Building Pluralism Through Affirmative Action
in Brazil: The Case of Education
Publication Date: March 2017
After independence, a widespread notion took route that Brazilians comprised a single “cosmic” race produced by significant mixing between indigenous peoples, former African slaves and European settlers. In practice, this belief ignored the very real discrimination experienced by Afro-Brazilians, which only in recent years has the state attempted to address through affirmative action policies. What factors account for this changed conversation around diversity in Brazil, and how have the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion changed? As “race” has become more central to debates over national identity, how have these debates affected inter-ethnic trust? What broader lessons can be gleaned from the malleability of Brazil’s self-identity and about the limits of such changed conversations for the lives of citizens?