Two recent articles in The Economist have covered the issue of race in Brazil and South Africa. That’s two of the BRICS countries possibly hindered by something that their governments have taken very little action to remedy thus far. But how to address historical asymmetries in a political arena?
In emerging economies like South Africa and Brazil, where race was largely ignored until a few decades ago, people are still trying to decide if there’s even an issue at all.
In Brazil, differences in skin tone merit a rather large spectrum. Race in Brazil is so nuanced, for example, that one census allowed people to identify their own race—which resulted in 134 categories. Unfortunately, this spectrum has also contributed to the notion that race issues do not exist because race cannot be as concretely identified as in other countries where racial mixing was less frequent. Continue reading