In Brazil, the presence of black people in higher education has made some recent advances with the introduction of affirmative actions and other social programs, but in academia the racial portrait is one of greater inequality. According to a survey on the Socioeconomic and Cultural Profile of Graduates of Federal Higher Education Institutions, there have been significant changes in the colour and race composition of students in these institutions over the past 15 years, a sharp increase in black and brown students, but still is not enough to balance the number of white/light skinned highly educated professionals .
However, these actions only helped these students to enter the university life, the permanence is a completely different issue. Everyone who has been or are in university knows the astronomical costs of keeping yourself studying, in Brazil is even worse, student aid offered by the government is practically non-existent, the few that existed are now being withdrawn by the Bolsonaro government, that’s where the Tinder dos Livros (the Tinder of Books in English) comes in, the name is a reference to the relationship app.
“I connect people through the books” is Winnie Bueno’s Twitter bio. She is a Iyalorixá (a candomblé’s priestess), black social movement activist, feminist, and academic (currently pursuing a doctorate in sociology). Last year on her Twitter account, Winnie said: “I tweeted that I found it more useful for white people to donate books to black people than to only stand as allies to the racial struggle on Twitter. A lot of people responded saying they were available to donate and so I started distributing the orders. ”And so the Tinder of Books was created.
The logistic is simple, using Twitter, a black person who wants or needs a book sends a direct message to Winnie telling her which book the person needs, those who are willing to donate one also send a message to her, then Winnie takes the print of who needs it and sends it to those who volunteered to do the good deed. From there, the person buys and presents who asked.
From November until now it is estimated that at the moment more than 800 books have been donated through the project. Tinder of Books is more than a donation project, the initiative uses books as essential tools in the fight against racial oppression.
According to the Tinder of Book’s idealiser: “Academic books are very expensive, especially imported ones”. International participation is welcome and necessary: “In Europe and the United States the research field of race and gender studies is quite advanced, so many of the requests that I get are foreign books”. That said, people who do not live in Brazil can help, if you have an interest in support the project, you can contact Winnie Bueno on Twitter @winniebueno and express interest in helping, “when I have an imported book request, I contact potential international donors and the person can purchase the book from an online store or bookstore and send the book directly to the person in Brazil.”