Job market in Brazil still reflects racial inequality

. May 13, 2018
racial inequality job market in brazil Racial inequality remains a reality in Brazil
racial inequality job market in brazil

Racial inequality remains a reality in Brazil

Late in 2016, the state government of Paraná conducted an experiment to raise awareness about systemic racism in Brazil. Divided into two groups, Human Resources recruiters were shown pictures of people running, gardening, wearing a suit, spray painting a wall, and cleaning a kitchen. For one group, the people in the pictures were white. For the other group, they were black.

The results were rather appalling. The HR recruiters that looked to the pictures with black people saw either the help or a criminal.

The experiment shows how much Brazil’s history of slavery and racial discrimination still scars our society. And the job market makes it pretty obvious that Brazil is by no means the “racial democracy” that many Brazilians believe it is.

</p> <p>While 26.5 percent of white people get to the university, the rate goes down to only 12.8 percent among black Brazilians. Shockingly though, that paltry number depicts a concrete improvement. In 2005, only 5.5 percent of blacks reached university.</p> <p>Since 2012, Brazilian federal universities have reserved half of their seats for racial minorities and students from low-income families. The University of Brasília is a pioneer in that area, having implemented racial quotas since 2003. “It helped to shorten the gap, but Brazil still needs to reconcile itself with its black and indigenous origins,” said Renícia Filice, an UnB professor, to <a href=""><em>G1</em></a>.</p> <h3>A racist country without racists</h3> <p>In 2013, the anthropologist Lilia Schwarcz launched the book <em>Nem Preto Nem Branco, Muito Pelo Contrário</em>, which could be loosely translated as “Not Black, Not White – Quite the Contrary.” For the book, Schwarcz conducted a poll that revealed staggering numbers: 97 percent of people say that they are not racist, while 98 percent claim to know a racist person. As you can see, the math doesn’t add up.</p> <p>This data shows that Brazilians don’t see themselves as racist, but acknowledge – at least partially – that there is a problem in the country. While Brazil is widely seen as a land of “racial democracy” and deep miscegenation, race has always been an issue. The first Portuguese to arrive on our shores were dismayed by the “strangeness” of the indigenous, often described as “godless barbarians.”</p> <h3>Wage gap persists</h3> <p>In Brazil, black professionals earn 36 percent less than their white counterparts, according to data from the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic Studies (Dieese). Another report, this time by Inter-American Development Bank and Brazilian Ethos Institute has shown that blacks are still the minority in the business market. Only 4.5 percent of them have reached positions on the board of directors among the 117 companies listed in the survey.</p> <p>On the hand, almost 90 percent of companies have no policies to increase racial diversity whatsoever. In fact, 64 percent of company directors and 45 percent of senior executives don’t even acknowledge that a problem exists. For them, the amount of black employees is satisfactory.</p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-5698" src="" alt="racism brazil" width="1024" height="503" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p>Not to everyone, though. “I have not heard of a black CEO among any of the 5,000 biggest Brazilian companies,” says João Vicente, dean of the <a href="">Zumbi dos Palmares College</a>.</p> <p>Inaugurated in 2003, Unipalmares stands out as Brazil’s first “black college.” Named after an iconic 17th-century anti-slavery leader, Zumbi dos Palmares, the institution aims at providing a college background to underprivileged racial minorities. People of African descent amount to 90 percent of the 1,500 students.</p> <p>Unipalmares offers four careers: law, business, communications, and education. However, the diploma is not enough to grant a student an entry in the job market. It depends on partnerships with huge corporations that are trying to implement racial diversity within their ranks.</p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-5699" src="" alt="racism brazil education" width="1024" height="764" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p>Back in March, a photo montage that went viral on social media sums up what has been an enduring problem in Brazil. On the top half of the montage, an all-white medical school graduation photo. On the bottom, the inauguration of recently-hired street cleaners in Rio de Janeiro. Guess what color their skin was?</p> <p><img loading="lazy" class="aligncenter wp-image-4130 size-full" src="" alt="racial equality abolition day" width="618" height="717" srcset=" 618w, 259w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 618px) 100vw, 618px" /></p> <p>

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Maria Martha Bruno

Maria Martha is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has already collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others. She has also worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.

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