“I know I look white, but I’m actually black”: Coletivo Negrada denounces 40 cases of fraud in racial quotas at Federal University of Espírito Santo



Note from BW of Brazil: Yet another controversy has arisen in the drama that is race relations in Brazil. It involves a topic that has been a regularly covered subject here: the question of affirmative action and quotas. As has been pointed out in numerous posts throughout the life of this blog, affirmative action/quotas is not the cause of a racism that has existed in Brazil since Africans, Europeans and Amerindians first began con-existing in the nation that would later be christened Brazil (as some would have us believe) but rather the issue has simply brought more open dialogue, debate, affirmation and continued denial of the effects of racism in the society. And as Brazil is a country that is known for its centuries of miscegenation, the results of these racial mixtures can be seen in the faces of its everyday citizens, which became one of the prime arguments for why racial quotas won’t work in Brazil in the same way that it has worked in other societies, simply because it would be difficult to define where blackness ends and where whiteness begin.

As such, controversies such as the one featured in today’s posts are, in fact, not surprising. As we’ve seen, many white, middle-upper class Brazilians have expressed a desire/need to remain atop the racial/social hierarchy  (an underlying message of recent anti-President Dilma Rousseff protests) and as people will generally do whatever is necessary to remain or attain this status, deception should be expected. And that is exactly what has been happening. We’ve only featured the incidents of ‘racial fraud’ in order to take advantage of racial quotas on two occasions (see here and here) but over the years there have been numerous other cases, so much so that the courts had to declare that a candidate must look black in order to be considered for affirmative action policies. Apparently about 40 or so people in the state of Espírito Santo didn’t hear about this decision!

Coletivo Negrada denounces 40 cases of fraud in racial quotas

By Iara Diniz

Those approved in UFES by the college entrance exam this year lied in self-declaration of race

Coletivo Negrada exposed several cases of fraud in racial identity to take advantage of affirmative action policies

Members of the Coletivo (collective) such as as Mirtes Santos and João Victor Santos, have received complaints against white students who entered through the quota system

A list of 40 names of students suspected of fraud in their ethno-racial self-declaration in the vestibular (college entrance exam), was referred to the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) and the Ombudsman of the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES).

Grupo denuncia fraude em cota da Ufes
Federal University of Espírito Santo

The allegations were made by the Coletivo Negrada, based on social network profiles of those approved. For the representatives, the listed names don’t meet the criteria to benefit from quotas in the selection process of UFES.

“The Facebook photos make it clear that they do not have negro or pardo (brown) features, but declared themselves as such. Many of them we know personally and we know that they are not included in the quotas,” said the Coletivo militant João Victor dos Santos, 21.

Mirtes Santos e João Victor Santos
Coletivo Negrada activists Mirtes Santos and João Victor Santos

Despite the 40 students denounced, other names are being raised by the collective, which has the help of several university students that passed the examinations this year. “We are still receiving many denouncements, including white students that are reporting colleagues and friends who defrauded in their self-declaration. Some even made fake profiles to denounce them without compromising themselves. Most cases are in Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry courses, highly contested at UFES. We have informed the University and the public prosecutor that the list is greater than what we forwarded. There are many cases,” he said.


“White: False declaration is a crime!!!!” – Coletivo Negrada

To receive freshmen of UFES, the Coletivo Negrada prepared a reception for students on Tuesday (1), starting at 8pm at the Cine Metrópole, at the University. “We have partnered with some courses so that freshmen participate in debates and workshops that will be offered. It is an event open to all students, but mainly address issues important to cotistas (quota students) within the university,” said João Victor.

Among the topics of discussion is fraud in racial quotas and the role of the collective in the denouncements of students. “Let’s talk about self-declaration and identidade negra (black identity). We want to welcome the cotistas at the University, make them feel represented by the movement. It’s a way to show that we will continue denouncing and we have the strength to do so,” concluded the activist.

“51% of the population is black. And the other has double the opportunities” – “False self-declaration is a crime!” – Article 299 CP

“There is no doubt that there are false declarations”

For the president of Comissão de Igualdade Racial da Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil no Espírito Santo (OAB-ES or Commission of Racial Equality of the Order of Lawyers of Brazil in Espírito Santo), Patrícia Silveira, there is no doubt that there is fraud in the self-declarations. She stressed the importance of an investigation by the university and the public prosecutor. “If it is characterized that there are false statements, these people need to be punished. These are vacancies of students who are really negros, pardos and índios (Indians) being taken. You take the opportunity from someone who is beneficiary of the quotas,” she said.

The lawyer defends the establishment of a commission, as at other universities, to prevent fraud in quotas from happening. “What is being done today, roughly, is to select through photos, phenotypes of people who could be cheating or not. Hence the importance of the commission, which upon receiving the denouncements, would evaluate those that proceed or not because there are cases of pardos who are not so simple to define,” she noted.

The Federal Public Ministry said it is analyzing the representations.

Students may be disconnected from UFES

If fraud in racial self-declarations is confirmed, students who committed irregularities will have their registrations cancelled and will be dismissed from the University, according to UFES.

Through a statement, the central administration of the institution explained that an administrative process was initiated to verify if “from the legal and factual point of view, the facts in the denouncements classified as fraudulent actually took place,” cites the note.

After the legal process, which will be reviewed by the Federal Attorney of the Attorney General by UFES, appropriate action will be taken, which may include the expulsion of students.

“If after due process, in which a full defense and the right to the contradictory of the accused will be guaranteed, violation of Federal Law of Reserve of Vacancies and of the Resolution of the University that establish vacancies a system of reservation of vacancies in the Selection Process of UFES was found, students who have committed irregularities will have their registrations canceled, with the consequent termination from the University,” concluded the note.

Source: Gazeta Online

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


  1. Como vão provar que essas pessoas não são negras? Their parents could both be pardos and the students just have very light skin. Who is to say that he/she doesn’t consider themselves black?

    • This is classic convenience denial that happens in Brazil, when it comes to Black people having any sort of benefit. It is also classc Brazilian “white” people cheating to take advantage of a system that is already insanely in their favor. You must not forget that it is the people who LOOK Black, rather than those who FEEL Black, that are discriminated against the most. Please quit feigning ignorance on this issue.

      • I’m not feigning ignorance. Não sou brasileira!! I’m trying to understand how they are going to prove he is not afro-descendente. What does it mean exactly to “look black”? How dark does the person have to be? What about someone who is darker than him and not so obvious? How is the distinction to be made?

  2. @Celeste – you are going to need to educate yourself a lot more on this issue before we can have a serious discussion. I would suggest that you begin your education on this very site! On the right hand side of this page, you will find articles archived by subject matter. Go find the one called “racism” and look at all the Black people in Brazil who have suffered from racism because they are clearly Black. Get back to me in about 6 months!

  3. Ok. I’m done. I have educated myself quite a bit on the issue for the last 30 years, and a lot more than just reading articles on a blog. Of course I don’t know everything, and I’m not Brazilian, so I followed this blog to keep learning. But I really don’t want to be insulted every time I question something. I’m just not going to bother anymore. Good luck.

    • WOW! You have been educating yourself for 30 years and you STILL are not clear about who is and is not Black in the world (and the rules in Latin America are the same as they are everywhere else in the world – despite some Latin American’s pretending that it is somehow different in those countries)! Yeah, maybe it is time for you to just call it a day! Boa sorte pra vc tambem!

    • Bama is shoot to kill and you unwillingly hit a nerve… 🙂

      Let me try to give you a constructive answer…

      The problem with your statement (and I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way) is that it’s related the very old myth of we can’t know for sure who is
      black in Brazil due to the strong miscegenation. This is simply not true, it’s usually, with very few exceptions easy to tell who is black and who is not in
      Brazil. The theoretical exercise you’re making of imagining light skinned blacks being not considered black is not what happens in this cases. The few complains
      I have seen, the guys had a clear white phenotype. In his particular case they’re talking about 40, sounds like a lot and would be interesting to see if there are any “borderlines” in this list. You probably remember the case about the twins (one was considered black and the other white) but I don’t think their case is very typical, and in any case the “white” brother won the right to auto-declare himself black. I don’t think these are the cases that infuriate the black movement but the absurd ones, like that doctor from the other post.

      There is also a slight difference between who can pass as black for the quota system in Brazil as compared to the US. For example, I think people like Camilla Pitanga, Ronaldo “Fenomeno”, etc should not be able to benefit from this system, but you (I assume you’re American?) would perhaps disagree. The point is that they are not the people who racial discrimination is targeted in Brazil. If you pay attention to all racists incidents that were discussed in this blog you will notice that the people appearing are unquestionably black. I’m not saying people without admixture. Someone looking like Obama is black in Brazil as well, does not matter the 50% white.

      Very instructive about this subject I recommend this documentary:

      • 😀 She didn’t hit a nerve. I was just incredulous that someone could have studied this topic for 30 years and still be so ignorant! As I said before, if I’m gonna have a real discussion, I must have a solid foundation to work with, rather than someone who says “I’ve been studying the same thing for 30 years and am still clueless about what any of the information means in practical terms” (which is, essentially, what that lady claimed)! Great video though!

      • Hey PTR! You made some good points here and, to a certain degree, I agree. There are cases in which light-skinned so-called ‘pardos’ face blatant discrimination as well, but on the surface level, usually this type of racism is reserved for darker-skinned people. It seems to be that light-skinned persons of African descent often face more of the subtle type of racism. A racism that they must be very racially conscious to perceive. There are cases on this blog where lighter-skinned black people also face blatant racism but it be a little dishonest if we didn’t admit that the more African one looks, the more they are subject to blatant racism. For me, Ronaldo, despite his light skin, is clearly black. I have never seen a photo of him where he looks white. This was even more true when he let his hair grow! Camila Pitanga, I don’t think she looks white and I think she uses techniques to make herself look whiter. In photos of her from the early 2000s, I think her African ancestry was more prominent. But even today, she often has a look that Americans would classify as “Latina”. White? I don’t think so.

  4. What?? is 51% of the populationblack?? totally wrong.

    Brazilian Population IBGE 2010
    White: 91.051.646
    Brown/Mestizo: 82.277.333
    Black: 14.517.961
    Asian: 2.084.288
    Indigenous: 817.963 (and more than 200.000 in urban areas),then more than 1.000.000.

    I’m a Brazilian mestizo, brown. (Indigenous Brazilian and French/Spanish)

    • Again, you sound like one of those folks in Brazil who DESPERATELY does not want to considered BLACK! You know what? ” Brown/Mestizo/Pardo/Mulato/etc.” are all synonyms for “discernably Black” or “potentially Black”! The labels “Brown/ Mestizo” can include any combination of all of the races under the rainbow. In practical terms, though, many of these people are just different shades of Black. By your definition, President Obama is “Brown, Mestizo”, but in the eyes of the world, he is BLAAAAAACK (thus, I have NEVER EVER EVER read an article about America’s first Brown/Mestizo/Pardo/Mulato president)! This is why your official census reports that 51% percent of you fall under the category of Black:
      That you are a Brown person who is not descended from Africans does not negate the millions of Brown/Mestizo people in your country who ARE descended from Africans, and are smart enough to know that they are!

      • Obama is mixed…Not Black! All blacks in America don’t subscribe to the one-drop rule as many assume. Mulattos in the US are not liked as much as many assume. Whites use them to foster all sorts of strife in our race by placing them above real blacks. Obama was raised by his white mother and grandparents. His worldview is very much Eurocentric in nature. Don’t assume it’s peaches and creams between blacks and mulattos Stateside…Not So!

      • I don’t think we should really count people who are brown/mestizo/ pardo or mulato as black, especially if these are people going out of their way and bending over to classify themselves as anything but black. How does it benefit the real black people to try to drag and force a bunch of mixed race people into being black? You realize this is part of the problem, you want to call the pardos, mulatos and mixed people black, but don’t you see that they will use this as an excuse to steal the spots of real black people who actually look black and face discrimination for being black that the government has set aside to help actual black people.

  5. Gatas, whenever someone puts a link to a youtube video in this blog the text becomes totally messed up…. It would be better to have just the link and not the video window.

      • It looks OK on my phone, but on my laptop the text enters the side bar and I cant’ read it.

        But to clarify my point.. I didn’t say Camilla Pitanga and Ronaldo were white but in the “unquestionably black” side of things, neither of them are and the main topic here is the question of quotas. Again I think neither of them would enter and I wouldn’t be surprised actually if someone looking just like them are one of these denounced cases. I’m sure you have already watched that PBS document and the “blond” girl is to me more black them than. I think the quotas should not be available for those who can “opt out” of blackness by simply avoiding the sun, shaving or straightening the hair and with the “right” choice of clothes.

        The argument that these people still suffers subtle racism is of course true, but it’s not in the same proportion as real blacks in Brazil. Any small deviation from whiteness is always punished but no system will fix that. The quotas in my opinion should be granted to individuals who are in massive disadvantage and someone who CAN look like Pitanga (below) in Brazil is not. This is simply not accessible to all and I fear this program could be in danger if we don’t set the bar higher.

  6. This is why they encourage mixing so much in Brazil, the colorblind racists always have an excuse to post up in our affairs. It’s called Embedding. Non-blacks in Brazil can just morph into a negro or negra simply because their phenotype is similar enuf to pass in the eyes of the elite. Don’t get bogged down with the mulatto insanity, it just opens the door wider for this racial theft. Amazing how others obsess over who we are, to the point of taking our identify…Woooow!

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