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Racism in Brazil

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Submitted By ejohnson28
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Introduction Racial disparity and discrimination is not a new concept to any nation. In fact, many were built on the back of slave labor, whether the slaves were indigenous peoples or imported bodies. While many nations have undertaken measures to overcome racial disparity, others have encouraged racial democracy. Brazil, a modern and industrialized nation, suffers from racial discrimination based on their position in the world economy and built on the ideology of the past.
History
Brazil’s history is rife with racism and slavery, dating back to its discovery by Pedro Alveres Cabral in 1500. Brazil was originally settled with the intention of harvesting Brazilwood. However, over time the profits from that were supplanted by sugar, which soon became the major export (Phillips 117). Over a short period of time, Brazil became the leading producer of sugar in the Atlantic world. The production of all these exports meant cheap labor was needed. During this time, the Portuguese were sending between 4,000 and 5,000 slaves per year to Brazil from Angola and West Africa; by the 18th century, one million slaves had been imported (117). The continually shifting landscape meant that Brazil’s exports continued to shift. By the time the 19th century came around, Brazil’s major export was coffee as sugar production had shifted to the Caribbean Islands. The continued influx of European slaves and citizens resulted in an uneven population. European labor was generally more skilled and slowly began to overtake slave labor. Around this same time, the abolition of slavery happened in 1888, resulting in a decline in the slave population. By 1888, it was estimated that only a half-million people were slaves, compared to the one-and-a-half million slaves in 1872 (117). This is in part due to the fact that the coffee production process became more and more elaborate,…...

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