Racism is an Issue around the World, Except for in Brazil

by PedgeRuest on September 3, 2015 - 9:44pm

News Summary

“In Denial Over Racism in Brazil” published  in “The NY Times” on March 23, 2015 by Vanessa Barbara discusses how racism is an issue everywhere in the world, yet Brazil is still in denial. The article states that 53 percent of Brazil’s population is Afro-Brazilian (due to slavery lasting for 300 years) and that they run 3 times more chances of being killed between the ages of 12 and 18 compared to the rest of the population. Therefore, as the article explains, it is not out of the ordinary in Brazil to be an Afro-Brazilian who is afraid of the police and who feels unsafe and inferior to the authorities. However, as the author quotes Luiz Roberto Lima, a black photographer who grew up in the streets, it is also not rare for officers to justify the murder as “’resistance killings’” (which is the act of resisting arrest) even if there was no resistance at all. Furthermore, it is also explained that studies show that 70%, being the majority of this race, live in extreme poverty and that all but one minister in the Brazilian government is white. This explains why action plans put in place to improve this racial discrimination are not strictly followed. For example, as Barbara states, only 5.8 percent of this group (being 214,000 families in all) have received these partial rights. The article concludes with the fact that it is hard to believe that discrimination and racism is easily brushed off in Brazil when racial divisions are clearly present.


To begin, “In Denial over Racism in Brazil” is a strong and affective article because of several reasons. It is a strong and affective article because it discusses conflicts, which are usually scandalous events that are hidden from the world. Not only does this article speak about the discrimination in Brazil’s political system and socioeconomic groups, but it also demonstrates this discrimination using a real-life event being the murder of Afro-Brazilian teenagers for no apparent reason. As described in the article, one in 39 ministers in the Brazilian government is black (showing a misrepresentation of racial groups because 53% of the population is black) and 70% of the black society lives in extreme poverty. This fact clearly indicates that there is a racism problem preventing them from having the same opportunities and rights as the white population in Brazil. Better yet, the article also states that black teenagers have 3 times more chances in being killed. I believe the biggest question is why Afro-Brazilians/ black people? Is it because of the colour of their skin? The colour, which as explained in “Race without color” by Jared Diamond (1994) helped them survive in their particular climate and environment before they were deported from Africa. This physical trait simply helped them with sexual selection. Therefore, how has one particular physical trait become a threat to a society when it simply is a trait which nature provided them for natural and sexual selection (p.3)?  It is not and will never be a threat, however it is and will always be a form of racism. Therefore for these reasons, even though the article does not explain enough of how the authorities have too much power and not enough consequences on crimes they commit, this article points out serious and strong facts about Brazil preventing anyone from believing that Brazil is the only country without the issue of racism.


Barbara, V. (2015, March 23). In denial over racism in brazil. New York Times. Retrieved from


Diamond, J. (2015, Fall). Race without color. In A. Nouvet, (Ed.), Anthropology 381-204-LA: 

            The myth of race and the reality of racism (pp.1-8). St-Lambert, Qc:

            Champlain College Bookstore.


The article has a rather snappy title that works well to draw attention as well as neatly summarize the main issue being discussed -granted you can catch the sarcasm. There's always something so fascinating about hearing people vehemently deny blatant facts, and that is what I went into this response expecting to read about. I was not disappointed.
The author does a good job at summarizing the injustice of the situation. It is absolutely shameful that these deplorable attitudes and systemic oppression are still practiced in the world, but the fact that they are not even being acknowledged is sickening. Unfortunately, it is hardly unique to Brazil. The 'resistance killing' the writer describes disturbingly mirrors events that happen all the time in America with police brutality. However, in America the situation is not nearly as dire. At the very least there has been mounting pressure for change due to media coverage.
But if awareness is the first step to social change, than Brazil is doing all it can to make sure nothing about its power structure changes. Brazil is not a country carefully watched by the rest of the world the way countries like the United States are, if they go to the trouble of hiding their crimes, it is highly unlikely mainstream media will find out about it. I for one had no idea until now. How many do?

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