Alternative Media Perspectives
Stereotypes within the media often serve as a tools to justify the social exclusion of particular groups of people. In Brazil for instance, favelas are portrayed almost exclusively in negative terms and favela residents are de-humanized within the media, characterized as a social problem or a social threat.
The majority of images seen on Brazilian T.V. portray favela residents as dangerous criminals, impoverished people, or illegal squatters. These perpetuated stereotypes serve to justify their social exclusion from equal treatment as full citizens, equal standards of living, and human rights standards.
A Video Letter contributes to a larger initiative of visual inclusion through “giving voice” to youth living within marginalized communities. Through the process of video production, youth are encouraged to engage with their communities through interviewing family, friends, community leaders, residents, and in the case of Cantagalo, the police.
Youth are also encouraged to think critically about their social situation, and what is happening in their communities. The Video Letter offers youth a creative platform to create their own narratives about their lives and communities as they see it.
As a final product, the Video Letter is circulated on the web and shown in different parts of the word, which offers an alternative media perspective to that of mainstream media. This challenges the stereotypes that justify social exclusion.