Latinos Remain Underrepresented on TV

Jun 19, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Even though Latinos make up 17% of the U.S. population, there’s been hardly a budge in their representation on television, and Latino roles tend to fall into stereotypes, reports The New York Times, citing a study from Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race.

During the 1994-95 TV season, 6% of Latinos portrayed on TV were linked to a crime. That had jumped to 24.2% of Latino roles by 2012-2013, the study found. Additionally, no Latinos wrote network TV pilots in 2011 or 2012.

"The nightly news on TV offers an even more limited view," the article reports. "During the 1995-2004 period, stories about Latinos, most of which focused on illegal immigration and crime, made up less than 1 percent of network news. There are no Latino anchors or executive producers on any top English-speaking network news programs, according to the study."

The study found that Latino roles in TV shows and films have been growing slowly, even though the Latino population has grown quickly and represents a significant portion of the media-consuming public.

“The narrative that gets circulated in news is pretty much the narrative that Latinos are foreigners and somewhat threatening to America,” Frances Negron-Muntaner, the lead researcher of the study and an assistant professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia, told The Times.

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