As part of affirmative actions targeting racial inequality, Brazil introduced educational Laws 10.639 in 2003 and 11.645 in 2008, which oblige every school in the country to teach African, Afro-Brazilian and indigenous history and culture. The black movement regards the reform as an important step towards the deconstruction of the 'racial democracy'-myth and the reparation of injustices caused by the country's colonial history, slavery and its branqueamento (whitening) immigration policies. By exploring the scope and limitations of different approaches to the implementation of Law 11.645/08, this thesis adds a new angle to the discussion about the effectiveness of multicultural education and its relevance in the creation of a person's attitude towards racism and cultural difference. For my fieldwork I spent a year in the city of Rio de Janeiro and its Northern metropolitan area Baixada Fluminense, locating spaces in which institutions, groups and individuals work on the implementation of the law: I carried out research in two socially very distinct public high schools, two teacher education courses offered by public institutions and with various social activists, students and education professionals. Exploring the trajectories not only of individuals who are active in the implementation process but the profiles of two very distinct school districts, offers an analysis of Brazilian race relations through the lens of the socio-educational context. Different approaches to the law's implementation from various positions of economic, symbolic, cultural or political capital all have a different effect on those involved in the implementation process and open up different conceptual and strategic questions. Such insights contribute to our understanding of how social policies, as well as ethnic-racial education, can be applied in a meaningful way to various educational contexts and to the design of further affirmative action policies, particularly those categorising and targeting certain ethnic-racial groups.