Michael Short IRD FINAL PAPER - Michael Short Interracial...

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Michael Short Interracial Dynamics Moreno Campos Seminar 10 June 10, 2010 A Suburban Life of Stereotypes Eastlake High School 1.8% Latino (Eastlake High), Sammamish, Washington 6.2% Latino (Sammamish WA), Seattle, Washington 8.0% Latino (Seattle WA); Latinos in my community of 17 years are few and far between. In correlation with this statistic my personal experiences with Latinos have also been minimal, in fact I have had more experiences with Latinos in my one year at UCLA than in my 18 years of previous life. Growing up in an upper class suburb of Seattle, Washington provides little to no opportunity to interact with any race other than my own. Growing up there were very few outlets for myself to experience any Latino culture and most of my ideas and experiences with Latinos came in the form of entertainment and the media. In a neighborhood whose interaction with various races other than their own is limited there comes an absence of understanding of different cultures. In place of this culture comes a media created culture. Growing up in a town with a small percentage of Latinos left me no real understanding of any type of Latino culture whatsoever whether it be Mexican, Cuban, etc. Filling this void of understanding of these groups of people came the entertainment industry, United States’ history of race relations with Latinos, as well as limited personal and family history with Latinos. From these various outlets I came to form opinions and stereotypes about Latinos, many being inaccurate, and used these ideas as preconceived judgments regarding the Latino race. Not till I came to UCLA did I start to experience first hand
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interaction with Latinos and look at race from a new perspective, giving me a sense of prejudices and injustices the Latino community faces everyday. Growing up in a well to do area in Washington, there was never a lack of media in my life. The lack of diversity however led me to an obscured view that the media represented accurate portrayals of races and ethnicities absent in my environment. Commonly accepted stereotypes of Latinos can be seen reinforced again and again throughout all facets of the media. Common stereotypes that are accepted in my area and concreted by the media portray male Latinos as being Roman Catholic, hard working blue-collar workers who have large families. Female Latinos are portrayed as homely, focused on family life, often maids, and often very attractive with an intense sexual appetite. Stereotypes for Latinos in general in the media include the representation that the darker skinned the Latino is the more recently that character has immigrated. These stereotypes have been overplayed in the media in various shows and movies since the creation of film and television. A recent example can be seen in ABC’s hit television show, Desperate Housewives . In this network series the Mexican-American Eva Longoria plays one of the “desperate” housewives. She is the only Latina on the show, besides her
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Michael Short IRD FINAL PAPER - Michael Short Interracial...

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