Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

The ungrateful quota beneficiaries: When affirmative action in Brazil only benefited white immigrants


 

The family of Albino Postali and Rosa Frizera Postali in Caixas do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazil) in 1911. Photo: Primo Postal

The family of Albino Postali and Rosa Frizera Postali in Caixas do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazil) in 1911. Photo: Primo Postal

Note from BW of Brazil: In practice throughout Brazil for a little more than a decade, the system of affirmative action has given hundreds of thousands of poor and Afro-Brazilian students the opportunity to attend college providing them with a path to social ascension that has largely be absent in lives of most people from this community for nearly five centuries. The battle over affirmative action and its system of quotas has made Brazil discuss and debate issues of racism, social exclusion, privilege and historic debt in an an ongoing conversation that the nation had never come to terms with in previous centuries. This lack of open discussion led millions of Brazilians to believe (and continue to believe) that the nation is free of any sort of racially-based social inequality giving rise to the infamous “racial democracy” myth.

Due this lack of debate, denial and historic amnesia, common, everyday people continue to scream and reject the idea of a historic debt that the nation owes a segment of the population whose ancestors worked and died in the construction of the nation while the vast majority of their descendants were effectively excluded from enjoying the fruits of the nation’s development. But, lest we forget, Brazil is a nation of immigrants. So how is it that so many families that lack skin pigmentation were able to secure wealth, prestige and comfortable lifestyles for their families? Did they attain these privileges with the same hard work as African descendants toiling in sugar and coffee fields with no compensation? Or did they receive some sort of affirmative boost that helped them spring ahead of the unfortunate masses of darker-skinned people? With Brazil’s most influential newspaper recently provoking controversy with its recent anti-affirmative action commercial, this article seeks to turn back the clock a few hundreds years and take a look at a time when affirmative action was white. 

The ungrateful cotistas 

By Tau Golin

Subsidized by the government, around one hundred families of Italian farmers arrived in Pará (southern Brazil) in 1898

Subsidized by the government, around one hundred families of Italian farmers arrived in Pará (southern Brazil) in 1898

Inconsistency is typical of the ungrateful. It is the height of individualistic hypocrisy, which is the most disgusting in humans. A pathetic scene to spit on the plate and fumigate history.

After Brazil recently began the quota policy, the gibberish of intolerance took over the country. The quota, in general, is a little throttle to lift people out of the naturalization of poverty, a temporary means of historical correctness of the immutable condition of poverty. If the quota policy is essential in stratified societies, one can imagine its necessity in this Brazil cursed by slavery and ethnocide of indigenous peoples.

The states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, the three Brazilian states that received massive European immigration in the 19th century. 80% of Brazilians who live in these states today classify themselves as "branco" (white)

The states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, the three Brazilian states that received massive European immigration in the 19th century. 80% of Brazilians who live in these states today classify themselves as “branco” (white)

In the media one observes the triumph of a misleading work ethic, the compliment of individual effort, as if they their spokespersons arise like the phoenix from the ashes of difficulties to the flight of prosperity. Impoverished people, at the same time, curse cotistas (affirmative action students), blaming them for their condition of little progress, despite working their entire lives as imbeciles. Invariably they give the praise for work and personal effort, without questioning those who accumulate the products of their exhaustion and social immutability.

In social environments, invariably, I listen to descendants of immigrants condemn the policy of quotas. They are ignorant or hypocritical. The wealthy part of Rio Grande do Sul and other regions of Brazil is the present of quota beneficiaries of the past. The colonization policies of the country were the concrete applications of quota policies. Servants, peasants, mercenaries, bandits, thieves and prostitutes from Europe were motioned with quota utopia. Offered to them first was a place of their own, a space to produce, represented by the plot of land; a colony in order that they could sow their dream.

Italian immigration in Rio Grande do Sul

Italian immigration in Rio Grande do Sul

And they attained oxen, plows, agricultural implements, seeds, and the right to use nature – forest, rivers and minerals – to capitalize. In the process, thousands didn’t manage to pay the colonial debt and were pardoned. And when they indemnified they were in modest conditions.

Being quota beneficiaries of Brazil could overcome the curse of the miserable, poor, servants, and socially execrated. Many could not even ride a horse, today, their descendants are even CTG (Centros de Tradições Gaúchas) (1) patrons, but they condemn quotas, the hand, the bridge, the beneficent wind, which changed the lives of their families.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, on the territories of the Charruas, Minuanos, Kaingang and Guarani (indigenous peoples) were applied the quota of “land grant” a module of somewhere around 13,000 (yes, thirteen thousand) hectares. Two native peoples were exterminated in order to form the oligarchy. Then in the middle of the same century, the Azorean couples, were intended “dates”, equivalent to 272 hectares. In the nineteenth century, immigrants, were awarded the “colonies”, of more or less 24 hectares. And the private colonizers and the secretaries of state came upon the territories of Kaingang and Guarani. And after that, land reform. And more programs of expansion of the agricultural front in central Brazil, Mato Grosso and Amazonia, with children of Rio Grande, in the majority first generations of immigrants.

Therefore, Rio Grande is the product of quota beneficiaries, which demanded over other regions of the country.

And in this story, the conclusion is obvious: there is hardly an individual who didn’t have a quota beneficiary in the family. The formation of the capitalist labor market is another conversation. It’s part of the system. As part of the social perversion, the historical fact that the owners tend to individualism, low solidarity, and to accumulation without citizenship compromise. The heirs of the quota beneficiaries of the past and of recent incentive programs demonstrate this with discrimination, lack of solidarity, exacerbated racism, and the typical debauchery of idiots.

Notes

1. The Centros de Tradições Gaúchas (CTGs or Gaúcho Tradition Centers) are non-profit civil societies seeking to promote the traditions and folklore of the Gaúcho (2) culture as it was coded and recorded by folklorists recognized by the movement. Source

2. Gaúchos (pronounced “gah-oo-shoo”) are residents of the South American pampas, Gran Chaco, or Patagonian grasslands, found principally in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Southeastern Bolivia, Southern Brazil and Southern Chile. In Brazil, gaúcho is also the main demonym of the people from the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Gaúcho is an equivalent of the North American “cowboy” (vaquero, in Spanish). Like the North American word cowboy, the Chilean huaso, the Cuban guajiro, the Venezuelan or Colombian llanero, the Puerto Rican jibaro, and the Mexican charro, the term often connotes the 19th century more than the present day; then gauchos made up the majority of the rural population, herding cattle on the vast estancias, and practicing hunting as their main economic activities.

The Gaúcho plays a nationalistic symbol in both Argentina and Uruguay. The Gaúcho became greatly admired and renowned in legends, folklore and in literature and became an important part of their regional cultural tradition. Beginning late in the 19th century, after the heyday of the Gaúchos, they were celebrated by South American writers. Source

Source: Sul 21

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