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Latine stereotype? Americans say Hollywood still portrays Latinos in a poor light

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New York – When it comes to Latino representation — society and Hollywood have a long way to go, a new poll finds. A recent survey surveyed 1,000 Latino Americans and 1,000 non-Latino Americans about their perceptions of media diversity, inclusion and life as a whole.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they were unaware that the latest census data indicates that the U.S. Hispanic population will increase from 50.5 million in 2010 to 62.1 million in 2020. They are now the largest minority in the United States.

Latino respondents were actually less aware of these data than non-Latino respondents (41% Latino vs 50% non-Latino). Respondents also answered questions about their social lives, with one-third of Latinos claiming they are one of the few, if not the only, Latinos (34%) who work in their jobs.

Additionally, 30% of Latinos claim they are the only Latino in their group of friends, and one in eight feel that their peers do not understand their culture. When asked about their views on the entertainment industry, more than one in five Latino respondents were unsure if their culture was adequately represented on screen (22%).

Diversity in Hollywood?

While 77% of respondents agree that TV has made more progress than film (67%), three-fifths still believe there aren’t enough Latino actors and actresses on screen. In fact, as of the end of 2021, Latinos are one of many underrepresented groups on broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms, according to a Nielsen study. More than two-thirds of Latinos say they recognize this disproportion as a reality (69%).

Data from a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Campanario Entertainment and the National Hispanic Media Coalition further shows that this underrepresentation carries over into the real world. Thirty percent of non-Latino respondents were unable to name three Latinx entertainers, and one-third had difficulty identifying three different Latinos.

Regarding their media consumption, only a quarter of respondents rated the entertainment industry’s understanding of Latin culture as “excellent.” However, many Latino respondents believe this is not the case, as nearly one in five describe the industry’s understanding as “fair” or “poor.”

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that three-quarters of Latinos believe their culture is often stereotyped in the media. Furthermore, respondents from both groups acknowledged that Latinos often play a derogatory role that negatively impacts the culture. These roles include criminals or cartel members who speak English with a heavy accent (49%), restaurant workers (48%) or gang members (42%).

Of all respondents, 29% said their all-time favorite TV show had no Latin characters – and 39% couldn’t think of three shows that still featured positive Latin characters or protagonists on TV. Instead, people want to see more stories about Latino lawyers (46%), doctors (45%) and politicians (41%).

Jaime Dávila, president and co-founder of Campanario Entertainment, said in a statement. “While we’re encouraged by the incredible achievements of Latinos — most recently award-winning artists Bad Bunny and Ariana DeBose and the huge Oscar-winning success of “Encanto” — there’s still a lot of work to be done We believe that visibility and diverse content on both sides of the camera can help bridge this gap.”

Increase Latino representation

Overall, 77% of respondents agreed that everyone should have a positive image on screen that they can relate to. The same proportion felt that watching TV shows or movies with more varied characters helped them understand their culture or better connect with them.

The majority of non-Latino respondents felt motivated to learn about Latin culture when watching shows featuring Latino actors (72%), and a similar percentage would like more opportunities to learn about Latin culture through movies or TV shows ( 69%). Nearly half of Latino respondents also said they disagreed with having non-Latino actors play Latino characters on screen.

Latinos also offered their thoughts on how the entertainment industry could be more inclusive — 69% simply want to see more of the Latino race on screen. On the bright side, 72% of Latino respondents want Hollywood to include more diverse actors in future TV shows or movies.

“Research is key to understanding public perceptions and how Americans view Latino diversity, equity and inclusion issues in the media and entertainment industry,” said Brenda Victoria Ka, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) Brenda Victoria Castillo said.

“Underrepresentation at the decision-making level directly contributes to a lack of visibility on screen. We hope this data will inspire trailblazers to raise their voices and share underrepresented stories, while also amplifying Hollywood’s positive impact on society.”





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