Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

This teacher supported her bullied student by styling her hair exactly the same way


There are some teachers who you always remember. It might have been the GCSE art teacher who inspired you to follow a creative career path, or the history teacher who made the subject seem fascinating for the first time. Or it could just be the one who took a real interest in how your life was going outside of the classroom.

For one little girl from Brazil, that special educator will likely be Ana Barbara Ferreira. Ferreira, a teacher from Sao Paolo, was dismayed recently when one of her students revealed that a boy in her class had called her afro hair – which she wears in bunches – “ugly”.

Brazil is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, with mixed race Brazilians (or ‘Pardos’) making up 43% of the country’s population. Despite this, racism towards black and darker-skinned Brazilians remains a serious problem.

Read more: Meghan Markle on the importance of embracing mixed-race beauty

“She was pretty sad,” Ferreira says of her student. “In that moment the only thing I could tell her was that she was wonderful and that he didn’t know what he was talking about.”

The following morning, however, Ferreira decided to take a stand. She tied her own hair – which has a similar texture to the bullied girl’s – into two copycat bunches, and strode proudly into school.

Read more: Why it’s time to abandon political correctness and talk openly about race

“When she saw me, she was running to hug me and say that I was beautiful,” Ferreira says.

“I told her, ‘Today I am beautiful – just like you!’”

Watch: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Cultural Playlist

Ferreira shared her story of solidarity in a Facebook post, which quickly went viral. At the time of writing, it had racked up almost 150,000 likes and over 30,000 shares.

“Your attitude is amazing,” wrote a fellow teacher. “We teachers are examples for these kids. It is not enough to talk of prejudice, we must fight it with noble attitudes, like this… Can you imagine how your attitude reflected positively in her life?”

Another Facebook user wrote simply: “You and your heart are too beautiful.”

What’s that? No, we’re not crying. You’re crying.

Main image: facebook.com/anabarbarafs



Thandie Newton on the struggle facing black British actors


White feminism “is not feminism”, says Gloria Steinem


Feminists give their call to arms ahead of International Women’s Day


The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Lady Gaga’s total eclipse vibes to Kim Kardashian’s sweet family snap

by Nicola Colyer
22 Aug 2017

Tom Hardy's final CBeebies Bedtime Story is a tribute to his late dog

“Run with the angels... I will see you when I get there”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Aug 2017

UKIP candidate suggests paying British Indians to leave the UK

And Twitter responds perfectly

by Moya Crockett
21 Aug 2017

Elisabeth Moss denies that Scientology is anything like Gilead

The Handmaid’s Tale star discusses the parallels between her show and her faith.

by Moya Crockett
21 Aug 2017

JK Rowling spots mansplainer in the wild, and deals with him perfectly

The Harry Potter author won’t let any woman’s confidence be knocked by mansplaining

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Nicki Minaj’s vintage look to a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants reunion

by Nicola Colyer
18 Aug 2017

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Serena Williams on how skin colour affects what people think of her

“I feel like people think I’m mean”

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017

This Hocus Pocus star’s pregnancy announcement is pure 90s perfection

“I smell children…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Anna Faris on knowing when to call time on an unhappy relationship

“Don’t be afraid to seek your independence”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017