Brazil has a troubled history much like North America’s in terms of slavery. Little known to most, Brazil underwent a period where slavery was acceptable from the 1500s until 1888, making Brazil the last country in the western world to abolish slavery. One major difference between the two factions however, is that Brazilian slaves often bought their own freedom, then even went back to buy other slaves freedom.
This contributed heavily to two major themes in Brazil; the melding of numerous different races and ethnicities, and development of social classes. It’s nearly impossible to look at the average person in Brazil and know which ethnicities are intertwined with their lineage. However, there is a clear division among the classes that can’t be overlooked.
In Brazil, the social classes can be broken into 3 categories; the wealthy, the middle class, and the extremely poor. The wealthiest 10% have control over 40% of the income within the country. In stark contrast, the poorest 10% only control 1% of the income. The poor lower class made up the largest percentage of the population up until recently, when the Brazilian government put forth an effort to increase the middle class size. They added more than 40 million people to the middle class from 2004 to 2010, making 50% of the population now a part of the new middle class. In short, the effort was successful, but far too large a portion of the population still remains in the bottom class.
The effects of being in the lower class reverberate throughout every aspect of their lives. In Brazil education is free, but access to the education is limited. The richer areas receive better education as expected because they have better resources, teachers, and programs available. What’s not expected is that in the poorer areas, its often so difficult to get to school that parents and students give up. Recently there were protests and riots over there not being any public transportation in the slums. This is a severe disadvantage that works only to further segregate the haves from the have-nots. Furthermore, families are so poor that they have to put the children to work, often removing them from school completely just to...