Do Brazilians really believe ‘we are all equal’?: Video shows different reactions to almost identical photos with the only difference being skin color

Left: “relaxing” – Right: “On the prowl”

Note from BW of Brazil: How many more examples do need proving how perceptions of race function in Brazilian society? I mean, we’ve seen hundreds of academic studies, we’ve heard the experiences of Afro-Brazilians and we’ve unofficial tests that, while they don’t present expert opinions, they nonetheless provide insight into how Brazilians really think in terms of race and ideologies underneath all of the “we are all equal” rhetoric that so many utter automatically when more proof of racist views are exposed. 

Let me the first to say here that this 2 minute video may have benefited from being a little longer. I, for one, would have liked to have seen the raw video that was edited down to the final version. Why? Because even with this blog having covered so many instances of racism and racist views, it is still somewhat startling to see how people actually come to such conclusions simply based on race. Don’t get me wrong, I know and have thoroughly documented “the mind of the Brazilian” when the subject is race, but sometimes it’s still unbelievable. I mean really, a black man running has to be a thief? A black man in a suit must work in security? I guess those billboards we saw back in June still hold true! It just goes to show, once again, that even if/when black Brazilians climb to social ladder, stereotypes will continue to express the idea that they don’t “have the face of a judge/doctor/university student”, etc. 

What this little video shows is that Brazil continues to reserve a certain “place” for its black citizens and perceptions behind who are associated with these places won’t be changing any time soon. (See transcript of the video translated into English at bottom of article)


Video shows several reactions to almost identical photos in which the only difference is the color of the skin

Courtesy of Administradores

A campaign commissioned by the Government of the state of Paraná has sparked debates about racism. The campaign, titled “Teste de Imagem” (Image Test), shows two groups of professionals in the area of Human Resources and their reactions – allegedly spontaneous – in front of images that show the daily lives of anonymous people.


The difference is that each photo had two versions: in the first group, Aryan people were displayed in everyday situations. In the other group, the same situations were performed by black people. The reactions of the interviewees were absolutely disparate – for example, a white man in a suit was classified as an executive, while a black man was defined as security or a personal driver/chauffeur.


The campaign’s proposal is to draw attention to the institutional and veiled racism that exists in Brazil. According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), 82.6% of blacks say that their skin color influences their search for job opportunities; The Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (Dieese) shows that they have an average income of 37% lower than that of white professionals, account for 60.6% of the unemployed and only 18% are in leadership positions.

The video posted on Facebook already has more than 7 million views. Some users question the veracity of the campaign and claim that the whole situation previously set up with actors. As participants’ faces remain hidden, there is no way to ensure that what is said in the audio was said during the meeting. But the Government of Paraná page guarantees that the test was real and wasn’t manipulated in any way.


“The Teste de Imagem is a real experiment, which took place on November 10th at a Focus Group room in Curitiba, the capital city. Participating in the test were real HR professionals who were divided into two distinct groups and that gave spontaneous opinions to the images presented by the mediator of the experiment,” the page claims.


The campaign, also divulged in print media and on the website, was carried out in partnership with the Assessoria Especial da Juventude e com o Conselho Estadual de Promoção da Igualdade Racial (Special Advisory for Youth and the State Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality). The agency responsible for the piece is Master Comunicação.


In early 2015, an advertising campaign in Lithuania struck millions of people by demonstrating what people felt – or appeared to feel – in the face of racial violence. See the video below.

Transcript of video in English

We invited RH professionals to the a test.
We divided them into two groups
“Thank you very much for coming.”

Group 1

“I will show some photos to you all and I want you to tell me what see in this photo.”

Photo: white man running
“He’s late”, “He’s in a hurry”,

Photo: Asian woman holding a jacket
“And this one?”
“She’s fashion designer”, “She’s choosing chothes to buy”

Photo: White man in suit and tie
“Executive. He could be in the financial sector, he could work in the Human Resources”

“Another” (photo)
Photo: white man, wearing hat and casual striped shirt cutting a bush outdoors

“I think that it’s a guy taking care of the garden at his house”, “Right, certainly he doesn’t have the face of being worker at the house, no.”

Photo: White woman doing something o a kitchen counter

“She’s cleaning her house, she’s cleaning the sink”,

Photo: White woman wearing a hood and sunglasses spray painting outdoors

“I think she’s a grafitti artist. She has the manner of a grafitti artist. Grafitti is an art, it’s not vandalism, no.”

Group 2: We show the same photos…But with black people

“What do you see in this image?”

Photo: Black woman spray painting a wall outdoors

“Someone defacing the wall”, “someone who defaces walls with grafitti”

Photo: Black woman in kitchen, wearing rubber gloves, apparently cleaning the counter.

“She’s an unskilled laborer; cleaning the house”, “a maid”.

Photo: Black man with casual striped shirt, cutting a bush outdoors.

“He’s a gardner”

Photo: Black man in suit and tie

“Well, he reminds me of mall security”, “A personal driver/chaffeur”

Photo: Black woman holding a jacket

“She’s a salesperson, or could be seamstress”

Photo: Black man running

“Seems to be a person escaping”, “a thief”

The name of this is institutional racism.

Source: Administradores

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


  1. I do not doubt that’s how Brazilians think. But, the “test” does not look legit to me (looks more like it has been staged with paid actors).

  2. I just nominated you for the ‘Three Quotes for Three Days’ challenge.

    The rules of the challenge are:
    1. Three quotes for three days.
    2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
    3. Thank the person who nominated you.
    4. Inform the nominees.
    And it doesn’t have to be three successive days.

  3. I agree that the tape could be longer, but it’s hardly surprising. What intrigues me is how such a test might play out if the people questioned came from a variety of races, including black people, and if it were carried out 1) across Brazil; 2) across Latin American countries with significant black populations; 3) in the US; 4) in South Africa; and 5) in European countries with significant black populations. Perhaps a sociologist with some funding might try this out. I’d be curious to see how the different participants and the differing regions compared to each other.

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