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Title:Affirmative action, higher education, and human rights: a comparison between supreme court rulings in the United States and Brazil
Author(s):Pulley, Tonya Michelle
Director of Research:Ward Hood, Denice
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ward Hood, Denice
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Dhillon, Pradeep; Dávila, Jerry; Trent, William T.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):affirmative action
higher education
supreme court
Abstract:The United States and Brazil have histories of colonization, slavery, and racial inequalities. In addition, both countries have adjudicated cases centered on the use of affirmative action admissions policies in higher education but with differing results. The constitutional court of Brazil, the Supremo Tribunal Federal, ruled universities could use racial admissions quotas to ameliorate the effects of racial discrimination. The Supreme Court of the United States, however, ruled racial quotas are unconstitutional. This study answers the question as to whether the differences in the national rulings between the United States and Brazil can be attributed, at least in part, to differences in national commitments to education and human rights. This research evaluated six cases from the highest courts in Brazil and the United States centering on the use of race as a factor in higher education admissions. Within each case, works referenced by the justices in the opinions were characterized by type with emphasis on those involving international human rights treaties or broader philosophical ideas. In order to determine each country’s commitment to education and human rights, the following factors were compared: constitutional rights to education, constitutional protections from racial discrimination, recognition of education as a human right, and a national commitment to human rights. Through this research, the Brazilian commitment to both education and human rights has been shown to be greater than that of the United States. Within the opinions of the highest courts in both the United States and Brazil, references to international education and human rights treaties and a broader philosophical understanding of equality is clearly more evident in the cases of Brazil. The STF gives more freedom to universities to implement policies to ameliorate the effects of slavery and racial discrimination in Brazil when compared to the United States. The stark differences between the rulings in the United States and Brazil can be easily explained, at least in part, to the stark differences in commitments to education and human rights.
Issue Date:2020-07-02
Rights Information:© 2020 Tonya Michelle Pulley
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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