Building peace in the minds of men and women

A Report on race relations in Brazil

Last year, Unesco undertook a full, on-the-spot inquiry into the various social, economic, cultural and psychological factorsboth favourable and unfavourable-which condition race relations in Brazil today. The reasons why a country like Brazil, which has been regarded by sociologists and students of race relations as a remarkable example of racial harmony, was chosen for Unesco's"pilot survey"rather than some other country in which racial tensions are more bitter, are explained on this page by Dr. Alfred Métraux, of the Race Relations Division of Unesco. In order to avoid giving this survey too local a character, the most representative regions throughout Brazil were included, and the task entrusted to a number of different scientific groups and individuals from Brazil itself and from abroad.

The survey included direct contact and case studies of the attitudes towards racial problems, particularly towards the Negro and his position in the social scale of the population of four large metropolitan areas of Brazil: Sao Paulo, the fastest growing city not only of Brazil but of all Latin America; Rio de Janeiro, the federal capital and a large industrial centre; Bahia (also called Salvador, or Salvador da Bahia), the great Negro metropolis of Brazil; and Recife, capital of the arid State of Pernambuco, in the north-eastern hump of the country. The question of race relations in rural Brazil - a subject that up to now has been largely neglected - was also undertaken by a Unesco team in a series of first-hand case studies in representative communities of mountainous Central Brazil, the Amazon region, the arid backlands (sertao) of the north-east, and the plantation area of the Bahian area.

The articles published on the following pages present a picture of what the scientists conducting the Unesco survey found to be the state of racial attitudes in Brazil today. Except for the article on the place of the Negro in Brazilian history, by Gilberto Freyre-author of "The Masters and the Slaves", a monumental study of the development and evolution of the patriarchal society in Brazil-the articles presented in this issue were written by the scientists who have played a leading role in Unesco's survey. The work of the Unesco team on race relations in rural Brazil is being published by Unesco in book form this year under the title"Class and Caste in Rural Brazil", edited by Dr. Charles Wagley, of Columbia University, New York. The studies and findings of the other teams will be published by Unesco within the next two years. This complete up-to-date study of the Negro and race relations in Brazil will total at least six volumes.

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July-August 1952