An article in today’s Christian Science Monitor, “Brazil’s Affirmative Action Law Offers A Huge Hand Up,” supports rigid racial quotas. “Public universities in Brazil,” it notes with admiration, “will reserve half their seats to provide racial, income, and ethnic diversity – a law that goes the furthest in the Americas in attempting race-based equality.”
The poster child for this new policy, picture provided, is “Thaiana Rodrigues, the daughter of an esthetician in Rio de Janeiro,” who
tried to get into college three times. But having spent most of her childhood in poor public schools – her anatomy teacher in seventh grade never showed up to class so she simply never learned the subject – Ms. Rodrigues was unable to pass the entrance exam.
It was not until her fourth try, when she applied as a quota recipient based on her race and socioeconomic status, that she won a spot at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), a public university that pioneered a quota system for public school students.
Rodrigues graduated in August 2011 with a degree in social sciences and now has a job working as an administrative assistant in an educational exhibit in the state legislature.
The article did not say whether the State University of Rio de Janeiro has plans to add remedial courses in anatomy and other subjects to its curriculum.
In the United States, of course, we are less forthright about quotas, preferring to speak instead in such euphemisms as “critical mass” and “diversity.”