“I try not to think about it,” says the black 26-year old, referring to the paucity of Afro-Brazilian stock market analysts – his chosen career. “I try to have the mindset that when I look for a job I will be judged by my professional skills, not my skin colour.”
“In Brazil you see people of all colours together at football games, music events, and on the streets,” says Simon Schwartzman a researcher at the Institute of Work and Society Studies in Rio. “Race-based affirmative action imposes racial classification and divisions where they didn’t exist before.”
Brazil’s first and only Afro-Brazilian senator, Paulo Paim, believes affirmative action is the best way to redress a history of social wrongs that began with slavery and was then masked by what some call “the myth of racial democracy”.