There was a skit that ran this past weekend (19Nov2011) on SNL that had to do with finding a replacement for Regis on ‘Live with Regis and Kelly’. In the skit, they interviewed an actor playing the character of George Lopez, and when he was asked what “he will bring to the show”, he answered with, “I can do a lot to change the landscape of the show; and I should know about landscaping, because I’m Latino”, or something like that. The skit was sort of funny, but I didn’t laugh at that part.
It’s always either ‘gangster’ or ‘gardener’ with Latino stereotypes, and that’s certainly not anything new. I perhaps didn’t really see it when I was younger, and for the most part, I was oblivious to anything outside of my world. As I got older and found myself out in the working world though, the perceptions became more apparent. Certainly, because of the issues with illegal immigration over the past few years, the discussions and rhetoric have been even louder, and the perceptions solidified.
The stereotypes and perception always get to me. They’re a very common in America, and they are also something that I am trying to change in my own way, through my writing and novels. It is why my protagonists will always be Latinos or Latinas. I aim to perpetuate a new image of Latinos that does not exist in today’s media.
I’m not knocking the SNL show itself. For one thing, the actor that played the part of George Lopez (Fred Armisen) is part Latino. I’ve also been watching SNL for years, and they, a lot like my uncle, make fun of everyone, equally. I am not picking on the general media either. I think it is up to us Latinos to change the image and stereotypes that others have of us, and those that we have of ourselves. It is through education and economic success that we can begin out number the “gardeners” and “gangsters” that seem to emanate the strongest. It is only then that we can force the change in the perceptions that exist today.