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Essay on Racial Equality in Brazil

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Despite being colonized by Spain, Portugal, and other imperial nations early in its history, Latin America has shown its independence in terms of fostering its own social initiatives. This sample political essay touches on racial equality in Brazil, articulating how the country has recently helped thwart ongoing bigotry and hate from infesting its communities.

Racial Equality in Brazil: Educational enrollment quotas

The United States’ regional hegemony has dissipated over time and nations such as Brazil have come to adopt stances that support racial equality. In Simon Romero’s New York Times article, "Brazil Enacts Affirmative Action Law for Universities," the author reported and reflected on the nation’s affirmative action legislation to make education available for African-Americans. Surely, this current event is indicative of the nation’s penchant towards fostering stronger economic growth and prosperity within racial minorities that were traditionally underprivileged. This article helped shape my understanding of Brazil because it reflected the nation’s willingness to accommodate its legislation to empowering minorities much like the United States has, despite some native criticism.

Additional Reading: Connection between Education and Economy

Romero’s article detailed how recent legislation required public universities to reserve half of its enrollment to African-Americans. Despite being a nation that is mainly Portuguese:

Recent legislation has furthered African-Americans’ availability to attend college in “a country with more people of African heritage than any nation outside of Africa” (Romero 1).

Advancing national economy through education

Because of the poverty in the country, the nation has elected to develop its human capital by offering more opportunities within educational institutions to those that have not had access to it in the past. Because of the “Law of Social Quotas,” public universities are required to reserve admission for African-Americans so that they can further their own influence within the nation (Romero 1). Romero reported that while the law has faced opposition with social elites, it should yield nation-wide benefits in the years to come. Surely, this is related to the way in which Brazil is adapting to the needs of its own population.

The impact of such a law extends much further than just educational opportunities. In fostering the development of underprivileged racial minorities, Brazil is paving the way for equal opportunity for its entire people, not just native Portuguese. To exemplify, in acknowledging that much of its population is still in poverty within this race, the legislation:

“Recognizes that Brazil has remained far from the ideal of ‘racial democracy’” (Romero 2).

By shifting its resources to helping that minority catch up, the nation is sending a clear message that it is committed to the same western ideals that the United States has tried to develop by reforming education. Moreover, such a drastic measure shows that Brazil, as a nation, is pursuing goals related to social justice and economic equality from the lens of education and equal opportunity. These types of initiatives are reflective of the United States’ struggle to assure citizens that everyone is entitled to equal chances of success.

Despite this, this article upholds the notion that even legislative action will come under criticism from social elites and nativist ideals of racial superiority. For instance, despite the fact:

“The law signifies an important shift in Brazil’s view on offering opportunities to big swaths of the population,” it will nonetheless encourage an exodus away from public universities by Portuguese parents who want their children to attend private schools (Romero 2).

Such dissent from natives represents a strong similarity to the United States in relation to the 1960’s where protests against black integration happened. In citing national officials, the article was clear in maintaining that this law was only a prerequisite for other cultural changes that would take place in Brazil:

“Next, we will seek to extend this concept to other areas, like culture and jobs” (Romero 2).

Ultimately, this paradigm shift in the way minorities are treated is indicative of broader social justice initiatives that the United States had as well.

Future of Brazil

Clearly, Brazil is attempting to broaden the racial diversity in its schools and other facets of society. The changes, starting with education, are one of many that reflect its willingness to address social inequality just like the United States did many years earlier. The article reported that the legislation would enact quotas on African-American enrollment in public universities. This law has a broad impact on the nation because it signifies a push toward racial equality and social justice. Finally, the criticism and reactive behavior of native Portuguese parents indicates that Brazil, like the United States, is also susceptible to cultural intolerance of affirmative action.

Works Cited

Romero, Simon. "Brazil Enacts Affirmative Action Law for Universities." The New York Times [New York City] 30 Aug. 2012: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.

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