"In Brazil today, at least 600,000 people are formally registered as domestic staff — nannies, cooks, cleaners. And of those, 96 percent are women. More than half of those women, according to recent statistics, are from the darker-skinned, poorer sectors of society.
The nannies who work with the wealthy are all obliged by tradition to wear white uniforms. (Private clubs only allow nannies to enter with their charges if they are dressed in white). If you look at the pictures from the Moreira Salles Institute, you can see that tradition began with slavery in Brazil.
Sonia dos Santos is a professor and an activist with the black women's rights group Criola. I showed her the images and asked her what she thought of them. She said it reminded her of a statistic she recently heard, that 1 in 5 black women are domestic workers in Brazil today.
"This social condition of inferiority ... is more than just because they are domestic workers, it's because they are black and because they are women," dos Santos says. During slavery, black men were deemed more valuable than black women, even though black women were a huge part of the slave economy"