Paula Balduino de Melo
Brasil -
October 01, 2023

Imagining the Fire: Conversations about the African American | Season 2 Episode #3

Today, in ‘Imagining the Fire: Conversations about the African American,’ we will travel to the country known for having the largest Afro-descendant population outside of Africa: Brazil. The majority of its population identifies as Black and Brown, yet this majority is not yet reflected in places of power and representation. One of the challenges facing Brazilian society is combating structural racism, and there are already initiatives from the State itself to achieve this. In this episode, we will discuss these and other situations with our guest, Paula Balduino de Melo. @paulabaldu studied social sciences at the University of Brasília, where she also completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in social anthropology. She researched at the National University of Colombia for her postgraduate studies. This led to her doctoral thesis and the book ‘Afro-Pacific Midwives: Weaving Resistance.’
Paula has experience in the field of anthropology of ethnic-racial relations, with an emphasis on Afro-Latin populations and a gender focus. She has also worked on rural sociology topics. She serves as the Director of Policies for Quilombolas and Gypsies at the Ministry of Racial Equality. Paula asserts, “It is possible to combat structural racism. For this, it is very important to have Black people in the State, as this already signifies a transformation of the State.” With the current government, they achieved the requirement that 30% of public employees be Black. Although it should be higher in terms of population percentages, it is an important step forward.
‘Imagining the Fire: Conversations about the African American’ is hosted by @marcela.vallejo.