Who is black in Brazil? A timely or a false question in Brazilian race relations in the era of affirmative action?

Sales Augusto dos Santos, Obianuju C. Anya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


At the end of 2001 the question of race became part of the Brazilian national agenda under the pressure of black social movements for the establishment of quotas for admission of Afro-Brazilians to public universities. There was already strong resistance to this proposal. One of the principal arguments against this kind of affirmative action was and continues to be that Brazilian racial boundaries are not as rigid as those of the United States - That, given its substantial miscegenation, it is impossible to know who is black. The myth of racial democracy seriously limits realistic discussion of racism and racial identity because it prevents the identification of dysfunctional race relations. The question is not who is black but what sort of society Brazilians want to build.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-48
Number of pages19
JournalLatin American Perspectives
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2006


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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