Racial achievement gaps in another America: Discussing schooling outcomes and affirmative action in Brazil

Book Section

© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. A negative association between African ancestry and measures of socioeconomic success in regions colonized by Europeans can be considered an empirical regularity across the social sciences. In the USA, Brazil, and South Africa, for example, the intense trade of African slaves by English and Portuguese colonizers and the Dutch displacement of indigenous populations made the color of one's skin an indicator of European ancestry and made it play a key role in social stratification. Most studies document the presence of this historically rooted stratification and uncover racial differences in a variety of contexts, even in the presence of sharp differences in patterns of economic development, enforcement of civil rights, and institutional arrangements regarding racial segregation. In this chapter, we explore the recent evidence of racial disparities in socioeconomic outcomes in Brazil. We then trace these differences to income-generating capabilities materialized in an uneven accumulation of human capital (formal education in particular) by Black and White adult Brazilians. We also explore unique and novel data on school transitions and proficiency for the case of the Brazilian southeastern state of Sao Paulo in order to establish general stylized facts in education trends among younger cohorts. The discussion that follows is centered on the assessment of color-blind and color-sighted policies that suggest a closing (but not the elimination) of racial gaps in both the quantity and the quality of education.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Madeira, RA; Rangel, MA

Published Date

  • November 1, 2013

Volume / Issue

  • 9789400743571 /

Book Title

  • Closing the Achievement Gap from an International Perspective: Transforming STEM for Effective Education

Start / End Page

  • 127 - 160

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 9400743564

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9789400743564

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/978-94-007-4357-1_7

Citation Source

  • Scopus