLD CUP BRRRRRAP!!)

Posted by: nadz | Jun 8, 2006 3:23:09 PM

The problem here is that London attempts to posit whites as victims. He makes the (feeble) argument that because whites are victims of "racism" themselves, then racism against non-whites either: 1) does not exist, or 2) is no big deal since it happens to everybody. He uses ancetdotal "examples" of crimes against whites by non-whites as evidence: bad neigborhoods, high crime, etc. Since he knows the "truth", he can educate us all, since to believe otherwise is "wrong".

His arguments are neither new, truthful, or convincing. Please keep in mind that these are the same arguments that Hitler made against Jews. For one: you have to accept the fact that whites are victims of racism. Since there is no official definition of "victim", anyone can be one for any reason. If non-whites are educated and productive, they take away good jobs - thereby making whites victims. If they are uneducated and nonworking, then they are social drains. If they are middle classed, they are squeezing out middle classed opportunities for whites. If they are well dressed, they are either "flashy" or "materialistic", if they are poorly dressed, they are "dull" and "poor" and social net negatives. Believe it or not, there is no link between race and crime - there is a link between poverty and crime. Of course, London is not going to believe that. This whole argument boils down to an inferiority and superiority belief issue. Whites like London believe whites are superior to nonwhites and will find this belief sufficient to make whites victims of this onslaught of inferior people. The argument is as old as racism itself. Querie: what is so wrong or threatening about giving race no consideration in dating, employment, education, marriage, opportunity? The only fear is that the dominant culture feels that they will somehow lose out. They make it an issue of fear: crime will be rampant, society will crumble, history will be erased, educational standards will be lowered - in short anarchy. History is full of cultures mixing together, and last I checked we are all still here.

Posted by: Kren Blaylock | Jul 1, 2006 6:38:40 PM

Why do people deny what happened here is a racist act... it was not everyone is a racist ... but there is racism in portugal....

What is offensive is that people died because of the colour of their skin.

Posted by: patches | Aug 20, 2006 10:41:40 PM

Whites go beserk and smash things up too. they riot over poll tax or the G7 summit or just over nothing. Football hooligans would smash up city centers every other Satuday in the UK during the 70s and 80s. why can't blacks and asians smash too?? Its racist to deny us that.

Posted by: mars | Apr 19, 2007 10:06:01 AM

Posted by: James | Jun 13, 2005 8:52:20 PM
Hi Tim,
The French actually have an old saying going back a couple of hundred years, apparently:

"God created the Portuguese, the Portuguese created mulattos." [just reporting a fact here, so no one get upset.]


That quote is not some 'old french saying'

Just reporting a fact that 'James' doesn't know what he is talking about.No need to get upset.
The origin of the quote is from Brazilian author,Gilberto Freyre.

If you would like to the context of the quote,I suggest you do a little more reading and research before you tell others that you are reporting "facts".

Posted by: Is that what you call Facts | Jul 5, 2007 8:14:18 PM

Why did you censor my other comment?

Tim adds: Apologies. I was clearing out a couple of hundred spam comments this morning, After I'd done it I realised that I'd taken your's out too.
Go ahead and redo it.

Posted by: Is that what you call Facts | Jul 6, 2007 2:35:34 PM

I visited Portugal when I was in my late teens. I'm of mixed English and West African heritage and I encountered racism at a swimming pool I visited in the Algarve. Admittedly, it was from only one boy and nobody else 'joined in'. He was Portuguese, so I don't think you can assume that as a nation you aren't racist. That's nonsense. All Europeans dislike and fear non-whites to a degree and it's getting worse as more of us come to this cold continent populated with hate-filled people

Posted by: Anon | May 19, 2008 4:02:55 PM

If you are Black, get out of Portugal - this country is on the group of the most intolerant societies in the developed world, actually Portugal is not developed nation at all, just a shit hole in the corner of Europe. Being a Black Mozambican who grow up in Lisbon, i have witness the most virulent racist comments towards Blacks, Jews and Indians, in fact, prejudice in Portugal is directed to anyone who is not catholic or with darker skin. Thus, Tim comments are well balanced and fair: Portuguese people in general, put race under the carpet when the alien does not change the societal outlook, however, giving jobs to ethnic minorities is as rare as them learn about other religions such as, awareness of the cultural needs of ethnic minorities.
furthermore, countries like those are doomed if we compare with tolerant "melting pots"-USA,UK, South Africa and Mozambique.
PS:by the way, since 1994 millions of white Portuguese are going to live in Mozambique-maybe they are trying re-colonizing it. we will give them 24h and 20kg back to Portugal

Posted by: ginho | Jan 23, 2009 2:35:50 AM