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Sunday, September 4, 2011

So Few Latinos of Color on Spanish TV


Many Latinos  tell me that they are all one regardless of color. You would never know it from watching Spanish TV. 

When I first made up my mind to develop my Spanish as a second language, I knew I had my work cut out for me, especially if I was going to teach myself in lieu of formal classroom training. I did pretty good over the years, considering I've had jobs demanding the use of Spanish, and even received bilingual pay. One of the methods I used in teaching myself Spanish was television, mainly Univisión and Telemundo. I used to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily watching telenovelas and their advertisements.

What I found very disappointing was the fact that all of the actors, newscasters, and performers are white, and there was a blatant absence of darker-skinned Latinos, especially black Latinos. Spanish TV, to me, does not reflect the real world of Latinos that I've seen from my Latin-American travels and from living in living in New York and California.

A black Cuban confirmed what was on my conscience. He does not watch Spanish TV because they exclude blacks..

From my personal exposure to the Latino community, I've met people of European, indigenous, African, Asian, and Middle Eastern ancestry, not to mention many of those who are of mixed races. The best Chinese food I ever had was in Lima, Perú. If I didn't speak Spanish (or Cantonese), I would have not been fed.

I casually brought up my newly found hobby of Spanish television to a black Cuban friend of mine who bluntly confirmed what my conscience has been telling me for months—racial discrimination. Thus, he does not watch Spanish TV. That's when I myself stopped watching Spanish television and started watching Spanish videos with some black representation.

Spanish TV does not reflect the real world of Latin Americans that I've seen from my travels, and from living in New York and California.

As of this writing, it dawned on me to ask some Afro-Latinos if they watch Spanish-TV. And if they do, has anything changed in terms of racial diversity. The responses I received were a bunch of expletives, especially against Univisión and Telemundo. One person did acknowledge that Univision has a one black newscaster, an Afro-Colombian named Ilia Calderon.

You who are reading this blog post, and are fans of Spanish-TV, how do you justify such discrimination? I've been told by many Latinos that they are all one, regardless of color. You would never know it from watching Spanish TV. If it's anything other than racism within the Latino community, I'm open to reading your comments in the section below.