FormACTION Group Connections of Knowledge (Minas Gerias)

Combating institutional racism in the university: affirmative action and the strengthening of political and academic trajectories of black students of popular origin

Minas Gerais

The groups seeks to empower black students of popular origin to graduate in political and academic areas. Following graduation, the project looks to elaborate diagnostics, maps, propositions and evaluations of affirmative action policies for black students’ access to and permanence at federal universities.

Also making up part of the project’s activities is the critical and qualified insertion of Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) students in teaching, research and extension activities together with the university itself, in popular communities and other excluded social groups, thus expanding relations between the university and social movements through the exchange of knowledge and activities between these two socio-cultural territories.

The participation of students in academic events will also be incentivized; the publication of articles against institutional racism and in favor of affirmative action; and their presence in other social spaces, with special attention given to the Forum of Students of Popular Origin and Black Movement.



The group understands institutional racism extends throughout the Brazilian government and is recognized as one of the principal impediments to the construction of democracy, the realization of justice and for the full exercise of human rights in the country. This is one of the main factors that challenges the general implementation of affirmative action, and other policies for black students’ access to and permanence at public universities.

Institutional racism establishes barriers supposedly invisible, though extremely violent for the Brazilian black population. These barriers exist as norms, practices, rhetoric and institutional procedures which, from supposedly neutral sources, guarantee the interests of racially dominant subjects and groups.

The proponent adds that, when the Black Movement reclaims affirmative action, including racial quotas, the myth of racial democracy is actively questioned and the debate on the right to be different and its importance enters the national agenda. Racist reactions in academia, politics and the media, seen through this debate, demonstrate the tension that has always existed in the imagination and in social practices, but has been systematic, and intentionally hidden by practices of institutional racism that must be challenged.


About the group

The group proposes to challenge institutional violence and racial discrimination, and to struggle for the implementation of affirmative action in universities. To accomplish this, it works toward the strengthening of academic and political trajectories for black students of popular origins and for their graduation from public higher education institutions, expanding the relations between these and social movements through the production and exchange of knowledge.

Since the beginning of 2010, black students from communities around Belo Horizonte (MG) have graduated from UFMG in the following areas: science and society; democracy, affirmative action; social exclusion and citizenship; university and social transformation; gender and race.

The group is in dialog with other organizations, such as Affirmative Action, the Political Psychology Center, the Center for LGBT Rights and Citizenship, the ATIVA Black Women’s Organization, the Hip Hop Movement, Cpir-BH, besides community leaders in neighborhoods and favelas in Belo Horizonte and its metropolitan region.

Funding Line

Annual Call for Proposals



Total Granted




Main Themes

Confronting racism

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