Compared to 10 Years Ago, More People in Brazil Identify as Black

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Ten years ago, there were more Brazilian people who self-identified as white (51.2 percent) than those who considered themselves black or multiracial (47.9 percent). 2014 saw an increase in the number of people who classified themselves as black or multiracial, with 53 percent identifying as black or multiracial and 45.5 percent as white, according to a Brazilian Geographical and Statistics Institute study.

The change, which was first noted in 2007, is not connected to birth rates, and sociologists believe this shift might be tied to positive attitudes about race, among other reasons, according to El País. “It could also be that there are more mixed partnerships between people, but what we have noticed is how the description has become more common,” she said.

Katia Regia, a coordinator for African and Afro-Brazilian studies, said that people have had more access to Afro-Brazilian studies, so it has led to people feeling prouder about being black. This is significant because Afro-Brazilians are still the target of racial crimes in the country, and even black futbolistas are discriminated against.

Just in October, actress Taís Araujo, who has been described as Brazil’s Beyoncé, had a series of racist comments directed at her on Facebook. Commenters talked about everything from her hair to her skin color, according to teleSur. People created a hashtag in support of Araujo, but the most powerful response came from Araujo herself, who reported the people to the police and refused to remove the comments. “I’m not going to erase any of them,” she said. “I find it extremely necessary that people read them so as to feel exactly as I felt reading them: ashamed of knowing these sort of cowards are still among us.”

But the changes are worth noting, like the fact that this year, Black Awareness Day is being celebrated in thousand of Brazilian cities.