CNN’s “Latino in America” series missed an opportunity to paint a more accurate picture of the largest minority in the United States. The 2-part series starts with a story on the anti-immigrant sentiment in Arizona and how a sheriff in that state has become an immigration enforcer.
That story seems to set the tone for the series as if the Latino experience in America is mostly one of illegal immigration, desperation, poverty and bad choices. With the exception of 2 success stories – one of a chef and the other of a Cuban-American senator, Latino in America seems to give the impression the majority of Latinos are unwilling to learn English, assimilate and effectively improve their lives.
The series didn’t explore other aspects of legal immigration, didn’t even mention the numerous contributions of Latino doctors, attorneys, scientists, entrepreneurs, educators and politicians to this country, and failed to delve into the economic importance of this ethnic minority. It failed miserably in showing positive and more of middle-class Latino culture stories and there are definitely a lot of them out there.
Also missing from “Latino in America” – historical background of Latino migration waves, the differences between the diverse Latino nationalities and first, second and multi-generational Latinos.
With the amount of time and resources allegedly spent and the hype, I definitely expected more. Any comments?
Cathleen Farrell says
Hi Veronica: You're on the money. I was appalled at the missed opportunity. What a disappointing cliche-ridden report! I read the book and liked it — most of the same stories but told in a much more compelling manner. But LIA probably did more damage than good.
Janet Rodriguez says
Very true. I didn't see myself or my family reflected on any of those stories. The series made sure to find someone who fit every single bad statistic associated with Latinos. But how about the teenagers who didn't know English, who didn't get pregnant and went on to do great things for this country. The series gives the opportunity for anti-immigrant group to build on their argument that latinos are taking over and ruining this country, when the reality is very very different.
A. Hernandez says
CNN made the same mistake the "Latino Networks" make…the focus on illegal immigration as the only issue we Latinos face.
There are millions of us, that are NOT affected by the illegal immigration issue.
We care about jobs, education, health and yes, our culture.
It's so annoying to see how Univision and Telemundo lump immigrants with ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. There's a HUGE difference and I think they are misleading the audience on purpose.
A point we shouldn't overlook is the dismal ratings for the CNN special. Awful numbers, despite the heavy promotion. More here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/23/latino-in-america-not-the_n_332348.html.
This is why I believe spanish language media will keep growing in different ways. The general market don't care about latino or hispanic issues. Don't expect to see any kind of productions like this one in english language media anytime soon.
Papo Zapata says
Veronica, this was sent to me by Regina Medina in Philadelphia. I appreciate your overview. I actually decided not to watch this special because I don't trust CNN, or most of corporate media for that matter. I snuck a couple of peeks of LIA and my fears of superficial and narrow exploration of our complex realities were confirmed. Missed opportunity indeed.
I work for a 24 hour cable company that has a Spanish or En Esp tier integrated into their company. Unfortunately, this CNN LIA did more damage for myself and my coworkers than good. All four of us the main anchors/producers/photographers/editors/reporters are Puerto Rican and we came to the US obviously legally so our views about immigration are very different than the ones presented in the series. I like Soledad OBrien and I think she's got a great staff, but they failed quite a bit. Now our co-workers have a wrong view of what it is to be latino in america.