Triggering our memories to understand affirmative action: a propositional reflection

Triggering our memories to understand affirmative action: a propositional reflection

To begin this text, I will propose that you try to remember the first time you went looking for a job, remember? If you haven't reached that stage yet, no problem, just imagine yourself looking... Now read the sentences below:

"Magazine Luiza, opens selection process for trainees exclusively for black people"; "Bayer, leader in the sector makes exclusive selection for young black people for trainee process"; "Vacancy reserved exclusively for people with disabilities" "Vacancies exclusive for trans people application".

How did you feel? Probably if you are a person who has never had barriers to getting a job because of racism, stereotypes, or prejudice, you may have had some kind of resistance, now if you are a black person, or crossed by any of the markers presented, you probably felt a sense of hope.

If you're from generation X or Y, these phrases and actions are extremely new; at no time before the 2000s were these kinds of phrases observed linked to recruitment in companies. This scenario of change constitutes a paradigm shift, which is nothing more than breaking with a reproduced and socially accepted standard, creating other possibilities.

Therefore, we are experiencing extremely important paradigm changes for the construction of a more equitable society, even if in slow steps, these changes are happening and we probably won't even have time to see the result of them more effectively. Within this context, the important thing is to realize what we can work on today to build a better future.

One of these changes, relate to the phrases I presented at the beginning of this text, which is the inclusion of affirmative action in different areas, such as higher education and selection processes in the public sector and in some private companies.

The researcher, professor, and specialist in affirmative action policies, Nilma Lino Gomes, understands affirmative action as a "set of public or private policies, actions, and guidelines of a compulsory, optional, or voluntary nature that aim to correct inequalities historically imposed on certain social and/or ethno-racial groups with a proven history of discrimination and exclusion, possessing an emergency and transitory character." This definition, even if objective, says a lot about what these policies are and to whom they are directed. We use it as a starting point for a deeper understanding of these transformations...


Initially, affirmative action, or more popularly known as quotas, was created after claims by organized black movements and intellectuals for reparatory actions for the black population in the field of education. In a country that had over 300 years of black slavery, and at the end of this regime, had not built any type of reparatory action or minimum guarantee of rights for these people, guaranteeing affirmative action was the minimum, and it was good that we counted on important names for this achievement, such as: Lélia Gonzalez, Silvio de Almeida, Jurema Werneck, Beatriz Nascimento?

Affirmative action began in 2001, when the Third International Conference on Combating Racism was held in South Africa and an action plan was developed in which countries should include affirmative action or positive discrimination to promote the access of minority groups in different areas. In Brazil these actions only began to gain more strength in 2012 when the government of the time passed Law 12,711/2012, which required federal institutions of higher education to reserve places for black, brown, or indigenous people from public schools and with a minimum income of 1.5 minimum wages. As of 2016, the law was complemented and guaranteed the reservation of vacancies also for people with disabilities. The advent of this law was not peaceful, there were several demonstrations against the inclusion of quotas, including sending letters to the House of Representatives, containing signatures of hundreds of people against, with detractors and prejudiced arguments in relation to people who could enter federal institutions.


Even with this contingent of people "against" quotas, the changes began, and all this movement has driven a transformation in the profile of public institutions, making these spaces more diverse. To give you an idea, in an American research conducted with institutions in Brazil, published in the Economics of Education magazine, the results of an analysis of 48 public universities were shown, where an increase of 9.8% of black and brown students, an increase of 10.7% of students from public schools, and 14.9% of students from lower economic levels were found.

By making Universities and educational institutions more diverse and consequently more innovative, other significant changes began to happen. The students that entered the institutions noticed that these spaces still reproduced a certain standard, but, what happened was that the contact with this standard made them question and no longer accept the way in which some institutions were organized. Here I reinforce that we look up there in the sentences that started this text, can you see how we got here? Affirmative action, after almost 10 years of its implementation, is starting to reach private organizations, and, as we already know, it was brought about by a movement that started in the beginning with the black movements and is now emerging today.


Some companies are adopting in their selection processes the reservation or exclusivity of vacancies for minority groups, including: black people, indigenous people, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+, among others. As the most notorious example, and one that has even been the target of a lawsuit, we have Magazine Luiza, one of the leading companies in the retail market in Brazil, decided in 2020 to make a selection process for trainees exclusively for black people.

In the same way, Bayer, another leader in its market, also carried out a selection process with the same characteristics, and again the debates about the legitimacy of this kind of recruitment process rose. In light of such events, we can conclude that these actions constitute "positive discrimination", i.e. treating unequally some people who are at a social advantage, in order to equalize opportunities for groups that are unequal.


Coming to the end of these reflections, it is worth mentioning that in Brazil black people (black and brown) make up about 56% of the population, contrary to this composition, through research, such as that of the Ethos Institute, conducted in 2017, with the 500 companies with the highest turnover in Brazil found that black professionals accounted for only 6.3% of management positions and 4.7% of the executive board. In other words, black people are still at a social and opportunity disadvantage compared to white people. Therefore, affirmative action is one of the fastest strategies to insert black people in environments where this group is underrepresented, not only to insert them, but so that this insertion can create possibilities, generate value, add value, and cause innovation. Therefore, here in B4People, we work with the construction of strategies that include affirmative action in organizations from broader and more strategic actions, because we understand that it is not only worth to include, it is necessary that these people are inserted in an inclusive environment, welcoming and that does not put aside their reality.

We have always reinforced that the commitment to true inclusion and its effectiveness belongs to the entire organization, especially to the leadership, because it is the leadership that leads the entire organization towards the goals it aims to achieve, and if building an inclusive culture is in those goals, then it is necessary to do a job that creates a connection to lead the actions. It is essential that we know that affirmative action is strictly linked to promoting equity and equality, so they constitute a right, legitimately recognized in the Federal Constitution, in order to offer opportunities according to people's needs, and here, nobody is talking about taking away merit, we are talking about promoting equitable actions that enable diverse people to occupy various places in the social sphere.


Therefore, any public or private action that aims to insert and make affirmative action effective in its organizational structure requires work before, during and after its insertion, and this work is not carried out with lectures, or just sporadic training, but robust and continuous follow-up work, which enables the change of unconscious biases and a change in mindset.

As a black woman, students entering through the quota system, I couldn't help but say that there is still a lot to be done in relation to effective inclusion, both in Universities and in companies, racism is a complex structure that unfortunately has been part of our imagination for generations. However, this is not the reason why we should stop here; it is from here and there that we start to seek changes and break paradigms so that tomorrow the future generations can occupy, dream, and glimpse environments and professions that they want to be and become. Paraphrasing Jurema Werneck: "Our steps come from very far away", several actions have accompanied us since then, and there is much action to come!

I hope that this text has contributed to turn several little keys there, and that from this we can in fact act to transform!

Allure availability skirt artificial extra ordinary jewelry. Modification petticoat jersey hanger buttons influence proportion. Imprint accessory imagination attractive impeccable.

Halter bold radical breathable. Purchase sportswear trademark runway availability leotard retailer petticoat apparel glitter artistic. Waistline replicate modification modification purchase item valuable availability industry beautiful. Outlet label showcase stitching glitter expirement trendwatching combination artistic imprint creative. Zipper pattern bargain jersey artistic make up allure skirt.

Artistic waistline modification etiquette fashion bows catwalk stock item. Elegant pret-a-porter trendwatching catwalk hanger handbag brand effect extraordinary bold original piece. Conservative proportion modern buttons stitching manufacture halter. Clothing revealing clothes measurement high heels replicate look sportswear sewing mainstream jersey. Ensemble retailer apron quality identity imprint hanger glitter. Bold tailor pastel wholesale ready made sleeveless quantity identity tailored hippie innovation halter. Conservative brand illustration value jeans price model expensive. Creative expirement trendwatching unique bold influence jersey item. Jersey handmade photography enhance. The unmistakable jersey jersey jersey.

Edge accessory skirt. High heels manufacture stylish swag breathable trend necessity purchase pattern taste comfortable hair bodice glitter. Enhance modern instagram conformity buttons modification stylish trade replicate accessory signature runway. Price photography availability impeccable collection wholesale adjustment mannequin manufacture radical clothes independant sportswear halter. Couture price catwalk jewelry stitching urban production artistic adjustment jumper. Hippie textile pumps limited hand-made urban make up revealing. Hair inspiration popular comfortable trendwatching. Waistline xl mode independant outfit bows. Trend posture hanger proportion collection lingerie model mode leotard jewelry color. Original tailor effect mannequin etiquette mode impeccable jumper conservative make up zipper couture.

Brand jewelry outfit expirement waistline. Modification make up condition. Bold contemporary value casual mainstream purse motif hair pumps purchase urban Haute-couture pastel. Classic waistline mode accessory extraordinary. Availability prediction jersey breathable phenomenon price expirement pumps trade. Original taste wholesale jersey. Retailer halter swag. Tailored piece outlet apron necessity adjustment posture shawl fashion original handbag. Luxurious minimalist minimalist trend commercial garment xl. Handbag allure photography hair proportion.

Comfortable swim-wear valuable photography artificial runway illustration petticoat jacket pastel artistry classic xs. Urban pumps clothing Haute-couture instagram imprint. Etiquette xs beautiful. Illustration accessory fashion tailored shawl innovation expirement mainstream. Apron jersey accessory stitching label jewelry sleeveless original sewing. Lingerie clothing catwalk buttons commercial stock affection motif. Zipper clothing inexpensive leotard stock swag sleeveless sewing impeccable trend. Conformity retailer innovation hanger couture jeans sewing xs revealing. Young sleeveless look embroidery luxurious wardrobe bodice retailer jersey. Pret-a-porter lingerie mode clothing sleeveless old-fashioned unique.

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Skip to content