Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thoughts on Representation

In my first blog post, I mentioned how something I was looking forward to discuss and explore in this class is representations of race and ethnicity. A couple of weeks ago we began our discussion of identity and representation of telenovelas, and I found it incredibly interesting. Racial issues and tensions are not newly recent topics in America, but today they are even more relevant and talked about in the media industry probably more than ever. This year especially within the acting industry, awareness of the lack of representation of Asian-Americans has been spread a lot. This year's Oscars were talked about so much in the African-American community because there were so few African-American nominees and winners. So representation in media is very relevant here in America, and it is really cool to compare to that in Latin America.

What I learned a lot in the representation of ethnicity lecture is how there has always been a different form of racism in Latin America than the United States. Something Dr. A said in class that resonates with me was the point she brought up about how in Venezuela, there may not have been institutionally enforced segregation, but racism definitely still exists in other forms. Whether through their joking, or political correctness, or their identification of people, racism exists. I found this to be a very interesting thought. It is so easy to have this idea or concept of racism in our minds for our whole lives and thinking of things that have happened only in this country. In total honestly, when I think of racism, I think of pre-Civil War American slavery, and the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and the discrimination that black people faced then. I also think of the forms of racism that still exist in our country today. So it is really interesting to see what racism looks like in other countries and cultures, and to be able to compare and contrast what they look like.

Earlier I mentioned the "political correctness" in Latin American culture. It is interesting to hear Dr. A explain how people can call each other "negrito" or "gordita" and it not be offensive! Like that would totally not fly here in the United States. So far, I've even seen things in my telenovela, Avenida Brasil, that wouldn't really work in the United States. Even early into watching the telenovela I've seen black people represented in a way would most likely and slightly offend people here if they saw that on a television show. But of course, it's different cultures and histories, so it's hard to actually think that way.

It was also very interesting to see how gender and sexual orientation identities are so closely tied together, and that's something I'd like to explore and read more about.

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