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

By Clara E. Rodríguez | Go to book overview

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.


NOTES
1.
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.
2.
More in-depth views of the lives and thoughts of Latina domestics can be found in Romero ( 1992) and Chavez ( 1992).
3.
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 , MacKenzie, and Tixier y Vigil ( 1980); Esteves ( 1990); Gomez, Moraga, and Ruíz ( 1983); Hardy-Fanta ( 1993); Mohr ( 1986); Ortiz Cofer ( 1990); Sánchez-Korrol ( 1994, 1996).
4.
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).
5.
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 Miller, 1987:3-21).
6.
See Friedman ( 1991: 1-10) for a critique of these and other arguments.
7.
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.
8.
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.
9.
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-

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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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