Latina/o Underrepresentation

  • “Filmmakers attach conditions of poverty, marginality and deviance to the Latino male experience. The constant focus on the street life of inner-city youths and delinquents make this attachment salient and exclusive and leaves out important aspects of Latino immigration and adaptation to US society. This is important since very few cinematic narratives actually tell stories about their lived experiences and status in US society and the particular historical, political, and economic circumstances in which they arrived (Flores 1993). In essence, the narratives of these movies promote the sense that the poor and economically marginalized represent a threat to urban life and to society at large. They live broken lives in broken environments, and as a consequence have no future. Within this depiction, Latinos should not be ‘rescued’ or ‘vindicated’, since neither their families nor their communities are deemed able to cope with their problems or improve their situation. They live marginal lives and possess a marginal citizenship.” (Ana S. Q. Liberato, Guillermo Rebollo-Gil, John D. Foster and Amanda Moras, 2009, pg 955) 
  • I chose this quote and image because of how much Latina/o representations are portrayed in ways that are not accurate or positive towards Latina/os. These subliminal messages that are being projected through negative depictions of the Latin community on film and tv reinforce presumptions and hostile stereotypes. Hollywood’s inclusion of Latinos in film (mostly in the ‘90s) were often for roles that portrayed them as criminals, misogynistic abusers, comedic relief, or a deft immigrant. The audience is then influenced by these projections and as a result, that’s how some may learn to see Latinos. By only presenting the picture/imagery of troubled Latino delinquents living in dangerous and predominantly Latin neighborhoods, carrying out drug deals and beatings, and as well as engaging in implicit homoeroticism, Hollywood has constructed the image of Latinos as dangerous and lazy eunuchs, ensuring that they are seen as bad while attempting to take away their sexual prowess. Creating these roles for Latinos without offering a background story of these characters that show their emotional, social, cultural and personal struggles, or how difficult it is for Latino/as to adapt to the US and take care of their families when all odds are against them, only perpetuates a lack of understanding; it widens the racial divide, making it impossible for others to see Latina/as up close for who they truly are, which is what we all are: people.

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