Global Education Colloquium
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Black, white, and everything in between: How traditional race understandings rise and fall in Brazilian universities
This Colloquium will be hosted at Drexel University and streamed live online at http://drexel.edu/soe/resources/event-series/gec/December-12-2017-Event/. You may join the event in-person or online.
The purpose of this study is to examine self-identified Black quota students’ racial management in Brazilian universities under an affirmative action policy that simultaneously creates and restricts opportunity. Legislated in 2002 and deemed constitutional in 2012, Brazil’s affirmative action policy supports universities’ rights to use reserved spaces for underrepresented students based on characteristics such as, race, ethnicity, and type of primary school attended. The race-based quota system has allowed more Black students to attend quality universities, however, race continues to be a complex issue in Brazil where more than half of its citizens identify as multi-racial and people use several terms to identify themselves. As a result, this complicates understandings of race in general and who should benefit from quotas in particular. To apply for a reserved quota space, students must self-identify as Black or Indigenous. Thus, negating the reality of Brazil’s pluralistic racial construction and debunking the age-old “myth of racial democracy”. Using a critical ethnographic design, data collected from interviews, observations, and critical discourse analysis reveal that student interpretations of their racial experiences in higher education contexts both reinforce and disrupt traditional notions of race. These experiences reflect convoluted relationships with colonialism, slavery, miscegenation, and knowledge production. Therefore, this presentation will elucidate how current attempts to address centuries of social injustice are multi-faceted projects that must contend with complexities of the past, present, and future.
Jeaná E. Morrison is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Drexel's School of Education. She is a native Philadelphian with a professional background in college preparation for low-income and first generation students. Her research centers the interplay between identities and policies of equity and access within higher education contexts.