‘Put Latinxs behind the camera!’ An inspiring message from a Latinx professor to his students
One of the most important experts in Latinx Studies, Frederick Aldama, has been making war to the Latinx stereotypes on pop culture for years. And there is something powerful to be said…
“Are we being asked to laugh ‘with’ Gloria or are we being asked to laugh ‘at’ Gloria”, asked Aldama last Wednesday to a group of students at Arizona State University.
The award-winning author and professor at The Ohio State University referred to the character that the actress Sofia Vergara plays in the series ‘Modern Family’: a sexy and yelling Colombian woman who barely speaks English.
Aldama, who was born in California but whose parents were migrant activists, toughly criticized that Latinxs are always depicted in the media as hot-headed, criminals or oversexed.
“This country is so good at erasing histories that are inconvenient to them. We get one month out of the year, so we might as well have fun,” stated.
“Could you name a Latino story or character you had seen depicted in the media recently?” the professor looks around the audience. A student answers: “Jane the Virgin! –the satirical telenovela at Netflix-; another suggests: “Hustler!” –the film about erotic dancers where Jennifer López is a cast member.
“OK, so we have the virgin and the whore –he concludes-. Is that all we’re getting? I think we can do better.”
The author of comics such as ‘Dora’, a story about a young girl in an immigration detention center close to the Mexican border, is convinced the Latinx community needs to tell its own stories.
And this involves putting themselves behind the camera, writing their own scripts, books, comics or theatre plays…
“When we go to the library, we don’t see our stories, he concluded. I want to make sure that we’re not just thinking and teaching and studying this stuff. I want to be putting this stuff out in the world.”