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Brazilian President Wants To Reserve 20 Percent Of Government Job For Blacks

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BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 27: Members of group Educafro protest in silence in front of the Presidential Palace on favor of the racial quota policies on June 27, 2012 in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photo by Peter Francia/News Free/LatinContent/Getty Images) | Getty

BRASILIA, Brazil -- BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil's president says she'll ask congress to pass legislation to reserve 20 percent of the nation's government jobs for blacks.

About half of Brazil's 204 million people are black — more than in any nation except Nigeria.

Blacks face persistent socio-economic inequality in Brazil, and President Dilma Rousseff says her proposal will help reverse that. She says "affirmative action is essential" for creating equal opportunities.

There is no word on when congress might begin debating the proposal.

Rousseff also said Tuesday that by the end of next year, her government will have sent a doctor to each of Brazil's more than 3,500 "quilombos." Those are settlements founded by descendants of Brazil's slaves.

Brazil had more African slaves land on its shores than any other country in the Americas.

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