Volume 71, Issue 1 p. 139-154
Original Article

Racial and Ethnic Inclusion in the Digital Era: Shifting Discourses in Communications Public Policy

Mari Castañeda

Corresponding Author

Mari Castañeda

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mari Castañeda, Department of Communication, Integrative Learning Center, office S328, 650 North Pleasant Street, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003–1100 [e-mail: [email protected]].Search for more papers by this author
Martha Fuentes-Bautista

Martha Fuentes-Bautista

University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Felicitas Baruch

Felicitas Baruch

University of Massachusetts Amherst

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First published: 13 March 2015
Citations: 12

Abstract

This article examines the representation of racial and ethnic minorities in contemporary U.S. broadband policy, an emerging area of communication policy that attempts to address merging media and telecommunications competition, diversity and inclusion issues for the digital age. A summary of three dominant themes in the literature regarding media diversity outlines the primary concerns of digital media policy. An interpretative policy analysis of the National Broadband Plan sheds lights on how regulators address diversity and access issues in the digital transition, particularly for communities of color. The analysis reveals that unlike prior exclusions of certain racial and ethnic groups in communications infrastructure, the unfolding broadband framework is attempting to be explicit about the inclusion of historically marginalized populations. We argue that the emerging media governance framework is both influenced by the problematic history of media diversity as well as a discursive and material shift that emphasizes market orientations.