Media Still Perpetrates Latino Stereotypes

AMERICANS CONTINUE TO HOLD NEGATIVE VIEWS ON HISPANICS DUE TO MEDIA INFLUENCE 

Despite the social progress the United States has made, it still has quite a way to go with the Latino community.

According to a new study by The National Hispanic Media Coalition, a third of non-Hispanic Americans, which includes whites, African-Americans and Asian-Americans, still believe that over half of the US Hispanic community is made up of large families of illegal immigrants with little education. These same people also believe the media portrayals of Hispanics as criminals, dropouts, maids and gardeners (to name a few) as the whole reality of this community.

Latino Stereotypes: Maids
Source: dm2hispanic.com

The study also showed that Americans who watched the negative portrayals on news and  entertainment programs held the most negative, in addition to hostile, views on the Latino community. It also pointed out that these negative portrayals can even influence people with positive views on Hispanics. And the portrayals are too common.

This all means the idea that negative racial stereotypes no longer plague our society is a false notion. It also illustrates the power the media has on influencing people’s views on issues like a growing ethnic community.

The growth of bicultural communities in America: the US and Mexico.
Source: area2oh3.com

This study is worrisome on more than just the level of stereotyping. Some argue that if people hold such biased views, this could affect how they think about major political issues associated with the Latino community like immigration and economic mobility. Many of these people get their political thinking from the news as well so the fact that the Latino stereotypes are fueled by the media just adds to the fire.

It is depressing to think that stereotypes of any kind still exist in the 21st century, especially when we are all taught in school the dangers of prejudices. Unfortunately, the Latino community is now having to go through what the female and African-American communities have dealt with before. But even those communities still struggle with stereotypes to this day so the road ahead of Latinos is indeed a long one.

The solution to a problem of this magnitude and depth is not simple nor is there just one solution. As a society, we will have to take measures to stop fueling these stereotypes and we will have to perpetrate the truth, which is that the Latino community has plenty of successes like any other American ethnic community.  For example, not every Latino is uneducated and many Latinos graduate college.

Successful Latina college graduates.
Source: unr.edu

We don’t still segregate schools because we still believe African-Americans aren’t up to par with whites. We don’t still believe a woman’s place is at home and she needs a man to make decisions for her because she is too fraile and emotional to know any better. We’ve moved past the days of those stereotypes and one day, we will move past the days of Latino stereotyping as well, especially as the number of US Latinos continues to grow.

It’s time to promote the successes of Latinos and Latinas rather than entertain with stereotypes. Source: suite101.com

But until we learn to promote the story of successful Latinos and Latinas like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor rather than entertain audiences with that stereotype of the Latina maid who doesn’t speak any English, we will continue this cycle of stereotyping. We will get there, it’s just a matter of when.

Source: International Herald Tribune’s Rendezvous blog

Huge victory for undocumented Latino youths

PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO HIS IMMIGRATION POLICY

President Obama made an announcement this week that is a huge victory for young undocumented Latinos in the United States.

The Commander-in-Chief’s announcement stated that illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. prior to the age of 16 and who have not turned 30 will be granted immunity from deportation. In order to be eligible for this, the individual is required to have no criminal record, lived in the country for five years consecutively and have either graduated with a high school diploma/GED or served in the military.

And he isn’t going through Congress to try and get this policy change passed. He is doing it though an executive order.

President Obama speaking. Source: NY Daily News

As with any major political move, controversy surrounds his decision. Some say it was a key move to make with less than 50 days until the election to try and sway last minute Latino voters while others say it was a violation of the Constitution (those people being political opponents of President Obama.) I think it was a great move to make whether it was politically-motivated or not.

The president had a fantastic point when he said this order applies to people who “study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods” and who “are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way except one — on paper.”

As a non-Hispanic white who has lived her whole life in Texas, I have met and been friends with many of these people. My two best friends are Hispanic. In fact, one of them had parents that emigrated here from El Salvador. Even though she is lucky enough to be legal, why should other Latinos and Latinas be denied the right to be an American because their parents weren’t able to gain American citizenship upon their arrival to the US?

Latinos applying for citizenship. Source: Instituto Del Progreso Latino.

I am a firm believer in the fact that this country was built and will always be built by many different groups of people who ALL emigrated to this land at some point in their family history. My grandmother emigrated here from Italy in the 1950s: why is my story any different from a Hispanic teenager whose grandparents emigrated here from, for example, Mexico? She is no less American than I am. We both were raised here. We have pride in our family’s cultures, but that doesn’t make us any less American.

This same idea applies to young Latinos who were brought to this country when they were too young to make a choice, let alone apply for citizenship. Some of these children were too young to even remember the country they emigrated from. Why should they be punished for their parents’ decisions? Why should they be deported from the land they have grown up in and loved?

A young American Latina wants the rights to this country too. Source: Being Latino US

I don’t even want to hear the argument that allowing illegal immigrants to stay here will raise the crime rate or cause other negative consequences to the communities where they reside. The requirements in this order don’t allow just ANY illegal immigrant to stay here. They maintain a standard that calls for the people who want to be apart of this executive order to be responsible. Responsible citizens help society, not hurt it.

I am happy with the president’s decision to change his policy and make this executive order. We have seen how much gridlock exists in Washington D.C. nowadays and how no one is willing to compromise. We needed a move like this to propel the immigration issue forward rather than just sit around, twiddle our thumbs and just argue about it some more with no real solutions.

Check out the video of President Obama’s announcement here.

Source: NY Daily News