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HOLLYWOOD’S LATINO STEREOTYPES

April 5, 2010

 

We’ve all seen glimpses of American Latinos stereotypes in feature films…the intellectually-challenged maid, the beer-drinking gardener, the ruthless gangbanger, the oppressed farm worker…

So what’s wrong with depicting cliched “careers” of American Latinos?

Nothing. 

Should we pretend American Latinos don’t work in these “jobs” in real life? Will the fantasy of believing Latinos be portrayed as white collar professionals change Hollywood’s bias against American Latinos? Uh…no.

The real bias is spelled out in the description of these “careers”…

  • Intellectually-challenged maid.
  • Beer-drinking gardener.
  • Ruthless gangbanger.
  • Oppressed farm worker.

One dimensional characters.  The message: they’re all the same.

  • What if our maid reads Tolstoy, speaks perfect English–dumbs down her act so the boss would hire her?
  • What if our gardener works for the paparazzi; sells pics of Hollywood’s naked elite while he trims rose bushes? 
  • What if our gangbanger thumps a bible, lives a secret dream to wipe out the gang environment destroying our kids’ futures? 
  • What if our farm worker hides from the Mexican Cartel after killing one of their top lieutenants? 

But wait, these twists might make Latino characters interesting. Very interesting.  They’d come alive.

Except Hollywood won’t set aside their bias long enough to expand on these characters. American Latino characters aren’t interesting enough to entertain our billion dollar American Latino audience.

Nevertheless, awareness of stereotypical habits has hit Hollywood. Yup, they realize it’s a problem—not because they care about our “feelings” but because American Latinos are the billion dollar backbone of their income.

So Hollywood solved the problem: How Not to Alienate the American Latino Audience for Dummies…

The solution:  WHOOSH! Make American Latinos disappear.

That’s right. Let’s exclude American Latinos entirely from feature films so we don’t offend anyone.

The Hollywood suits should have a sit-down with our maid character.

But Hollywood realized that wiping Latinos from the face of the earth doesn’t sit well either. So they decided to create a new stereotype…

The Latino who ain’t.

Actors/actresses who carry a Latino surname like a dangling participle.

They play roles such as Italians, aliens (the welcome kind), chihuahuas, the white girl, the white boy, Native American, etc…

Anything but the role of an American Latino. 

As a result, Latino actors/actresses who look “too” Latino struggle to find work in feature films. At least for now.

Hollywood: The American Latino audience isn’t a character to be deleted from a script. No amount of editing will make us go away. Deal with it already.

It’s about the money. It always is.  

Inescapable. Unavoidable. Inevitable…

Thank you for sharing your valuable time with us.

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