The racial equity program begins with the recognition that racism structures inequalities in Brazil. Addressing inequalities means disorganizing the discrimination systems that perpetuate them, which the myth of racial democracy has long upheld. The program supports initiatives in three main areas:
EXPAND THE SYMBOLIC AND POLITICAL REPRESENTATION OF THE BLACK POPULATION
Slavery and racism laid the foundations for a national project marked by exclusion, subalternization and violence against the black population. Distortions in the formal and symbolic representation of black people in different spheres of social and political life guarantee this project’s continuity. A selective, white telling of history has also hidden the importance of black leaders at crucial moments and places in Brazil’s formation. Today, this continues to impede the presence of black people in spaces of decision making and in the social imaginary. Influencing the pillars upholding society is necessary not only to make reparations to the black population but also to recognize and affirm other histories and possibilities for existing.
Ibirapitanga supports initiatives that work to preserve and update history and memory, to value ancestry, to stimulate and spread literary and audiovisual production on black thought and culture, and to build and strengthen research centers and other initiatives that contribute to the recognition and incorporation of black epistemologies into Brazilian symbolic and political production.
CONSOLIDATE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION INITIATIVES
In Brazil, economic and social inequalities persist as symptoms of the process of enslavement of black African people. Lack of access to quality education, to healthcare, to property, to the means for asset production and to dignified work perpetuate these symptoms. Differential access to social assets segments society into rigid hierarchies. White men occupy the top of the income pyramid and black women, the base, with few chances for upward mobility. Policies for reparations and/or affirmative action that have surged and expanded in recent decades guaranteed consistent transformations on this front, despite their suffering constant threats, especially in the present political context.
The program supports organizations and projects that strengthen the political protagonism of women of color, support black students as they enter into and remain in universities, and promote the production of knowledge about affirmative action and other initiatives that work for greater inclusion of black people in spaces where they are under-represented.
STRENGTHEN ANTIRACIST MOVEMENTS
Racism, understood as a force that structures inequalities, has its own process of subalternization and denial of rights for the black population. Positioning oneself against racism means understanding the problem in two ways. On the one hand, racism causes a cycle of disadvantages for the black population, including the loss of their symbolic and material assets. On the other, it positions white people within a system of privileges that is understood to be the norm but of which many do not recognize themselves as the chief beneficiaries. The racial issue, however, cannot and should not be a question of and for the black population. It should be at the center of the concerns of society at large, which is racially divided at its core. Building racial equity implies expanding opportunities for the black population and questioning the homogenization of spaces that concentrate power and social esteem.
Ibirapitanga seeks to stimulate the construction of an antiracist field, starting by supporting organizations that are references in combating racism, promoting new studies and dialogue mechanisms, and developing the protagonism and alliances that can challenge the configuration of race relations in Brazil.