Color imbalance : how Afro-Brazilians view and interpret race in broadcast television

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De Jesus, Elena Zoubanova

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This thesis explores how the general Afro-Brazilian population of Salvador, Bahia interprets race and the images of Afro-descendants on Brazilian broadcast television. While nearly half of the Brazilian population self-classifies as black or brown, the country’s television networks continue to represent the nation as predominantly white in their TV shows and telenovelas, news programs, and commercials. Through the application of qualitative research methods, including semi-structured interviews and participant observation, the study evaluates the relationship between racial identity and the interpretation of television images among Afro-Brazilians. Additionally, the extent to which the relative absence of Afro-Brazilians from TV and their often stereotypical representations are naturalized among the subject population is explored. Finally, the research examines the subject population’s attitudes toward the possibility of a channel targeted specifically toward Afro-Brazilians. The outcomes of this research are applicable to understanding the dynamic of race in television reception in Brazil, and contribute to the discussion of racial identity among Afro-Brazilians in Salvador.


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