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Latinos Go To The Movies More But Are Underrepresented Onscreen

Latinos love to go to the movies. In fact, Latinos go to the cinema more than Whites, Blacks, or Asians. And yet they are the most underrepresented onscreen. A recent study from the University of Southern California finds that Latinos average about 9 movies a year where as your average White moviegoer may only go 6 times. This means that the main thing keeping the crumbling movie industry going are Latinos. And yet Latinos only comprise 4% of all speaking roles on film. This in spite of us being the fastest growing segment of the population. Part of that has to do with the fact that the powers that be in Hollywood are still overwhelmingly White. The only way this is going to ever change is for us to take the reins of our own representation.

Black filmmakers have shown us the way. 25 years ago there were very few Black Oscar winners and megastars. The number of Black directors and producers was even less. Today we have the Oprahs and the Steve McQueens of the world making huge strides in the film world. We have to do the same thing. We can’t rely on Alfonso Cuaron, Robert Rodriguez, and Guillermo Del Toro to do all the work. “But what does it matter if there aren’t a lot of Latinos onscreen?” Representation is a powerful thing. It is human nature to want to see ourselves reflected in our art. That’s why the human eye is drawn to people’s faces in films and paintings. If a young girl doesn’t see someone like her on the big screen she may think she’s less important. Screw that!

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