Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brazil: Afro-Brazilian Claims to Affirmative Action Denied

Global Voices
Posted 14 July 2010

Affirmative action, one of the most controversial issues dragging on in the Brazilian congress for most of the first decade of the 21st century, was left out of the Racial Equality Statute passed last June 16th by the senate. The policy, which would implement a mandatory temporary quota system for Afro-Brazilians in universities, jobs and political parties, was rejected together with incentive measures for private companies adopting the system [pt]. According to pro affirmative action groups, the decision to exclude the policy neglects the historical processes leading to the state of socio-racial inequality existent in Brazil today. On the other side of the coin are opponents of affirmative action who speak of reverse discrimination and incitement to racial tensions.
The day before the vote in congress, No Race blog [PT], which presents itself as both anti-racist and against race public policies, published Senator Demóstenes Torres’ justification of his opposition to affirmative action. The Senator, a member of the DEM [PT] (Democrats party) an opposition party to President Lula’s PT, explains that race does not exist and justifies why he removed from the text - but not from the title “Racial Equality Statute” - the terms “race”, “racial” and “ethno-racial”.

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