Social apartheid in Brazil


Social apartheid in Brazil

The term "social apartheid" was coined in Brazil to describe the rift between the rich and poor in Brazil as being as great as the one found in South Africa during the height of its apartheid era.Ladle, Jane. "Insight Guides: Brazil", American Map, 1999, p. 76.]

History

Former Brazilian correspondent for "The Guardian", Jan Rocha, suggests that Brazil's current social apartheid is rooted in entrenched attitudes that accompanied a long history of slavery, which was abolished in 1888. "Brazil never had a political or cultural revolution, or any violent rupture of the status quo. Slavery was abolished, but what took its place was not equality and fraternity, but an unofficial system of first and second class citizenship, a social apartheid....Rocha, Jan. "Brazil In Focus: A Guide to the People Politics and Culture", Interlink Books, 2000.]

According to Maria Helena Moreira Alves, these inequalities were exacerbated by the differing treatment of urban migrants during and following the Great Depression, when internal migrants, who were mainly descended from Indians or African slaves, were given no government assistance or training in adapting to large urban centers, and thus were pushed into a "social apartheid", forced to live in slums and take unpleasant and menial jobs that whites shunned. By contrast, European and Japanese immigrants were directly assisted by a number of government programs, as well as other benefits."Internal migrants from Brazil, many the descendants of Indians or African slaves, were totally abandoned to their own endeavors in the city, with no governmental subsidies, no programs of immigration support, no job training, and no housing programs to help the process of adaptation. In short, Brazilian migrants found themselves pushed into a "social apartheid" in the slums of the city, their jobs limited to those that white would not touch, such as garbage removal, hard construction work, and menial jobs in industry. In contrast, many European and Japanese immigrants came under the auspices of programs organized by their governments which assisted them with the cost of their transportation and of housing, helping them find employment, trained them, and provided a number of other benefits." Alves, Maria Helena Moreira "Sao Paolo: the political and socioeconomic transformations wrought by the New Labor Movement in the city and beyond." In Gugler, Josef. "World Cities Beyond the West: Globalization, Development and Inequality", Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 202-203.]

Economic and race-based

Some consider that these parallels between South Africa during the apartheid era and modern-day Brazil are strengthened by that fact that inequities in the economic and social status particularly affect Afro-Brazilians.Buarque, Cristovam. [http://www.brazzil.com/content/view/9382/79/ Lula's Brazil Is Indebted to the World for So Many Broken Hopes] , "Brazzil Magazine", August 23, 2005.] According to São Paulo Congressman Aloizio Mercadante, a long-standing member of Brazil's leftist Workers' Party (PT), " [J] ust as South Africa had racial apartheid, Brazil has social apartheid." Afro-Brazilians trail white Brazilians in almost all social indicators, including income and education, and those living in cities are far more likely to be abused or killed by police, or incarcerated. [Hall, Kevin G. "Brazil's blacks get affirmative action 114 years after emancipation", "Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service", May 31, 2002.] Brazil's social apartheid also has negative impacts on educational opportunities for the disadvantaged."In Brazil the military have returned to the barracks but despite their replacement by elected governments, the drift into social apartheid and moral disintegration continues. Those who continue to orientate their educational practices by the principles of popular education now face a new and more complex conjuncture." Ireland, Timothy. "Building on experience: working with construction workers in Brazil" in Boud, David J. & Miller, Nod. "Working with Experience: Animating Learning", Routledge, 1996, p. 132.] "The existing inequality in access to computers reflects a form of social apartheid, and private initiatives that strive for technological inclusion are making all the difference in the complex process of creating equity in our society." Jacobi, Pedro Roberto. "Digital Inclusion in Brazil", in Aviram, Roni & Richardson, Janice Patricia. "Upon What Does The Turtle Stand?: Rethinking Education For The Digital Age", Springer, 2004, p. 221.] These inequities are so great that the wealthy live in walled-off gated communities, and the disadvantaged classes do not interact at all with the wealthy "except in domestic service and on the shop floor"."Few studies, for instance probe the implications of these distressing conditions for social, class, and political relations. In those that do, "social apartheid" is a common theme—a class gulf so wide that interaction ceases, except in domestic service and on the shop floor. Social apartheid is the motive force behind the spread of closed residential communities in São Paulo—one of the few going concerns in an otherwise sluggish real-estate market. According to the advertisements, these communities are enclosed behind walls five meters high, protected by sophisticated security systems, and patrolled by round-the-clock guards who also carefully screen all visitors. Maids and other day laborers are searched every time they enter or exit. Inside are gracious homes and children playing in the street as in any affluent suburb in the United States, except that this is an island in a sea of squalor." Schneider, Ben Ross. "Brazil under Collor: Anatomy of a Crisis", in Camp, Roderic Ai. "Democracy in Latin America: Patterns and Cycles", Rowman & Littlefield, 1996, p. 241. ISBN 0842025138] According to France Winddance Twine, the separation of both class and race even extend into what she terms "spatial apartheid", where upper-class residents and guests, presumed to be white, enter apartments buildings and hotels through the main entrance, while domestics and service providers, presumed to be black, enter at the side or rear.Vasalians often described what can be called a form of spatial apartheid that they encountered in the city of Rio. This racial and class segregation is reflected in the design of apartment buildings in elite neighborhoods. The spatial geography of urban Rio bears some striking similarities to the Jim Crow southern United States. There is a "social" entrance, reserved for building residents and guests who are presumed to be white, and a "service" entrance, located at the side or the back of these buildings, for the exclusive use of domestic mads and service providers, who are presumed to be nonwhite or black." Twine, France Winddance. "Racism in a Racial Democracy: The Maintenance of White Supremacy in Brazil", Rutgers University Press, 1998, pp. 80-81.]

Carlos Verrisimo states that Brazil is a racist state, and that the inequities of race and class are often inter-related.Verrisimo, Carlos. [http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/42/035.html Apartheid in Americas] , "CrossRoads", December/January 1994/1995.] Michael Löwy agrees, stating that the "social apartheid" is manifested in the gated communities, a "social discrimination which also has an implicit racial dimension where the great majority of the poor are black or half-caste.""There also exists a real "social apartheid" throughout the country which is seen in big cities through the physical separation of mansions and the wealthy quarters, surrounded by walls and electric barbwire and guarded by private armed guards who carefully patrol all entrances and exits. It is social discrimination which also has an implicit racial dimension where the great majority of the poor are black or half-caste.Lowy, Michael. [http://www.logosjournal.com/lowy.htm Brazil: A Country Marked by Social Apartheid] , "", Volume 2 Issue 2, Spring 2003.] Despite Brazil's retreat from military rule and return to democracy in 1988, social apartheid has only gotten worse.

treet youth

Social apartheid is also tied the exclusion of poor youth (particularly street youth) from Brazilian society.Brandão, Caius. [http://www.cydjournal.org/NewDesigns/ND_98Fall/brandao_A0.html The Landmark Achievements of Brazil's Social Movement for Children's Rights: The Social Apartheid in Brazil] , "New Designs for Youth Development", v.14-3, Fall 1998.] The role of the police in keeping the inhabitants of Brazil's many "favelas" from impinging on the lives of middle- and upper-class Brazilians is key to maintaining this state of apartheid."The total number of "favelas" in Brazil is 3,905... Given their proximity to the elite neighbourhoods, they have become a daily nightmate for the predominantly white middle- and upper-class population of Rio. The role of the police, as an ex-minister in the city stated, is to maintain a state of social apartheid 'without the need for the fences they use in South Africa, because they don't come down from the hills, they don't organize themselves.'"Erdentuğ, Aygen and Colombijn, Freek. "Urban Ethnic Encounters: The Spatial Consequences", Routledge, 2002, p. 119.] Tobias Hecht writes that rich Brazilians see the often violent street children as a threat, attempting to marginalize them socially and keep them and the poverty they represent hidden from lives of the wealthy elite. According to Hecht, the persistent presence of these children "embod [ies] the failure of an unacknowledged social apartheid to keep the poor out of view.""The perception of street children as a threat is rooted in the contradiction between the desire to keep children socially marginal, docile, and out of view, and the existence — precisely at the center of urban life — of street children who often exercise violence, something normally deemed the province of adults. Street children are a reminder, literally on the doorsteps of rich Brazilians and just outside the five-star hotels where the development consultants stay, of the contradictions of contemporary social life: the opulence of the few amid the poverty of the majority, the plethora of resources amid the squandering of opportunities. They embody the failure of an unacknowledged social apartheid to keep the poor out of view. Hecht, Tobias. "At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil", Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 214.]

Reaction

"Social apartheid" is a common theme in studies of the implications of Brazil's huge income disparities, and the term "social apartheid" (and the inequities associated with it) are recognized as a serious issue even by Brazil's elites, who benefit from it:

Despite decades of impressive economic growth, the striking social inequities remain. In a recent survey of 1,500 of the most influential members of Brazil's political and economic elite, close to 90 percent believed that Brazil had achieved economic success and social failure. Close to half viewed the enormous inequities as a form of "social apartheid". [Eakin, Marshall Craig. "Brazil: The Once and Future Country", Palgrave Macmillan, 1997, p. 114.]

Cristovam Buarque, governor of the Federal District from 1995 to 98, Minister of Education from 2003 to 2004, and currently (Democratic Labour Party) senator for the Federal District argues that "Brazil is a divided country, home to the greatest income concentration in the world and to a model of apartation, Brazilian social apartheid." Current Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been quoted by Mark Weisbrot in "The Nation" as saying he is "fighting to bring the poor of Brazil out of economic apartheid".Weisbrot, Mark. [http://www.thenation.com/docprem.mhtml?i=20020916&s=weisbrot As Brazil Goes...] , "The Nation", September 16, 2002.] His loss in the Presidential election of 1994 to Fernando Henrique Cardoso has been attributed in part to the fear Lula aroused in the middle class by his "denunciation [s] of the social apartheid which permeated Brazilian society.""Lula's campaign tactics (his lengthy tours of the country, or "caravanas"), his obviously proletarian origins and his denunciation of the social apartheid which permeated Brazilian society frightened the middle class. Cardoso received 54 per cent of the vote as compared to Lula's 27 per cent (S. Branford and B. Kucinkski, "Brazil:Carnival of the Oppressed. Lula and the Brazilian Workers's Party", London, Latin American Bureau, 19945, p. 4)." Lievesley, Geraldine. "Democracy in Latin America: Mobilization, Power and the Search for a New Politics", Manchester University Press, 1999, p. 99, note 63.]

ee also

*Crime of apartheid - Brazil is a State Party of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and subject to the jurisdiction of the Court.
*Race in Brazil

Notes

References


*Alves, Maria Helena Moreira "Sao Paolo: the political and socioeconomic transformations wrought by the New Labor Movement in the city and beyond." In Gugler, Josef. "World Cities Beyond the West: Globalization, Development and Inequality", Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN 0521536855
*Buarque, Cristovam. [http://www.brazzil.com/content/view/9382/79/ Lula's Brazil Is Indebted to the World for So Many Broken Hopes] , "Brazzil Magazine", August 23, 2005.
*Brandão, Caius. [http://www.cydjournal.org/NewDesigns/ND_98Fall/brandao_A0.html The Landmark Achievements of Brazil's Social Movement for Children's Rights: The Social Apartheid in Brazil] , "New Designs for Youth Development", v.14-3, Fall 1998.
*Eakin, Marshall Craig. "Brazil: The Once and Future Country", Palgrave Macmillan, 1997, ISBN 0312162006.
*Erdentuğ, Aygen and Colombijn, Freek. "Urban Ethnic Encounters: The Spatial Consequences", Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0415280850
*Hall, Kevin G. "Brazil's blacks get affirmative action 114 years after emancipation", "Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service", May 31, 2002.
*Hecht, Tobias. "At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil", Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 0521598699
*Ireland, Timothy. "Building on experience: working with construction workers in Brazil" in Boud, David J. & Miller, Nod. "Working with Experience: Animating Learning", Routledge, 1996. ISBN 0415142458
*Jacobi, Pedro Roberto. "Digital Inclusion in Brazil", in Aviram, Roni & Richardson, Janice Patricia. "Upon What Does The Turtle Stand?: Rethinking Education For The Digital Age", Springer, 2004. ISBN 1402027982
*Ladle, Jane. "Insight Guides: Brazil", American Map, 1999. ISBN 0887291309
*Lievesley, Geraldine. "Democracy in Latin America: Mobilization, Power and the Search for a New Politics", Manchester University Press, 1999. ISBN 0719043115
*Löwy, Michael. [http://www.logosjournal.com/lowy.htm Brazil: A Country Marked by Social Apartheid] , "", Volume 2 Issue 2, Spring 2003.
*Rocha, Jan. "Brazil In Focus: A Guide to the People Politics and Culture", Interlink Books, 2000. ISBN 1566563844
*Schneider, Ben Ross. "Brazil under Collor: Anatomy of a Crisis", in Camp, Roderic Ai. "Democracy in Latin America: Patterns and Cycles", Rowman & Littlefield, 1996. ISBN 0842025138
*Twine, Francine Winddance. "Racism in a Racial Democracy: The Maintenance of White Supremacy in Brazil", Rutgers University Press, 1998. ISBN 0813523656
*Verrisimo, Carlos. [http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/42/035.html Apartheid in Americas] , "CrossRoads", December/January 1994/1995.
*Weisbrot, Mark. [http://www.thenation.com/docprem.mhtml?i=20020916&s=weisbrot As Brazil Goes...] , "The Nation", September 16, 2002.

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