I mentioned in my first post how storytelling and diversifying the Latino storyteller base are two critical components in rewriting and redefining our narrative. I want to talk about rediscovering the richness and diversity that is Latino culture because crafting authentic stories that deeply resonate with our community require an intimate understanding of who we are fundamentally as a culture. Without understanding who Latinos truly are, we continue to reuse the same words, images, and stereotypes which will nullify any attempt to connect with our community on a deeper level.
I want to get back to basics. I am the type of person that learns best when I understand things at their most basic level and asking the right questions. I am essentially trying to answer the following three questions in this blog:
1. Why do Latino stereotypes persist in mainstream America?
2. What is it about being Latino and American that are viewed as something mutually exclusive?
3. What aspects of Latino culture should I touch upon that are essential to broadening the understanding of our community and highlight our cultural duality?
In the spirit of facilitating the rediscovery of Latinos, periodically I will create mini blog posts titled “Did You Know?” with fun facts about Latinos regarding culture, music, history, unknown statistics, historical figures (past and present), and the like previously unknown.
In addition to the “Did You Know?” posts, I will also add posts titled “Surprise! Latinos Have An Opinion About:________” to showcase my opinion about various current events since mainstream media portrays Latinos as only caring and having an opinion immigration. Holding on to this belief is beyond FALSE. Latinos have an opinion about everything that happens in the United States because they are Americans too! Media Matters For America published a report in July 2015 highlighting how both English and Spanish media allocate a disproportionate amount of air time to immigration at the expense of other issues deemed more important by Latinos. During the first 18 weeks of 2015, 13% of the total 46 Latinos in English-language Sunday shows who appeared as guests discussed U.S. immigration policy while Latino guests discussing healthcare were absent despite this being a relevant topic due to the high number of uninsured Latinos. Just 9% of the total 46 Latino guests talked about economy and only 4% discussed education.
Spanish-language shows did not fare any better. During the same 18 week period, Al Punto and Enfoque, hosted 190 guests, with 16 being non-Hispanic. Between the two shows, 61 guests discussed immigration, 6 discussed jobs and the economy, and 3 talked about education despite the fact that a Pew Research Center poll published in 2014 found that Latinos deemed education, jobs and the economy, and healthcare more important that immigration!
Surprisingly, Latinos care and have an opinion about a lot of the things Americans do and this is what I want to demonstrate in my “Surprise! Latinos Have An Opinion About:__________” posts. Latinos are a competent and intelligent people fluent in many topics if only they were viewed beyond the immigration expert stereotype. As a community we desperately need Latinos advocating for accessible education, jobs with opportunity of advancement, and healthcare policies that provide affordable care and health education in both Spanish and English media.