Films and movies are incredible creations that can inspire people, make people laugh, make people cry, and change peoples lives. That is because movies reflect everyday life, and people. However, Mexican people have always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to representation and portrayal in Hollywood. When Hollywood first made films about Mexican people, in the 1940s and 50s, Hollywood directors created the Mexican stereotypes by grouping together different cultures in Mexico to create “Mexican culture” in films, and this stuck with Mexicans forever.
Mexicans in films are commonly reduced to “The Latin Lover,” “The Angry Latina,” “The Gangster,” “The Gardener,” “The Maid,” “The Rural Worker,” and “The Drug Lord.” These portrayals and stereotypes reduce Mexicans, and Mexican culture, in ways that are just not true. For example, the classic portrayal of Mexican women today is “the maid.” That every Mexican woman is a cleaning lady. There are many examples of this in movies and television. For example, in Family Guy, the character Consuela is a maid that does nothing but clean and speak Spanish.
Why are there so many bad stereotypes of Mexicans in the media? And why are they so harmful to the community? Stereotypes are repetitive and can be harmful in many ways. Hollywood does not capture the diversity in Mexico. Hollywood puts all Mexicans in a box, and we are all seen as the same person with the same intentions.
An example of someone who uses stereotypes in a harmful way is Donald Trump. Trump uses those portrayals and stereotypes as a way to make people scared of Mexican immigrants. Trump has gone on record saying that Mexicans are, “drug dealers, criminals and rapists.” Which are just some ways that Mexicans are portrayed in movies, television, and, now, presidential elections.
Even when television has a Latino/a actor, they are usually fair-skinned and have traces of European descent. But that is not always the case. In the movie, “Viva Zapata” (1952), a white person played the lead role of the historical figure, Emiliano Zapata. The actor was named Marlon Brando, and he did “brown-face” to play the role. However, the film was made a long time ago, and things have kind of changed, but we still see stereotypes from the 40’s and 50’s today. Danny Trejo is a perfect example. In most of the movies he has been in, he plays the role of a crazy killer or a bad guy who is very violent. He a law breaking badass in basically every role.
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Hollywood has also created stereotypes for Mexican communities in America. Urban movies show poor Mexican neighborhoods that are filled with crime where kids are in gangs, always get in trouble, and struggle in school and are always getting in trouble with the law. Other times, movies will show Mexican culture as having large catholic families or are “illegals” who only speak Spanish.
Why are there so many bad stereotypes of Mexicans in the media? The only good Mexican stereotypes are that Mexican food is good, and Mexicans like to party and dance. Although times are changing, the change is very slow. Negative stereotypes are constantly being spread, while positive stereotypes are non-existent. Mexicans need to be more critical of Mexican portrayal in movies and television, because some people might think those stereotypes in the movie are true. Mexican portrayal fails to show the real side of Mexican culture. Mexicans need to be aware of how harmful these stereotypes can be because they don’t acknowledge diversity and are disrespectful to Mexican culture.