Educate for diversity

Image: Paulinho Fluxuz


It is necessary to deconstruct all forms of intolerance, stereotypes, racism, and denial of the other, and that the basis of social democracy is only built on respect for diversity

Express about education – term from the Latin, I will educate derived from ex which means outside or outside, and ducere to instruct, guide and lead – presents us with a tremendous challenge, given that the society in which we are faced is diverse, and that requires from its protagonists in the pedagogical exercise, the attitude of dialoguing, and being open to multiple demands, and that they are not few.

Now, this diversity was not constituted recently, but has its origins since the arrival of Europeans, Africans, Indians who already lived here, and other peoples who arrived and enriched society. These multiple differences have an impact on educational systems. Because we know that the school is a portrait of society, with all its desires and struggles, and any pedagogical model that is oblivious to the multiple differences can lead to an exclusive and elitist character, and also serve as a mainstay for the maintenance of social inequalities, stereotype differences, and ethno-cultural diversities.

The Federal Constitution (CF) of 1988, and the Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Education (LDB) of 1996, was undoubtedly a landmark, if compared to the previous ones in terms of inclusion in the educational field, the study and respect for differences cultural, religious and ethnic. And yet, base teaching on the freedom to learn and teach, on the pluralism of ideas and pedagogical concepts, as stated in Article 206 of the FC.

Art 206.
II - Freedom to learn, teach, research and disseminate thought, art and knowledge
III – pluralism of ideas and pedagogical conceptions …
(BRAZIL, 1988)

As for the 1996 LDB, article 26 highlights the relevance of teaching different cultures and ethnicities that contributed to the formation of the Brazilian people, especially the African, indigenous and European matrices.

Article 26. § 4 The teaching of Brazilian history will take into account the contributions of different cultures and ethnic groups to the formation of the Brazilian people, especially those of indigenous, African and European matrices. (Brazil, 1996).

Despite the contributions of different peoples to the national social formation, it is not enough to just include them in school curricula. prominence the cultural activities inherited from the Europeans, while the others are treated in a folkloric way, especially the Indians and blacks.

This folklorization can be explained by the transplantation of the Eurocentric, white and urbanized cultural model, which arrived in Brazil with the Iberian colonizers, and which resulted in the marginalization of blacks and Indians, and which still takes root in institutions, concepts and ways of understanding Social. Unfortunately, these pedagogical models, in which the different does not exist, and even if it is thought, in a certain way, it is still superficial and narrow in the curricula and in the pedagogical models.

[...] still today, there is an extremely prejudiced and discriminating society, which finds in the school one of the greatest disseminators of these attitudes, with black and indigenous populations being the most affected and greatly harmed in this process, widely supported by curricula and pedagogical projects that mask situations that are part of society's daily life [...]. (SILVA; SOUZA, 2008, p.171).

In addition to the influence of the European cultural model, which resulted in the minimization or denial of indigenous and black cultures, we still have two problems related to the production of textbooks and the training of teachers.

In reference to the teaching materials, the criticism directed at them is the superficiality and the reduction of black culture to food production, music and religion, as if blacks were not capable of constituting social, political and economic coexistence, and without giving due emphasis to longevity in the formation of these cultures. Now, cultures are different and diverse, and because they are like that, they are not synonymous with involution or evolution, nor that there is culture at an evolutionary level superior to the others, as pointed out by Levi-Strauss (1993).

Furthermore, the ways in which studies and reflections on the black issue are guided in our schools can border on ridicule. Since, dealing with blacks and their culture only in the month of November, mainly on the 20th, and emphasizing the elements discussed above – such as food, religion, music and prominent blacks – and without pointing out the problems of social exclusion, racism, myth of racial democracy, stereotypes, absence of public policies and obstacles to social ascension, is somewhat superficial and does not touch the root of the issue.

After all, what we can express is that, without taking into account the questions described - even with the celebrations and memory of black life - teaching will continue to be predominantly white, folkloric in relation to black people. After all, the learner, without a critical conscience, can feel or intuit that the dominator's culture is still superior, or is more important than the others. With that, the proposal of the black movements and of the legislation itself is devoid of meaning and emptied in terms of its purpose.

Regarding the indigenous people, considered the natural inhabitants, the issue considered crucial is the low relevance and minimization of these peoples in textbooks, and especially in annual plans and school celebrations. The image he reports to the student, devoid of a critical reflection, is of an Indian still in his natural state with little clothing or naked, with feathers and paint on his body, and without sharply highlighting the cultural destruction in the colonial period, and today, the invasion of their lands by miners and loggers and the continued destruction of their beliefs.

Regardless of beliefs, we know that they are disputed by Catholics and Evangelicals, especially of American origin, leading to the loss of identity and meaning. Beliefs among indigenous peoples are built in their relationship with forests, rivers, animals, and in their ties with their ancestors. Among the white man, belief bears the mark of rationality, of the divine in the human, castrating ideas of sin and hell, and the transformation of natural goods into profits and possessions, with the help and auspices of the sacred.

The American culturalist anthropologist points out that the sacred symbols among peoples represent their way of life, and their moral dispositions, style and worldview. People, when behaving based on their beliefs, do not feel obligated as if it were external forces acting in their lives. Beliefs are webs of relationships and meaning (GEERTZ, 1989). Therefore, destroying or imposing beliefs alien to the way of life of a people represents the loss of their references and meaning.

For the rescue and defense of the culture of the original peoples, among them the belief, because it is also culture, it is necessary to point out to the students that this concern is not only national, as highlighted by the CF of 1988 and the LDB of 1996. several countries, shortly after the Second World War, gathered in San Francisco in the United States of America, in June 1945, signed a Treaty called the Charter of Nations, which has in its first article, among others, respect and the principle of equality of rights and the self-determination of peoples. Allied to these principles, we currently have the interests of national and foreign Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which, with the support of companies and their governments, fight to defend the culture and self-determination of peoples.

Regarding the training of teachers, this is a recurring problem, which does not depend exclusively on these professionals, and which can be classified as systemic. Improvements in education do not require well-designed advertisements, but long-term planning in which several variables must be taken into account, from economic factors, environmental factors, such as structure and organizational models, as well as the continuous training of teachers, technical resources and others. If we continue in this vein, neither the legal changes nor the meetings and heated debates will be able to change the pace.

Thinking about these challenges, the educational reality both in its internal organizations, in its rhythms, and in its pedagogical models, increasingly pushes the need to broaden horizons, and insert in its curricula and programs, the demands coming from students, who are their multiple conceptions of the world, religious convictions, cultural and family heritage, and the demands arising from our social, political and cultural background – blacks, indigenous peoples and others – without any preferential bias, but with balance and exalting their values.

The proposal of this pedagogical model is not basically inserted in the expansion of the knowledge of the differences, but to point out to the students that, for a harmonious and peaceful society, it is necessary to deconstruct all forms of intolerance, stereotypes, racism, and denial of the other. , and that the basis of social democracy is only built on respect for diversity.

* Geraldo Oliveira Master in Social Sciences from Puc-Minas.


BRAZIL. [Constitution (1988)]. Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil of 1988: We, representatives of the Brazilian people, gathered in the National Constituent Assembly to establish a Democratic State, destined to ensure the exercise of social and individual rights, […]. Brasília, DF: Presidency of the Republic, [2019]. Available at:

BRAZIL. Law No. 9.394 of 20 December 1996. Establishes the guidelines and bases for national education. Brasília, DF: Presidency of the Republic, [2019b]. Available at: Accessed on: 2 Apr. 2020.

GEERTZ, Clifford. The interpretation of cultures. Rio de Janeiro: LTC – Technical and Scientific Books, 1989.

LEVI-STRAUSS, Claude. race and history. In: LÉVI-STRAUSS, Claude. structural anthropology two. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Time, 1993.

SILVA, GJ; SOUZA, J. Educating for ethnic-racial and cultural diversity: challenges for inclusive education in Brazil. Interaction; College of Education Magazine.UFG, 33 (1) 169 – 192, Jan./Jun. 2008. 


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