In the last two weeks Public Radio shows "All Things Considered" and "On The Media" have either proclaimed (Ari Shapiro on ATC talking about Honduras) or let their guests get away with (Bob Garfield, On the Media talking about Rio) calling violence in Latin America "endemic."
These old stereotypes of the fiery, violent Latino who is born to kill and has no control of their emotions are as old as the Anglo-Iberian feud itself. "Those places" like Brazil and Central America are tagged as having been bathed in violence passed from parent to child and exist in a time warp of barbarism. When the media speaks of this violence as "endemic" it creates justifications for coups, assassinations, and general disregard of the national sovereignty of the nations of the Americas in order to bring civilization to the barbarians of the south. While one might expect better of outlets like NPR or PRI, they can often be as bad as a Wall Street Journal article from Mary Anastasia O'Grady herself.
C'mon, NPR, you can do better than this.
For further reading (I'm looking at you media types), see Phillip Powell's Tree of Hate or Greg Grandin's Empire's Workshop. Maybe even treat yourself to Duncan Green's Faces of Latin America or the classic Open Veins of Latin America by Galeano.
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