Suzane had everything to be a great babysitter, cleaning woman or maid (as Brazil expects of black women). But she wanted to be a doctor!

suzane pereira da silva doctor edit
suzane pereira da silva doctor edit
Suzane Pereira Da Silva - doctor.edit
“The big house freaks out when (those from) the slave house becomes a doctor”

“Suzane had everything to be a great babysitter, cleaning woman or maid. But she wanted to be a doctor, earned a scholarship from Prouni (with quotas for blacks) and know that this “opportunity” is not a favor but a “right”! Suzane wants to see more black men and women practicing medicine as well. And it annoys the people that “batem panela” (beat on pots and pans in protests).

Sorry, Casa Grande (Big House). But Suzane will not go back to the senzala (slave quarters).”

Note from BW of Brazil: The type of story we love here at Black Women of Brazil! This story was shared by nearly 6,000 people and “liked” by 7,600 as of late afternoon today. And for good reason! Why? Black doctors are still an extreme minority in Brazil as a whole and recent numbers from São Paulo, the country’s economic engine, bear this out very well (see story below). Of course, black doctors DO exist, but they are still few and far between especially in comparison to those working in manual labor. And the fact is, due to the stigma associated with blackness in Brazil, this is exactly where most people expect to find black Brazilians working.  

Renan Zaramella - doctor
Renan Zaramella was the only black medical student in his class of 115.

How do we know this? It’s pretty obvious from the comments people make and reactions that people have when they meet Afro-Brazilians in places and positions that stereotypes don’t allow them to believe that they belong there. Such was the case of the professor of pharmacology who was restricted from entering a luxury hotel in which she would later receive a prestigious award because she was believed to have been Carnaval dancer. Or another black woman who was offered a job as a maid in the ritzy apartment building where she lives.  Or the journalist who was asked if the lady of the house was in as she cleaned her own house

In summary, although it remains to be true that white Brazilians are the vast majority of elites (82%), with continuous access to education and thus better lives, we hope to see a balancing of this statistic sometime in the near future. 

Por que São Paulo só forma médico branco-Q

Why does São Paulo only graduate white doctors?

Courtesy of  Pragmatismo Político

Blacks account for less than 1% of new doctors trained in São Paulo. “In my class, which has 115 students, I’m the only black. I have a Prouni scholarship and I think the policies of democratization of  access to education help, but they are still insufficient,” said the medical student.

Only 0.9% of the approximately 3,000 new doctors trained last year in the State of São Paulo are black, reveal unpublished data from the Regional Council of Medicine (Cremesp) obtained by the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. The number is lower than the average of the black population in the state, 6.42% (1), considering the latest data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

The profile of graduates of state medical courses was made by Cremesp based on data provided by the newly graduated in the last obligatory annual review of the organ, made at the end of last year. The statistics also show that most recent graduates are women of the upper social class.

According to Cremesp data, while only 0.9% of new doctors are black, 85% say they are branco (white), while the average of this population in São Paulo is 63%. On the issue of gender, 56.6% of new doctors are female, a higher number than the proportion of gender observed in the state, where 51.3% of the population are women, according to data from 2014 SEADE.

The survey also reveals that 47% of graduates in the state’s medical schools have monthly family income greater than 20 minimum wages, equivalent to R$15,760. In the general population of São Paulo, only 3% of residents are in that income range.


For medical students and professionals that have already graduated, the low number of black physicians and from poor families in the market is not surprising. “In my class, which has 115 students, I am the only black. I have a Prouni scholarship and I think the policies of democratization of access to education help, but they are still insufficient,” says Renan Zaramella dos Santos, 23, a 4th year medical student at the School of Medical Sciences of Santa Casa of São Paulo, where the monthly course is R$4,800.

Resident physician at the Hospital São Paulo and graduated from the School of Medicine of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), Alysson Ferreira Batista, 35, said she felt racial prejudice from peers and professors during college and after graduation.

“It was common other doctors address me as if I were the X-ray technician or nursing assistant, as if a black person couldn’t be a doctor,” says Batista.


President Cremesp, Bráulio Luna Filho says that the characteristics and the price of a medical course increase this inequality. “It’s a very long, full time course, which on average costs R$6,000 a month. This is already expensive for the middle class, imagine for those in the poorest section of the population,” he says, advocating the maintenance and expansion of government student financing policies and quotas.

For Frei David, executive coordinator of the NGO Educafro, it’s necessary to review quota policies in high demand courses. “In these courses, such as medicine, there must be a still larger policy of inclusion, with more openings for cotistas (quota students). This is necessary to correct a distortion. If we analyze the proportion of students of each color in these colleges, it’s a schizophrenic Brazil, which does not reflect the reality of its people.”

SourcePragmatismo Político


  1. It is important to note here that this figure (6.42%) represents only the population defined as preto (black). Usually, to analyze social statistics of the população negra (black population) in Brazil, two groups, pretos and pardos (browns) are added together. Pardos in the state represent about 30% of the population, and as such, adding these two figures together would bring the percentage of São Paulo state’s população negra to about 36%. This would mean that about 14% of newly graduated doctors in the state last year defined themselves as pardos. In this context, although both Renan and Suzane in the material above identify themselves as black, they could both be classified as brown by some people.
About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. Growing up back in the day, didn’t see many black doctors either. Of course they existed, but, not very visible. Today, interacting with a black doctor/nurse/technician is routine. Blacks from all over come to the US to attend medical school. Some stay, but, many return to home countries to serve their respective communities. Brazil is gonna get right with its black citizens… Laws of Karma! Not a matter of if , it’s gonna happen!

  2. If Brazil don’t want to train them, then let them go to Cuba. The medical training is free there as long as they have their marks, all they would have to worry about is shelter and food The language is close enough so it would not be so hard for them to study in Spanish. Brazil wants to set up situations to frustrate ambitious students and kill their drive, don’t fall for the master plan to keep blacks an underclass.

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