Monday, October 25, 2010

Affirmative Action in Brazil

Americas Quarterly
by Amy Erica Smith

Affirmative action programs have spread rapidly across Brazil’s higher education institutions. Afro-Brazilians seeking a university education now have access to opportunities that were unreachable just decades ago.
In fact, a recent study by the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro found that 70 percent of Brazil’s public universities—both federal and state—have adopted some form of affirmative action. This comes despite the fact that federal legislation for university-based affirmative action has yet to be passed. But the programs continue to be deeply controversial. Opponents argue that affirmative action may unfairly disadvantage non-targeted groups and that it politicizes race in ways that are distinctly un-Brazilian.
But outside of the media limelight, what does the average Brazilian think? New data from the 2010 round of the AmericasBarometer surveys by the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) provide a window on ordinary Brazilians’ views.

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