Latino misrepresentation in the entertainment industry results from lack of Latino representation in the media
Latinos are one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S., but this population continues to be severely underrepresented in the media industry including TV, film, news and publishing.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform commissioned a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which found Latinos make up 12% of all workers in this industry.
That translates to approximately 14% in radio and TV broadcasting, 16% in the film and video industry, 5% of all speaking characters on screen between 2007 and 2019 and 4% of film directors.
Contrarily, Latinos make up more of the service and custodial workforce within the media industry, such as those who provide security, food preparation and cleaning services.
“I think the Latino narrative in the United States is missing from the larger American narrative,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who sits on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' advisory council. “I'm convinced after all of this work and my experiences in the past that Americans really don't know who Latinos are. They don't know who among us has made important contributions to the success or the prosperity or the development of the United States.”
For the Latinos who do belong to the small pool of public representation, some are concerned stereotypes continue to be perpetuated and network executives fail to depict relatable experiences that resonate with a diverse Latino audience.
“I was so happy to do it, I love that story,” said Chavira. “Now, take the movie that was done 25, 26 years prior to (the series), look at all those years in between and name me a television show or a movie about another South Texas Mexican-American story.”
The normality of Latino experiences and how often they align with generalized American life, Chavira argued, is a narrative less valued by the media industry but an important step in achieving diverse representation.
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