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OLIVEIRA, Roberta Gondim de et al. Racial inequalities and death on the horizon: COVID-19 and structural racism. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2020, vol.36, n.9, e00150120.  Epub Sep 18, 2020. ISSN 1678-4464.

COVID-19 incidence and mortality in countries with heavy social inequalities differ in population terms. In countries like Brazil with colonial histories and traditions, the social markers of differences are heavily anchored in social and racial demarcation, and the political and social dynamics and processes based on structural racism act on this demarcation. The pandemic’s actual profile in Brazil clashes with narratives according to which COVID-19 is a democratic pandemic, an argument aligned with the rhetoric of racial democracy that represents a powerful strategy aimed at maintaining the subaltern place of racialized populations such as indigenous peoples and blacks, as a product of modern coloniality. This essay focuses on the pandemic’s profile in the Brazilian black population, in dialogue with decolonial contributions and critical readings of racism. The authors discuss government responses and COVID-19 indicators according to race/color, demonstrating the maintenance of historical storylines that continue to threaten black lives. The article also discusses the importance of local resistance movements, organized in the favelas, precarious urban spaces underserved by the State and occupied by black Brazilians.

Keywords : COVID-19; Racism; Social Vulnerability.

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