Population of northeastern state of Maranhão is 74% Afro-Brazilian
In Maranhão, the illiteracy rate is 50% higher among blacks, according to the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics or IBGE). The index shows that, despite some progress in public policy, the black population still suffers from inequality, demonstrated by the statistics almost always unfavorable.
State of Maranhão (in red) located in Brazil’ northeast
For the anthropologist Maria de Lourdes Siqueira, inequality is a brand of the colonial slave process. “The colonial slavery process so deeply marked the Brazilian population that it’s still not easy for a black person to feel comfortable being black. This demands a process of consciousness and training, to gain self-esteem, to have consciousness of dignity,” she said.
Anthropologist Maria de Lourdes Siqueira
A state judge, Oriana Gomes, speaks of crimes of racism or racial insults. According to her, it continues to occur frequently because most victims fail to report it. “In a racial injury (slur), you offend the person and the person’s objectivism. In racism, you offend the race. The distinction of this is pretty big. If a child has the right to enter the school and is repudiated because of this, this is a crime of racism, which is non-bailable,” said the magistrate.
Judge Oriana Gomes
The Day of Black Consciousness
The Day of Black Consciousness, which is celebrated every November 20th, was created to promote a reflection on the importance of African people in shaping of the culture and Brazilian people. The date is also used to honor Zumbi dos Palmares, one of the greatest symbols of struggle and resistance against slavery of blacks in Brazil during the colonial period.
Maranhão has the third largest black population in the country, according to the IBGE, only trailing Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of blacks in the state increased, reaching 74% of the population of Maranhão, according to data from the last Census.