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.