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.
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.