Affirmative action in Brazil : affirmation or denial?
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Affirmative action for blacks has been implemented in recent years mainly as racial quota system at public universities in Brazil. The topic became nationally debated when the racial quota system of the University of Brasilia was adopted. Racial quotas were questioned in the Brazilian Supreme Court with the argument that they were unconstitutional. At the same time, the previous governments has been favorable of inclusive policies and extended the scope of affirmative action adoption. However, why the conservative reaction to racial quotas continued to socially and institutionally expand in spite of their implementation in many universities? The focus of this thesis was to frame these reactions in an institutional perspective by hypothesizing in this research that institutional racism could be addressed as non-recognition of black Brazilians as full subjects of rights considering their identity fragmentation due to the processes of racial formation that undermined racial solidarity, identification, and political participation through miscegenation. In order to investigate the identity framing of institutional racism, the racial quotas system at the University of Brasilia was chosen for policy process analysis. The Advocacy Coalition Framework was the choice of analysis because it permits to observe the policy process since the discussions that aimed to insert the problem of black exclusion in the higher education subsystem to the evaluation of policy implementation based on the approved documents to the broad implications considering the scope of actions from those who shared the beliefs by which coalitions are motivated to act. The results point to the maintenance of racial democracy in the coalition actors’ beliefs that affirm the non-existence of race, the impossibility of black identity, and advocate for the no-racist character of Brazilian identity due to its population racial mixing. Therefore, the hypothesis presented indications of being politically relevant since this research found indications that institutional racism can be framed as non-recognition of black identity by those responsible for its implementation, consciously or not led by individuals through the institutional gaps that do not present any mechanism of coercion or reward for managers to be interested in the full development of affirmative action.