Things That Matter

The Brazilian Government Is Forcing Black People To Prove Their Blackness When Applying For Government Jobs

“I hope that they see that I’m not white.”

In 2012, Brazil enacted a law that makes requires 20 percent of federal jobs be given to black applicants, but how do they decide who is and isn’t black when applying for the job?

NPR’s new podcast, “Rough Translation,” explored how people applying for jobs have to prove their race if they want to get a federal job. White Brazilians are having to prove they are white to get a job, shining a light on the problematic nature of forcing applicants to prove they are black enough to receive one of the designated federal positions for black Brazilians.

Podcast host Gregory Warner explains that unlike the U.S. segregating blacks and whites, in the late 1800s, colonial authorities in Brazil not only accepted interracial coupling between white male colonizers and black and indigenous women (largely against their consent), it was encouraged before and after slavery was abolished as a way of erasing blackness in the country.

According to the UN Chronicle, Brazil never stopped miscegenation, which is the term for the mixing of races. It’s something the country prides itself on. This idea of racial mixing in Brazil led to what is known as a racial democracy. The result is a population of people in South America now trying to decide who qualifies for affirmative action for college and federal jobs based on race.

When affirmative action got passed, many Brazilians applied as black that others considered white. In response, people now have to have their race verified if they try to apply for something as a black Brazilian.

Warner explains that judges are given the power to decide if people are black or indigenous. Judging tribunals go as far as measuring skull shape and nose width to make determine applicants’ blackness, according to Foreign Policy.

This has led to major discussions about mixed-race people and whether they are seen as black or white. As Warner puts it, judges “try to see each candidate as a racist would see them,” ironically reinforcing racism in order to provide federal assistance aimed at abolishing racism.

Listen to the podcast above to learn more about the disc Brazilians are coming to terms about what race is and how it is defined.


READ: These Peruvians Are Embracing Their Afro-Latino Pride Like Never Before

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Luis Gerardo Méndez Explores The Time Mexico Legalized Drugs In New Podcast

Entertainment

Luis Gerardo Méndez Explores The Time Mexico Legalized Drugs In New Podcast

In the 1940s, one doctor had the idea of curing addiction by legalizing drugs in Mexico. After six months, and some success, the entire project was abandoned. Luis Gerardo Méndez is digging into where the idea came from and why it was abandoned in a new podcast.

Luis Gerardo Méndez and his friends are exploring the time when Mexico legalized drugs.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Toxicomanía (@toxicomaniapodcast)

It was 1940 and the Mexican government legalized all drugs. Doctors were able to prescribe their patients drugs in a methodical way to slowly get addicts off of drugs. Dr. Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra is credited with creating the program that showed success during the short time that it was allowed to be.

Gerardo learned about Dr. Salazar only recently and is excited to be able to tell the story of the Mexican doctor. The actor is a little shocked that more people do not know about the doctor who could have changed the course of history had he been allowed to proceed.

“I was immediately hooked on the story because I had no idea that that happened. To be honest with you, 99 percent of the people that I know in Mexico have no idea that drugs were legal in the ‘40s,” Gerardo admits. “It was really interesting for me, not just for the story but I was really intrigued about why we don’t know about this. Why didn’t anyone that I know know about this doctor and the incredible work that he did 80 years ago? He was a doctor who was 80 years ahead of his time and the world.”

Gerardo promises, without revealing spoilers, just how the U.S. managed to undercut the medical program.

The U.S. was not happy with Mexico experimenting with this kind of legaliztion. The host hints at talking about Harry Anslinger, the First Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He held the position from 1930 to 1962 and, according to Gerardo, he placed some pressure on Mexico to re-evaluate the program.

“You, as the audience, in a way, realize that the legalization in Mexico ended because of the pressure from the U.S.,” Gerardo says. “The U.S. was putting a lot of pressure on Mexico telling them that they can’t do this about the legalization effort. Now, marijuana is legal in the U.S. and in Mexico we are still having this conversation. I’m pissed. Its not cool. I think it is really important to talk about these things.”

Despite the president supporting the measure, it was rolled back after six months.

The program was helping people get medical attention for their addiction issues and started to curb criminal activity around drugs. The cartels were losing business because addicts and drug users could seek proper medical attention from doctors to get their drugs for free.

Part of the program involved slowly weening people off of their drug addiction. It got people back into a healthier lifestyle while getting them back into the job market.

While Gerardo stops short of endorsing legalizing marijuana today, he is interested in showing people all sides of the conversation. The host splits his time between Mexico City and LA and has seen the marijuana industry take off in the U.S. but not in Mexico. He feels frustrated that the conversation in Mexico hasn’t advanced to the same place where the U.S. is.

“The same people doing that work in Mexico are criminals because someone behind a desk is saying what it legal and what’s not. Especially when this system proves that it works in the U.S. It is making millions of dollars in taxes for schools, for public health, and in Mexico we are still thinking about it,” Gerardo says about the difference in the U.S. and Mexico round marijuana legalization. “I think, again, I’m not saying whether I am in favor or not. I’m just saying that it is really important for me to expose these points of view and open a conversation for the mainstream.”

For Gerardo, telling the story is a point of pride in his Mexican heritage.

“The other thing is that sometimes in the world, we have an idea of all of these progressive ideas come from Europe or they come from the U.S.,” Gerardo says. “Yet, this Mexican doctor had this idea, this really really interesting and strong point of view 80 years ago and no one listened. No one listened to him. For me, I feel really proud to share the story of this man because I think he, in a way, is a hero. He was pretty close to stopping the drug cartel war.”

Dr. Salazar was a visionary of his time. His work to legalize drugs and work to treat drug addiction like a mental and physical health issue was promising. We have seen this same stance done in Portugal decades after Mexico tried it with the same positive results.

“It’s so incredible that we are hearing about this doctor, now, 80 years after this extraordinary things. He was one of the most polemic figures in Mexico and in the United Nations because of his way of thinking,” Gerardo says. “What I thought was really interesting and sad is that we are hearing about this guy 80 years later. He made some really powerful people really pissed and they erased him from the story.”

READ: The Controversy Behind Delta-8 THC And Why Shoppers Are Buying It Up

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com