AbstractIt appears to be beyond dispute that Brazilian politics is overwhelmingly White. Recent surveys indicate that the proportion of people of colour in the federal parliament is around 20%. But despite such obvious marginalisation, little is known about the causes of this political under-representation. This paper attempts to shed light on the main filters driving out non-Whites, i.e. Blacks and Browns, from Brazilian politics. To this end, we have carried out a survey of the skin colour of candidates to a seat in the City Council of Brazil’s two largest cities: São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, in the 2012 elections. Given the lack of official records on the race or skin colour of these candidates, we chose to submit their photos, made publicly available by the Supreme Electoral Court, to classification by a team of researchers. The results have allowed us to gauge the extent to which the political alienation of non-White Brazilians is due to: (a) bias in party recruitment; (b) differences in educational capital and personal wealth between White and non-White candidates; (c) inequalities in the distribution of party and electoral resources; or (d) the electoral preferences of voters themselves. Apparently, the electoral opportunities of Blacks and Browns reflect the difficulties that these groups face when trying to ascend to the small elite of candidates that have the biggest funding and the most votes.
World Political Science – de Gruyter
Published: Apr 25, 2018
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