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Brazil Launches Race Boards For Government Employees

Brazil has instituted controversial “race boards” to determine the racial background for anyone applying for a government job. According to NPR, the specially appointed race tribunals even have guidelines to measure lip size, hair texture and nose width.

The committee was created because Brazil is compromised of many different ethnic groups although whites and light-skinned citizens have access to more opportunity and equality than others. A recent study shows that only 5% of high-ranking executives, politicians and diplomats are Black in Brazil which displays the real injustices of the South American country.

Some people opposed to the tribunals say this about the mandatory race boards:

“It is something terrible. I believe this kind of strategy can weaken the support of society for affirmative action policies,” says Amílcar Pereira, an associate professor at the School of Education in the Federal University of Rio, who studies race relations. “These policies have huge support … the majority of Brazilian society supports affirmative action.”

“But this kind of commission can jeopardize the support because it’s so controversial. It’s unacceptable to come back to the 19th century, to determine who is black and who is not,” he says.

Blacks in the country are actually in support of the committees:

Leizer Vaz is coordinator of NGO Educafro, which works to open up access to education for black Brazilians. He, like most black activists here, supports the commissions. The reason is simple – history.

“We are very far from the equality,” he says from his home in Sao Paulo.

Do you think mandatory race boards will better serve Brazil?



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