Overview

Propaganda is defined as “the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person”[1]In simple terms, propaganda is used to simply promote a viewpoint[2]. Often propaganda sways people’s opinions about a certain subject and using stereotypes against certain ethnicities is a perfect way to promote that viewpoint. The circulated views being focused on in this paper are stereotypes against Mexicans. Mexicans have been in the United States longer than every other immigrant group aside from Native Americans; they are one of the most underrepresented minority groups, yet the stereotypes about them continue to swirl around the underworld of society and go unnoticed.

Core Concepts

The stereotypical representation of Mexicans in the United States can be traced back to its roots in the mid 1800s. The Mexican-American War brought upon this demonization against Mexicans that still exists today. The United States perceived superiority to make the case that Mexico was an easy target from which the United States could, and should, acquire land.[3] Mexicans were forced out of their land and demanded to sell their land to what is now the United States of America. As the United States began to grow in power and dominate other parts of the country, Mexicans who occupied the land were forced out. Those who attempted to retain their land began to work as cheap labor, thus a stereotype that has persisted to present day. As a result of the end of the war, according to Bernhardt, Mexicans had retained the worst qualities of the three races (African American, Native American, and European) that had blended to create the Mexican people[4]. Mexicans were forced to do the jobs that no one else wanted to do. This stigma continued to grow which lead to the late 1800s. In the early 1900s with the California Gold Rush and the immigration wave of 1910. Mexicans immigrated to California during the Gold Rush with the same dreams and aspirations of finding gold. Unfortunately, they were trapped if they chose to stay – taking low paying jobs which has continued to be a theme in today’s workforce. Mexicans got assigned these low paying jobs and were unable to advance in jobs they were interested in which led to them remaining poor their whole lives.

Stereotypes are pervasive. More than a century later stereotypes against Mexicans are still very prevalent and can have a strong reaction among the demeaned group. Psychologists Romero, Gonzalez, and Smith conducted a series of focus groups with parents and adolescents and discovered that anti-Mexican stereotypes are widespread. As evidenced according to scholars, some of their findings found that anti-immigrant comments, and insults from peers, often expressed concern that standing up to discrimination may lead to physical altercation.[5]  Cartoon characters, comedians, political figures, and members of their own ethnicity all attribute to these stereotypes. Stereotypes are often used derogatorily to convey offense towards out-group members but also non-derogatorily to convey affiliation within group members.[6]  It has been pointed out that representations can generate and reinforce stereotypes that lead to the development of more or less prejudiced attitudes.[7]  An example of this would be President Elect Donald Trump, who has spoken about Mexicans in negative ways. He discriminated against them in one of his speeches, and on multiple occasions. He proclaims his hatred for them by making accusations that they bring crime, drugs and they are rapists. How can one classify a whole ethnicity in three serious accusations? By making these accusations, he is turning people against Mexicans, but also the whole Mexican culture. Stereotypes and racism in this country should be a very small issue in today’s society, but it is one of the biggest problems because of the mainstream media’s inaccurate and biased reporting. Much research has been introduced about Mexican stereotypes. This is a list of common types of stereotypes that the media includes in their reporting and entertainment.[8]

-The Latin Lover

-The Domestic

-The Male Buffoon

-The Harlot

-The Female Clown

-The Bandito

-The Illegal Immigrant

Example 1: George Lopez White mothers vs. Latino mothers


imagesFigure 1:
George Lopez an outspokenMexican American Comedian who spends most of his time making fun of his own people
 (Source: George Lopez, Comedian “Why You Crying”, 2004)

George Lopez is a Mexican American comedian known for his jokes and television shows. He is a proud Mexican who often makes fun of his own kind throughout his routines. He is what one would call a male buffoon. George Lopez brings to life stereotypes that people would not normally say about themselves, but because he takes a humorous approach, his audience is fascinated at his bravery to make fun of his own kind.

Example 2: Speedy Gonzales

speedy-gonzales-2.jpg
Figure 2:                                   Speedy Gonzales is a Loony Tunes cartoon character known for his whitty jokes and obviously his speed among other things.                              (Source: Speedy Gonzales Episode 27, Muchos Locos, Published 1966)

Speedy Gonzales is a beloved cartoon hero known for his speed, oversized sombrero, red bandana, Mexican accent, and being a ladies’ mouse. He is portrayed in brown skin to represent the Mexican community and he is also portrayed as a Latin lover in a cartoon context. Speedy is a fan favorite among Hispanics who enjoy his character rather than take offense to it. Unfortunately, those who enjoy this cartoon are often not aware of the stereotypes that are promoted through it. Not only so, but young children who watch these silly cartoons are being exposed and learning through this media source how Mexicans are supposed to act and expecting it in real life.

 

Example 3: Consuela from Family Guy

Consuela-Maid-Game.jpg
Figure 3:                                                     Consuela is the maid represented in Family Guy, one of the most offensive but humorous shows on television.                 (Source: Family Guy, Episode: Death has a shadow, 2011)

Consuela is the maid in the often-racist comedy show Family Guy. She is portrayed as dumb, lazy, not knowing how to talk and most importantly as a domestic worker. Her character represents what working for cheap labor looks like and portrays what daily events that occur in a domestic environment is all about.

Example 4: Donald Trump speech stereotyping Mexicans

hqdefault.jpg
Figure 4:                                                              Donald Trump aka the man running for President of the United States of America.    (Source: Youtube “Mexican Immigrants are Drug Dealers and Rapists”, May 2016)

Dialogue of speech: “Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories, but we don’t have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time. All the time.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We want Trump. We want Trump. TRUMP: When did we beat Japan at anything? They send their cars over by the millions, and what do we do? When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo? It doesn’t exist, folks. They beat us all the time.
When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically.
The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.”

 

Donald Trump is now the President-elect who often expresses his hatred toward Mexicans. He believes that all Mexicans are illegal, rapists, and drug dealers. Trump makes very heinous claims about minorities. While he claims to ‘Make America Great Again,’ he did it in a way that promotes hate instead of inequality thus maintaining already persistent stereotypes.

He stereotypes all Mexicans as illegals and since he is now the future president, many people fear that his claims will become a reality. In his speech, he vowed to crack down on illegal immigration, this issue is frightening for many people who have made a life here in the United States.

Example 5: Mexican Barbie

Mexican Barbie was designed as a form of understanding culture. Stereotypically Mexican Barbie comes with a Chihuahua, a green card, and a passport. With these accessories, some implications are once again that stereotype of an illegal immigrant, the brown skin and dark hair portraying that fact that all Mexicans look the same. The creation of Mexican Barbie was intended to include all young girls in believing they can be and look like Barbie regardless of their skin type. Unfortunately, it is another example that categorizes Mexicans as a homogeneous ethnicity when in reality each Mexican presents a different lifestyle, personality, and skill set.

71FvG-GImIL._SY355_.jpg
Figure 5:                                                            One of the most “cultural” barbies out there, equipped with a passport and a green card. Oh and a Mexican chihuahua.                                               (Source: Reddit.com, Mexican Barbie image, 2013)

 

Conclusion:

Historically, Mexicans have been extremely discriminated against since the Mexican-American War. The people who stayed here were forced to work multiple dangerous jobs in order to remain poor their whole lives. The Mexican population is often represented negatively and are stereotyped. Mexicans are seen as bad people when they actually do work hard and do jobs that other people don’t want to do while getting ridiculed for it. Trump wants to get rid of all the Mexicans, but if he does that, who will build his buildings? Who will clean his mansion? Mexicans do the jobs that often go unnoticed, while to achieve the same goal as every other citizen in the United States, the chance at having the American Dream.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why are Mexicans the most underrepresented minority group?
  2. Why is it okay to stereotype your own ethnicity/race, but not others?
  3. At what point do stereotypes turn into racism?
  4. How can a person be properly culturally educated in today’s society?
  5. What category does a person of mixed race/ethnicity fall under in the realm of stereotypes? Do they get their own category to be stereotyped as?

For More Information:

  1. The history of Hispanic stereotypes. Barnette, M. (2012). History of Hispanic Stereotypes. Retrieved December 15, 2016. Though this Prezi, Hispanic stereotypes are analyzed and walked through in greater detail.
  1. George Lopez, a Mexican American Comedian who tries to find humor among discrimination. C, T. (n.d.). Yelp. Why George Lopez makes hispanics look bad. Retrieved December 15, 2016. George uses his humorous voice to discriminate among his own ethnicity, and this article explains why it believed that he makes his own people look bad.
  1. Consuela, a Mexican maid in Family Guy is represented as a stereotype through the show. Consuela. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2016. Consuela is a very interesting character because of her lack of emotion with could also be considered a stereotype.
  2. Donald Trump represents racial injustices toward Mexicans in America. Flama, T. (n.d.). The Flama. Retrieved December 15, 2016. President Elect Trump constantly makes deregulatory remarks about Mexicans.
  1. Mexican Barbie is a toy that is incredibly racist to the gender and workplace and offensive to society. Memmott, M. (n.d.). er Toy Or Trouble? ‘Mexico Barbie’ Has Passport, Chihuahua. Retrieved December 15, 2016. Those accessories that came with the doll are very racist in relation are incredibly visible and offensive to the Mexican Culture.

 

Personal Anecdote:

 

My grandfather immigrated from Mexico when he was a adolescent and experienced these racial stereotypes first hand. One story that I recall that has been passed down as a life lesson is to be proud of where you come from. Pride is one important attribute of Mexicans. They are very proud of their heritage and are not afraid to hide it. My grandfather grew up as an uneducated, poor Mexican immigrant. When he moved to the US he was 12-years old. Not knowing English, he was put in an English learning school. Being 1 of 9 children, he was very poor. His mother was a homemaker and his father worked for a construction company. While in school he was often bullied by the white kids in his class because of his lunch and because he could not speak English. Every day he would have tortillas for lunch because that is all that his family could afford. The white kids would ridicule him because he didn’t have a traditional PB&J. Every day the same kids would taunt him and taunt him and he let it go and let it go. One day my grandfather thought the best way wasn’t to deal with the issue aggressively, but he made an extra taco for the boys that were bullying him, sat them by their lunches and walked away. From that moment on they never bothered him again. The moral of the story is not to be embarrassed of your heritage, but to embrace it, and to “kill them with kindness.”

 

References

[1] Propaganda. (2003). In Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (11th ed.).

[2]  Simplistic definition of propaganda

Scott, C. (2007). Written in red, white, and blue: A comparison of comic book propaganda from World War II and

September 11. Journal Of Popular Culture40(2), 325-343.

[3] Newspapers during the Mexican American War.

BERNHARDT, M. (2014). Red, White, and Black. Journalism History40(1), 15-27.Page 15,.

[4]  Newspapers during the Mexican American War.

BERNHARDT, M. (2014). Red, White, and Black. Journalism History40(1), 15-27.Page 18.

[5] Exploration of adolescent discrimination in media

Romero, A., Gonzalez, H., & Smith, B. (2015). Qualitative Exploration of Adolescent Discrimination: Experiences and

Responses of Mexican-American Parents and Teens. Journal Of Child & Family Studies24(6), p.1531-1543.

doi:10.1007/s10826-014-9957-9

[6] Stereotypes and racial slurs towards Mexicans

Croom, A. M. (2014). Spanish slurs and stereotypes for Mexican-Americans in the USA: A context-sensitive account

of derogation and appropriation. Sociocultural Pragmatics / Pragmática Sociocultural8(2), p.145,

145-179.doi:10.1515/soprag-2014-0007

[7] Stereotypes of the Mexican population

Muñiz, C., Saldierna, A. R., Marañón, F. J., & Rodríguez, A. B. (2013). Screens to See the World. Television

Stereotypes of the Mexican Indigenous Population and the Generation of Prejudice. Revista Latina De 

            Comunicación Social16(68), 290-308. doi:10.4185/RLCS-2013-978

[8] Stereotypes of Mexicans

Brownface! – The History of Racist Latino/Hispanic Stereotypes. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2016, from   http://brown-face.com/

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s