- De donkere kleur van armoede
- Book title
- Heilige huisjes: anders kijken naar internationale samenwerking
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Den Haag: IS Academie & Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This essay argues that the racial and ethnic dimensions of exclusion and marginalization must be considered in development thinking. If these dimensions are overlooked, development aid will never really transform the lives of the most marginalized. This claim is illustrated with reference to data on racial inequality in the Brazilian education system.
The author argues that the failure to take a stand against racial/ethnic inequality is not
surprising, given the fact that in the current development discourse, thinking on development often fails to take context into consideration. The individual is nothing more than a ‘client’, not connected to anything and stripped of ‘race’/ethnicity and class status. Inequality and marginalization are explained on the basis of socioeconomic background. And when the social role of an individual is reflected in policy, it is often only gender that is
considered. Racism and ethnocentrism are rarely referred to in explanations of inequality. As such, they still seem to be taboo subjects.
The argument defended in this essay is that, for current ‘development thinking’ to address racial/ethnic inequality, Western countries should consider questions such as how to define ‘development’ and ‘quality education’. We will need to reflect on the impact of racism and Eurocentrism and the role of our societies in the colonial history of the world. The author ends with the suggestion that we abandon the dominant focus in ‘development
aid’ on how to help ‘others’, start with ourselves, and focus on developing ‘education for the oppressed’.
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