For Brazil’s New Middle Class, ‘Little Strolls’ Are Becoming a Protest Movement
It started as a way for kids from Brazil’s new middle class to hang out. Crowds of young people, mostly of color, descended on a mall in São Paulo in December.
Now these gatherings, called “rolezinhos,” have turned into a social protest movement that’s spreading around Brazil. Ramón Cesar was one of a handful of young people who responded to the call for a rolezinho in the most exclusive mall in the Brazilian city of Recife.
Ramón, 18, slender and soft-spoken, says he’s tired of the way he gets treated whenever he goes into a mall.
“Just because I’m black and I’m wearing flip flops, I’ve got two security guards following me around,” he says.
Rolezinhos, which translates as “little strolls,” weren’t designed to be protests. They began as a way for young people from Brazil’s new middle class to leave their low-income communities and hang out. But they’re slowly turning into a battle over participation and social space.