Lusotropical blindness: Challenges of ethno-racial data collection in Portugal
Séance du séminaire GLOBAL-RACE
Until the end of 2017, the Portuguese state, faced with the demands of the Portuguese black movement and the recommendations of international organizations on the need to have ethnic-racial data to combat racism, argued that it could not be done because it was unconstitutional. However, in practice and in different ways, this collection has been made and is made by different institutions (hospitals, schools, police, social security services, etc.), without expliciting the goals and ethical principles that must be guaranteed. In 2017, the government established a working group that is currently discussing the introduction of questions about the ethno-racial background in the Censuses 2021. Being a critical observer of this process, but also part of this group, in this presentation I discuss some of the current challenges to the collection of ethno-racial data in Portugal, that have become evident in the process of constituting this working group; in the public speeches of the representatives of the state that lead this group; and in the discussions that have been held within it. These challenges reveal how even if we have advanced to a recognition of the need for this type of collection, a "Lusotropicalist" imaginary persists, legitimating, at the same time, the idea that Portugal is a country of ethnic-racial harmony and, if there is racism, it is not a structural issue, but a punctual one.
Discussant:Graziella Moraes Silva (Graduate Institute Geneva)