Reel Latinxs

Representation in U.S. Film and TV

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Latinx representation in the popular imagination has infuriated and befuddled the Latinx community for decades. These misrepresentations and stereotypes soon became as American as apple pie. But these cardboard cutouts and examples of lazy storytelling could never embody the rich traditions and histories of Latinx peoples. Not seeing real Latinxs on TV and film reels as kids inspired the authors to dive deep into the world of mainstream television and film to uncover examples of representation, good and bad. The result: a riveting ride through televisual and celluloid reels that make up mainstream culture.

As pop culture experts Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher González show, the way Latinx peoples have appeared and are still represented in mainstream TV and film narratives is as frustrating as it is illuminating. Stereotypes such as drug lords, petty criminals, buffoons, and sexed-up lovers have filled both small and silver screens—and the minds of the public. Aldama and González blaze new paths through Latinx cultural phenomena that disrupt stereotypes, breathing complexity into real Latinx subjectivities and experiences. In this grand sleuthing sweep of Latinx representation in mainstream TV and film that continues to shape the imagination of U.S. society, these two Latinx pop culture authorities call us all to scholarly action.
"Aldama’s Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics is a short yet exhaustive account of Latinx representation in mainstream comics, one that highlights how Latinx readers demand and deserve better and ultimately expresses optimism in how creators and readers might continue to co-create meaningful Latinx narratives."—Maite Urcaregui, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics

"Reel Latinxs is an invitation to re-think the problematic history of misrepresentations, to evaluate contemporary texts, and to imagine possible future in which Latinx are represented in yet more complex and nuanced ways."—Manuel G. Aviles-Santiago, The Journal of Arizona History

“Smart and engaging, accessible and comprehensive, this is the best starting place to learn the history of Latinx representation in U.S. film and television. Indispensable!”—Charles Ramírez Berg, Joe M. Dealey, Sr. Professor in Media Studies at University of Texas at Austin

“When media representations remain problematic and often violent in their engagement with growing U.S. Latinx populations, Reel Latinxs offers useful cartographies and thoughtful analyses, shedding light on the strengths and shortcomings in current visual and media culture. In engaging with questions of genre, body, gender, and race, this book provides a vital departing point for necessary conversations regarding Latinxs and media.”—Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado, Jarvis Thurston and Mona Van Duyn Professor in Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis

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