Whitewashing Diverse Voices: (De)Constructing Race and Ethnicity in Spanish-Language Television Dubbing

Media, Culture & Society, https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443721999932

Abstract: When television programs are translated for global audiences, languages are changed, but so too are constructions of diverse identities. Characters who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) undergo transformations in order to be intelligible outside of their original national contexts; such transformations might reinforce these characters’ difference or eliminate it, effectively whitewashing BIPOC voices. This article unpacks this phenomenon by investigating the translation of diverse characters through the lens of the many industrial norms and constraints that shape the dubbing industry. Using the international Fox hit Glee (2009–2015) as an entry point for exploring the role of dubbing in Latin America, this study complicates conventional notions about global media’s imperialist and hybridizing implications by tracing political economy and industrial practices onto the dubbing of Black, Latinx, and Asian television characters.

Laurena Bernabo 

Related Research


Picture it, U.S. 2020…’: The Golden Girls and sitcom nostalgia during the pandemic

Kate Fortmueller. “‘Picture it, U.S. 2020…’: The Golden Girls and sitcom nostalgia during the pandemic,” in The Golden Age of Television: The Golden Girls Reader. Edited by Taylor Cole Miller and […]

Kate Fortmueller
read more
Who Cares about Media Industry COVID policies?

Kate Fortmueller. “Who Cares about Media Industry COVID policies?” In Media Industries in Crisis: What COVID Unmasked. Edited by Vicki Mayer, Miranda Banks, and Noa Lavie. New York: Routledge. Abstract: During […]

Kate Fortmueller
read more