Brazil’s past is marked by slavery and an abolition policy that did not support social inclusion, which led to a historical development of exclusion that reverberates into structural racism, the marginalised position of the black population, and related educational racial inequalities. In this scenario, the present paper focuses on the potential contribution of public policies to address racial inequalities in Brazilian education. Education policies influencing racial issues can reduce or intensify original disparities, depending on a complexity of factors, including the privileging of white interests that goes unnoticed in politics. Therefore, seeking a thorough investigation, this work draws from the sociological view of Stephen Ball’s policy cycle and the Critical Race Theory (CRT) to conduct a CRT-based education policy analysis. The case study policy is the mandatory inclusion of afro-Brazilian and African history and culture in disciplines from the basic education curriculum, a reparatory and value recognition initiative relevant to Brazil’s black population and multi-ethnic society. This 20-year-old policy faces major gaps and challenges in its enactment, such as barriers to cultural change and lack of proper pedagogical tools. In the policy analysis, it is argued that discourses of race, racism and equity in policy text are influenced both by white interests and black social movements, showing a mixture of voices. Furthermore, structural racism influences the lack of policy enactment in an example of a ‘contradiction-closing case’, a racial justice landmark that serves as a rhetorical weapon while little changes in practice due to quiet obstructions.
Michele Puga Sarubbi, University College London, United Kingdom