Monday, August 22, 2016

The Great Divide

As I begin learning about televonelas and how they are so much more than I could have ever expected, one of the first thoughts that struck me was how in the world I hadn't known about them before now. The only logical answer I have been able to come up with is that there is a divide- accidental or intentional- between cultural groups that prevents me from being exposed to these particular media.

When wondering where this 'divide' may be, I believe that it must be a very specific one. It cannot be simply that I am caucasian- there are definitely other whites who watch telenovelas- and it cannot be only that I am an American seeing as the number of people in the U.S. watching these shows is large and growing. In my opinion, it is the combination of those two demographics- white and American- that have led to my lack of knowledge on the subject.

Sadly, there is not a lot of cultural mixing in America from the minorities to the majority. What limited knowledge I have of Hispanic culture comes from bits and pieces discovered in Spanish language classes and friendships with Hispanic men and women. I never knew that telenovelas were popular or a part of the daily culture, though. The cultural dynamic in the United States creates a situation in which nearly all mainstream media focuses on the white majority. There does seem to be the beginnings of a shift on the horizon, but it is going to be a long, hard battle for minority media to to be segmented and pushed to the outskirts.

That being said, I believe it is my lack of searching, the specific media that are targeted to and away from me, and my country's lack of diverse media outlets that has led to my ignorance of the world of telenovelas. In all honesty, to have studied Spanish language and Latin American culture for several years and to have had no idea of the enormous impact that telenovelas have on society is astonishing and sad. I look forward to getting a real glimpse into what is one of the pillars of daily life for a large portion of the world.


  1. Rachel, you bring up a great point. As we are beginning to learn about telenovelas in class, I felt the same exact thing. I never thought about telenovelas as having the same depth and diversity as American television shows do. I personally have a lot of friends of the Hispanic culture and telenovelas has never been an in depth conversation we have had. I feel like this divide you speak of is what has kept this from being a topic of conversation between us. I am not saying telenovelas is a sensitive subject, I just think this divide of ignorance keeps many people from understanding telenovelas as they do. I think other aspects of pop culture is easy to relate with, for example, music. Me and my friends often share music that is sung in Spanish that both of us enjoy. It is easy to share this because there is no misconception about music: it is a well-known thing that music has many different types of genres that are shared around the world. However, I think this divide keeps us from diving deeper into the Hispanic culture. I will use myself as a prime example. Before we learned about these more in depth in class, I thought all telenovelas were cheesy soap operas that had no depth to them. Man, was I obviously wrong. I was very ignorant about the subject, when all this time, telenovelas have been right in front of me as American shows, like Ugly Betty and Jane the Virgin. Many are quick to judge based on stereotypes without diving deeper into the subject. I think as someone who is curious about learning about other cultures, it is our responsibility to learn about the world around us and to dive deeper into cultures we interact with on a day to day basis. For someone who has a lot of friends who speak Spanish, I think learning more about telenovelas is a good start to learning more and understanding their culture in a better way.

  2. Para mi, su referencia a la raza blanca es muy interesante. Estoy de acuerdo de que la media y la sociedad de los estados unidos-aunque la mayoría de la población es de "grupos de la menoría"- crean contextos y situaciones que promocionan un imagen ideal que es blanco. Despues de mirar los clips en clase, me sorprendió que aun la industria de telenovelas- originalmente latinas- también sigue este patrón. Sin embargo, no soy ignorante a la realidad que existe para muchas culturas. En India también hay discriminación por el tono del color de la piel. He leído literatura y he visto programas que confirman que los de la cultura afro-americana también enfrentan este juicio de ser "de piel oscura" o "de piel clara", el cual es visto como lo mejor.

    Su comentario sobre la ignorancia de cultura latina o hispana también resuena conmigo. Aunque intento aprender más con cada clase, es imposible tener un conocimiento total de la cultura sin vivirla. Espero que más aspectos de nuestro cultura- televisíon, música, publicidades- empiecen reflejar con precisíon quien vive en EEUU: gente que aunque hablan una lengua diferente todavía tiene una narrativa muy importante compartir con el mundo.