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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


NORONHA, Ceci Vilar et al. Violence, ethnic group, and skin color: a study of disparities in the metropolitan region of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.5, n.4-5, pp.268-277. ISSN 1680-5348.

The objective of this study was to analyze the distribution of various forms of violence-structural, institutional, interpersonal, and crime-related-in the three most common color groups of Bahian society: mulattos, whites, and blacks. The study compared the levels of victimization of mulatto, white, and black individuals with their assessments of the efficiency of crime-control institutions, in order to ascertain how that relates to those same citizens’ acceptance of authoritarian attitudes and norms. The data analyzed came from the multicenter project on Attitudes and Cultural Standards about Violence (ACTIVA) project, from a sample of 1384 residents of the Salvador metropolitan region. The study was designed as a cross-sectional survey, with interviews done in the people’s homes between September and December of 1996. The sample selection was done in three stages: first, residential areas were chosen at random; then, a systematic selection was made from the homes in each of the selected areas; finally, the persons to be interviewed were chosen at random. To collect the data the researchers used a pretested questionnaire that had been designed for the ACTIVA study. The results showed an unequal distribution of structural violence that mainly affected blacks. There were no differences by color group for interpersonal and institutional violence. Criminal violence impacted whites and blacks to the same degree. Distrust in the efficiency of the civil and military police and in the justice and penal systems was very high among all three color groups. Moreover, few differences were found among the groups with regard to authoritarian attitudes and norms. Based on the results, it is possible to conclude that public order is threatened if the dissatisfaction with institutions for crime prevention and reduction continues at a high level at the same time that individuals tend to support violence to resolve conflicts.

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