Recently there has been much attention drawn to the misrepresentation or non-representation of Latinos in the media. In a recent NBC study, results found most stories “fail to represent the demographic composition of the U.S.” The study titled Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity reported that Latinos are one of the least represented speaking roles in film and TV, regardless of the fact that they make up about 17.4 percent of the U.S. population.
Misrepresentation Some of the most common misrepresentations of Latinos include stereotypes such as: criminals, gardeners, house keeper, police force, and dropouts. A lot of negative misrepresentation is found in the news and people using the term “illegal immigrant”. One study shows that the term“illegal aliens” elicits much more negative feelings than the term “undocumented immigrants.” The author of this study credits this lack of diversity in the media to a lack of diversity in the writers room.“When you don’t have diverse writers, you won’t have three-dimensional minority characters.”
Latino Roles Shows that are believed to be paving the way for proper Latino representation in film and media include: Jane the Virgin, Superstore, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, and Modern Family. Though some of these Latino roles cater to stereotypes, many have found these characters to be relatable and multi-layered characters.
Impact as shown by the National Hispanic Media Coalition
- People exposed to negative entertainment or news narratives about Latinos and/or immigrants hold the most unfavorable and hostile views about both groups.
- Negative portrayals of Latinos and immigrants are pervasive in news and entertainment media. Consequently, non-Latinos commonly believe many negative stereotypes about these groups are true.
- 71% see Latinos in criminal or gang member roles very often or sometimes
- 1/3 of those polled in the national poll assumed that more than half of Latinos were undocumented immigrants