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article image'Blacks for Sale' ad in Brazil created by 15-year old

By Karen Graham     Jan 28, 2014 in World
Rio De Janeiro - Almost half of Brazil's 200 million population is of African descent, and in total numbers, only Nigeria has more Black people in their population. Yet racial equality issues in Brazil have been mixed, at times. Brazil didn't abolish slavery until 1888.
With Brazil's success at social integration, it is still evident that many Afro-Brazilians are still at the bottom rung of the ladder socially, with disproportionately high rates of poverty and low rates of representation.
So earlier this month, when a popular online marketplace, MercadoLivre, posted an ad offering "blacks for sale for one real" ($0.47), a great many people were outraged and a government investigation ensued. The ad included a photo of two young Black children, and suggested anyone purchased could "serve as carpenters, masons, cooks, security guards, nightclub bouncers, janitors, garbage collectors, or housekeepers."
Luckily, it only took a few days before police in Rio de Janeiro picked up the culprit at his home in a Rio slum. The 15-year old schoolboy said he was "frustrated" because he had been shut-out of a computer class based on a quota system to encourage more Blacks to apply. The boy was held for two hours, but not charged because he had no history of racial bias.
The investigation originally started with the Brazilian government's agency on racial equality stepping in, asking the online vendor to turn over the name of the author of the ad so charges could be brought against him. Carlos Alberto Silva Jr., a rights organization official said the ad was "an offence to the entire society." Inciting discrimination or prejudice by either race, colour, ethnicity or religion is punishable with 2 to 5-years imprisonment and even a fine, he added.
The head of the civil rights group Educafro, David Santos, a group that seeks greater equality for Afro-Brazilians, said the ad may have given the issue of racial inequality some much needed publicity, increasing public awareness for the need for more reforms, like those of the current President, Dilma Rousseff.
The president enacted legislation calling for quotas for minority representation 16 months ago. The controversial law, debated for 13 years, reserves 50 percent of university spots to students from public schools. Blacks, mixed race, and indigenous people are given priority under this legislation.
More about Racism, online ad, Brazil, Inequality, Police investigation
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