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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blacks will outnumber whites in Brazil this year for the first time since slavery was abolished

There is a reason why so many blacks like international political activist and afrospear blogger Francis L. Holland lives in Brazil. Now the secret is out. Maybe one of the big reasons Francis L. Holland lives in Brazil is, because "Blacks will soon outnumber whites in Brazil."

As reported by Michael Astor in RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Blacks will outnumber whites in Brazil this year for the first time since slavery was abolished, but the income gap between the two groups may take another 50 years to bridge, according to a government study released Tuesday.

The government's Applied Institute of Economic Research said Brazil, which has the world's second-largest black population after Nigeria, is decades away from racial equality despite public policies aimed at decreasing the gap.

Blacks generally earn 50 percent to 70 percent less than whites, and hold only 3.5 percent of management positions at Brazil's 500 largest companies, according to the labor-union statistics institute Diesse.

A 2004 study by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro found the income gap between whites and blacks in Brazil was wider than in apartheid-era South Africa.

"Black people end up not having the access to an education that will allow them to climb to meet opportunities. And when there is an opening, they aren't always capable of competing for it," said Diesse director Clemente Ganz Lucio.

In recent years, Brazil has created a system of quotas at public universities that has bridged the gap somewhat. But quotas are complicated in Brazil because of the high degree of mixing between races, and some critics say light-skinned people are taking spots reserved for blacks.

The fight against slavery "was one of Brazil's most beautiful struggles ever, but it didn't include measures to ensure the civil rights of the black population," said Edson Santos, Brazil's minister of racial equality. "Blacks left the slave quarters to live in the slums."

The government study was released Tuesday to coincide with the 120th anniversary of abolition in Brazil. In 1888, Brazil became the last country in the Western hemisphere to end slavery. More HERE

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