African descendant when convenient: Candidate says he is ‘brown’ to enter a career in Brazil’s Foreign Ministry through racial quotas; is barred, but gets an injunction

siqueira fb
siqueira fb
Lucas Nogueira Siqueira defined himself as ‘pardo’ (brown) to take advantage of the quota system

Note from BW of Brazil: This is really beginning to get ridiculous! We’ve been following these developments of white Brazilians declaring themselves to be ‘pardos’, meaning brown or mixed race, in order to take advantage of the racial quota system for some time, and as it is beginning to become clear, this is a great example of how Brazil’s historically ambiguous approach in terms of race can lead to more confusion than many anticipated. This blog has always supported the union of the preto and pardo (black and brown) categories into one as representation of Brazil’s black population, but because of loose interpretations of these categories, the door has been left wide open for anyone who would NEVER face any sort of discrimination for possessing non-European physical characteristics to suddenly define themselves as persons of color. Today’s case doesn’t prove the discrepancies in defining exactly who is black or brown, but rather that the laws that govern such categories are written in manners in which people who are clearly not black or brown are able to slip through the cracks. 

Afroconveniência. Candidate tries to enter the Itamaraty through quotas, is barred, but gets an injunction

Last year, Lucas Nogueira Siqueira signed up for a public competition for a diplomatic career through racial quotas, and after the intervention of the MPF, was eliminated. In July 2016, through the courts, he managed to enroll in the training course of the Rio Branco Institute

By Leticia Carvalho

Being approved for a diplomatic career with the Itamaraty (Brazil’s Foreign Ministry) is on the list of dreams of most of taking the course. The test, classified as one of the most disputed and difficult in the country, however, became the subject of a long legal battle. After being barred in a commission for not presenting physical characteristics of a black individual, a candidate who entered the exam through vacancies by way of racial quotas, but didn’t have his name listed among those approved in the competition, can now enter the training course at the Instituto Rio Branco.

Lucas Nogueira Siqueira won approval in the first phase of the competition in 2015, with 45.5 points. The cutoff point for the candidates of the competition was 47. However, for having self-declared himself pardo (brown) upon registration, the competitor has been entered in the list of vacancies reserved for preto (black) or pardo (brown) and advanced to the next stages of the competition.

“We knew people who entered the competition, learned of the young man’s situation and got angry. Even some competitors who had no place in the ranking to ‘catch’ his place,” said the Brasilia native Danilo Prudente, one of the lawyers who filed with representation in court a few months after the release of those approved in the first stage of the examination.

Excerpt from denouncement presented by lawyer Danilo Prudente

Siqueira’s case was not unique. At least four others were also registered, which led the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) to file a civil action against persons suspected of having committed fraud in their racial self-declaration.

Through photographs, the MPF identified competitors who allegedly committed fraud in their self-declaration. The images were obtained directly from official databases and also through social networks. From the analysis of the images, prosecutors concluded that the candidates didn’t have the physical appearance of black people.

Photo of Siqueira presented in lawyer Danilo Prudente’s complaint

After the MPF’s action, the Foreign Ministry issued a new edict, stating that candidates who choose to apply for positions reserved for blacks must confirm the option before seven member diplomats of the Comitê Gestor de Gênero e Raça (CGGR or Directing Committee of Gender and Race) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE). After submitting himself to the bench, Siqueira was eliminated from the contest. The final list of those approved, released at the end of December 2015, no longer had his name.

The defense argued that according to the criteria of the Fitzpatrick Scale used by dermatologists, Siqueira is ‘pardo’ (brown/mixed)

A nonconformist, Siqueira filed two actions to reverse the decisions of the MPF and the Foreign Ministry. “Lucas went to seven dermatologists and they all confirmed that my client has the fenótipo pardo (brown phenotype). He always saw himself as pardo and what is listed in competition’s edict is his self-declaration. This bench was not provided for in the rules of the competition,” explained Siqueira’s lawyer, Alessandro Dantas Coutinho.

One of the seven dermatological reports presented by Siqueira’s defense

In July of this year, a titular federal judge of the 5th Civil Court, Daniele Maranhão, approved the the request for injunctive relief to suspend the act that eliminated Siqueira from the competition and determined his participation in the training course, which began in early 2016. In the case that it is no longer possible for Siqueira to participate in the ongoing course, the magistrate also defined that he can participate in the next.

Excerpt from the titular federal judge ruling of the 5th Civil Court, Daniele Maranhão

At the head of the Núcleo de Enfrentamento à Discriminação do MPDFT (Center of Confronting Discrimination of the MPDFT) since January 2013, the prosecutor Thiago Pierobom says the case involves a major dilemma. “Federal law that regulates the issue of racial quotas was not happy in establishing how this procedure would occur. Having a competition and not controlling this requirement is an invitation to fraud,” he said.

“Racial discrimination in our country isn’t based upon descent but by phenotype. The quota system only makes sense if you have a commission to check the candidate’s physical characteristics. But this bench is not expressed in the law. The judge who reviewed the situation of the competitor was literal with what is in the legislation.” – Prosecutor Thiago Pierobom

Law 12.990

Law 12.990 established a reserve of 20% of the positions offered in public competitions for preto and pardo candidates and stipulated self-declaration as a criterion to ensure applications. The rule also provides that, in cases of confirmation of fraud, the applicant must be eliminated from the event or have his/her appointment annulled.

Note from BW of Brazil: So here we go again. Of course I don’t know this guy and I can’t say for certain how he identifies himself, but I believe that the vast majority of Brazilians would define this guy as branco, or white. But then again, we must also consider the ‘jeito brasileiro’ (Brazilian way) discourse that says that no Brazilian is black or white. This is to recognize that there is a certain train of thought that says that ‘true white people’ are blonds or redheads with blue or green eyes, in the same manner that some would say ‘true black people’ are only those with jet black skin, the kinkiest of hair, biggest lips, etc. For me this is utterly ridiculous. For in Europe, we know that there is a variety of phenotypes of persons would be defined as white, from the near paper colored white to those of tanned, olive-colored skin. We also know that within the continent of Africa, we find people who have skin that is literally black as well as persons who have an almost yellowish skin color.

In order to define the guy in the middle of this latest controversy as ‘brown’, one would also have to classify millions of Italians, Portuguese and Spaniards as brown. And let’s face it; historically we know that there are millions of people from southern Europe who have more than a few drops of distant African ancestry, but we also know that these people still carry the privilege of a sort of ‘swarthy’ whiteness that brings them privileges that persons of more recent African ancestry and the physical characteristics that come with will certainly not get.

I’ve written this in previous posts and I’ll say it again: it doesn’t really matter how this guy defines himself (if it’s even true that he in fact defines himself as ‘pardo’), the fact is, the social indicators that force persons of visible African ancestry (both pretos and pardos) into the lower rungs of these stats and expose them to everyday bouts with racial discrimination will never affect this guy. How is it that this guy was able to get away with this anyway? Didn’t the courts recently rule that one must “look black in order to qualify for quotas”?

In a country that clearly prefers this guy’s phenotype, he will never be followed around or assaulted by security in a ritzy shopping mall. He will not be verbally attacked by a middle class resident who is uncomfortable with his presence on a beach. He will never be aggressively wrestled to the ground because people don’t believe that a BMW could possibly be his. But the true crime in this is justice backpedaling on this issue instead of making more stringent laws so that the persons affirmative action are supposed to be benefit are in fact the beneficiaries of the program rather than the people whose physical appearances almost guarantee them a pass in nearly every situation in which race is and will be considered. 

Source: Metrópoles

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. If he has never been called “negao” or “neguinho” in his life by some patronising white person he cannot qualify. Can he be given the role of at least a house slave in a Brazilian movie? No. If he were to provoke someone, would he be insulted in racial terms? No. Had an experience when he was deliberately served in a restaurant after other guests? He doesn’t qualify.

  2. He looks like a southern european, this is what a typical portuguese, italian or southern french like corsican looks like. No way is this guy African descent, africano, black whatever, they need to do a blood test, if he is not 50% black he is not black.

    • Hernan most southern European looks mixed ( from brown skin to very fair white) ( can you see the difference between north Africans and southern Europeans and middle eastern? ) this is the very important point when looking cross culturally between brazil / usa- uk- canada- france- german.

      that is why all the discussion on the website is “para ingles ver.”

      I love here; it is funny sometimes they defend Camila Pitanga- can you believe it? the lady only date and married white (alemaozinho padrão brasil – branquelo azedo nosso ..l) people.

      she would be so pardo as him. but she technically has afrodescendant father.

      go to the “gatas” pictures most would be southern europe/ Mediterranean looks.

      nothing more misogynic then gatas.

      the fight for racism is extremely important; don’t take me wrong. we can’t explain to english audiences our struggle.

      it is lovely and (patronising as usual) to have new colonisers.

      • I just looked up, how come camila is so mixed/white looking when she has two full black parents? This guy is white socially,no one will every treat him as black. Camila, maybe, she is like a light skin black.

        What are gatas?

        I agree most southern europeans are mixed, and they don’t look fully white, but they are considered white in the social constructs of society and considered white looking by white society who makes the rules. An Italian, Spaniard, Greek is not getting racially abused or mistreated

  3. This is one the most annoying things about Brazil… no one EVER reads the fine print! The quota vacancies are supposed to be for people who are afrodescendente, indigenous, or handicapped AND who fall below a certain economic threshold. This is what happens when too many dumb, white thieves are given responsibilities like enforcing laws that are clearly written!

    • Hey Bama….Here’s where I’m coming from. I think they should scrap the whole idea of “afrodescendente” because there are a lot of people in Brazil who fit into that southern European phenotype who may indeed have 5-15% African DNA. If the judgment for quotas are given according to this standard, he can easily claim his African ancestry and benefit from quotas precisely BECAUSE he has distant African ancestry. The criteria should be, as a judge ruled several months ago, is that a person should have visible characteristics of African ancestry. If quotas were to be given according to even the smallest amount of African ancestry, MILLIONS of Brazilians who look and have considered themselves white for their whole lives will be lining up to take advantage of the system.

      • I think lying, cheating, and stealing are in the very fabric of (white) Brazilian society, and that the entire country was founded upon these principles. Because of this, I do not want the law to be scrapped because there will ALWAYS be people who will cheat the system – particularly in Brazil. It has been clear to me since I moved here that people – particularly “rich” white people, will cheat in any way, shape, or form that they can, on a daily basis. It can be as small as illegally parking in a handicapped space or as large as stealing billions from a state owned oil company. It is in the very fabric of them to try to take advantage, because they it is what they are made of as a populace. I cannot agree with scrapping the whole thing because of lying, thieving white people! Rather, I would like to see more intellegent enforcement of the law, and continued exposure for people like this man. Basically, if you cannot be walking around on the street and be identified as “preto”, “negro”, or “mulatto”, by the people walking around you, you should not be included. This would exclude many “pardos”, but this would be correct, since the majority of the extremely disadvantaged do not look like “pardos”. Anyway, thank you for continuing to expose these pieces of sh*t!

      • Antonio is camila pitanga biological father.

        she has dated a French man.

        shall we remind skin colour is not one thing or other?

        if your parents are mixed race you can be born ” very” white and “very” black. it will be very rare those possibilities .. in the case of camila she is a classic mestiza of a very African looking parents who can claim and use the benefits of a racist society and be not African looking.

        then there she is with her father everywhere claiming mama Africa.

        it is hard this endless discussion.

        I personally don’t like this gazing. if we look to mama Africa. ethiopen somalis have a much more Arabic features / Mediterranean than example Nigerian or Ugandan.

        what is the look after black?

        this will always be a big problem.

        for that I enjoy reading Paulo Freire.

        the dream of oppressed is to become oppressors….without knowing.

        the truh pass is to get conscientização from the oppression.

        and become free….could Americans understand it?

        no scholars in USA accuse him of not addressing race gender in his writings.

        but race gender (we include religion now) are only formers of oppression.

        oppression is here since the whole thing begin. it happens in different nuances and tones and forms.

        I have heard of your site.

        it is very disppointING.

        good luck!

        Americans / western educated regardless your colourgender religion.

        it has many ways of living and categorizing things.

        please don’t apply your gaze in ours.

        back to the topic clearly this guy isn’t afrodescendant in a way he would be bad treated in brazilian society. the same is valid for camila pitanga.

      • Paulo: According to my sources in Rio, Antonio Pitanga is NOT Camila’s biological father. These same sources, who knew Camila’s mother at the time, confirm that her father was a French man. Of course, this will remain speculation unless Camila or her mother confirm this publicly, but I would just say not to rule out the possibility.

  4. Oh god! Who can forget about her? Recently,it was said that a Black beautician in Texas invited her to some beauty show.Understandability, many of this woman’s clients threatened to walk if she came.I would do the same.

    Far as this man , if he’s/ Black/ mixed race / pardon/ then I’m Asian . Not to say that Black/ mixed race people can’t look like this man,but c’ Mon people can smell a fraud from afar.

    • I love rachel do legal

      she is an excellent example of what back scholars and activism had created in USA.

      You will never ever encountered a rachel here.

      but we can start to see many Beyonce claiming being black. as if you point this might be americanization.

      we are colour blind….Really? Who is blind?

      I want to see a black black woman famous. usa has no one. only pardas who claimed being black because you keep applying the one drop law.

      americanization of the world. americanization of racial studies…and if you dare to stand up.

      south Americans can’t stand up by themselves. they always has a help or from the white European or the black american.

      the black proud and the black identity is an enormous fantasy as any identity is.

      As antagonist as it can be racism misogynist elitism are not.

      she was and is a lier patholicaly – but she loved her job and she loved to fight for the oppressed. appatently she was good.

      I feel deeply sorry for her. she deserved more respect.

      I do think Americans are mental on this aspect.

  5. Brazil is very complex its very hard to classify ones race i wonder that this is a typical brazilian pardo to me he has native american ancestry in him so i would believe he is a pardo

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