Television in western culture perceive Latin Americans as criminals, maids, and slaves (cheap labor). In this essay, we will explain how western culture perceive Latin Americans in these ways.
Television in western culture often perceive Latin Americans as criminals. In the Article “(Mis) Representation of Latinos in Media”, Katherine Andrews (2017) explains that from the year 2012-2013, 17.7% of Latin American film characters, and 24.2% of Latin American tv characters were represented doing criminal acts. Many tv shows of the 21stcentury have created Latin American characters as criminals. Most of the time, it is Latin American men that are perceived as criminals, but in more recent years, Latin American women are being perceived in this way. A show that has been heavily representing Latin American women as criminals is Orange is the New Black. Many of the women were incarcerated for illegally selling drugs or being affiliated with a gang. A lot of the Latin American women in this show act tough, and give other inmates a reason to fear them, which adds to the problem of negatively stereotyping Latin Americans. Another show that perceives Latin American women as criminals is Queen of the South. This show is about a woman who runs a drug cartel in Mexico, and is very successful. Another show that heavily talks about the drug cartel is Narcos. The show talks about the trade that goes on in Colombia, which is mostly run by men. A famous drug cartel trader from Colombia, who is mentioned in Narcos, is Pablo Escobar. He put a lot of fear into the country because of his crimes and hurt many people in it. Because of his crimes, a lot of people perceive Colombians as criminals and think they are affiliated with drug cartels, which puts Latin Americans in a negative light. These are just a few examples on how television in western culture perceive Latin Americans as criminals.
Another way television in western culture perceive Latin Americans as, is maids. In the article “Five Common Latino Stereotypes in Television and Film”, Nadid Kareem Nittle (2019) says that “In the earlier days of television and film, Africans were the racial group most likely to portray domestic workers. Black housekeepers played key roles in television sitcoms such as 1950’s “Beulah” and films such as 1939’s “Gone with the Wind”. But in the 1980s, however, Latino’s increasingly replaced blacks as Hollywood’s domestics. The 1987 TV show “I Married Dora” was even about a man who married his Latina housekeeper to prevent her from being deported”. This particular stereotype continued well on into the 90s and 2000s. A show that heavily mentions this stereotype is Family Guy, which was created by Seth MacFarlane in the 1990s. The show follows a man in his mid 40s named Peter Griffin, who creates havoc on his family constantly. A reoccurring character in this show is a Mexican maid named Consuela. She has a thick Spanish accent and wears a pink maid uniform with a white frilly apron. She often speaks broken English, and is always giving the excuse that she has to clean when someone asks her to hang out with them. Another show that perceives Latin Americans as maids is Devious Maids, which is a show about a bunch of maids trying to solve a fellow maids murder. This makes them out to be “devious” and “hard to handle”, which is a very common stereotype amongst Latin American women. They are often seen as sassy, rude, and intimidating for people to handle, which is adding to the problem of stereotyping Latin Americans in a negative way. These are just a few examples of how television in western culture perceive Latin Americans as maids.
One more way that television in western culture perceive Latin Americans as, is slaves (cheap labor). In the essay “Hispanic Representation on Media Platforms: Perspective and Stereotypes in the Meme, Television, and on Youtube”, Arielle Akines (2015) explains that, with the historical background of the word’s slavery and racism in America, people can’t understand why Latins would use those words on themselves. They also can’t understand why they would use these words on social media platforms, as their culture becomes more popular. She goes on to explain that when Latin Americans use these terms for themselves, on social media and in public, other people will begin to think it’s ok. This is seen in many western television shows. The shows that talk about slavery amongst Latin Americans are crime shows, due to the fact that slavery ties in with the law. A crime show that talks about this in more than one episode is Law and Order. The show has many episodes where they talk about Latin Americans going into cheap labor, and being sold into sex trafficking. This unfortunately happens all the time outside of tv shows, but it doesn’t help the problem Latin Americans face when constantly being stereotyped. Another show that talks about slavery amongst Latin Americans is Chicago PD, which has an episode of people taking Latin Americans and forcing them to do things that they may not want to do themselves. Hawaii Five-O is another good example of this, showing an episode where Latin American cops are being ordered to do things. If they don’t do what they are told, they’ll be physically hurt or get sent to drug cartels. They are also used as attractions for protection of the people who are ordering them around. This is both adding to the problem of negatively stereotyping Latin Americans, and also bringing awareness to the issue as well. These are just a few examples of how television in western culture perceive Latin Americans as slaves (cheap labor).
In conclusion, television in western culture perceive Latin Americans in a negative way. They see them as criminals, maids, slaves, and many other negative stereotypes. Nothing has been done to stop these stereotypes from being told to us. We can stop these stereotypes by: learning about the different Latin American cultures, make our own judgement, and not believe everything that is presented to us on tv as the truth. There is no need to perceive Latin Americans as criminals, maids, or slaves. They are human just like the rest of us.
Andrews, K. (2017). (Mis) Representation of Latinos in Media.
Panoramas Scholarly Platform
Kareem Nittle, N. (2019). Five Common Latino Stereotypes in Television and Film.
Akines, A. (2015). Hispanic Representations on Media Platforms: Perspectives and Stereotypes in the Meme, Television, Film, and on YouTube.
Texas State University