Sunday, February 19, 2012

Claudia Unterweger - Austria's first black News presenter



Claudia Unterweger (39) is the first black TV News presenter in Austria. She was born to an African-American father and an Austrian mother. Since February 2011 she is one of the News presenters of “Zib-flash”, a program of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF.

Unterweger caused a stir in 2011 because of the simple fact that she had a different skin color than the general population. "I define myself as black, or as an African-Austrian woman," says the Vienna-born Unterweger.


She sees herself as a part of the media history. "Arabella Kiesbauer (an Afro-Austrian) was over 30 years on the screen and was already a pioneer in the entertainment field. We are now taking a step forward and I hope that many more steps will follow."

Unterweger continues. “I personally call and see myself as an Afro-Austrian, a black Austrian, but also as part of a whole generation of black people who grew up here in Austria, but who are still perceived as an anomaly."

She doesn't want to talk about the word role model, she prefers to talk about her own experiences. As a teenager, she would have liked it to see a lot more black people in the public space. That's why it was a "magic moment" for her when she first saw Arabella Kiesbauer on the screen. At that moment it was clear for her that she is not alone.

The feeling of not being alone she also had in the club Pamoja, a movement of the young African diaspora in Austria, where young black people are involved in politics. There for the first time she had the experience that she was not an "exotic appearance," but belonged to a community, she says in an interview in Die Presse

When asked in an interview if she had ever been affected by racism and prejudice, she replies, "yes, because racism is a daily reality in Austria, especially because of the current political climate . I had the good fortune that it didn't play a role in my personal career. But I am aware that black women in Austria are confronted with immense prejudice. You have to be far more better than others to be taken seriously. This situation costs an insane amount of power, so much power that it can be beneficial to others to get ahead personally."

Als see on Afro-Europe: The first black news anchors in Europe

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