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FERREIRA, Aparecida de Jesus. Social Identities Of Black Females In English Language Textbooks Used In Brazil And Cameroon: Intersectionalities Of Race, Gender, Social Class And Critical Racial Literacy. Revista X, v. 14, n. 4, p. 20-40, 2019.

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This article analyzes how the social identities of black females are represented in English-language textbooks used in Brazil and Cameroon; the intention is to generate reflections on how these social identities are portrayed. This research is linked to my participation in an international research project involving universities in Brazil and Cameroon. In the article I analyze a textbook I collected in Cameroon (Bamenda) and another textbook that is used in Brazil. I address the following: 1) What are the results of studies regarding English-language textbooks, the social identities of black females, and intersectionality with the issues of race, gender and social class in Brazil? 2) What do English-language textbooks used in Brazil and Cameroon reveal about black females and intersectionalities with social class? The reference framework that supports this discussion includes the issues of intersectionality, race, gender and social class (CRENSHAW, 1991), as well as critical racial literacy (SKERRETT, 2011; MOSLEY, 2010, FERREIRA, 2015b). The article concludes that black females are less represented than males in textbooks used in both Brazil and Cameroon. In the case of Brazil, black females are less represented than black and white males, and white females.
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IDENTIDADES SOCIAIS DE MULHERES NEGRAS NOS LIVROS
DIDÁTICOS DE LÍNGUA INGLESA DO BRASIL E DE CAMARÕES:
INTERSECCIONALIDADES DE RAÇA, GÊNERO, CLASSE SOCIAL E
LETRAMENTO RACIAL CRÍTICO
Social Identities Of Black Females In English Language Textbooks Used In Brazil And
Cameroon: Intersectionalities Of Race, Gender, Social Class And Critical Racial
Literacy
Aparecida de Jesus FERREIRA
1
UEPG – Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Paraná, Brazil
ABSTRACT: This article analyzes how the social identities of black females
are represented in English-language textbooks used in Brazil and Cameroon; the
intention is to generate reflections on how these social identities are portrayed.
This research is linked to my participation in an international research project
involving universities in Brazil and Cameroon. In the article I analyze a textbook
I collected in Cameroon (Bamenda) and another textbook that is used in Brazil. I
address the following: 1) What are the results of studies regarding English-
language textbooks, the social identities of black females, and intersectionality
with the issues of race, gender and social class in Brazil? 2) What do English-
language textbooks used in Brazil and Cameroon reveal about black females and
intersectionalities with social class? The reference framework that supports this
discussion includes the issues of intersectionality, race, gender and social class
(CRENSHAW, 1991), as well as critical racial literacy (SKERRETT, 2011;
MOSLEY, 2010, FERREIRA, 2015b). The article concludes that black females
are less represented than males in textbooks used in both Brazil and Cameroon.
In the case of Brazil, black females are less represented than black and white
males, and white females.
KEYWORDS: Textbooks; Racial Identity; Intersectionality, Critical Racial
Literacy; Gender; Social Class
RESUMO: A presente pesquisa reflete sobre identidades sociais da mulher
negra e suas intersecções nos livros didáticos de língua inglesa e tem a intenção
de gerar reflexões sobre como as identidades sociais da mulher negra estão
sendo representadas nos livros didáticos de língua inglesa do Brasil e de
Camarões. A intenção de trazer a reflexão entre os livros didáticos produzidos
no Brasil e em Camarões tem a ver com a minha experiência de ter participado
de um projeto de pesquisa internacional que estiveram envolvidas universidade
no Brasil e em Camarões. Dessa forma esta pesquisa traz a análise de um dos
livros didáticos que coletei em Camarões (Bamenda) e outro escolhido e que é
utilizado no contexto do Brasil. Neste artigo respondo as seguintes perguntas: 1)
1
Aparecida de Jesus Ferreira, studied for a postdoctoral qualification at King’s College London
(University of London) and was a visiting professor at the same university in 2018. She is a Professor and
Associate Researcher at the Ponta Grossa State University (UEPG), Paraná, Brazil and she currently
teaches in the Languages course at undergraduate, MA levels.
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Quais são os resultados das pesquisas sobre livro didático de Língua Inglesa
identidades sociais da mulher negra e interseccionalidade com raça, gênero e
classe social? 2) O que os livros didáticos de língua inglesa no Brasil e em
Camarões revelam sobre a mulher negra e interseccionalidades com classe social?
O referencial que suporte para essa discussão são as questões de
interseccionalidade raça, gênero e classe social (CRENSHAW, 1991) e
letramento racial crítico (SKERRETT, 2011; MOSLEY, 2010, FERREIRA,
2015b). Os resultados desta pesquisa demonstram que as mulheres negras nos
livros didáticos em relação aos homens estão menos representadas tanto no
Brasil como em Camarões. E no que se refere a mulher negra no Brasil as
mulher negra está menos representada que o homem Branco e Negro e a mulher
Branca.
PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Livro Didático; Identidade Racial; Interseccionalidade;
Letramento Racial Crítico; Gênero; Classe Social
INTRODUCTION
Previous studies (FERREIRA; FERREIRA, 2013; FERREIRA; CAMARGO,
2014, FERREIRA, 2014) have shown that the number of researchers in the field of
applied linguistics who have analyzed foreign language textbooks has been rising in
Brazil. Furthermore, researchers have also increasingly addressed issues concerning the
social identities of race, gender and social class in English-language textbooks as a
foreign/additional language. However, there has been very little focus on the portrayal
of black females in such textbooks and how that relates to issues of intersectionality.
Regarding intersectionality, the black feminist, Crenshaw (1991, p.1242) has observed
that intersections of race with gender, social class or sexuality may contribute to a better
understanding of the experiences of black females. Thus, the use of intersectionality
"highlights the need for multiple sources of identity" (CRENSHAW, 1991, p. 1245).
This article analyzes how black females are represented in an English-language
textbook used in Brazil and an English-language textbook used in Cameroon. The
decision to concentrate on these particular textbooks was based on my participation in
an international research project which involved several universities; in Brazil and the
State University of Ponta Grossa, Paraná, UEPG was part of the group and in Cameroon.
I visited Cameroon for research purposes in 2016 and collected several English-
language textbooks used in that country. This article analyzes one of the textbooks I
collected in the city of Bamenda, which is a part of the country that uses English as an
official language. Considering that Cameroon is a country where the majority of the
population are black, it is important to understand how black females are represented in
that country. There are also clear parallels with Brazil, which is a multiracial country
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where the majority of the population is black. This article addresses the following: 1)
What are the results of studies regarding English-language textbooks, the social
identities of black females, and intersectionality with the issues of race, gender and
social class in Brazil? 2) What do English-language textbooks used in Brazil and
Cameroon reveal about black females and intersectionalities with social class?
The article is divided into five parts. First, I discuss applied linguistics and the
intersectionalities of race, gender and social class, as well as reflecting on critical racial
literacy. Second, I provide a survey of existing studies regarding English-language
textbooks, the social identities of black females, and intersectionality with race, gender
and social class. Third, I discuss the research method used in this study, which is
followed by the fourth part, an analysis of the selected textbooks to ascertain what they
reveal about black females and intersectionalities with social class. The last part of the
article concludes with answers of how the original research questions were addressed
and provides suggestions for further research.
1. APPLIED LINGUISTICS AND INTERSECTIONALITIES OF RACE,
GENDER AND SOCIAL CLASS IN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TEXTBOOKS:
REFLECTIONS ABOUT CRITICAL RACIAL LITERACY
Pennycook has written that “Critical applied linguistics is a mixture of social
critique and anarcho-particularism, questioning what is meant and maintained by many
of the everyday categories of applied linguistics language, learning, communication,
difference, context, text, culture, meaning, translation, writing, literacy, assessment – as
well as categories of social critique – ideology, race, gender, class, and so on.”
(PENNYCOOK, 2004, p. 800). Pennycook’s comments are relevant to this study
because he refers to the need to problematize issues of gender, social class and race, as
well as the ideologies and discourses that the latter produce. These discourses are
closely linked with teaching and learning additional languages, as well as teacher
training. Discussions regarding the teaching and learning of additional languages in
Brazil necessitates thinking about the role of the textbook in English-language classes
(which is the area in which I work) and how these textbooks are used. If, as Auerbach
(1995) asserts, textbooks are the backbone of curricula then these books need to be
analyzed by researchers and teachers who teach English as an additional language in
order to understand the complex nature of their use in classrooms. Several studies
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(PESSOA, URZÊDA-FREITAS 2012; FERREIRA, 2015; FERREIRA and FERREIRA,
2013; FERREIRA, 2014; CONTI and MASTRELLA-DE-ANDRADE, 2015) have
made similar observations. Norton and Toohey (2011, p. 413) point out that there have
been increasing numbers of studies in the area of applied linguistics in relation to the
issue of identity that have also addressed racial and gender issues. This article is
intended to contribute to that research.
In 2014 I published a book entitled As políticas do livro didático e identidades
sociais de raça, gênero, sexualidade e classe em livros didáticos (Policies regarding
textbooks: the social identities of race, gender, sexuality and class) (FERREIRA, 2014)
and in 2015 I published another book entitled Letramento racial critico através de
narrativas autobiográficas: com atividades feflexivas (Critical racial literacy through
autobiographical narratives: with reflective activities) (FERREIRA, 2015b). In the
former I wrote about racial issues in relation to Brazilian textbooks and also about
research regarding textbooks and the field of applied linguistics. However, the present
article is more specifically related to the issue of the representation of black females in
English-language textbooks and how that intersects with critical racial literacy
(SKERRET, 2010 and MOSLEY, 2011, FERREIRA, 2015), which is linked to the
subject of my book that was published in 2015. Thus, this article focuses on
intersectionalities and is based on the works of black feminists such as Collins (2000),
Crenshaw (1994), hooks (2010) and Lorde (2017). There is little research regarding
textbooks from this perspective, i.e. a viewpoint that highlights black females and
explores the possibility of critical racial literacy through reflection. Crenshaw has
observed:
Although racism and sexism readily intersect in the lives of real
people, they seldom do in feminist and antiracist practices. And so,
when the practices expound identity as woman or person of color as
an either/or proposition, they relegate the identity of women of color
to a location that resists telling. (
CRENSHAW, 1991, p. 1,242)
As Crenshaw argues in the citation above, black women are not generally
studied in an antiracist manner that permits reflections regarding the social spaces that
they occupy. My conception of critical racial literacy, as set out in Table 1.1 below, is
related to understanding how black females are portrayed in textbooks: using this
analysis it is then possible to create critical racial literacy within schools, classrooms
and society at large. Table 1.1 shows some definitions of critical racial literacy that have
been published in previous research.
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Table 1.1: Definitions of racial literacy and critical racial literacy
Terminology Definitions of racial literacy and critical racial literacy
Racial literacy "Racial literacy is an understanding of the powerful and complex ways in
which race influences the social, economic, political, and educational
experiences of individuals and groups." (SKERRETT, 2011, p. 314).
Critical racial literacy "Critical race literacy pedagogy is a set of pedagogical tools to practice
racial literacy in school settings with children, peers, colleagues, and so
forth." (MOSLEY, 2010, p. 452).
Critical racial literacy “Critical racial literacy entails reflecting about race and racism. It enables
us to consider our own understanding of how race and racism are treated
in our daily lives, and to what extent race and racism impact upon our
social identities and our lives, whether at work, school, university, within
our families, or in our own social relationships. [...] as a teacher educator,
understanding the importance of using critical racial literacy in my
pedagogical practice is extremely important so that I can also collaborate
in actions towards creating a fairer society with greater equality and
equity." (FERREIRA, 2015b, p. 138)
Source: adapted from Ferreira (2015b)
The definitions set out in Table 1.1 are the foundations of my study because they
intersect with my analysis of how the social identities of race are considered in English-
language textbooks in two different contexts. My research proposes that critical racial
literacy can be used in our daily lives and social relationships, which are permeated by
issues of race and racism. Teachers in Brazil frequently find it difficult to deal with
issues of ethnic-racial diversity, gender and social class in English-language textbooks,
as shown in studies by Camargo and Ferreira (2014), Ferreira (2012), Ferreira (2014)
and Conti and Mastrella-de-Andrade (2015).
RESEARCH ON ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TEXTBOOKS, THE SOCIAL
IDENTITIES OF BLACK FEMALES, AND INTERSECTIONALITY WITH
RACE, GENDER AND SOCIAL CLASS
Table 1.2 outlines some studies regarding the analysis of English-language
textbooks and how they intersect with issues of race, gender and social class. In this
section I will address the first research question I identified at the start of this article:
what are the results of studies regarding English-language textbooks, the social
identities of black females, and intersectionality with the issues of race, gender and
social class in Brazil? This information is provided in order to clarify what has already
been published and to highlight possible gaps in relation to research in this area. An
internet search was performed to find academic articles, theses and dissertations within
the Google Scholar portal. The period selected was 2011-2018 and the keywords chosen
were "English-language textbooks and black women"; "English-language textbooks and
race"; “English-language textbooks and gender"; and "English-language textbooks and
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25
social class". The period 2011-2018 (May) was chosen because English-language
textbooks were approved by the National Textbook Program (PNLD) in Brazil from
2011 (BRASIL, 2011, 2012) and this article was written in June-July 2018.
Table 1.2 – Studies regarding the analysis of English-language textbooks (ELTs) and how they intersect
with issues of race, gender and social class 2011-May 2018
Year; article/dissertation/thesis;
title; author.
Aims Conclusion
2012, Article,
"
Identidades
sociais de raça no livro didático
de inglês mais vendido no
Brasil. Ferreira, Aparecida de
Jesus.
To understand how ELTs represent
the social identities of race with
regard to the issue of family
formation and representations of
professions.
The analysis showed that there
was still an emphasis on
whiteness in teaching materials
and that being white was still
seen as the norm.
2013; Article; "Vozes de alunos
e alunas acerca de identidades
sociais de gênero na escola:
impressões sobre materiais
didáticos de língua inglesa
";
Ferreira, Susana Aparecida;
Ferreira, Aparecida de Jesus.
To reflect on the impressions of
two groups of adolescents in year-
nine in elementary public schools
in the city of Cascavel, Paraná,
Brazil regarding the social
identities of gender in English-
language teaching materials.
The perceptions surrounding
issues are often naturalized by
students and are not always
perceptible to them.
2013; MA dissertation;
"
Mudanças e/ou Permanências:
Relações Étnico-raciais no livro
didático de língua inglesa
";
Smith, Alessandra Melo.
To discuss the teaching of ethnic-
racial relations in English-language
textbooks with reference to the
National Curricular Guidelines for
the Teaching of Ethnic-Racial
Relations and the National
Curricular Guidelines for the
Teaching of Afro-Brazilian and
African History and Culture. Law
10.369 (2003).
Numerous modifications have
been made in English-language
textbooks over a period of time;
however, these changes have not
adequately addressed the
principles of the National
Curricular Guidelines.
2014, Article;
"
Livro Didático
de Língua Inglesa e o que os
Discursos Escritos Revelam
sobre Identidade Racial
";
Farias, Kellis Coelho; Ferreira,
Aparecida de Jesus.
To understand how written
discourses address the issue of
racial identity.
The materials used for the
critical formation of students
can actually reinforce
discriminatory and racist
ideologies and conceptions.
2014; Article;
"
O racismo
cordial no livro didático de
língua inglesa aprovado pelo
PNLD
"
. Ferreira, Aparecida de
Jesus; Camargo, Mábia.
To analyze how social identities of
race are represented in English-
language textbooks and how
textbooks can contribute to the
ratification and/or deconstruction
of racism.
The textbook portrays black
people without discussing
ethnic-racial issues.
Consequently, the textbook does
not generate discussion about
racism, which is the opposite of
the intention of the official
documents.
2015; Article;
"
Identidades de
raça/etnia, ensino crítico e
o racismo no livro de inglês
aprovado pelo PNLD
";
Conti,
Luís Frederico Dornelas and
Mastrella-De-Andrade,
Mariana Rosa.
To investigate whether the
collection of books entitled
Vontade de Saber Inglês, which
was approved by the PNLD for the
period 2014-2016 facilitated
classroom discussions about Afro-
Brazilian and African history and
culture, as established by Federal
Laws Nos. 10.639/03 and
11.645/08.
The study found the
continuation of what can be
called “veiled racism”, the
invisibility of black people,
liberal discourses about
diversity, and a constant failure
to address the reality of racism
in Brazil.
2016; MA dissertation;
"
Uma To analyze, from a feminist The study occurred at a time of
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análise feminista da construção
de gênero em livros didáticos
de inglês aprovados pelo PNLD
2014
";
Castro, Maria Gabriella
Mayworm.
perspective, the construction of
notions of gender in English-
language textbooks for year-nine
students approved by the PNLD in
2014.
increased political and
ideological conflicts regarding
the construction of gender
notions in the public sphere and
in schools.
2016; MA dissertation;
"
Construção das identidades
sociais de raça com intersecção
de classe nos livros didáticos de
inglês do ensino médio
aprovados pelos PNLDs 2012 e
2015
";
Dambrós, Lilian Paula.
To analyze collections of PNLD
data from high schools during the
period 2012-15 to understand how
the social identities of race,
intersected with class, are
represented in these textbooks
through discourses and
multiliteracies.
Dominant ideologies are
conveyed through
multiliteracies. Textbooks
influence the construction of
students’ identities and are full
of prejudice, as well as
ideologies that exclude black
people and the poor.
2016; Article;
"
O ensino de
língua inglesa e a identidade de
classe social: alguns
apontamentos
";
Santos,
Gabriel Nascimento; Mastrella-
De-Andrade, Mariana Rosa.
To discuss why the identities of
social class should be an important
issue to be considered and
investigated in language
teaching/learning, especially in
relation to the English language.
English teaching is largely a
space for the construction of
identities of class, contributing
to the continuation of exclusion
and inequality.
2017; MA dissertation;
"
Letramento crítico e vozes de
alunas e professora acerca das
identidades sociais de gênero
com intersecção de raça e de
classe no livro didático de
língua inglesa
"
; Clara, Michele
Padilha Santa.
To analyze how the social
identities of gender, intersected
with race and class, are represented
in the English-language textbook
Way to Go No. 1.
The study found a low level of
representation of gender
identities, intersected with race
and class, in the Way to Go No.
1 textbook. Moreover, the
majority of the few images of
black women that appear in the
textbook portray them in an
inferior or stereotyped manner.
2017; Article;
"
Lazer no livro
didático de inglês: identidades
de classe social
";
Santos,
Gabriel Nascimento; Mastrella-
de-Andrade, Mariana Rosa.
To analyze the way in which the
issue of leisure is used in English-
language textbooks contributes to
the construction of identities of
social class.
Textbooks naturalize
inequalities and reinforce the
image of an idealized and
problem-free society.
2018; Article;
"
Um livro
didático de inglês e a
representação de pessoas
negras: desenhando uma
abordagem de ensino-
aprendizagem crítica
";
Bezerra,
Isabel Cristina Rangel Moraes;
Nascimento, Ana Beatriz
Cardoso; Ferreira, Wellerson da
Silva.
To explore the historical
representation of black people in
textbooks in relation to some
subjects, and English language in
particular.
Only two black characters were
portrayed in the textbook in an
equal way to white characters.
Source: the author, using an internet search in the Google Scholar portal. The aims and conclusions
referred to in Table 1.2 are described as set out by the authors of the research.
Table 1.2 shows the amount of research in this field that has been produced, the
aims of those studies, and their conclusions. What is clear is that the aforementioned
research reveals that being white is still seen as the norm in the Brazilian context. In
Brazil, the Federal Law No. 10,639 (2003) made it compulsory to teach Afro-Brazilian
and African history and culture in all Brazilian schools. However, English-language
textbooks in Brazil fail to comply with the requirements of this legislation. Studies have
generally demonstrated that there is a low level of representation of females (black and
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27
white), black females and black people in English-language textbooks in Brazil. Some
of the studies in Table 1.2 are discussed in Section 4.
3. METHOD
For Black women as well as Black men, it is axiomatic that if we do not
define ourselves for ourselves, we will be defined by others – for their use
and to our detriment. (LORDE, 2017, p. 13)
This is a qualitative study and I agree with Denzin and Lincoln (1998) that
qualitative research implies an emphasis on processes and meanings. Consequently,
qualitative research emphasizes the "socially constructed" character of reality, the close
relationship between the researcher and what is studied, and the situational constraints
that research requires. Qualitative research seeks answers to questions that emphasize
how social experience is created and what produces its meaning. Even though this is a
qualitative study, it also incorporates a numerical count of individual characters
represented in the textbooks that were analyzed. Because this numerical analysis was
integral to the research, qualitative analysis was performed regarding the quantitative
data found in the analysis of the textbooks. The two analyzed textbooks were chosen in
order to consider the issue of the level of representation of black females in the books
and how their social identities were portrayed.
Through the activities that they discuss, and the images that they contain,
textbooks raise questions related to issues of racial identities and intersectionalities; this
allows us to understand the dynamics of social relations in society. The Brazilian
textbook that was analyzed was Alive! 6 (2012), which is intended for year-six students,
and the Cameroonian textbook was Basic English for Cameroon: Pupil's Book 1 (2015).
These books were chosen because both books are the first English-language textbook
that students use in school; the choice of the year of publication of the books was linked
to my visit in Cameroon in 2016, the year in which both books were being used in
Brazil (Ponta Grossa) and Cameroon (Bamenda).
My analysis of the textbooks incorporates issues of intersectionality and black
feminism (CRENSHAW, 1994, COLLINS, 2000, hooks 2010, LORDE, 2017), as well
as critical racial literacy (SKERRETT, 2011, MOSLEY, 2010, FERREIRA, 2015a). An
overview of recent research regarding textbooks is included in the following section.
4. DATA ANALYSIS
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In this section I address the second research question I identified at the start of
this article: what do English-language textbooks used in Brazil and Cameroon reveal
about black females and intersectionalities with social class? First, I address what the
English-language textbooks used in Brazil reveal about how black females are portrayed
(4.1). I then discuss how the English-language textbooks used in Cameroon portray
black females (4.2). In Sections 4.3-4.5 I provide a thematic analysis based on the
illustrations in both the Brazilian and Cameroonian textbooks.
4.1 ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN/ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE TEXTBOOK USED
IN BRAZIL
In 2018 the Brazilian population was 213,340,893. According to the latest
survey (2010) by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) the
population is 47.7% white, 43.1% mixed-race (pardo) and 7.6% black (preto) (50.07%
of the population is either black or mixed-race), 1.1% Asian and 0.4% indigenous. The
population is 49.2% male and 50.8% female. The following table provides an analysis
of the images represented in the textbook Alive! 6 (2012).
Table 4.1: Number of times white males and black males are represented in the analyzed English as a
foreign/additional language textbook used in Brazil
Activities White male Black male Total
Professional and intellectual
activities
58 (47.54%) 11 (9.01%) 69 (56.55%)
Family activities 21 (17.21%) 6 (4.91%) 27 (22.12%)
Leisure activities 19 (15.57%) 7 (5.7%) 26 (21.27%)
Total 98 (80.32%) 24 (19.67%) 122 (100%)
Source: Author. MENEZES, Vera; TAVARES, Katia; BRAGA, Junia; FRANCO, Claudio. Alive!: inglês
6º ano. São Paulo: Editora Anzol, 2012.
Table 4.1 shows that the total percentage of white males that were portrayed in
the analyzed textbook was very high. Of the total 122 males that were represented in the
book, 80.32% were white males and only 19.67% were black males. Furthermore, the
percentage of white males shown performing professional and intellectual activities was
much higher (47.54%
)
than black males (9.01%). Consequently, white males are
represented as being more successful than black males, thereby limiting the possibility
of black males visualizing themselves as successful within Brazilian society.
Table 4.2: Number of times black and white females are represented in the analyzed English as a
foreign/additional language textbook used in Brazil
Activities White females Black females Total
Professional and intellectual
activities
43 (42.77%)
Teacher, actress,
singer, political
activists, business
woman
4 (4.44%)
Gymnast, soccer
player, scientist,
teacher,
47 (49.21%)
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29
Family activities 19 (21.11%)
Mother in a
traditional family
(father and mother)
8 (8.88%)
Single mothers,
mothers in
traditional families
(father and mother).
27 (29.99%)
Leisure activities 14 (15.55%)
Cycling, eating,
watching TV,
listening to music,
talking to friends,
playing guitar,
bowling, dating.
2 (2.22%)
Eating, socializing
with friends.
16 (17.77%)
Total 76 (84.44%) 14 (15.55%) 90 (100%)
Source: Author. MENEZES, Vera; TAVARES, Katia; BRAGA, Junia; FRANCO, Claudio. Alive!: inglês
6º ano. São Paulo: Editora Anzol, 2012.
Table 4.2 shows that white females were represented 5.4 times more than black
females in the textbook. Furthermore, white females were more often portrayed as
professionals, enjoying leisure and intellectual activities, and spending times with their
family. This in turn is more likely to allow white people to feel represented in this
teaching material and black people to feel that are under-represented or excluded.
Tables 4.1 and 4.2 are similar in that they over-represent white people. This over-
representation is not in line with the racial breakdown of the Brazilian population; as
previously mentioned, in 2010 the black and mixed-race population made up 50.07% of
the Brazilian population. Similar results were found in a study by Santos and Mastrella-
de-Andrade (2017), which found that "textbooks naturalize inequalities and reinforce
the image of an idealized and problem-free society" (SANTOS; MASTRELLA-DE-
ANDRADE, 2017, p.131). It seems clear that black and mixed-race people continue to
be under-represented in Brazilian textbooks.
Table 4.3: Number of times black males and females, and white males and females are represented in the
analyzed English as a foreign/additional language textbook used in Brazil
Activities White males and
females
Black males
and females
Total
Professional and intellectual
activities
101 (87.06%) 15 (12.93%) 116 (100%)
Family activities 40 (74.07%) 14 (25.92%) 54 (100%)
Leisure activities 33 (78.57%) 9 (21.42%) 42 (100%)
Total 174 (82.07%) 38 (17.94%) 212 (100%)
Source: Author. MENEZES, Vera; TAVARES, Katia; BRAGA, Junia; FRANCO, Claudio. Alive!: inglês
6º ano. São Paulo: Editora Anzol, 2012.
Table 4.3 shows that white people appeared in the textbook 4.5 times more than
black people. Put another way, 82.07% of the people who are represented in this
English-language textbook are white and 17.94% are black or mixed-race. In terms of
being depicted performing professional and intellectual activities, white people appear
101 times while black people only appear fifteen times. Given that white people are
R E V I S T A X , C u r i t i b a , v o l u m e 1 4 , n . 4 , p. 20-40, 2019
30
shown performing several professional activities far more frequently than black people
this frames white people in a position of power in relation to black people. The same
occurred regarding leisure activities: 33 white people were represented in relation to
nine black people. In terms of family activities, white people appeared 40 times while
black people only appeared nine times. Consequently, whiteness is portrayed as a norm
in this textbook, despite the social circumstances of the country in which it was
produced. Similar results were found in a study conducted by Ferreira and Camargo
(2014); Dambrós (2016); Castro (2016); Clara (2017).
Table 4.4: Number of times males (white and black) and females (white and black) are represented in the
analyzed English as a foreign/additional language textbook used in Brazil
Activities White males
and black males
White females and
black females
Total
Professional and intellectual
activities
69 (59.48%) 47 (40.51%) 116 (100%)
Family activities 27 (50%) 27 (50%) 54 (100%)
Leisure activities 26 (61.90%) 16 (38.09%) 42 (100%)
Total 122 (57.54%) 90 (42.45%) 212 (100%)
Source: Author. MENEZES, Vera; TAVARES, Katia; BRAGA, Junia; FRANCO, Claudio. Alive!: inglês
6º ano. São Paulo: Editora Anzol, 2012.
Table 4.4 demonstrates evidence of gender inequality; when the numbers of
black and white females were added together they were represented less than black and
white males in the Brazilian textbook. Despite the fact that there are more women than
men in Brazil there are 90 females represented in the textbook and 122 males. It is also
important to emphasize that more males were represented than females in terms of
professional and intellectual activities (59.48%) and leisure activities (61.90%). This
analysis is in accordance with other studies performed in the Brazilian context by Smith
(2013), Conti; Mastrella-de-Adrade (2015) and Dambrós (2016), as well as a study
carried out in Cameroon by Yenika-Agbaw (2016)
Tables 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4 demonstrate that black females are doubly
disadvantaged from the point of view of gender; they are less represented than white
females in the total number of representations of females, and they are less represented
than white and black males. Thus, understanding the representation of women through
the intersected issues of race, gender and social class is important, as highlighted by the
black feminist writer Crewnshaw:
I consider how the experiences of women of color are frequently the product
of intersecting patterns of racism and sexism, and how these experiences tend
not to be represented within the discourses of either feminism and antiracism.
Because of their intersectional identity as both women and of color within
discourses that are shaped to respond to one or the other, women of color are
marginalized within both. (CRENSHAW, 1991, p. 1243-1244)
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31
Crewnshaw’s comment is similar to views expressed in Castro's (2016) analysis
of the textbook Alive! 9 (2012), whose study revealed similarities with the results
presented in Tables 4.1 to 4.4 in the present study, although the book analyzed in my
study is Alive! 6 (2012). Castro (2016) writes:
The book Alive! 9 presents a higher number of male characters (54%) than
female characters (36%), both white and non-white. As in the case of the
general data previously cited, despite the different racial groups in the non-
white category, the under-representation of these groups in the images
presented in this textbook is quite significant, totaling only 11.6% of the
images of characters (CASTRO, 2016, p. 96)
The present study demonstrates that there is a need for greater representation of
black people in textbooks such as Alive! 6 (2012) and also that such textbooks should
portray more people from the less-privileged classes because that is the overwhelming
reality of the Brazilian population that uses textbooks such as Alive! 6 (2012). These
sectors of the population need to be represented in textbooks in an intersected manner in
order to feel empowered in terms of identities of race, gender and social class.
4.2 ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TEXTBOOK USED IN CAMEROON
The analysis that follows discusses the representation of black and mixed-race
females, white females, black and mixed-race males, and white males in an English-
language textbook used in Cameroon. According to information taken from the
country's information website in 2018, the population of Cameroon comprises
25,054,324 inhabitants. The male population is 12,508,092 (49.9%) and the female
population is 12,546,233 (50.1%). From an ethnic perspective, 99% of the population is
African (Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%,
Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%,) and less than 1% is
non-African.
Table 4.5: Number of times white males and black males are represented in the English-language
textbook used in Cameroon
Activities White males Black males Total of white males and
black males
Professional and intellectual
activities
1 (1.19%) 83 (98.80%) 84 (71.18%)
Family activities - 22 (18.64%) 22 (18.64%)
Leisure activities 3 (2.54%) 9 (7.62%) 12 (10.16%)
Total 4 (3.38%) 114 (96.61%) 118 (100%)
ENANG, Nduge Alfred; ALI, Nji Alphonse; GEORGES, Mangi; FORCHA, Bill. Basic English for
Cameroon: Pupil’s Book 1. Cosmos Educational Press Ltd, Cameroon, 2015.
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32
Table 4.5 shows that of the total images of males in this textbook, 96.61% were
of black males and 3.38% were of white males. These figures are in line with the
population in Cameroon because the population is 99% African.
Table 4.6: Number of times white females and black females are represented in the English-language
textbook used in Cameroon.
Activities White females Black females Total females
Professional and intellectual
activities
2 (12.5%)
Nurse, Queen of
England.
14 (87.5%)
Doctor, nurse, police
officer, cook,
seamstress, secretary,
teacher and
hairdresser.
16 (50%)
Family activities - 13 (40.62%)
Mother in a
traditional family
(father and mother)
13 (40.62%)
Leisure activities - 3 (9.37%)
Accompanied by
partner, husband or
boyfriend.
3 (9.37%)
Total 2 (6.25%) 30 (94.28%) 32 (100%)
ENANG, Nduge Alfred; ALI, Nji Alphonse; GEORGES, Mangi; FORCHA, Bill. Basic English for
Cameroon: Pupil’s Book 1. Cosmos Educational Press Ltd, Cameroon, 2015.
Table 4.6 shows that regarding the total representation of females in the
Cameroonian textbook, 94.28% were of black females and 6.25% were of white females.
These figures are roughly in line with the population in Cameroon because the
population is only 1% non-African.
Table 4.7: Number of times white females and males, and black females and males are represented in the
English-language textbook used in Cameroon
Activities White males and
females
Black males
and females
Total
Professional and intellectual
activities
3 (3%) 97 (97%) 100 (100%)
Family activities - 35 (100%) 35 (100%)
Leisure activities 3 (6.52%) 12 (80%) 15 (100%)
Total 6 (4%) 144 (96%) 150 (100%)
ENANG, Nduge Alfred; ALI, Nji Alphonse; GEORGES, Mangi; FORCHA, Bill. Basic English for
Cameroon: Pupil’s Book 1. Cosmos Educational Press Ltd, Cameroon, 2015.
Table 4.7 shows that the representation of white males and females in the English-
language textbook used in Cameroon was 4% and that of black males and females was
96%; this seems to be consistent with the population of Cameroon, which is 99%
African and 1% non-African.
Table 4.8: Number of times black and white males, and black and white females are represented in the
English-language textbook used in Cameroon
Activities Black and white
males
Black and white
females
Total
Professional and intellectual
activities
84 (84%) 16 (16%) 100 (100%)
Family activities 22 (62.85%) 13 (37.14%) 35 (100%)
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33
Leisure activities 12 (80%) 3 (20%) 15 (100%)
Total 118 (78.66%) 32 (21.33%) 150 (100%)
ENANG, Nduge Alfred; ALI, Nji Alphonse; GEORGES, Mangi; FORCHA, Bill. Basic English for
Cameroon: Pupil’s Book 1. Cosmos Educational Press Ltd, Cameroon, 2015.
As was the case regarding the data shown in Table 4.4, Table 4.8 demonstrates
evidence of gender inequality; there were 78.66% of images of black and white males in
the textbook but only 21.33% of black and white females.
4.3 BLACK FEMALES: PROFESSIONS AND INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITIES
Black women may have migrated out of domestic service in private
homes, but as their over-representation as nursing home assistants,
Day-car aides, dry-cleaning workers, and fast-food employees.
(COLLINS, 2000, p. 46)
The images of black females in the English-language textbook used in Brazil are
related to their professions; they are mainly images of famous sportswomen, and there
are few images of professional females such as teachers or scientists. Studies by Ferreira
(2012, 2014) have argued that images of successful black people are mainly related to
sports, thereby reinforcing the stereotype that black people are more likely to succeed in
non-intellectualized activities. The findings of the present study coincide with those of a
study by Castro (2016) regarding the representation of women in the Alive! 9 (2012)
textbook:
[in the Alive! 9 textbook] the images of black people are mainly associated
with dance, music, violence and folklore. In other words, the association of
black people with spaces of exclusion or social problems, which is recurrent
in the hegemonic entertainment industry, is endorsed by this textbook.
(CASTRO, 2016, p. 96)
In relation to the present study, white females are portrayed in the English-
language textbook used in Brazil in larger numbers than black females (Table 4.2); they
are also shown performing diversified activities, for example as actresses, teachers,
political activists, secretaries etc. This emphasizes the image of white females as being
visible in various intellectualized professions and activities. Thus, whiteness is
portrayed as a norm because white people are shown performing various activities, and
this intersects with social class because the images of white middle and upper-middle
class people are preponderant. Research by Clara (2017) indicates "a low
representativeness of gender identities with intersections of race and class in the Way to
Go: No. 1 textbook. In addition, of the few images of black females that appear in the
textbook, most are in portrayed in an inferior or stereotyped manner." (p.7).
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34
The images of black females in the English-language textbook used in
Cameroon are mostly of doctors, nurses, police officers, cooks, seamstresses, secretaries,
teachers and hairdressers; in general, they are shown as being active and working. There
is a significant passage in the textbook (p. 48) which illustrates how females should
behave. This particular section of the book refers to activities, and boys are shown
performing activities that involve them moving and talking loudly with comments such
as “Run to the door quickly!" or "Shout loudly!" However, the textbook suggests that
when girls perform the same activities they should speak and act quietly: for example,
"Sit quietly!" or "Read your book quietly!" In another context, Lorde (2017) has made
the following observation:
Certainly, there are very real differences between us of race, age and sex. But
it is not those differences between us that are separating us. It is rather our
refusal to recognize those differences, and to examine the distortions which
result from our misnaming them and their effects upon human behavior and
expectation. (LORDE, 2017, 95)
In other words, simply because textbooks suggest that men behave loudly and
women should behave quietly does not mean that we cannot question gender roles and
work towards a more equal society. Similar findings were reported in a study by
Gebregeorgis: "As a medium of hegemonic stereotypic gender discourse, the textbook
depicts female characters in lower positions in both activity and attribute-based
representations" (2016, p.137). The messages provided by textbooks need to be
deconstructed for the sake of gender equality.
4.4 BLACK FEMALES: FAMILY
In the English-language textbook used in Brazil, the black females represented
in a family setting are shown with their husbands and children, and also as single
mothers and with children. As far as the family is concerned, 19 white females and eight
black females are portrayed; they are represented as traditional families and there are
images of both black and white single mothers with children. However, as in the other
previously-cited examples, the number of white families portrayed is much higher than
the number of black families.
In the English-language textbook used in Cameroon, females are depicted
performing various activities, such as waking children, cooking (mother and daughter),
in the company of males watching television, or at the dinner table with other members
of the family. Similar results were found in a study conducted in Cameroon by Yenika-
Agbaw (2016). In this sense the comments of Collins are pertinent:
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35
When combined, Black feminist-inspired analyses of paid and unpaid work
performed both in the labor market and in families stimulate a better
appreciation of the powerful and complex interplay that shapes Black
women’s position […]. (COLLINS, 2000, p. 46)
Thus, in the English-language textbook used in Cameroon, females are always
shown to be working, either professionally or at home. However, one aspect that I
consider to be positive is that the activities that are depicted are in line with those
performed by the majority of the Cameroonian population and therefore reflect the
social reality of that country.
4.5. BLACK FEMALES: LEISURE ACTIVITIES
In terms of leisure activities, in the English-language textbook used in Brazil,
black females only appear twice, performing activities such as eating and socializing
with friends. On the contrary, white females appear 14 times, performing various
activities such as cycling, eating, watching TV, listening to music, talking to friends,
playing guitar, bowling and dating, in other words, these activities are more numerous
and are also linked to greater purchasing power. Thus, social disadvantage intersects
with race, gender and social class. The message delivered by this textbook to its readers
reflects who has power, economic capital, social capital and cultural capital in Brazil;
all of which are highly likely to be transformed into symbolic capital in social relations
(BOURDIEU, 1986). These findings are similar to those found in a study by Santos and
Mastrella-de-Andrade (2016). From a positive perspective, in the English-language
textbook used in Brazil analyzed in the present study, white females and black females
are shown performing individual activities without the company of males, such as
driving a car or performing sports, which demonstrates the economic independence of
these females.
In the English-language textbook used in Cameroon, black females are mainly
portrayed as working, always doing work-related activities or performing household
chores. They are depicted enjoying leisure activities only three times, going to church
with children and with a partner (boyfriend or husband). hooks (2010) has written that
"Collaborating with diverse thinkers toward a greater understanding of the dynamics of
race, gender and class is essential for those of us who want to move beyond one-
dimensional ways of thinking, being and living." (2010, p.37). Following that rationale,
black females who are portrayed in textbooks should be represented as people who have
fun and who have social lives. The English-language textbook used in Cameroon
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36
mainly portrays socially-constructed relationships that characterize females as tireless
workers at the service of the family.
CONCLUSION
I will now address the research questions outlined at the start of this article. The
first question was regarding the issues that have been addressed, and the results of
studies, regarding English-language textbooks, the social identities of black females,
and intersectionality with the issues of race, gender and social class in Brazil. The data
shown in Table 1.2 demonstrates that previous studies have revealed a lack of connect
between English-language textbook content and the reality of the Brazilian population,
which is 54% black or mixed-race. Despite this fact, there is a much greater
representation of white people in such textbooks. Partly due to this over-representation,
being white is still largely seen as the norm by many people in Brazil. It is necessary to
comply with the requirements of educational policies such as the Federal Law No.
10.639 (2003), which made the teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African history and
culture compulsory in all Brazilian schools, and the PNLD textbook policies, which
state that textbooks should contain no evidence of prejudice, discrimination or racism.
The second research question addressed by this article related to what English-
language textbooks used in Brazil and Cameroon reveal about black females and
intersectionalities with social class. The analysis of the two textbooks revealed the
following:
a) Although 50.07% of the Brazilian population are black or mixed-race, the
number of white males represented in the English-language textbook used in
Brazil (80.32%) was higher than that of black males (19.67%) (Table 4.1). This
level of representation is not in accordance with a country where the majority of
the population is black, and therefore the textbook does not reflect the reality of
the Brazilian situation. In the English-language textbook used in Cameroon, the
representation of black males (96.61%) was higher than that of white males
(3.38%) (Table 4.5). These figures reflect the reality of the situation in
Cameroon, where less than 1% of the population is non-African.
b) Despite the fact that 50.07% of the Brazilian population is black or mixed-race,
the number of white females represented in the English-language textbook used
in Brazil (84.44%) was higher than the number of black females (15.55%)
(Table 4.2). In the English-language textbook used in Cameroon, the
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37
representation of black females was in keeping with the racial makeup of the
country (Table 4.6).
c) Table 4.3 shows that the representation of black females in the English-language
textbook used in Brazil was 17.94%, while that of white females was 82.07%
despite the fact that the number of black females in Brazil is higher than that of
white females. Table 4.6 shows that in the English-language textbook used in
Cameroon, the representation of black females was higher than that of white
females; in Cameroon the black population is 99% African and this is in
accordance with the ethnic composition of the country.
d) Table 4.4 demonstrates that gender inequality was evident in the English-
language textbook used in Brazil because the representation of both white and
black males was higher than the representation of white and black females. The
representation of white and black males compared to white and black females
was even higher in the English-language textbook used in Cameroon (Table 4.8),
despite the fact that in both Brazil and Cameroon the female population is larger
than the male population. Consequently, there is a need for fairer gender
representation in such textbooks.
In my analysis of these two textbooks I wanted to show that in a country with a
majority African population like Cameroon, the textbook reflected the population of
that country and showed the daily activities carried out by the people who inhabit it.
The issues of race and social class are well delineated in the textbook’s content and are
in accordance with the reality of the country. The representation of race in the English-
language textbook used in Brazil does not reflect the Brazilian population, which is
mostly black and mixed-race, and from the point of view of social class there is a failure
to portray the working-class majority of Brazil.
I have previously written about issues such as English-language textbooks and
teacher education, as well as providing suggestions for the writers, editors and
publishers of textbooks (Ferreira (2014b). Further research is required in relation to
English-language textbooks used in Brazil to focus on how much they have changed in
the light of educational policies regarding the representation of black people in
textbooks. Attention should also be paid to the possibility of textbooks being used to
foster critical racial literacy (FERREIRA, 2015b) through the activities contained within
such books. For example, the textbook Alive! 6 (2012) addresses the possibility of
reflections on racial issues because it contains images that suggest reflection upon
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38
issues of race (p. 116); however, the book does not propose any activities regarding a
discussion of racism, leaving the responsibility for this to teachers.
English-language textbooks need to be critical and reflective in order for language
education to be inclusive and to work towards equity of race, gender and social class.
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