Latinos Americans have grown over the last two decades to compose the largest minority group in the United States today. However, despite their rapid increase in population, this group has remained within the marginalized category, as it faces few social disadvantages as compared to the majority group in the country. One negative impact that this community faces is the negative representation on the American media based on their perceived characteristics which have no profound truth. The negative perception toward the Latinos has now become an important topic of research as such behavior can hinder the integration of this, largest minority group, with the rest of the American societies. There is thus a need for change in the manner in which the Latinos are perceived in the United States. However, for this to happen studies on negative perception must be conducted so as to have an informed framework on how to change this vice. This paper thus aims at producing a literature review from the past studies on how Latinos are represented negatively in the media; it will also outline the strengths and weakness of the articles that will be used.
With the increase in media coverage on the Latinos and especially due to their raising immigration into the country, several social scholars have dedicated their studies on how such coverage are done. Below are some of the conclusion that several studies have attained which indicates that there has been negative media representation of Latinos.
According to Dunaway et al., there are three primary ways in which media coverage impact on the perception of the American society toward the Latinos. One critical way in which media coverage matters is through the tone used. The tone used against the Latinos according to the study is mostly associated with a protest against their rapid increase in population, and their behaviors. Dunaway et al. also found that the amount of the media coverage on Latinos on the local news media was always limited and thus less was known about this community. Less coverage meant that the importance of Latinos in the American community was less expressed and thus creating a discriminatory representation. The study also found that, for the few coverage on Latinos, they were also skewed toward the negative matters and less of the positive content. Most of the coverage was on violence, illiteracy, illegal immigration, gangsters, and drug dealers; they thus all created a negative picture of this group.
The report by Dunaway et al., was quite ideal in the research on Latinos media coverage, as it focused on Louisiana State, a region heavy occupied by this marginalized group. It also focused on post-Katrina period, which marked a rejuvenated increase in Latinos in this state. The report also looked at other factors like population shifts in determining public perception on Latinos, to determine if other factors other than the media cause adverse representation. The above criteria's thus show that this study has a solid argument on the issue. However, this study had some weaknesses as it did not focus on the entire country in its evaluation on the media representation. Its findings can thus not be inferred to the entire media in the country hence they is a need to have a nation-wide approach to media.
Chavez et al. also addressed the issue of media representation on Latinos community based on five leading newspapers in the country. The report concluded that leading newspapers in the United States cover the topic of Mexican and the Latinos mostly based on crimes. Among the most cited crimes, which selectively singled out Latinos as the main players, included drug trafficking, violence especially those experienced in the US-Mexican border towns, several legal cases, and organized gang crimes. Chavez et al. also found that these newspapers, mostly associated issues of Latinos crimes with the increase illegal immigration level in the country, even to situations that did not warrant such association. The report argued that the problem of illegal Latinos immigration has been of national interest and thus media incorporate negative issue associated with this group so as to appeal to their readers. This report also noted that media tend to associate the Latino with the difficulties of assimilation into the American society like poor English speaking and difficulties in the labor market; traits that make them appear foreigners.
As compared to the study by Dunaway et al., this study is universal as it addresses the media representation of Latinos in the entire nations. The five newspapers selected in this study are the biggest national print media spread across the country, and thus their analysis shows a more informed approach toward the Latinos. This report is also very critical of this topic as it focuses on the main issues that are included in these newspapers, which means that they can be used for comparison and inferencing on the media across the nation. The report by Chavez et al., however, has some weakness as it fails to mentions even a single positive media portray on Latinos. All these newspapers cannot have all negative information; hence this report is biased on assessment of Latinos media coverage.
Lastly, Martinez & Ramasubramanian focused on how the Latinos were presented in the American media via the comedy. They stated that comedy is a big industry in the American media and thus it have the capacity to influence people perception on particular groups based on humor which is created with the negative attitude. In their study, they found that most senses of humor made concerning the Latinos society were always associated with drugs trafficking, illiteracy, and difficulties of understanding the English language. The Latinos were also associated with jokes like walking for weeks across a desert to reach the promise land, which in this case is the United States, a sense of humor that associates them with illegal migration through the southern border. Martinez & Ramasubramanian also found that most jokes made toward the Latinos were developed by other races like the majority white, a situation that caused a higher increase in these negative perception to other societies. By comparing with jest made toward other races, they found that Latinos were among the most stereotyped in the comedy media together with the African American community. The study viewed these stereotypes as negative media publicity because they were more associated with English media as compared to the Spanish media which most Latinos subscribed to.
Martinez & Ramasubramanian is a crucial and reliable source because it assesses the comedy stereotypes by comparing all the groups found in the United States. It is true that comedy uses a lot of stereotypes for all communities in the country, but the extent at which such adverse representation are used matters a lot. This report is thus more resourceful because it understands this, and thus it goes ahead to test the extent to which Latinos are stereotyped more than other dominate races. However, the main weakness of this study is that it fails to point out that Latinos comedians also use these stereotypes in Latinos owned media. Such situations thus raise questions on whether comedy is the best approach in addressing media biases in marginalized groups.
In conclusion, the above analysis has presented a literature review based on past researches on how Latinos are stereotyped in the American media. It has also outlined the strengths and weakness of articles used in this report. The review has shown that there is evidence which proves that Latinos have been negatively portrayed in the media and mostly due to the increase incidents of illegal migrations. The review has singled out behaviors like drug trafficking, organized crimes, violence, and illiteracy as some of the media stereotypes associated with Latinos.