Wednesday, September 5, 2007



That's exactly what PBS's latest Wide Angle epsisode "Brazil in Black and White" is. Things down in Brazil are similar to the USA pre-Civil Rights Movement. 54 percent of Brazilians are "black" yet only 3 percent of the black Brazilians have offices in goverment. Most of the poor people in the country are the blacks (the darker skinned ones) while the white minority are the ones who have most of the wealth.

So in a nutshell Brazil needs their verison of a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And fast.

The Brazilian government is in the beginning stages of implementing an affirmative action program that will equal the playing field by setting up quotas for black high school students to get into the public universities (where tuition is free for all admitted students). So the question is..."who's black?"

Unlike black Americans, Brazilians have a more tricker line to color in. The issue of who's black and who's not is very much a grey subject. Darker skin is the obvious thing to point to but any black American or Latino person can tell you that our people come in all shades and colors. But clearly the statistic show that color of one's skin is definitely an issue for Brazilians. So what "Brazil in Black and White" does is it profiles five students, some who idenity as black and others as white and follows them as they study for the university entrance exams among the new racial quota system.

This issue so complex that I could keep going on and on. The documentary does a far better job than I do of explaining the circumstance so please watch it!! You'll walk away from the program saying "whoa". Or something like that.

Bottom line: I'm pumped because I've found a new subject and social justice issue to sink my teeth into. Let the research began!!

For more info visit: PBS Wide Angle "Brazil in Black and White"