Note from BW of Brazil: Social inequality influenced by the race factor is a regular feature here at BW of Brazil. And while many will continue to deny the existence of institutional racism in Brazil’s social system, the numbers provide a clear indication of the reality of how skin color affects the quality of life of 201 million Brazilians.
Brazil’s black population still faces an inequality gap. Blacks are the main victims of violence and those who suffer most from poverty. They also have little representation in the political sphere and have an average income much lower than that of whites.
The discussion about these barriers to be overcome return to the center of the debate on Thursday (November 20th) when Brazil celebrated the Day of Black Consciousness. The date was chosen because it is the day of the death of Zumbi dos Palmares, a symbol of the fight for freedom and appreciation of Afro-Brazilian people. Of the more than 5,500 municipalities in the country, only 1,047 have adopted the date of the holiday.
Here are some data showing that gap:
1. Black women are the ones who feel most insecure
IBGE data show that black women when compared with other segments of the population, are the ones who feel more insecure in all environments, even in their own homes.
Source: IBGE 2010
This standard of vulnerability is repeated in other indicators of violence. According to the IBGE and the IPEA, the black population is a victim of aggression in greater proportion than the white population – whether male or female.
2. Brazil already had a black president
Nilo Procópio Peçanha (1) was the first – and so far the only – black president of Brazil. Son of a black father and a white mother, Peçanha assumed the presidency after the death of Afonso Pena and remained in office between 1909 and 1910.
3. Blacks are the majority in the Bolsa Família program
The black population is also more vulnerable to poverty. Seven out of 10 homes who receive the benefit of the Bolsa Família program are headed by blacks, according to data from the study Retrato das desigualdades de gênero e raça (Portrait of inequalities of gender and race), of the IPEA.
The profile of households in Brazilian favelas (shantytown slums) also point to the social gulf that still exists between whites and blacks in Brazil. Two-thirds of these houses in these regions are headed by black men or women.
4. Joaquim Barbosa was the black president of the STF (first black chief justice)
Before Joaquim Barbosa, the Supreme Court had only two other black ministers. The last of them, Hermenegildo de Barro, stepped down in 1931. In other words, the court went 72 years with no representative of African descent. In 2012, Barbosa became the first black president of the highest court in the land.
5. Black women are more affected by unemployment
Among the black population, the unemployment rate is higher than among whites. According to data from the study Retrato das desigualdades de gênero e raça, of the IPEA, while unemployment reaches 5.3% of white men, among black men, the rate reaches 6.6%.
Among women, the difference is even greater. Among white women, unemployment is 9.2%, while among black women, it exceeds 12%.
6. The illiteracy rate is twice as high among blacks
In 2013, the white population had on average 8.8 years of schooling, while for the black population it was 7.2 years. The difference, however, was even greater. In 1997, whites came to study for 6.7 years on average and blacks stopped at 4.5 years – that would be the equivalent of the first cycle of elementary education.
Even so, the illiteracy rate among blacks (11.5) is more than twice that among whites (5.2).
7. The income of blacks is 40% lower than that of whites
Average real income received for the month
8. Less than a third of the candidates for governor in this year’s election were pardos (brown) or pretos (black)
1. In a typically Brazilian twist in how race is perceived, accepted or denied, Brazil could claim that it has actually already had a black president. In 1909, Vice-President Nilo Peçanha assumed the presidency after the death of President Afonso Pena. But reports show that throughout his life, Peçanha never identified himself as negro or black even though he faced disparaging comments about his racial background. Thus, for some Peçanha was an afrodescendente president, meaning a president of African ancestry, for others, he was black and for still others, he was a mulatto (as he is defined on the Wikipedia page, for example)