Hispanics need more media presence

Abisha Dhakal, [email protected]

In American society, Hispanic people are a strong force. They are one of America’s fastest growing ethnic groups and comprise of 18.5% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Hispanics have brought music, food, fashion and sports that the U.S. has adopted into its way of life.  Hispanic culture adds to the melting pot that is America.  This is why Hispanics should have a larger media presence.

However, with rare exceptions, Hispanic involvement in English-language mainstream media is very limited. 

According to the Latino Media Gap, a study of top films and television shows indicate that there are fewer storylines and parts in today’s entertainment business with leading Hispanic performers than 70 years ago. 

The Hispanic population increased by more than 43% from 2000 to 2010, but the media engagement rate—both behind and in front of the camera across all genres and platforms—stayed the same, according to the Latino Media Gap.

However, when Hispanic people are included in television and movies they are portrayed as criminals, law enforcers, cheap laborers and hypersexualized creatures via decades-old stereotypes.

About 24% of TV characters were connected to crime between 2012 and 2013, a significant rise from 1994 when just 6% were, according to the Latino Media Gap

The present statistics show ongoing discrimination in the employment of major American industries. This portrayal creates a mismatched representation of Hispanic people.

This could be a major reason behind low Hispanic media presence.

The marginalization of Hispanic people deprives media consumers of demographic change and creative prospects. 

The limited and stereotyped character of current Hispanic tales skew perceptions of their culture.

Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 marks Hispanic Heritage Month, but I have not seen any posts about it on social media.  

In fact, I have only seen one mention of Hispanic Heritage Month on TV and it was during an ESPN advertisement.  

Many aren’t even aware that it is Hispanic Heritage Month.  

But with more social media representation, Hispanic people and their culture could be celebrated more.  

I also noticed that ULM hasn’t said anything about Hispanic Heritage Month, which I find alarming.  On the ULM website, it says that they recognize May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

But where is the recognition for Hispanic students, staff and faculty? 

The last time that ULM gave recognition to Hispanic Heritage Month on their website was in 2008. 

ULM needs to speak out and show their support. 

According to UNIVSTATS, 240 Hispanic students attended ULM in 2020.  

These students are a large and important part of our community.

Hispanics need better representation in media and ULM could help contribute to this cause.  A little recoginition can go a long way.