Note from BW of Brazil: The implementation of quotas in Brazil’s public universities has been one of the most hotly debated topics in the nation’s history. On the one hand, millions of citizens believe the policy not to be fair. These people believe that entrance into universities should be based solely on entrance exam test scores and discriminate against those who attain high scores. Many also argue that in a racially mixed country such as Brazil, it would be impossible to establish such a system based on race. They further argue that any quota system shouldn’t be based on race but rather class background.
On the other hand, millions believe that as people who pass these exams usually come from the richer classes in which well-off parents can pay for the best and most costly private schools to ensure the entrance of their children, an advantage that people from poorer backgrounds don’t have, it’s only fair that a system of quotas evens up the competition. And as class lines in Brazil are so strongly associated with race/skin color, college campuses are overwhelmingly white and as such a class-based quota system may not effectively even up the color representation on college campuses. Recent studies have shown that, given the opportunity, quota students often perform as well or better than non-quota students. Those in favor of racial quotas also argued that determining race in Brazil isn’t as difficult as many believe. The “haves” and “have nots” in Brazil are clearly divided between white (or something close to white) and black (or black and brown if you prefer).
But since the system of affirmative action began more than a decade ago, we’ve seen numerous cases of persons who would normally be considered white (even as some of them would be considered white only in Brazil) define themselves as black in order to take advantage of the quota system (see here, here and here). The thinking here is, having recent or distant African ancestry (that millions of white Brazilians can claim) would make these persons black even if they’ve generally always considered themselves white. The black students organization known as the Coletivo Negrada (loosely translated as the ‘blackened collective’) have challenged these false declarations, with many members pointing out the absurdity of claiming another race because they have the ancestry of the opposite race even though they are generally seen as belonging to the one whose physical appearance they more clearly approximate. And the controversy continues…The story below.
Coletivo Negrada launches campaign against fraud in racial quotas
Since the vestibular (college entrance exam) of 2013, the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES) has adopted a policy of racial quotas. It’s worth noting that the UFES was one of the last universities to adopt such a policy.
After the first vestibular, it was already possible to see the change in the university profile. The students, cotistas (affirmative action students), who occupied the university in this period always demanded from the institution policies that actually meet their needs.
These being: the enegrecimento (blackening) of the curriculum, which crosses academic space; policies of permanence; the end of institutional racism; among others. As in federal competitions, racial quotas are given by mean of self-declaration, but during the last exam, 2016, there was a significant number of complaints that candidates defrauded the system of racial quotas.
It is understood that the university needs to rethink its organization according to the needs of the population which it must meet, however with respect to the demands of the black population there are no proposals, in order that such cases don’t become frequent, hindering entry of black and indigenous students.
It is expected of UFES not only measures to punish candidates who acted in bad faith, as well as changes in a curriculum that doesn’t present diversity. Until recently, the University also held the division of students/classes between cotistas and non-cotistas, that after many complaints and demands changed this organization.
The omission of the institution in the process of false declarations silences an entire population that, for years, fought for inclusion. And affirms, for young blacks, that this space is not ours.
Given the omission of the Federal University of Espirito Santo – UFES in the investigation and steps in relations to fraud and blindfold of justice that prevents our Ministério Público (public prosecutors) to act with justifications and legal grounds for the non-enforcement of the law and the guarantee of the right of the black and indigenous population to inclusion and access to higher education through affirmative action policies of the Lei de Cotas Raciais (Racial Quota Law), we now divulge our campaign Against Fraud in Racial Quotas occurring in the 1/16 vestibular of UFES and denounced to the MPF-ES, which until then, refused to take appropriate legal measures to curb the practice of crimes and usurpation of others’ rights.
# DeclaraçãoFalsaéCrime!!! (false declaration is a crime)
# AutodeclaraçãoFalsaéCrime !!! (false self-declaration is a crime)
“Misrepresentations: Art. 299 – Omit, in public or private document, declaration that it should contain, or in it enter or insert false or diverse statement that must be written, in order to harm rights, create obligations or alter the truth about a legally relevant fact: … “
Four. Geane é graduada em Letras e é estudante de Pedagogia da UFES – Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo.
Source: Coletivo Negrada