The implementation of affirmative action policies in Brazil continue to provoke controversy and fierce debate between those who support such policies and those that vehemently oppose them. But these policies have created an atmosphere of hope amongst thousands of Brazilians of African descent who have been systematically excluded from membership in Brazil’s middle class and are now finding paths to a college education, one of the only mechanisms leading to success in Brazil. Dandara Yamisi is one of many new hopefuls who are following this path. In this brief story, Dandara speaks about the significance of the quota system for the Afro-Brazilian population.
Style and intelligence
Dandara Yamisi from the state of Rio Grande do Sul proves that black beauty goes far beyond just a pretty face
Born in largest and capital city of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre and raised in another city in the state, Santa Maria, since she was young, Dandara Yamisi dos Santos, 20, now lives in Florianópolis in Santa Catarina* where she sought to study Sanitary and Environmental Engineering at the Federal University of Santa Catarina.
She was able to take the course through the racial quota system, where she got a full scholarship. The joy of her acceptance in the program was so much that her mother, the activist, writer and poet, Maria do Carmo – proud of the feat of her daughter – ordered a banner with the message: “We offer to our ancestors, enslaved blacks in the past, our victories of the present.” Dandara follows the same line and tell us the importance of affirmative action. “This is the beginning of the repayment of the debt of society to black people”, she emphasizes.
Besides beauty, Dandara reveals herself to be a girl in tune with the world and ready to give her opinion on any subject. And in relation to the importance of education and culture to the young Brazilian, she doesn’t mince her words. “Education is the only thing you really have, the only real thing we take with us”, she says, with much ownership.
Like her mother, Dandara raises the banner of the black movement (Movimento Negro) and confirms the great importance of the dissemination of African culture in Brazil, that for her helps in increasing the appreciation of black beauty, especially for those of the most humble origins. “We must promote in society the pride and appreciation of black beauty, so that the black girls of humble families feel a true pride of the beauty that they carry.”
* – Florianópolis is the largest and capital city of the southern state of Santa Catarina.
Source: Raça Brasil