As students protest, economics professor denies his statements being racist; said he would prefer to be served by a white doctor or lawyer

Students protest as university investigates comments made by Economics professor
Students protest as university investigates comments made by Economics professor

Note from BW of Brazil: Question: How does Brazil really intend to combat racism and racist sentiments when among its intellectual elites one consistently finds views consistent 1920s, 30s, and 40s scientific racism that were used to “validate” and support world views of white supremacy? Most people who have studied scientific racism over the years usually associate such views with the United States, Europe and South Africa in the first half of the 20th century, but Brazil has its own history of an alignment with these views, Eugenics and the idea that the disappearance of the black race would make a better Brazil (1). The point here is that there is a widespread belief in black inferiority throughout Brazil and as intellectuals are part of this population, why would they be any different? Even so, some of the comments made by the professor involved in this case makes one wonder if he’s fit to be a professor. See the interview below. (This is a follow up to the original coverage of this story yesterday).

Students protested against racism on Wednesday (5)

300-400 students protested against controversial comments made by Economics professor
300-400 students protested against controversial comments made by Economics professor

About 400 people confirmed their presence at a demonstration against the declarations made by Malaguti. The act was scheduled for 4pm on Wednesday (5) in front of the building of Social Sciences, the IC 2 at the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences (CCHN) in UFES. From there, participants proceeded to the building of Economics, where controversy too place, located in the Center for Legal and Economic Sciences (CCJE).

“We’re trying to do everything possible to publicize what he did. He cannot continue to reproduce racism,” said a 19-year old social sciences student. She was one of the students present in Malaguti’s class, last Monday. “He pointed to a white student, and said he didn’t have the conditions to give the same lecture to a cotista,” reported the student.

Students made a police report with the Federal Police and reported the case to the UFES Ombudsman and head of the Centre for Social Sciences.


Also attending the ceremony were representatives of Fórum Estadual de Juventude Negra (State Forum of Black Youth). “It was another unfortunate incident of racism. It reveals how much the institutions are not prepared to deal with issues of social equality,” said Lula Rocha, coordinator of the forum.

Human rights activist and lawyer André Moreira is considering opening an action of improper conduct against the professor. He will meet with students today, after the act.


Crimes of slander and racism

“In relation to black students and/or cotistas, he committed the crime of injury. In the statement that he would not like to be served by black doctor or lawyer, he committed the crime of racism. Article 20 of Law 7716/89 provides that anyone who “practices, induces or incites discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, ethnicity, religion or national origin” commits the crime of racism and could be sentenced to imprisonment of 1 to 3 years. Article 16 of the Act provides that the attendant that commits this crime can lose their job,” says lawyer Tiago Moraes.

Professor is on leave and UFES opens an investigation into allegations of racism

Dean of UFES, Reinaldo Centoducatte
Dean of UFES, Reinaldo Centoducatte

On Wednesday (05), the dean of UFES, Reinaldo Centoducatte, reported that the teacher was put on leave from the second period of Social Sciences

Courtesy of Folha Vitória

The dean of Ufes, Reinaldo Centoducatte, talked to the press on the afternoon of Wednesday (05)

The Federal University of Espírito Santo (Ufes) decided to open an administrative process to determine the conduct of the teacher from the Department of Economics, accused of racism. The process can take up to 90 days.

On Wednesday (05), the dean of UFES Reinaldo Centoducatte, reported that the teacher was on leave from the second period of Social Sciences, in which he positioned himself against the quota system.

According to the dean, if the investigation confirms the allegations made by the students, the teacher may have up to three types of sanctions: verbal warning, a notice in the register of university professors, or exoneration.

According Centoducatte, “the professor is completely wrong to say that cotistas are not good students.” He also stressed that UFES not admit any kind of prejudice.

“Between a black and a white doctor, I would choose to be treated by a white one.”

By Elton Lyrio

Professor Manoel Luiz Malaguti
Professor Manoel Luiz Malaguti

UFES professor accused of racism by students said that phrase was distorted and argues that there is no prejudice in opting for a white one. “There is no racism in it. I’m just trying to show the difficulty of the professional who is not white. I am defending the oppressed.”

“The controversy follows me in the university,” admits Professor Manoel Luiz Malaguti, of the Department of Economics, at the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Ufes).

He admitted to have responded to processes at the university, denied racist statements, but admitted he would indeed rather be seen by a white doctor than a black doctor.

He is a native of Rio de Janeiro, a professor at UFES for 20 years and worked in Lisbon and did a PhD in France. The professor – who does not reveal the age “in order to not insert the generation gap” in the controversy – criticized quotas, but said cotistas need “nurturing”.

Manoel, who considers himself a liberal professor, records the classes and assesses students for their participation, said the complaint came after applying a test as “punishment” because the students read little. See the interview:

Did you really say that you would detest being attended by a black doctor?

I didn’t say that. In the midst of a discussion about quotas and the educational system, I put it that if I had to choose between two doctors, one white and one black with the same resume, I would choose the white one. Because the white, on average, statistically speaking, was born into a better off family, consequently he has access to more advanced communications, in other languages. He participated in cultural activities, traveled. He is a type of student who has a requirement that sees the university in a way. Blacks, on average, come from underprivileged societies. And in this sense does not have a primary socialization in the family that makes them receptive. They have much more difficulties in following certain expositions. We as professors have to do double work and speak in a language that pervades in all strata of society.

Do not you think that this is a prejudiced view?

No. I think it’s pretty realistic. The biology and genetics tell us that by the age of seven neural connections are already all established. Whatever happens after this phase is an influence of reason, thought, trying to change the concepts and prejudices acquired in this key period. There is greater difficulty in the black cotista (quota student). Not that they are inferior. He was simply born into a state of social inequality in relation to other white students who are not cotistas.

But you don’t believe a black doctor can be a good professional?

I don’t believe it. It’s possible as an exception. On average, whites are professionals from a privileged social strata; all the research shows that for the same work blacks earn less. And, earning less cannot one cannot perfect themselves in the same manner as whites. They can, in the margin of error for research. There isn’t any natural inferiority between black and white. We all have something of black, white, yellow (Asian)…On average, the black physician has a greater difficulty to achieve the same level of white doctors who probably already received the consultation of their parents and have a clientele formed. This privilege of the middle class to be able to travel, buy books, perfect themselves, to eat better, that’s what makes me think to look at the two resumes (and) prefer the white one.

Are you against quotas? What has to be done as a policy of inclusion?

I am against it. It is putting the cart before the horse. You cannot put in the university those who have no previous evaluations, if you imagine the problem of automatic promotion at junior high and high school. People who have not suffered the same as other people, who have been evaluated, tested and passed.

But the fact that the university is not open to these people would not be running the risk of creating a vicious cycle that perpetuates discrimination?

This would perpetuate if there were no policies for the family. The problem is to solve the lack of social conditions of the families. If they can take a less insipid education, they will not need quotas.

Note from BW of Brazil: This guy’s logic is incredible. And he’s a college professor? He doesn’t see the racism in choosing one candidate over another, both having equal resumes, simply because one is white and the other black? Even beyond his racist sentiments I wanted to at least understand his logic but it just doesn’t make sense. In offering services as a doctor or lawyer, what does one’s travel experience and perhaps speaking a different language have to do with this? The issue is not world experience, it would be providing medical or legal services. This professor proves the mythology of yet another widespread Brazilian myth; the one that says that once a Brazilian of African descent attains education, middle class status and a good salary, discrimination and racism are no longer problems. 

Source: Gazeta Online, Folha Vitória, Gazeta Online (2)


1. There are a number of good studies on this topic. In The Hour of Eugenics: Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1991), Nancy Leys Stepan covers these ideologies in Brazil as well as in other Latin American countries.

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


  1. This racist white Professor needs to be removed from his job. In the United States, if whites engage in racism against non-whites, they are punished!

  2. I’m black and i’d rather be seen by a white doctor than a black doctor in Brazil? Why? As this man said, whites on average have to work harder than those let in by quotas, thus more competence. Nothing racist about that. Cut the liberal crap, work and study hard and stop relying on government assistance.

    • Ridiculous. The man said the two have equal resumes! What is the difference? Quotas to get into college is one thing. But studies show that quota students often achieve equally OR BETTER than non-quota students.

      So, in this case, PLEASE explain to me the difference between the two! Liberal nothing.

      • Exactly! You don’t just enter and they hand you a degree, you still have to complete the work. You still have to go through the rigors of medical and law school and pass the standard board exams. Who can become a lawyer without passing the bar, or who can become a medical doctor without passing the state exam?

        Ppl make some effed up statement thinking they makes sense. The Quotas can only get your foot in the door, but you have to DO the work and pass the exams. If someone hooked you up on a job opportunity, you have to go through the interview process and complete the 3 months probation before you finally get the perks of the job, and considered legitimately with the company. If you are a lawyer or a doctor it means you have completed the full course in university, and passed the requisite national board exams in place. White lawyers or doctors are NOT better than any other graduate, it’s the same course of study that every person has to complete.

    • LOL! The idea that (upper class) white people here work “really hard” – particularly if they are from an upper class family – is a complete JOKE! They are dumb as h*ll – at least they tend to be where I live. We also have to remember that, since CREMESP started applying the voluntary exam for new doctors, which is very similar to the exam foreigners are expected to take when they work here, they have had a 50% – 65% FAIL rate! I do not need to remind you that the vast majority of these doctors are WHITE! Private school students – most of whom are white – basically spend a lifetime preparing for the vestibular exam and nothing else. Try engaging one of them in conversation about…well… ANYTHING! You will see how dumb these medical jokes are. It is the reason why Cuban doctors – most of whom have 5 – 10 years of experience – are magically able to go into areas with poor infrastructure and STILL give basic family care, while the (mostly white) Brazilian “doctors” whine about the lack of x-ray machines, or how living in the countryside just ain’t cute. And don’t even get me started on on how 90% of the births in the country (at least among upperclass white people) are by c-section , the lack of BASIC diagnostic ability when they leave “medical school”, or the questionable ethics of the average doctor here. Most of them (yes, MOST of them) complete JOKE!

      There are also studies from Brasilia – where quotas have existed for the better part of the last decade – demonstrate that the majority of the “cotistas” either perform as well as or better than “non-cotistas” at university. There is also a lower overall dropout rate among cotistas. Cotistas have something to prove. The typical white, upperclass student (i.e. THE MAJORITY of “doctors” in Brazil), have nothing to prove and are largely unregulated after they get their “medical degree”, following 6 years of medical training.

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