The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint: Hispanic representation in media doesn’t do us justice

courtesy+of+Geoffrey+Moffett
courtesy of Geoffrey Moffett

Jose Romero
editor-in-chief

If all people knew about Hispanics was gathered from shows and movies, then the assumption would be that we’re gangbangers, cartel members or Rob Schneider in brownface.

It’s so rare to watch a mainstream American film portray a Hispanic as a kind, sympathetic character. Instead, it chooses to show us as vile criminals that will do anything for the right price. If there’s a Hispanic character in a film, that means they’re going to be comedic relief or the antagonist. There’s rarely a middle ground.

For once, I’d like the kindness in my culture to be shown rather than image-damaging stereotypes. It sends the wrong message when Hispanics in media have guns tucked into their belt and are abrasive without instigation. The whole race has been typecast instead of an individual actor.

But, it’s not all bad. There have been quite a bit of recent media that has turned the tide of this narrative.

“The Mandalorian” stars the Chilean-American actor Pedro Pascal as a dope cowboy bounty hunter from space. He’s not a Hispanic bounty hunter. He’s a bounty hunter that happens to be Hispanic. His ethnicity doesn’t shove him into a box which is how it should be. I’m hoping Pascal has started a trend for Hispanic actors.

This year saw the release of “In The Heights,” a musical that’s a love letter to Puerto Rican and Hispanic culture. No gangs, violence or dangerous stereotypes. It portrayed the beauty of my culture, like the importance of family. It’s hard to describe how hard I was grinning after coming out of the theater because of the positive portrayal of my people.

Seeing a movie like “In The Heights” exist gives me hope. Hope that my little brother will grow up with media that shows him to be proud of who he is. I can’t wait to watch the first big Hispanic lead superhero film. Looking at you, Blue Beetle and Ghost Rider.

It would be disingenuous to say that a character’s racial identity isn’t necessary to portray. Some movies have it as a theme or an integral plot point, and that can be very important for informing audiences of minority struggles. My argument is that it doesn’t need to be the only character trait.

Sometimes I question why a Hispanic can’t go on an adventure to a fantasy land and fight dragons without having to justify why they’re there.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian