chapter  5
23 Pages

Black, White and Brown

Telenovelas and Race
WithJune Carolyn Erlick

All sorts of freedoms are at stake in the telenovela-slavery, women's emancipation, class status. The telenovela does similarly show sexual violence against slave women and general mistreatment of slaves. The telenovela was perhaps the first to deal with the issue of slavery in Colombia, although Esclava Isaura was aired widely on several different occasions and had sparked earlier discussion about Colombia's slaveholding history. The variety of spontaneous intellectual commentary, blogs and Facebook posts, as well as the official Caracol outreach that included a web page, a Facebook page and the television segment on the slave experience, illustrate how telenovelas put controversial issues in the public eye. The discussion of the representation of slavery in telenovelas continues to put the issue of how race is portrayed in the public sphere. In the slavery telenovelas, one sees black faces, and although those represented are either slaves, freed slaves or runaway slaves, they are nevertheless on the screen night after night.