Note from BW of Brazil: Anyone who has studied sociology or statistics knows that stats and numbers on various topics can be twisted or presented in different manners, while highlighting some and hiding others. Well, according to one analyst, behind the smoke screen of social progress emerges a little detail that most Brazilian mainstream media has covered up or at least ignored. In the past year or so, there have been a number of reports showing the growth of Brazil’s middle class which was overwhelmingly spurred on by the large scale ascension of black Brazilians. While there are a number of social critics/scientists who have questioned exactly how middle class is defined, another study, broken down by race shows an interesting little detail that is a glaring opposite view of this class ascension. In other words, there are still plenty of black Brazilians who would would ask, “what social ascension?”
Study shows a 15% increase in the number of blacks living extreme poverty
From the newsroom of Afropress
By doing an analysis of recent data released by the Pesquisa Nacional de Amostras por Domicílio (PNAD or National Research by Household Sample (2012), IBGE, the consultant of the Senate and former Executive Secretary of the Secretaria Especial de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial da Presidência da República (SEPPIR or Special Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality of the Presidency), Mário Lisboa Theodoro, confirmed a fact that did not appear on the major news media, or in government propaganda: while between 2002 and 2012, the “Programa Brasil Sem Miséria” (Brazil Without Poverty Program) has taken 22 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty – the majority of them, black – it was precisely in this period that the participation of blacks among the poor grew by 15%.
“This means that the white population is being served first, leaving the black population behind. Such an occurrence is mainly due to the fact that the distributional profile of the poor makes it so that the white population is concentrated more closely at the exit borders,” he said.
Extreme poverty, according to international criteria adopted by the Government, are people with per capita income equal to or less than R$70.00 – just over US$30 (per month). According to the economist, of the 22 million that came out of this condition, between 65 and 70% black.
Mário Theodoro said it is possible to prove this situation by observing the evolution of the poor by race/color and gender. “Between 2002 and 2012, the share of the white population of the poor fell 19.6% while the share of the black population rose 8.2%. When we make the cut by gender and race/color, we observed that the reduction was greater in the case of white men, whose share fell 22.4%, followed by white women whose participation among the poor fell 17%. As for the case of the black population, the largest increase was experienced by black women, whose participation among the poor grew 10.6%, while in the case of black men this percentage rose 5.9%,” he said.
According to the analyst, the numbers of the PNAD 2012 confirm the difficulty of universal policies in a racist social context as in Brazil. “As a rule, the task of bringing the government’s actions to the general population runs into the reality, into the objective conditions of existence of the people. Among the poor, blacks are the poorest, and as such, live in faraway places, surviving through the most precarious activities and are in positions of greater social fragility. And even their contact with government action is hampered. It is a recurring phenomenon in our country. The first addressed by public policies, even those directed to the most needy, have always been groups of white people,” he added.
These findings, according to Theodoro, “reinforce the need for public action to confront the issue of race, especially in the form of Affirmative Action as an indispensable complement to the classic social policies and policies to combat poverty and misery.” “In a society that historically coexists with racism, if these racial filters were not combated with the adoption of affirmative action, the results are will always tilt toward the non-discriminated group. And the state will remain functioning as one more element potentiating racial disparities. We could even eradicate poverty and misery, without, however, putting an end to inequality,” he concluded.