About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Latino TV - Same Song (as Anglo TV), Second Verse, Same Focus on Beauty, Little Bit Worse (on Race)

I noticed it first at the Alma Awards. Elegantly dressed stars - all brilliantly groomed for public consumption - dazzled the crowd as they would at any other celebrity gathering. Standard. What was NOT standard, however, is the extreme "whiteness" of the crowd. Hold on, you say, mestizo power fully ruled the evening. Did not Eva Longoria Parker melt fans with all her shiny Cal State Chicano Studies charm? And that is exactly it. What we saw at the ABC hosted awards was the Mestizo and "Spanish" middle and upper class partying the night away. Mestizaje - the mask for ignoring the indigenous presence - reveled in full glory that night. When George Lopez is the darkest man in the room, something has gone awry. (Though Jamaican/Floridian rapper Sean Kingston did perform at the very end of the show). And forget Asian Latinos - there's not even a glimmer of hope for their presence in the ALMA /Univision World.

I was pushed over the edge, however, by looking at La Sala de la Tele. A smart look at advertising in the Latino (mostly Univision) world, it (accidently) points out the total absence of Afro-latino or indigenous members of society. The National Council of La Raza created the ALMA awards because they felt that the Oscar/Emmy/Tony world was ignoring latino contributions. I suppose we are now going to have to create the AIM awards (Asian/Afro/Indiginous Media - and pun intended, BTW), to highlight contributions to the audiovisual world by Susana Baca, Tizuka Yamasaki, Octavia, Lucila Campos, etc. Can I imagine that the only thing to come out of the DR or the Afro Brazilian world is exactly nothing? And don't even start with me about this being a US Latino thing since there seems to be no problem dragging in Salma Hayek and her mostly bare chest or Shakira at the drop of a hat. And can you tell me you can't find one afro-latino actor or musician to even PRESENT an award?

Again, I understand that mestizos are the majority in the Latino upper class in the United States, but ignoring the true spectrum of Latino heritage in the United States is a disservice to both Latinos and the "anglo" Americans they are trying to educate about hispanic heritage.

The inserted painting is by Nayarit painter Pere Greenham called La Bacante Juchiteca. Visit his website. Buy his stuff.


Anonymous said...

We definitely need more black Latinos honored at The Alma Awards, but to be fair, they have a limited pool to choose from in Hollywood. At least Zoe Saldaña was nominated this year, and Gina Torres won a past ceremony. I just remember them because I like their work; there's probably more. Sure the AA can look outside the U.S. but I think the point is to feature artists with crossover appeal.

JHD said...

If the pool isn't big enough, then we need to ask who isn't getting past the guys at the door to the pool.

Dormommy said...

I see white teeth.