Despite the results of policies of diversity and inclusion, Brazil’s black and brown population is still not represented
By Marques Travae
A few months ago, the latest piece of propaganda about Brazil’s black population hit the internet and various news outlets. According to the report, for the first time, people who identify themselves as pretos ou pardos (black or brown people) had surpassed people who defined themselves as brancos (white people) at federal universities. Again, it is necessary to point out here that, within black social movements, pretos and pardos are the two color classifications that make up Brazil’s black population, and according to this report, 50.3% of students attending public institutions of higher learning were either preto or pardo.
I’ve already explained explained why I see this report as a sham, but as it turns out, this data also doesn’t necessarily represent how black people see the question of access to the university space also.
Research actually backs up why Filipe failed to see a significant increase of black bodies on college campuses (see comment above). One of the reasons is the way that the concept of blackness has been skewed by black social movements as I pointed out in my article, but another reason is that the dropout rate among pretos and pardos is still high – 28.8% of these students will not actually graduate. You see, entering the university is one thing, but managing to remain there is another.
Another student, Ranara (see below), also pointed out another aspect of this. Depending on what course one majors is, your view of how many blacks there are on campus could be completely different from how someone else in another course sees it. Besides the fact that black Brazilians only began entering universities in large numbers in last decade and a half, the more prestigious the course, the fewer black faces one will see. In a course such as Medicine, for example, black students can be outnumbered by as much as 16 to 1, while in the area of Social Sciences, they are outnumbered by “only” 4 to 1.
The study also revealed the struggles of the black or brown population not just make it to the halls and classrooms of higher learning, but just to survive. The homicide rate in the group of blacks and browns between the ages of 15 and 29 is 98.5 per 100,000 people. In contrast, those within this age group who identify as white accounted for only 34 homicides per 100,000. “We are a constantly threatened population. We suffer from urban violence and domestic violence. Our blood helped found this country. And yet black people don’t have the necessary public policies to get us off the fringes of society,” says social science student Ramara Catarine da Silva.
The black or brown population – corresponding to 55.8% of Brazilians – also doesn’t vote for people who look like them. At the federal level, 24.4% of elected members of congress, deputados in Brazil, identify themselves as black or brown. The situation is the same in the states where only 29% of public representatives identify themselves as either preto or pardo. “These representation indicators are important for monitoring how minority groups fit into decision-making space,” said IBGE Population and Social Indicators analyst Luanda Botelho.
With information from Agência Brasil