Universal policies or affirmative actions: How to manage social and racial integration in a multicultural context?: The Afro-Colombian integration in Bogotá city.

BULA, JORGE (2016). 'Universal policies or affirmative actions: How to manage social and racial integration in a multicultural context?: The Afro-Colombian integration in Bogotá city.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

topics: Human Rights, Inclusion and Exclusion, Race and Ethnicity

abstract: The Human Right Perspective are based, in principle, on an universal ground that has to be warranted for every person regardless of her/his racial, cultural, gender, religion or ethnical origin, among others. Equality is supposed to be one of the pillars of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  However, increasingly there is a demand in our societies (both for developed and developing countries) for the recognition of the Difference, or more explicitly warranting the Right to the Difference. It looks like a contradiction in terms talking about Universal Rights and at the same token claiming for the Right to the Difference. Certainly the other side of the coin there is inequality based among others, on gender, racial or ethnic situations. Social exclusion in many cases is built on social representations related to one or more of these topics. As analyzed by Reis and Moraes Silva (2015), there might be some tensions in solving this trilogy between equality, difference and inequality accordingly to the different national context in which those dilemmas may take place. The question leads to the kind of public policies that should be undertaken I order to make effective enjoyment of Human Rights. Should a society built up a social environment that warranty Human Rights based on a Universal approach or, on the other hand, it requires introducing affirmative actions in order to warranty social inclusion and leveling the space in which Human Rights may be enjoyed? Multiculturalism seems to gain momentum claiming for the recognition of the Difference as a perspective to build up citizenship and would respond the later perspective. This proposal is based firstly in survey made for the case of Bogotá, looking at the process of insertion of Afro-Colombian people in this city (published in City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 20:1, 2016), in a country where the imaginary of racism seems to be hidden for a supposed open access to opportunities regardless of race. And secondly, the proposal is enhanced introducing the discussion about the tension mentioned above between equality, difference and inequality. In other words, the dilemma between affirmative actions and universal policies as tools to build up a welfare state and more warrant environment for the well-being and respect of Human Rights for all citizens.   From the former, I analyze the situation of racial and social discrimination of Afro-Colombians migrating to Bogotá,  how is the process of settlement of these communities into the city, which is its dynamic, and the responses they may find to offset discrimination. As mention in the introduction, the paper “tries to assess the urban dynamics that might explain the living conditions and the modes of insertion of Afro-Colombian residents in large cities like Bogotá that are both racially diverse and racially segregated” (Bula, 2016). From the latter I undertake the discussion concerning the dilemmas derived from the trilogy proposed by E. Reis and G. Moraes Silva (2015) for the case of Brazil, and also, to some extent being introduced again for the city of Bogotá, by S. Villamizar (2015) where he analyzes the social, racial and spatial segregation and how some universal policies may be unequal considering such a segregationist situation. 

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