skip to content

Latin American Anti-racism in a 'Post-Racial' Age - LAPORA


In Brazil, racial inequalities coexist with a state system in which black organizations actively participate in proposing multiculturalist public laws and policies. Black mobilizations made the Federal Constitution of 1988 criminalize racism; that in 1995 President Fernando Henrique Cardoso publicly admitted that Brazil is a racist country; and that in 2003 President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva created the Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality (SEPPIR). The Statute of Racial Equality (Law 12.288 / 2010), a political reference for SEPPPIR, aims at correcting historical inequalities, especially regarding the granting and guarantee of the rights of descendants of slaves in Brazil. The country was also a signatory of the principal International conventions, such as ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, the Durban Declaration and the Plan of Action against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Discrimination; and the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Nevertheless, while rights were won throughout the decades, and it was increasingly evident that we did not live in a racial democracy, studies point out that we also realized that these rights could function as a strategy to mask the neoliberal plan that fundamentally harms black and indigenous populations. We are currently seeing a new turn to the right after the coup d'état of 2016, and the rights won through struggles are being threatened.

It is important to note that the achievement of rights established by law has meant an additional tool of political action for the elimination of racism and its consequences. However, indigenous populations continuously fight to secure their land and give value to its culture in the Brazilian society. Blacks continuously struggle against grotesque and hyper-sexualized representations. From the point of view of the exercise of these rights by individuals and groups, there is still a long way to go from disputes with different privileged social sectors, in order to prevent their interests based on racial privileges that continue to act as barriers.

Thus, the study of multiculturalism and racism in Brazil must cover both anti-racist legislation, affirmative action policies, and cultural expressions, as well as the impacts of racial neoliberalism, criminalization, and physical and symbolic violence that affect the negatively racialized population.

In this project we explore anti-racism strategies at state and non-state levels, legislative achievements and impasses to secure rights, racism and anti-racism in the media and in a variety of initiatives, campaigns and projects organized by black and indigenous anti-racist organizations.