University of São Paulo: Permanent policies against racism are essential to combat inequality

Permanent government policies against racism are necessary to combat structural and institutional racism, to guarantee affirmative action and to guarantee the rights of those who suffer racial discrimination. Professor Eunice Prudente, from the State Law Department of the USP Law School (FD), São Paulo’s Municipal Secretary of Justice and author of the first thesis that proposed the criminalization of racial discrimination, approved in 1980, spoke to Jornal da USP no Ar 1st Edition on the policies against racism that are being developed.

daily struggle
“We have to focus a lot on the formation of new Brazilian citizens in the fight against these forms of discrimination, because, among us, we observe forms and expressions of structural racism. Some forms of violence became natural – because to discriminate is to practice violence”, comments Eunice.

The teacher comments on the case of a young white woman, recently arrested. Both the police chief in charge of the arrest and the television media emphasized that the girl had a “great appearance” and that she did not appear to be a criminal. The case is serious because it associates the young woman’s appearance with her crime, assuming that the crime has a specific appearance.

Eunice highlights a term used in law: the “common defendant”. “Who is the common defendant, folks? Is it the black, black, poor boy from the communities of our cities?”, she asks her.

political duty
“Promoting racial equality is the duty of every government official. It is a permanent challenge for all administrations committed to the human rights agenda”, says Eunice. The teacher mentions some policies that we already have in São Paulo. Since 2013, there are laws that provide for affirmative action quota policies for the entry of black men and women into the municipal public service.

It also comments on specific municipal laws to punish practices of racial discrimination and on the centers of reference against racism — currently four in São Paulo, with plans for 12 in the future. “A person who suffers any form of discrimination can go to any police station — or even online — and request their Occurrence Bulletin, file a complaint; or she can go to the reference center against racism, which is maintained by the municipality.” She says anyone who goes to the center will find a lawyer and psychologist on call.

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