Brazilian Supreme Court OKs Affirmative Action at the University of Brasilia

This fall the U.S. Supreme Court is going to revisit the issue of affirmative action in higher education when it hears a case concerning the admissions program at the University of Texas. Many officials fear that the Supreme Court will rule that racial preferences in higher education are no longer justified or that the justices will severely limit when race can be considered in admissions decisions.

Not so in Brazil. The Supreme Court in Brazil recently upheld the use of racial quotas for admission to the University of Brasilia. The vote was 10-0 in favor of continuing the quota system which sets aside admission slots for Brazilians of African descent. The university first started the quota program in 2004. The Democratas Party challenged the quota system in 2009 and that case finally reached the Supreme Court this year. An attorney for the university argued, “Racial democracy does not exist. The Black community urgently needs emblematic personalities. Blacks only experience social mobility in soccer, music, and nacrotrafficking.”

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