Home Institution

University of Virginia

Publication Date

Spring 2006

Program Name

Brazil: Culture, Development, and Social Justice


Inequalities in access to education, as a result of institutionalized racism and social exclusion, are contributing to the maintenance of a permanent Afro-Brazilian underclass. Beiru, a community that sits on the periphery of Salvador, Bahia is an example of what the results of this physical and social marginalization is doing to Afro-Brazilian communities all over the Northeast. In my research, I sought to gain an understanding of what the young Afro-Brazilians that attend secondary school at the Escola Estadual de Zumbi dos Palmares and youth in the community are getting from these schools (in terms of what they are learning, what resources they have, self-esteem building, and encouragement), what they are bringing to the schools (as far as family background, living conditions, environment, desire to learn, behavior), and what alternatives exist for them in their community. What I found was that the difficulties in these students’ lives, such as having children or having to work at a young age, makes it hard for them to continue moving at a normal rate in their education or see a reason to use school as a vehicle to change their lives. This is compounded by their moving through a school system that is set up to maintain the status quo and continue the cycle of poverty in the community. Finally, I found that there are no organizations or opportunities set up to offer alternatives to youth in the community.


Education | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity


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