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Latino Representation in Media

Latino Representation in Media


Race or ethnic representation matters. The type of representation can be argued to be just as important.  Latinos are the fast-growing people of the United States’ population. They represent more than 20 countries, meaning they are among the most diverse. However, across the media, whether it be from radio to television to film, the Latino life, look, and culture are absent. Latinos are so much more than a stereotype, and having generations of people see and understand that should be significant and teach Latinos are not invisible. However, when visible, Latinos are misrepresented, usually with a common trope like gardener, gangster, or feisty Latina. Therefore, the characterization of the Latinos has been misrepresented in the media by being shown as a lowly or undisciplined class. Through a literature review, this paper  has explored the commonality and frequency of Latino misrepresentation in: films, TV, music videos, commercials, etc. How the media chooses to represent specific group of people greatly determines the perception of the local people towards the race. In other words, media representation has a significant influence on the viewer’s perception.

Generally, the Anglo-Media are biased when presenting the culture, events and personality of the Latino community.  These media very much endeavor to present a negative cast of a community which they think is different from their own. This aspect is reinforced by shows that portray Latino characters either in controversial situations or in low social economic context. In other words, they never present these people positively and are determined to place them in lower level. Anyone from a different community watching these shows will certainly realize that these portrayals is demeaning, insulting, degrading and does not depict the true stature of the people in question.  We are made to wonder on why the positive aspects of the community, in terms of culture, personality, action and behavior are adamantly ignored.

Representation of the Latino in employment sector was another issue of consideration for this assessment. Accordingly, our observations reveals that there the representation of Latino employees in  the employment sector is low. These may be due to racial discrimination and lack of sufficient measures to empowerment these group of people.  The ambiguity on media and racial identification has a significant effect on how the viewers perceive the target ethnic or racial group as well as the self esteem of the group. Therefore, it can be construed that biasness and the negative attitudes towards the Latino by the Whites are largely influenced by the media. This is the same case with the low-self esteem of the Latinos whose poor representation has affected their ego.  In essence, this analysis has provided evidence on the powerful influence of the media concerning the perception of Americans, cultural change and the establishment of a unique ethnic identity.

From this analysis, it is clear that the media and particularly the American media have a biased and negative representation of the Latino community. Generally, what is represented in these media turns out to be a completely different thing on the ground. Furthermore, the media and the way it represents these group of people have to a large extend also influenced the perception of other communities, particularly the Anglo-Americans towards the Latino. Similarly, the Latinos have a feeling of being prejudiced because of being portrayed differently, and therefore, also have a negative attitude towards people of other races. It is therefore, high time for the stakeholders to look into this matter and extract this negative and biased representative of not only the Latinos, but also other marginalized communities from the media to create a harmonious American society.

Part2: Annotation

Aldama, F. (2013). Latinos and narrative media participation and portrayal. New York:   Palgrave Macmillan.

Aldama’s book offers various media narratives highlighting Latinos in the 21st century. There are 15 different scholars of Latino popular culture, giving this book a wide range of perspectives that capture the myriad and infinite experiences of Latinos.

In this book, the author explores a diverse form of narrative media and their representation of the Latinos in the 21st century. The observations are then compared to earlier epochs while also taking into account the changing demographics and cultural tastes of the Latinos. The source is relevant for my thesis since it also explores the issue under focus. My decision to select this source owes to its relevance to the topic alongside its credibility, having being printed by a reputable publisher. The book contributes to analysis of Latino representation by comparing the current observations with the earlier perspectives.

Rodriguez, C. (1998). Latin looks: images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. media. Journal of American Ethnic History 19, (2), pp. 116-118. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

In this review, Rodriguez analyzes how the Latinos are portrayed in print and broadcast media. The author’s emphasis is on films and televisions that broadcasted in English within the entire 20th century. In Rodriguez’s book, she brings the “What do Latinos look like” to the forefront and how in reality, Latino communities is of a rich diversity of people and images.  She offers a new view for interpreting how images are created, perpetuated, and manipulated.

The information is relevant to my topic since it focuses on assessing Latino image in the US media. I was particularly interested in this article because it is published in a scholarly journal. The article significantly contributes to this paper by presenting the historical roots of ethnicity and race in the United States.

Squires, C. (2014).The post-racial mystique: media and race in the twenty-first century.

ISBN: 9780814762899

In this journal, Squires (2014) revisits the aspect of racism and racial profiling in America in the current perspective. In this endeavor, he explored how different types of media including television, independent media, and internet deploy the term “post-racial” when representing the American society. The article is scholarly in nature, and a part from being within the spectrum of five years, it delves into the question of racism and ethnicity in media in the current perspective. Through this article, we will therefore, be able to analyze and understand the difference in ethnic and racial profiling in the US between the current perspective and earlier times.

Behnken, B., and Smithers, G. (2015). Racism in American popular media: from Aunt Jemim to the Frito Bandito. 978-1-4408-2976-5

The book by Behnken, B., and Smithers examines the prevalence of racial stereotypes and racist images in various aspects of the media including cartoons, advertising, popular fiction and motion pictures. The author also looks into the level at which these representations have degraded the marginalized communities who includes Latinos, Indians, African Americans and the Asian communities in the United States.  The information is useful for our research since it is current, and offers significant insights on various media programs that still contain damaging racist actions. This information is quite useful not only for the research but also in forging an informed decision.

Leonardi, P.  (2003). Problematizing "New Media": Culturally Based Perceptions of Cell

Phones, Computers, and the Internet among United States Latinos. Critical Studies in Media Communication 20, no. 2 (2003): 160-79. doi:10.1080/07393180302778.



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