Racial Quotas and the Culture War in Brazilian Academia

Posted in Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, New Media, Social Science on 2010-08-04 19:10Z by Steven

Racial Quotas and the Culture War in Brazilian Academia

Sociology Compass
Volume 4 Issue 8 (August 2010)
Pages 592 – 604
DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2010.00295.x

Stanley R. Bailey, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Michelle Peria
University of California, Irvine

Dozens of Brazilian universities recently adopted racial quotas for negros, read Afro-Brazilians, in higher education. Anyone familiar with the Brazilian context will recognize this step as a paradigm shift in the state’s approach to ‘race’. State discourse in past decades touted a mixed-race population not beset by overt discriminatory practices. In response to this new approach, two well-defined clusters of professors in Brazil’s universities authored several dueling manifestos supporting and opposing race-based affirmative action. This article suggests a ‘culture war’ framing of the debate and delineates the contrasting historic ideologies of racialism and antiracialism that inform the divergent racial worldviews of each academic camp. It then explores four points of contention from the manifestos that characterize their conflicting perspectives. They differ in terms of (1) their images of the Brazilian nation, (2) their diagnoses of the mechanisms behind non-white underrepresentation in Brazilian universities, (3) their prognoses for a remedy via racial quotas, and (4) their motivations for entering the debate. At the same time, the article locates some possible common ground.

Read or purchase the article here.

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