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Social and Cultural Contexts of Texts, Outline Example

Pages: 3

Words: 736

Outline

The portrayal of Latino students in media is based on common stereotypes and assumptions, and it does not always reflect the truth.

  • In the media, according to Negrón-Muntaner et al., there is a Latino gap, and “Latino participation in mainstream English language media is stunningly low”
  • Further, the authors (Negrón-Muntaner et al) state that “when Latinos are visible, they tend to be portrayed through decades-old stereotypes as criminals, law enforcers, cheap labor, and hypersexualized beings”.
  • Contradicting the stereotypes above, a recent study (CNN), Latinos are under-represented in the violent criminal population.
  • Planas states that stories about Latinos in the media  represent only one percent of all discussions.

Latino students are hard-working, family-oriented, care about their siblings, and are motivated to succeed in America.

  • Despite the stereotypes of Latinos, and the sexualization of Latinas, the National Survey of Latinos found that “Latino parents also appear eager to engage with the educational system and to take responsibility for ensuring their children’s success”.
  • The main stereotypes appearing in popular media are: the Latin Lover, the Domestic, the Male Buffon, and the Bandit.

Being a 22 year old Latino student, I cannot associate with any of the above stereotypes. I feel like I am just as American as any other person living in the United States, and my culture does not make me different, but unique.

Going to the United States to continue my studies in college, I had to face several stereotypes. These were:

  • Looking at me as a sexual object, based on my heritage
  • Being told that it was surprising that I was going to college, as a girl, as most Latinas my age stay at home and have a family early.

A recent article by Latino Perspectives reveals that the graduation rate among Latino students is significantly lower than among White college population. Even though Hispanic KS12 student  population grows rapidly and college enrollment is also on the rise among Latinos, the gap still exists.

Latinos and Latinas face stereotypes every single day.

  • In the media, the majority of reports about Latinos is related to crime news.
  • Latinos are likely to play the villain instead of the leading role in movies ( Negrón-Muntaner et al).
  • In movies, young Latinos speak Spanish only, or only broken English. This is also confirmed by some Latino mediums. An example from popular online fashion and lifestyle magazine, Latina,  “Latina fashion closet: How to wear workout clothes beyond the gym” (Arcos) addresses the readers as “Hola chicas!” (Arcos) instead of an English greeting. In reality, all children are taught English in school, and special programs are designed to help them achieve the required level of English proficiency. Still a recent Washington Post article quotes pitcher Bud Norris’ clearly racist comment: “If Latinos want to play baseball here, they need to “speak American,” in the words of former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin” (Lamb).

As the Narrative Theory confirms, texts do not mirror culture or society: they reflect to them from a unique perspective (Louchart and Aylett), just like the above examples have shown. The narrative (and media) text consists of the story and discourse, impacted by the social and cultural context.

The possible solutions for fighting stereotypes offered by authors are as follows:

  • Correct portrayal of minorities in media
  • Proportionate representation of Latinos in movies, news, and magazines
  • The portrayal of Latinos in English language mainstream media, instead of sidelining narratives of Hispanic people to Spanish language ethnic style mediums.
  • Education. Without increasing the number of Hispanic intellectuals and professionals, the media and social discourse cannot be changed. However, instead of using inclusive and collaborative language, the Appeal Democrat (Elias) states: “The state must educate Latinos better”, as if Latinos were subjects instead of individuals who can collaborate with policymakers.
  • Collaboration with higher education institutions to support ethnic minorities and children of immigrants in succeeding in academic subjects and closing the achievement gap. As it has been shown, the gap does not exist because of Hispanic families’ attitude towards education.

Works Cited

Arcos, Verky “ Latina fashion closet: How to wear workout clothes beyond the gym”  Latina. June  16  2015. http://www.latina.com/fashion/shopping/latina-fashion-closet-workout-clothes-beyond-gym#axzz3p6A7YvQL

Brownface.com “Racist Latino Stereotypes” http://brown-face.com/

Elias, Thomas. “Latino education gap a big problem”. Appeal Democrat.

Lamb, Chris. “When Latino sluggers flip their bats, it’s called disrespectful. It’s also a  double standard” The Washington Post. Oct 20, 2015

Louchart, Sandy, and Ruth Aylett. “Narrative theory and emergent interactive narrative.” International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life Long Learning 14.6 (2004): 506-518.

Negrón-Muntaner, Frances. “The Latino Media Gap.”  http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cser/downloads/Latino_Media_Gap_Report.pdf

Planas, Roque. “Why The Media Pays Less Attention To Police Killings Of Latinos” Latino Voices. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/24/police-killings-latinos_n_6739448.html

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