There are many problems with misrepresentation of minorities in film and TV. The reason behind this lack of diversity is basically that the majority of entertainment executive and studio’s CEO are overwhelmingly white and male. It is a very competitive field and most of the decision makers are overwhelmingly white male seeking the best profit in film. The bottom line is that movies are costly to produce and Hollywood is big business. It is highly motivated by consumerism and the marketing dollar, and the result of the limited analytics and demographics about television media.
The lack of minority writers is also a factor. For the past 20 years the writer rooms have been staffed mainly with overwhelmingly white writers and if a Latino role gets written in at all it is portrayed as the stereotypical over sexualized Latina and the Latin macho.
With these roles for Latino actors it makes it extremely difficult to break out the mold and it only when a Latino has made a name for himself or herself and marketers see the selling power is when the offers and possibilities start knocking . Such actresses as Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria have become a big representation of Latino culture in media. And even though they were still typecast in movies representing the stereotypical Latina. Jennifer Lopez in “Maid in Manhattan” And Sofia Vergara as the sassy and sexualized Latina in Modern Family yet strong and relatable. Although she has gained incredible success in Hollywood, her persona off the show seems to represent and stereotypically I may add , her character by overly emphasizing her accent and purposely making language mistakes to reinforce the idea of the typical Latina. I do find her funny, but her humor in that has gotten a bit old for me.
When it comes to Latinos on film and movies there are 5 common stereotypes:
- “Latin Lover”
This is the practice of having white actors or actresses portray non-white characters. This practice is as old as movies its left and it tended to exaggerate the features and behaviors of other races. There is an underlying (and ugly reason) for this and as explained above it is all about the bottom line. Most studio executives are white males and there is a n instructional racism and belief that if they cast white actors in minority roles, there will attract more of an audience to maximize profits. For example, Ben Affleck in Argo portraying a Latino and Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games portraying a non-white character.
Although there have been strides with shows like Jane the Virgin, Black-ish, and Fresh of the Boat all have sprung from that lack of diversity there is still a huge gap in minority representation. Let’s remember lasts year’s #OscarSoWhite where there we no minorities nominated for an Oscar.