The book is not meant to be passively absorbed, but read actively and interactively. The material in the final section is meant to help the reader and the student of
film and media to develop and strengthen analytical skills and a critical eye. These
new skills, plus the insights derived from individual chapters, can be applied to numerous movies available at video stores and libraries and to material from syndicated
television shows. These skills can also be applied to new television shows and movies
as they are presented. My hope is that as more people become aware of past biases
and injustices, things will begin to change and we will see improvement in the validity and honesty with which Latinos and others are portrayed.
In this book, I use the terms White and Anglo to refer to non-Hispanic White Americans. I use Black and African American to refer to non-Hispanic Black Americans. The terms Hispanic and Latino are used interchangeably.
More in-depth views of the lives and thoughts of Latina domestics can be found in Romero ( 1992) and Chavez ( 1992).
Very different views of Latinas in the United States can be found in literature written by
Latinas; see, for example, Acosta-Bélen ( 1979, 1986); Alvarez ( 1991); Anzaldúa ( 1987); El sasser
Tixier y Vigil ( 1980); Esteves ( 1990); Gomez,
( 1983); Hardy-Fanta ( 1993); Mohr ( 1986); Ortiz Cofer ( 1990); Sánchez-Korrol ( 1994, 1996).
A recent series of interviews by Ed Morales with Latino journalists and others in the media echoed this sentiment. Morales summarized what seemed to be a "universal concern" that
"the people who run the media are out of touch with a group that is rapidly becoming the
country's largest minority" ( Morales, 1996:25).
The images produced also vary depending on who is perceiving these images. In essence,
the position of "the Other" changes, depending on the reference point. Latinos may perceive
images of Latinos differently than non-Latinos. Of concern then are the biases of the filmmakers and what the audience sees ( Cowan, 1991:353-359; Woll and
See Friedman ( 1991: 1-10) for a critique of these and other arguments.
See Nieto ( 1992) for a discussion of how generally in the United States these concepts or
categories have been seen to be mutually exclusive and how through multicultural education
people can come to see how individuals could be Black, Hispanic, and American at the same
time, instead of just one of these.
The book does not cover films produced in other countries or Spanish-language films
produced in the United States. The book also is not concerned with images developed in music, literature, or magazines--all extremely important sources of images. Although readings
could have been included to discuss these areas, it was my sense that this would make the
scope of the volume too broad and the focus less clear.
At least one scholar argues that the experience of Latinos has been better than that of other
groups because Clause 10 of the Production Code of the movie industry--a set of principles
that the film industry agreed to abide by--required that neither foreign nationals nor the history of their countries be defamed ( Richard, 1993:xvii). The Production Code Administration
(also known as the Hays office) censored and removed the harshest of negative Hispanic stereo
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Latin Looks:Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. Media.
Contributors: Clara E. Rodríguez - Editor.
Publisher: Westview Press.
Place of publication: Boulder, CO.
Publication year: 1997.
Page number: 11.
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