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Montevideo, March 23rd 2019 - 02:48 UTC

Brazil votes affirmative action for blacks and minorities in federal universities

Friday, August 10th 2012 - 07:57 UTC
Full article 16 comments

The Brazilian Senate has approved an affirmative action bill that reserves half the spots in federal universities for high school graduates of public schools, and distributes them according to the racial makeup of each state. Read full article


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  • Alexei

    A very bad idea. Brazilian Federal universities were the best in South America. Admission was based on merit. So-called 'affirmative action', in this instance, will be based on racial profiling. Standards will inevitably have to be lowered in order to admit applicants who would otherwise not qualify. This is not a victimless crime. Better qualified and more capable students will lose places they have rightly earned, and have their lives ruined.

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 08:47 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Chilean perspective

    This may sound like a bad idea but you have to keep in mind the severity of the situation. The coloreds in Brazil will never be able to fully participate in their countries prosperity unless they get a leg up and since no ones gonna do it, it falls on the government to take the drastic action necessary. Some better qualified students WILL miss out but tough luck its the least they could do considering the centuries of hardship these downtrodden people have endured. Hey and I'm no bleeding heart Commie, I'm a conservative but credit where credit is due. Good one Brazil.

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 10:20 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Eddieposted

    State discrimination against the european minority will be bad for Brazil.

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 10:43 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • JoseAngeldeMonterrey

    It´s not only Brazil, it´s all South America, a continent where governments, business and academy is dominated by european descendants and systematically discriminate against blacks, indigenous peoples and other minorities who live in a state of disgrace, from Brazil to Argentina or Colombia. In South American, being black, mixed or indigenous means you are poor, uneducated, landless and a lot of times homeless, and politically and economically disenfranchised. In Universities and shopping centers the same, we see blacks and indigenous most of the time only cleaning restrooms and mopping floors. They are not the professors, not the students, not the shop owners, they are not the clientele.

    It is also a cultural idionsicracy all over South America. Anytime somebody travels to a community in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay or another country, what you hear is always the same silly thing: instead of talking about their country´s culture, about what it means to be a brazilian or argentinian, instead of cherishing their american heritage, they start telling you how much “european” they are, they proudly repeat what has become a motto for many southamericans: “oh my grand-parents were all european and there is not a single drop of indigenous or black blood in my family”, as if somebody gave a damn about it. They only show the poor state of their cultural level.

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 12:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Fred

    @ 2 The Chilean perspective: Brazil should do like Chile by preparing students from public schools and giving a basic good education for all. Most of people coming from Brazilian public schools nowadays aren't capable to do solve simple math operations or Portuguese spelling proprerly. This will only force university teachers to decrease the level of their lessons or sistematically reproving most of the class.

    @ 4 JoseAngeldeMonterrey: I don't know about the rest of South America but as far as I can realize by living in Brazil most of people are just mixed and darker skin you've got poorer you tend to be but also you see many rich people that in Europe would be considered non-white. So it's a little bit more complicated than “black and native people are poors and white is rich”.

    Most of people doesn't realize that Brazil has a great difference when compared to USA (from where this race policy came from). Brazil has mixed couples since XVI century, mainly among the Portuguese male settlers and the female black slaves. It was pretty much common as well a Portuguese male marry a female native to make peace with her tribe, this practice was called “cunhadismo”, something like “brother-in-lawism” when the “brother-in-law natives” become friendly towards the Portuguese invaders. It's pretty much rare to see someone very white or very black in Brazil because of this very ancient mixing since half millenium ago. By travelling to Argentina and Uruguay I realized that like in Brazil, blonder you are, “whiter” you are, richer you are though you see way less brown and/or black people.

    About this idiosincracy, fortunately this is changing and South Americans are realizing that they are not simply Europeans lost in the end of the world (like Argentinians used to say) but South Americans, this website is proof of it. Mercosur is a proof of it. Among other reasons, the rise of Brazil and expansion of Mercosur caused it, South Americans are discovering each other and themselves.

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 03:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    This is a ridiculous attempt at solving a problem by creating another one.

    ALL universities should set entrance exams for ALL students who want to attend IRRESPECTIVE OF COLOUR. That would result in the best people getting the places. If they were all black, great; if they are all white, great. What matters is they will be the best there is that year.

    The UK tried this nonsense at secondary level - it does not work.

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 07:28 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DeMouraBR

    I studied my whole life in a public school, it was the best one in brazil, however, still a public one. I have a friend, who is a white woman, and another one who is black and male. Both wanted to make engineering course and had previously study their whole life with me. They made the national exam to enter in the federal university, my girl friend made a higher (much higher) score than my other friend. He entered, she not. I ask you, is that fair? Now he is struggling to pass, being reproved in more than 60% of the subject, and he have 10 years to complete the course.
    Is not that outrageous? Is he better than she? Or the other way around? Both came from middle-class families.
    This is to mask the very poor public education, and of course to earn some votes., nothing more.
    Dont you starting to argue it is fine because they haven't acess to education, that's not the way to fix it. Indeed, it is most outrageous to have a country with regressive taxes and superior public education. This is a screwed latin-south-america thinking, where the real good people are seen as individualist and the imcompetent are worth of help.
    Sorry for my english.

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 07:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Chilean perspective

    The European minority in Brazil has had POSITIVE discrimination for the countries entire history so cut it out with your crocodile tears. There will be pain for some better students who miss out because of their appearance but there needs to be an increase in colored representation in higher education. I am always opposed to central planning or government meddling but in this instance I support it even though it is totally unfair for many. As the mighty economy of brazil takes its well deserved position in the world it needs to better represent its ethnic make up. That's all!

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 09:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DeMouraBR

    Those quotas are the root for an open discrimination between whites and blacks. The europeans here were never minority until 2010 chilean, you are misinformed, little dicrimination or major discrimination, aren't the way to surpass our problems. This is very common in the latin common thinking, we are always trying to resolve our equality issue with privileges. When the only solution is good universal education. So for you it does not matter if the guy is good or not? Does black people choose to born black? Or white people?
    Things that we do not acquire with our own efforts should never be picked as a pride issue or make this a privilege. The only reason why there aren't “enough” ( how many will be enough in your account?)
    is because we have a poor public educational system, and that's all, as black/mixed people are the majority in the lower classes. It's not a matter of race, it's about social equality. Do you think that the poor white deserve less? Or they have more access to superior education than the poor black? And more important, which type of skin will be considered black? Or will apply for all mixed people too?
    You should take a look of the ethinic graphic of Brazil, you will see that the majority of black and mixed are settled at the northeast, north regions. European ascendency people are majority in Southeast and South, and the share of quotas are the same.
    This kind of logic does not apply in Brazil, and you should be aware of that. As i said before, this is all part of a screwed thinking of our latins leaders, and a major source of our poor development. As we say here : “descobrindo um santo, para cobrir o outro”.
    Please, make comments about my country, after you study a little more, and take out of you head this marxist approach.

    Aug 10th, 2012 - 10:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • JoseAngeldeMonterrey

    The United States have tried affirmative action for many years, it was good for many but it also created dependancy and comformism among minorities sometimes.

    But nothing did more for minorities than economic growth, anti-trust regulations and competitive industries and markets. It was the engine of economic growht that dictated American Express and countless firms that needed talented and capable individuals to run and operate their economic activities. It was the growth engine that did away with the absurd practice of not allowing colored persons to enter restaurants, because the new competitive markets demanded that managers and businesses accepted clients, regardless of the color of their skin, as long as they had a few pennies in their pockets to pay for the coffee or the sandwich or ice cream.
    Globalization also mean that companies had to embrace diversity and multi-culturalism, they had to hire people capable of speaking other languages, different, they had to embrace tolerance and respect for each other beliefs or traditions.

    Aug 11th, 2012 - 02:37 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Chilean perspective

    I fully understand that this is a band aid cure but the situation is dire so it will do. I do not like government interventionism but for just this one thing I feel that it will achieve the desired results very quickly. Sure its easy to say quality education for all or GDP growth will fix the problem... well yes it will, but it will take a generation. Those blacks and mixed bloods need a break and the full backing of the entire educational system. It can't wait, NOW is the time. They have almost no positions of power, influence or leadership.
    As for 9 DeMouraBR
    Well, your pitiful attempt at making the Europeans the victim is pathetic. It's irrelevant when the European descendants became a minority, what is all too relevant is that the “darkies” (soz) do not get a fair go, plain and simple. The europeans divi up the cake and greedily take almost all the slices. This is why this intervention is so desperately needed. Furthermore I am NOT a marxist. This measure is constitutional and as the note states you are the second country in the world with the most AFRICAN descendants after NIGERIA. No small potato my friend, suck it up you are gonna have to share.

    Aug 11th, 2012 - 04:44 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    I see a lot about Nigeria on here.

    As someone who has worked in the country on the oil terminal at Queibo I can state from personal experience that, yes, there are many races represented in the country.

    There is also a strong undercurrent of racial tension, driven by religous division of the Christians (politically excluded) in the south and the Muslims (holding political power over the country) from the north.

    Education does not feature in it as all children have access to junior school but have to finish at an early age (about 14) unless they are sent abroad by rich parents.

    The Muslims are also murdering the Christians who, in the main, do not retaliate.

    And people wonder why I am an atheist.

    Aug 11th, 2012 - 12:03 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DeMouraBR

    Chilean, define the word privilege.

    Aug 11th, 2012 - 03:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • British_Kirchnerist

    This is a good and long overdue move and a credit to Dilma's progressive government. The idea that pure merit existed previously is absurd, something has to be done to get rid of this endemic problem of privilege and deprivation. Kudos to right wingers like Chilean and Jose who can see what a big problem this is and the need to adress it; Alexei your comment “A very bad idea. Brazilian Federal universities were the best in South America”, suggesting blacks will inevitably bring down standards, is by comparrison an embarrasement

    Aug 11th, 2012 - 09:29 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Hepatia I'm not sure which part of the US you are referring to when you say, “It was the growth engine that did away with the absurd practice of not allowing colored persons to enter restaurants...” Take it from someone who was there this is not true. It was the actions of the civil rights organizations, and of the US government that allowed African Americans into the restaurants. The resultant growth transformed the South (although not completely) over many decades. You are confusing cause and effect.

    Aug 12th, 2012 - 07:31 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • British_Kirchnerist

    #15 Well said

    Aug 12th, 2012 - 01:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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