Still, black faces remain the exception at elite colleges.
Nubia de Lima, a 29-year-old black producer for Globo television network, said she experiences racism on a daily basis, in the reactions and comments of strangers who are constantly taking her for a maid, a nanny or a cook, despite her flair for fashion and pricey wardrobe.
"People aren't used to seeing black people in positions of power," she said. "It doesn't exist. They see you are black and naturally assume that you live in a favela (hillside slum) and you work as a housekeeper."
She added that upper middle-class black people like herself are in a kind of limbo, too affluent and educated to live in favelas but still largely excluded from high-rent white neighborhoods.
"Here it's a racism of exclusion," de Lima said.