Looking around us today, major stereotypes are continuously prevalent in society. Stereotypes are people’s fixed ideas or beliefs about the characteristics of a particular group. Thanks to American popular culture, stereotypes are more widespread than ever.
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Popular culture has a strong role in America’s communities and even people’s lifestyles alone. Specifically, one of the many ethnic groups that have fallen victim to popular culture stereotypes would be Latinos. Popular culture has had an everlasting effect on how Americans perceive Latinos, and even how Latinos perceive themselves. The overall general public places Latinos into stereotypes and paradigms because of what popular culture presents them with, in avenues such as film and television. It is clear to see that popular culture defines what is common or normal in American society.
The bias and stereotypes of Latinos is ubiquitous throughout American popular culture, and it has effected how people perceive them to be. Within the different avenues of American popular culture, Latino stereotypes are commonly seen in films and television. The stereotypes have not only affected how people view them, but it has also created different types of Latinos that are deemed to exist. The different stereotypes of Latinos in film and television range from the overly sexual character, drug trafficker, to the illegal immigrant. These are examples of the negative stereotypes that compose the image of Latinos in society. Unfortunately, the negative stereotypes are what Americans believe to be true about all Latinos.
The negative stereotype of Latinos is the belief of what most of America has characterized Latinos to be, because of the negative depictions shown throughout the many channels of popular culture. The stereotypical paradigms have even affected family social interactions within many Latino households. They have also affected how Latinos handle the negative stereotypes. A study conducted by Rivadeneyra in the Journal of Adolescent Research asked Latino youth to watch clips from television shows, and to report if they felt the roles of Latinos were accurate or stereotypical. The study found that, if one does not fit this description, then the only alternative that many young Latinos see is to accept the stereotypes perpetuated by white Americans (Rivas & Saenz, 5). The frequent exposure of the negative stereotype portrayals affects Latino youth in such a way that can lower their sense of racial self-esteem. It also affects their sense of individuality within their culture, because popular culture groups all Latinos into one group.
Moreover, popular culture doesn’t take into consideration how many different cultures exist thought the Latino community. People neglect to remember how many different cultural groups are out there, from Puerto Ricans to Colombians. Non-Hispanics tend to assign one culture to any Latino they see, like saying they are Mexican, even though the non-Hispanics know they are not the only cultural group belonging to the Latino community.
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