Brazil is a multicultural country with ethnically diverse population comprising white 47.7%, mulatto 43.1%, black 7.6%, Asian 1.1%, and Indigenous people 0.4% (2010 est.: CIA Factbook 2021). For much of the twentieth century, Brazil has often self-identified as a racial democracy where the three racial groups coexist harmoniously (Arocena 2008). Unlike several settler societies, Brazil has pursued racial assimilation as a policy, which led to the emergence of a significant mulatto (mixed race) population. Despite the high level of racial integration, the issue of racism and racial discrimination especially towards Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous peoples have been officially acknowledged in the country and racism was declared as a crime in the constitution; in addition, policies and legislations have been passed to mitigate racial discrimination (Arocena 2008).
Over the last decades, Brazil has witnessed several waves of migration and thus adopted a “comprehensive approach” to integration and combating racism. The country has undergone major reforms, mostly introduced in 2017 including a new migration law, which provided immigrants with unconditional path to residential permeant and more freedoms in the labour market. Immigrants are also granted equal access to education services and the ability to participate in the country’s political activity by joining political parties (MIPEX 2021).
Brazil has achieved an overall ICDI score of 0.53. A score above 0.8 in the component of intercultural attitudes signals an above average global social tolerance index. A score above 0.6 in the component of anti-discrimination signals that there is a presence of anti-discrimination acts and policies in the country. Similarly, a score of 0.66 in the component of freedoms and rights indicates a moderate degree of press freedom and freedom of movement. In contrast, scores of 0.22 in the components of social contact and access to communication suggest low levels of cultural participation and a decreasing number of indigenous and immigrant living languages.
Current Situation and Outlook
Brazil’s average scores in its legislative dimension is impacted by a lower score in the component of multi-culturalism. This can be strengthened by promoting multicultural and/or diversity acts and policies and promoting migrant integration measures. Additionally, the country can improve its structural dimension by increasing the platforms for social contact amongst the different communities in the country. This will help to facilitate increased access to communication as well. Brazil can enhance its opportunities dimension by encouraging intergroup relations and strengthening advocating for discrimination against ethnic minorities. Such measures will also help prevent fragmentation and division between the different communities.