Under the skin

RACISM: Systematic, legalized racism has defined Brazil as a country for centuries with recent legal changes doing little to change the picture

One does not have to look far to find racism in Brazil, Tony Venturi’s hard-hitting documentary In My Skin shows. A glimpse at the racial profile of the country’s biggest metropolis São Paulo demonstrates how neatly centre – a reserve for wealthy white people – is ringed by poorer slums – the favelas where most black and indigenous people live.

The last country in the western world to abolish slavery – in 1888 – policies to exclude blacks from education remained on the statute books far into the 20th century at a time when white immigrants from Europe were offered subsidized land priced to be beyond the reach of poor blacks.

The country’s first Racial Equality law appeared on the statute books in 2010; an educational quotas act reserving half of all places at federal universities to black, indigenous, and low-income groups followed in 2012, and similar positive discrimination in government jobs – a 20% quota not until 2014.

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Nick Holdsworthhttp://nickholdsworth.net/
Our regular critic. Journalist, writer, author. Works mostly from Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.

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