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Cafecito Con Chisme sheds light on the underrepresentation of Latinx and Chicanx on television

Golden+Eagles+share+their+opinion+on+Latina+representation+on+television
Golden Eagles share their opinion on Latina representation on television

Golden Eagles share their opinion on Latina representation on television

Juan J Palma

Juan J Palma

Golden Eagles share their opinion on Latina representation on television

Sylvia Valdez, Intern

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Last Tuesday, the Chicanx Lantix Student Resource Center hosted a one-hour event on Latina Representations on Television over snacks and coffee. The event brought to light harsh and real statistics about the entertainment industry.

The limited, 30-student chat quickly filled the flag-studded room. Flags of Latin countries decorated the room nicely. Many felt at home with the Mexican inspired artwork along the wall. Before the conversation began, there was a discussion about confidentiality. Individuals who shared their stories shall remain nameless for protection purposes.

“In 2006, only 11,000 Latinos are working in the Entertainment Industry,” the host stated. Though 11,000 may seem like a handful, according to Brian Latimer from NBC NEWS, “While less than 27 percent of series regulars in broadcast television were from underrepresentation racial or ethnic groups, the number edges up to almost 30 percent for series on streaming services like, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime,” drawn from the article titled, Latinos in Hollywood: Few Roles, Frequent Stereotypes, New Study Finds.

The consensus in the room was clear as everyone nodded. As the host clicked to the next slide, the topic of stereotypes began. There were four images on the monitor, all of which were Latin women in two types of outfits: a sexy maid and the plain maid. The discussion brought on the stereotypes of Latin folks. “They’re either a ‘hot’ maid or the other maid. “Why can’t we see the Latin women who work ten hours a day and come home to their families?” a student asked. “And for men, they’re sexualized as the ‘Latin lover’or the criminal.” One actor who was brought into the conversation was Michael Peńa.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Peńa, think back to David Ayer’s End of Watch. Peńa co-starred with Jake Gyllenhaal, as two officers patrolling of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The crime drama’s representation of Peńa was honorary.

Sofia Vergara was also discussed. The characteristic that is exaggerated is her Colombian accent. There was a solid line on her accent. Some students believe that it was a bit on the annoying side because the audience know people don’t normally speak that loudly, and on the other hand, some students believe that it was an empowering component – Colombian pride. One student mentioned the film Four Brothers. Directed by John Singleton and starring Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, and Garrett Hedlund. The action-crime-drama, casted Sophia Vergara as “Sofi.” The reason this film was introduced in the conversation, was because one student argued that her accent is not as predominant in the film versus her accent on Modern Family.

The conversation switched gears to the beloved Netflix – the original series era. Students are noticing more diversity when it comes to Latin representation. Many suggested shows that are underappreciated. One Day at a Time, was one example that had many nodded in agreement. The opening theme, “This Is It” is performed by the one and only Gloria Estefan. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, it’s a sitcom that “follows three generations of the same Cuban-American family living in the same house: a newly divorced former military mother, her teenage daughter and tween son, and her old-school mother,” as described on IMDB.

Overall, this “Cafecito Con Chisme” was enlightening and comforting to know that the underrepresentation of Latinx and Chicanx was brought into the light, in an effort to make a change.

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