Latin Looks: Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. Media

By Clara E. Rodríguez | Go to book overview

vidual responsibility? Isn't it up to the individual to succeed in society? On the other hand, it is argued that the negative and sparse portrayals of Latinos reflect the sad reality of Latino life in the United States. If we accept this view, are we not deflating the motivation of young Latinos to succeed in U.S. society? Clearly (and this should go without saying), all individuals need to take responsibility for themselves and for those for whom they are responsible. The question is what can we, as a society, do to ensure that opportunities are equal? What can we do to eliminate barriers? Individuals should not have to fight against negative stereotypes and portrayals. That is not what is envisioned in a society that provides equal opportunity to all.


Recommendations

The issues raised by the chapters in this section are further addressed in the final chapter of the book, "What We Can Do." One can add to or quibble with the specific recommendations listed. But what is most important is that the issues be addressed. They must be addressed, first, because these are issues of equity. The United States is a country premised on equal opportunity for all, and this must be ensured in all areas; opportunities cannot be greater for some groups and less for others. Second, these issues must be addressed because Hispanics are an increasingly larger proportion of the U.S. population, accounting for nearly one-fifth of all new workers ( Fullerton, 1995). Thus, it is in the interest of all Americans to address these issues, for improvement in Latinos' "social and economic condition is critical to the country's well-being" ( Brichetto, quoted in Quiroga, 1995:15).

It is also important to conduct research in this area. The news has a major influence on public opinion on policy issues, and we need to know more about the hows and whys of its operation. We need to study exactly how media portrayals of Latinos shape viewers' attitudes toward Latinos and Latino issues, so that we can determine how best to improve portrayals in this area and counter negative impacts. In particular, it is important to study how these portrayals affect Latino children and teenagers.


NOTES
1.
The researchers also found that most of these stories originated from the West Coast and the Southwest. Other areas with significant Latino populations, such as New York, Miami, and Chicago, produced few stories ( Carveth and Alverio, 1996:2).
2.
Another 15.7 percent of the stories were on Selena, a rising Chicana singer who was murdered during the year of the study, and the trial of her murderer ( Carveth and Alverio, 1996:6).
3.
A 1996 study by the Southwest Voter Research Institute of over 1,400 registered Latino voters found that the majority receive their news from the English-language media, especially television (Torres, 1996). In addition, analysis of the Nielsen Hispanic Television Index for

-19-

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Latin Looks: Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. Media
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 11
  • Part One - Latinos on Television and in the News: Absent or Misrepresented 13
  • Notes 19
  • 1: Out of the Picture 21
  • 2 - Hispanic Voices: is the Press Listening? 36
  • Notes 53
  • 3: Distorted Reality 57
  • Part Two - The Silver Screen: Stories and Stereotypes 73
  • Notes 79
  • 4: Visual Retrospective 80
  • 5: Citizen Chicano 85
  • 6 - Stereotyping in Films in General and of the Hispanic in Particular 104
  • References 119
  • 7 - Chicanas in Film: History of an Image 121
  • Notes 139
  • 8: From Assimilation to Annihilation 142
  • 9: West Side Story 164
  • 10: Keeping It Reel? Films of the 1980s and 1990s 180
  • Part Three - Creating Alternative Images: The Others" Present Themselves" 185
  • 11 - From the Margin to the Center: Puerto Rican Cinema in New York 188
  • Notes 199
  • 12: Unofficial Stories 200
  • 13: Type and Stereotype 214
  • 14 - Two Film Reviews: My Family/Mi Familia and the Perez Family 221
  • 15 - Hispanic-Oriented Media 225
  • Notes 236
  • References 236
  • Part Four - Strategies for Change 239
  • 16 - Promoting Analytical and Critical Viewing 240
  • Notes 247
  • Notes 250
  • Notes 253
  • 17 - Questions and Reflections About the Reading in This Book 254
  • 18: What We Can Do 261
  • References 271
  • About-The Book, and Editor 275
  • About the Contributors 277
  • Index 279
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