The United States of America is an ever-growing country with people of divers backgrounds. Latinos are one of the more abundant groups of people with different racial backgrounds. Latin American numbers in the U.S are ever increasing . They are becoming a driving force in labor and are beginning to become more active in politics and government. However, as positive and encouraging as this sounds, the truth is not all bright and optimistic. The reality is that throughout the history of corporate mainstream media, Hispanics have been portrayed as criminals, thugs, and low-lives who free ride off of the U.S system when it comes to welfare.
Student Researcher: Felipe Estrada, Indian River State College
Faculty Evaluator, Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D. Indian River State College
Nadra, Kareem Nittle, Latinos on the Receiving End of Racial Profiling and Police Brutality, About.com
Nadra, Kareem Nittle, Four Myths about Latinos and Immigration, About.com
For the most part, Latinos have not been depicted as people with a sense of dignity. These negative stereotypes have formed through the corporate mainstream media (MSM) and have lasting effects on Latinos in their social and everyday lives. The MSM has influenced many non-Latinos to believe many of the negative portrayals of Latinos.
The MSM is a powerful tool of beneficial communication, connectivity, and influence, if used in the proper hands. However, it can just as easily be geared as a weapon of hindrance. As in many cases, the MSM tends to exploit only certain types of information, and is biased when it comes to informing the public. Whether it’s to cover a story, inform us on certain topics, broadcast the news, or sway our thinking.
The MSM incrementally does it all, unknown to us. As a huge agent of socialization, it molds much of our ethical views on life. With all the negative persuasion from the MSM, it’s no wonder unjust discrimination exists.
According to Nadra Kareem Nittle, “there has been a growing number of hate crimes against Latinos, and an equally growing number of police misconduct cases involving Latinos.” The author also goes on to mention the racial profiling, discrimination, and brutal behavior from cops. “In one instance, she states, “the MCSCO [Maricopa county sheriff’s office] officers pulled over a car with four Hispanic men inside. The driver hadn’t violated any traffic laws, but the officers proceeded to force him and his passengers out of the car and make them wait on the curb, zip-tied for one hour.”
Should we overlook the power of the MSM, when it leads to ethical violations such as this? Such discrimination has been clearly promoted by the MSM views of Hispanics. Police misconduct is just one of the issues brought to light. These people, whether U.S
citizen or not, do not deserve to be treated like objects. Some make the drastic choice to embark on a life- changing opportunity. They must be given the same rights as any other person in this country. It’s extremely unfortunate to know that those people who travel here just to seek a better life are described as criminals and free riders.
This type of information seen through the MSM only helps to ignite the discrimination mentality. This leads to many of the unfair treatments you see now. An instructive example is the police conduct mentioned earlier. In the case of the police officers’ mistreatment of the immigrants, the officers held them under custody for simply looking a certain way, not for violating any laws or traffic rules. They saw these people as a mere objects to be manipulated and used just to meet their arrest quotas.
Another more severe case involved the killing of an illegal immigrant, named Anastasio Hernandez –Rojas, by the U.S Border Patrol. This incident took place two years ago and has just recently been brought to the surface by a Latino advocacy group. This act of government corruption raises a major “ethical flag.” Other cases include one with an LAPD officer by the name of Patrick Smith, who was found guilty of racial profiling, pulling over a number of Hispanic drivers to make his monthly quota.
These acts of unfair and unjustified cruelty occur regularly; they are in turn covered by the MSM, which helps to propagate a stereotypical image of Latinos as thugs and second class citizens.
Hispanic immigrants and non-immigrants alike must be seen as more than opportunities for cheap labor or as criminals. Just because they may not have the same socioeconomic status as many American citizens, they still deserve the same moral consideration as the next person.