Differential reporting of discriminatory experiences in Brazil and the United States

Abstract:There has been little cross-national comparison of perceived discrimination, and few studies have considered how intersectional identities shape perception of discriminatory treatment in different societies. Using data from the ELSA-Brasil, a study of Brazilian civil servants, and the Americans' Changing Lives Study, a nationally-representative sample of U.S. adults, we compare reports of lifetime discrimination among race-by-gender groups in each society. We also consider whether educational attainment explains any group differences, or if differences across groups vary by level of education. Results reveal higher lifetime discrimination experiences among Black respondents in both countries, especially Black men, than among Whites, and lower reports among White women than White men. Brown men and women also reported higher levels than White men in Brazil. For all race-by-gender groups in both countries, except Brazilian White men, reports of discrimination were higher among the more educated, though adjusting for educational differences across groups did not explain group differences. In Brazil, we found the greatest racial disparities among the college educated, while U.S. Black men were more likely to report discrimination than White men at all levels of education. Results reveal broad similarities across countries, despite important differences in their histories, and an intersectional approach contributed to identification of these similarities and some differences in discrimination experiences. These findings have implications for social and public health surveillance and intervention to address the harmful consequences of discrimination.Keywords: Social Discrimination; Ethnic Groups; Sexism