The roles in which Hispanics played in entertainment television were manifested, as a result of the condescending visions of Hispanics in society. "Between 1955 and 1986, proportionately fewer Hispanic characters were professionals or executives and more were unskilled laborers," pg. 69). Fewer Hispanics had starring roles, were positively portrayed, or succeeded in attaining their goals. In addition, because of their negative and criminal roles, Latinos stood apart from other characters in the methods they adopted to attain their goals. They were more likely than either whites or blacks to use violence and deceit.
Throughout the course of recent history, American popular (pop) culture has been defined and characterized by the innovations surrounding the television. Television has the potential to disseminate information to millions of people in a way that no other medium of exchange can match. As a direct result, mass media has become increasingly entwined with television and less so with newspapers, magazines and other print sources. Television, whether it's the news, sitcoms or dramas often gives people insights into worlds that are unfamiliar and vastly different from their own. In fact television can be the only exposure that some people have to other worlds and/or different parts of society. Consequently, the content and portrayal of people on television becomes extremely important as it is possible to heavily influence the thoughts and beliefs of a large number of impressionable viewers most notably children who most often have no frame of reference. According to MediaScope, a column that monitors diversity in television:
More Than 200 Years of Latino Media in the United States
Not only are Hispanics portrayed negatively in a traditional "good vs. evil" sense, they frequently appear on television as stereotypes and caricatures. In the Michigan State University study covering fictional programming over three TV seasons, Greenberg and Baptista-Fernandez found that "Hispanic characters are mostly males, of dark complexion, with dark hair, most often with heavy accents. Women are absent and insignificant," pg. 97). One common media stereotype is that Hispanics are poor, of low socioeconomic status, and lazy. In general, Latinos were not seen as people with family values, stable romantic relationships, or interest in honorable careers. These Latino stereotypes were personified through Desi Arnaz's character "Ricky Ricardo" in the long running show On uncountable occasions one could see Desi Arnaz's Latin temperament explode into a torrent of Spanish when Lucy's ill-fated activities were revealed.
Latino Portrayals In The Media - University of Michigan
In studies of prime time entertainment reaching from the 1950's to the 1990's, we found that black representation has gradually increased and negative stereotypes have decreased. Blacks are more likely to be portrayed positively than are whites, and they engage in proportionately less violent and criminal behavior. An exception to this general pattern is the newly popular genre of reality based programming, which frequently casts minorities in criminal roles. Latinos are less visible in prime time television than they were in the 1950's. Their portrayals have not improved markedly since the days of Jose Jimenez and Frito Bandito. (Distorted Reality)
2017 Inclusion Summit – Variety Summits
This is why we should be trying to explore and understand differences in cultures outside of media to avoid negative portrayals and perception of Latinos.