This October 2, Brazilians go to the polls to elect the president (a battle reduced to hand in hand between Bolsonaro Y Lula da Silva), the governors of the 27 states, a third of the 81 senators and 513 federal deputies, among other regional positions.
Since the 2014 general election, all candidates are required to state your race: white, black, mestizo, yellow or indigenous. It is also allowed that they can change their race in each electoral process depending on how they perceive themselves. And for this date with the polls, 1,387 candidates have changed their race compared to previous elections.
According to a newspaper report Folha de Sao Paulo, a total of 547 candidates have stopped declaring themselves white and have registered their candidacy as mestizos; 36% of those who were mestizos in the previous municipal now they consider themselves black; a deputy who considered himself a mestizo now says that he is indigenous and 29 other parliamentarians who presented themselves as mestizos, in these elections claim that they are white.
One of the main reasons for changing skin color is win voters. In Brazil, 40% of the electorate is considered black; 36% white and 15% mestizo. The yellow and the indigenous are not counted because the official databases are small. In that sense, depending on the predominant race of the place where they are presented, the candidates are interested in being more white or more black.
The second reason is economic, derived from a quota system perverted by the political parties themselves. In 2020, the Supreme Court of Brazil decided to ‘reward’ inclusive candidates and established a distribution of the Special Fund for Campaign Financing that benefited non-white candidates and women. He also mandated that free election advertising time must be proportionate for all races, a condition that guarantees more media appearances for racialized candidates.
In view of the new rules, Brazil has registered a record of candidacies of black people and women for all the positions at stake in these general elections (49.6% and 33.4%, respectively).
However, the move has not gone well for all politicians. The candidate for the government of Bahia for the right-wing Union Brazil party, Net MCA, has declared himself a mestizo when before 2016 he claimed to be white. His color change has generated great controversy in the territory, where 80% of the population is considered black or mestizo.
Neto appeared on television where he compared his skin tone with that of the current governor of the state, Rui Costa, who also declares himself dark. “A politician who calls himself a leftist can declare himself brown and another not? This is a preconceived idea.” However, viewers only commented on the “strange tan” of the candidate.
The registration of ACM Neto as mestizo has not pleased the Collective of Black Entities. His coordinator, Yuri Silva, has assured that the candidate is “defrauding the electoral system” because he has taken away the rights of other candidates.