#4 Ollie Johnson on Brazil’s Black and Brown Politicians

Ollie Johnson
With President Dilma Rousseff on the verge of being impeached, Brazil is in the middle of a political crisis. Where are the country’s black politicians? Researcher and academic Ollie Johnson knows. Twenty percent of Brazil’s congress is preto or pardo, but that doesn’t mean that they are all promoting the rights of black people. In this podcast, Ollie explains why racial politics in Brazil are complicated.

Ollie Johnson is an associate professor at Wayne State University, where he specializes in African American Studies. Right now he is on a sabbatical in Rio de Janeiro. In our hour-long discussion, we discussed the following:

Will Brazil ever have a Black President in the near future?

Why are Brazilian politics dominated by mainly white men?

Who is the most powerful black politician in Brazil?

Why did Benedita da Silva, arguably the most successful black politician in Brazil’s history, fall off the political power radar.

Benedita da Silva is a congresswoman for the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Benedita da Silva is a congresswoman for the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Does Marina Silva have a chance at running for President again in the future?

Marina Silva ran for president in 2014 and has started her own political party now.
Marina Silva ran for president in 2014 and has started her own political party now.

Who is this guy named Paulo Paim?

Who is Paulo Paim?
Who is Paulo Paim?
Ollie Johnson edited this excellent book.
Ollie Johnson edited this excellent book.

Ollie Johnson’s Biography

Ollie Johnson received his B.A. in Afro-American Studies and International Relations and a M.A. in Brazilian Studies from Brown University. He later earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley. His first book, Brazilian Party Politics and the Coup of 1964, was published in 2001. He co-edited Black Political Organizations in the Post-Civil Rights Era in 2002. Professor Johnson has conducted research on the Black Panther Party, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and other Black political groups in the United States. He has also lectured on African American politics in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Japan. His current research focuses on Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Latin American politics.

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