Is there racism against Indians in Brazil

Brazil: "Time of reparation"


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The discussion hits Brazilian identity at its Achilles heel. The Brazilians are proud that in their country - unlike in the USA - there has never been a legally legitimized racial segregation. With around 76 million Afro-Brazilians, Brazil has the largest dark-skinned population in the world after Nigeria. That is almost half the population of the Amazon. The Brazilians found 143 colors in the census to describe their skin color - the result of centuries of mixing Europeans, Africans and Indians.

As with no other country, the idea of ​​racial democracy was associated with Brazil. “A myth”, says Hélio Santos, “Poverty in Brazil has a color and it is black”. According to the latest study by the state statistics institute, a white Brazilian earned an average of 1,292 reais (around 450 euros) in September, more than twice as much as his Afro-Brazilian colleagues who have 660 reais (230 euros) a month on the pay slip. The statistics also show that the income gap between white and Afro-Brazilians increases dramatically the better their school education is. After eleven years of school, i.e. with university entrance qualification, Afro-Brazilians earn an average of just 314 euros. PICTURE

"You feel the prejudices especially when you are starting to be successful," says Hélio Santos, "it is different to have a beer together in a bar or to be treated by a dark-skinned doctor." Most Brazilians condemn racism. Nevertheless, racist remarks and gestures are the order of the day in the largest South American country. The Brazilian version of discrimination is therefore often referred to as “polite racism”.

At the Steve Biko Institute, named after the famous South African black leader, 21-year-old Elder Costa is preparing for the entrance exam to the University of Bahia. In addition to the usual subjects, there is the unit “Civil Rights and Black Consciousness”. The aim here is to strengthen the often weak self-confidence of many Afro-Brazilians by getting to know their own culture and history. It was here that Elder first heard of Zumbi dos Palmares, the combative slave leader who was killed by the Portuguese on November 20, 1695. “Today I don't go home ashamed when someone makes fun of black people,” Elder said.

So far, there has been a lack of positive black role models - on television, in public life, in families. “It's like we don't exist,” said one of Elder's colleagues, whose skin is the color of dark chocolate. “I used to describe myself as a cinnamon color, but now I know that I am“ negra ”.” Black is poor and ugly - nobody wants to conform to this stereotype. So racism in Brazil is not just a matter of whites versus blacks: anyone who is a little lighter tends to discriminate against those who are darker. Only recently have you seen young Afro-Brazilians who confidently wear braided hairstyles and black power manes and who reflect on their religious roots in the candomblé. “Gone are the days of finding one's identity,” they say. "The time of reparations begins."