Note from BW of Brazil: So here we go again! The article below actually surfaced about a month ago but is very pertinent to a discussion that’s been ongoing for a number of years but especially since Brazil began to implement a system of quotas to increase access of non-whites to Brazilian federal universities. Those opposing the possibility of using race-based quotas have always argued that this proposal can’t work in Brazil because 1) It discriminates against poor whites, 2) It undermines the idea of merit and 3) Because it’s not possible to know who’s black in Brazil.
Activists in support of affirmative action have always maintained that Brazil’s preto (black) and pardo (mixed/brown) groups have always constituted its black population and that the two groups are nearly identical in quality of life indicators in comparison to the population that defines itself as branco (white). They have also argued that the Military Police, who assassinate far more pretos and pardos than brancos, know exactly how is black, a situation that also applies to the mainstream media where most faces are white. It has also been shown that pretos and pardos who enter universities through the quota system perform as well or better than non-quota students.
But the argument that quotas are not fair has raged on. And as such, we are seeing a trend that could have actually been predicted when the affirmative action policies began more than a decade ago. Many years ago, we saw the Teixeira twins being used as an example for why quotas wouldn’t work when one was accepted as black and the other rejected. Then more recently, we saw a man with white skin and light-colored eyes define himself as afrodescendente (African descendant) to gain access to a career in foreign diplomacy. And then we have today’s case that will re-introduce a phenomenon that recently caused controversy at another university that we will discuss in a future article. As you read the story, also keep in mind a recent court decision that “a candidate must look black in order to qualify for racial quotas”.
Doctor declares himself black and passes into 1st place in selection process
Courtesy of O Dia
A professional has been working for six months in the Centro de Medula Óssea do Instituto Nacional do Câncer (Inca or Bone Marrow Center of the National Cancer Institute). The Conselho Regional de Medicina do Rio de Janeiro (Regional Council of Medicine of Rio de Janeiro) will investigate the case
A cardiologist from the Federal Fluminense University, with specialization courses at Harvard and at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV or Getúlio Vargas Foundation), Bruno Feijó Ouriques will be investigated by the Regional Council of Medicine of Rio de Janeiro. The CREMERJ will determine whether there were irregularities in the doctor’s approval in first place through quotas for blacks in concurso público (selective process) (1) for intensive care of the Bone Marrow Center of the National Cancer Institute (INCA) in Rio. He has worked in Inca since August 2015.
Doctor declares himself black and passes in 1st place in Inca competition
Diário Oficial shows the classification in the quota reserved for blacks. His skin tone is light. In a statement, the Regional Council of Medicine of the State (CREMERJ) is examining the possibility of irregularity. “The Council believes that there should be greater scrutiny both at the time of the selection process and the appointment of the successful candidate,” the statement said.
The doctor Bruno Ouriques claims that he doesn’t consider himself white. “This is your assessment (the reporter). My ethnicity is extremely subjective. The law is very clear about that. It’s not how you see me, but how I see myself,” he repeated, over the phone. Bruno didn’t respond when asked if he had any black ancestry in his family (2).
For the lawyer Luiz Paulo Viveiros de Castro, an expert in Administrative Law, although the law says that the candidate defines his own race, there is a principle of reasonability. “A person can self-declare whatever. But it is a public document, so it can be considered ideological falsity if it is to obtain an advantage. It is a question of common sense, because otherwise all Brazilians could be considered black. It could have criminal consequences,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Health, in the hypothesis of verification of false declaration, “the candidate will be eliminated, and if he had been named, he will be subject to the cancellation of admission to the service or public employment after administrative procedure in which they are guaranteed defense.”
The President of the Conselho Estadual dos Direitos dos Negros (Cedine or State Council of the Rights of Blacks), Luiz Eduardo Negrogun said he repudiated the fact. “It has nothing to do with ethnic origin. It is simply opportunistic attitude. After so many years of disrespect to with the Afro-descendant community, when there is minimal reparation we still have to put up with this. The mechanism needs to be improved so that it is not permitted,” Negrogun avaluated.
Question and Answer
When does the candidate make a statement of that he/she is black?
The candidate makes a self-declaration at the time of registration. The person must be declared preta (black) or parda (brown), according to the question of color and race of the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).
Does the law apply to all selective processes?
The law applies only to competitions linked to the federal public administration. They are excluded in municipalities and states.
How long has this law been enforced after its enactment?
The law has been in force since June 10, 2014. It applies to competitions whose edicts have been published after that date. It is valid for ten years.
When an irregularity is found, how is the applicant punished?
If the nomination for the position has already happened, there will be an administrative procedure and their admission can be canceled.
How is racial classification justified by the race/color question of the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics)?
According to IBGE, the classification reflects “the very history of Brazilian relations in the last two centuries.”
A concurso público is a selection process which aims to evaluate competing candidates to an effective position of a government entity of a nation. Although the process usually being prepared by specialized companies, the responsibility for evaluation of services falls to the legally designated Human Resources. Usually competitions are required to assess the competence of candidates for the position for which they are competing and also to prevent politicians occupying elective positions using their influence to provide government jobs to relatives and acquaintances, thereby disrespecting the principles of equality and equality.
- To be fair about this issue, for people who view whiteness from a North American perspective, Ouriques could be classified as “non-white” because, judging from the above photo, he doesn’t look as his racial heritage would be purely European. On the other hand, in Brazil, he could very well classify himself as branco. But it’s important to consider, 1) that he didn’t respond to the question of having any black people in his family and, 2) he could be a person who has always identified himself as white but decided to “pass” as black to fraudulently take advantage of the quota system.