While going through my identities I realized hispanics weren’t portrayed realistically in pop culture, I decided I wanted to dig a little deeper and see what kind and how these portrayals affected the hispanic community. Whether you’re watching the news, a movie, or a tv show you’ll see some kind of hispanic stereotype being portrayed. Imagine going to school or work and already having people think they have you all figured out, thinking they know who you are and your story. While some stereotypes are true, pop culture portrays hispanics in a negative way, because people don’t think they’re educated, they’re automatically assumed on doing the dirty work, and many think they’re all illegal immigrants. Not only am I a proud hispanic but I want to start seeing changes on how my community is portrayed.
Image having a world hispanics, no one to mow your lawn or clean your house. The film “A Day Without a Mexican” is a day in which all Mexicans disappear from the United States.
That’s when many Americans start worrying because there is no one cutting their grass, or building their homes. The feeling of only being wanted to do your dirty work makes many not want to be wanted at all. This really stood out to me because there are thousands of very successful Mexican-Americans. In the short film “challenging hispanic stereotypes” we see how the feeling of not being wanted can cause many drop out rates in hispanic students. It’s not always about saying it verbally but just the way situations are put can have students knowing they’re not wanted. This can be seen by not enough space for them in class, or having to take specific classes just for hispanics when they’re not always needed. Arturo Madrid says that by not having enough space or enough teachers for the students shows them “that we really don’t value you. And we don’t expect you to do very well, and we’re not going to ask very much of you, because obviously you can’t do it very well.” Although the video a “A Day Without A Mexican” wanted to show how Mexicans do play a big role in society they still managed to highly stereotype the kind of people we are.
When we see hispanics in movies or shows, they’re rarely playing a lead role, why is that? Most of the time when a hispanic is a lead role in a movie they are played by an American actor. In the movie Nacho Libre we see that a Hispanic role is being portrayed as a hero and role model, something we all were proud of. Then image how many hispanics felt watching the movie and seeing that the actor playing the lead is not a hispanic actor. NBC News wrote an article about the lack of Latinos in Hollywood, we can see that people stating and noticing what’s going on, but yet we see little to no improvement. Hispanics are one of the most underrated ethnic groups in the film industry, while also being one of the biggest moviegoers. This shows h
ow Hispanics rarely get to see someone on the big screen they can relate to.
Growing up and seeing that you’re different than what people put you out to be can be confusing, especially when you’re young and still trying to figure out who you are. Many hispanics are completely different to what many stereotype them to be. I read this article about a guy named Jose, it’s titled “Media portrayal of Hispanics undermines the community’s diversity”. He talks about what being latino means to him and how every individual is so different. He’s had people tell him that he is the least hispanic latino ever, what does that even mean? At one point he felt as if he was born into the wrong ethnicity because of how different he was from his “Hispanic stereotypes”. A show I felt tied in with Jose’s article was “Devious Housewives” in this show we see how the five main hispanic actresses are extremely stereotyped. Being a hispanic women myself just watching a little bit of the show showed me a very bad misrepresentation to how our hispanic women are like. These are the kinds of shows that cause stereotypes to continue growing, when many are successful hispanic actors, doctors, and lawyers. What really stood out to me the most was that by reading his article I realized that I have even caught myself stereotyping my own community, by being surprised if one of my hispanic friends or relatives doesn’t enjoy spicy food. I would catch myself telling them “What kind of latino doesn’t like spicy food?”. This really showed me how stereotypes like these had been drilled into my head since childhood, to the point where I was starting to think them as well. We have such success in our hispanic community that needs to be portrayed rather than just our stereotypes, such as Alberto Gonzalez the nation’s first Hispanic Attorney General, or Mel Martinez one of the only two Hispanics in the U.S Senate. Like these two there are thousands of successful hispanics in America.
What I feel like I learned the most from this research is the fact that it all seemed so normal to me, to the point where I was starting to believe these stereotypes as well. I really think it opened up my eyes to see how hispanics are really being portrayed in the media, not only that but how it’s affecting the way many view us. After looking into these shows and movies I won’t be able to see them in the same light. I’m going to start analyzing films more and notice the little things and how many hispanics are even getting a shot as a lead role. Another thing I learned was that we should use these stereotypes as an extra push, not only to prove others wrong but to show people what being hispanic really looks like. We are just as successful, just as family orientated, and just as smart.
Although saddened by the way many hispanics are portrayed in the news or in films I’m excited to see what the future holds. Especially with everything that is going on in the news, many are starting to stand up for one another and I feel like right now is when we are coming closer together as one. Yes there still will be stereotypes and yes there is still lots to improve on, but some progress is better than no progress at all. In the end while some stereotypes are true, and pop culture will continue portraying hispanics in a negative way, this research paper really helped me feel more confident in who I am as an individual. After learning about other many successful hispanics I am more motivated than ever to push for change in not only by how I view my community but how others do as well.
Bastidas, J. A. (2014, September 23). Opinion: Media portrayal of Hispanics undermines the community’s diversity. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?&id=GALE%7CA383400082&v=2.1&u=s1185784&it=r&p=PROF&sw=w
Moyers, B. (Director). (1988, November 9). Challenging Hispanic Stereotypes: Arturo Madrid [Video file]. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://fod.infobase.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/p_ViewVideo.aspx?xtid=4961
Latimer, (2016, February 22). Latinos in Hollywood: Few Roles, Frequent Stereotypes, New Study Finds. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/latinos-hollywood-few-roles-frequent-stereotypes-new-study-finds-n523511
Padgett, Tim. 22 (Aug. 2015). 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America.” Time. Time Inc., . Retrieved February 15, 2017 from http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2008201_2008200_2008225,00.htm