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Examining the Latino Population in the US through Two Films: Quinceañera and Spanglish

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Immigrant population has been steadily increasing in the U.S in the past twenty years. Immigration has been accompanied by myths and stereotypes that have caused strong support and opposition towards immigration legislation and policies. Due to popular television and movies, the average American has many misconceptions about what it is like to be an immigrant living in this country. In order to rid our nation of these misconceptions and generalities, they need to be identified and dispelled. This paper identifies and dispels some of these misconceptions, myths and stereotypes targeting the migrant populations. The scope of this essay will be limited to the Latino population by examining the narrative of two films between Quinceañera and Spanglish.
Immigration reform has remained a hotly debated topic in the national discourse of the U.S. The media and films have continuously portrayed immigrants as depriving American citizens of jobs and as welfare-seekers. A common misconception that has been used in films is that immigrants, especially Latino work as servants doing menial jobs in order to achieve upward mobility in the society. According to Brayton, there were constant association between the Latina immigrant population and domestic labor is made in films. However, this should not be reason enough to stereotype a whole grouping. Spanglish and Quinceañera show that the success of the Latino protagonists depends on the altruism of the Anglo society. Undeniably, immigrant groups offer a certain diversity that makes it hard to create generalizations based on stereotypes and prejudices.
The representation of Latino as maids or servants in films often serves to illustrate an ideology about the protagonist or family that they work fo...


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Harrell, Belle, “Multiculturalism Must Come to a Truce: Hollywood and the Perpetual Browning of the Nation” (2006). Electronic Theses, Treaties and Dissertations. Paper 4253 Print.
Harrell, Belle. Multiculturalism must come to a truce Hollywood and the perpetual browning of the nation. Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2007. Print.
Quinceañera. Dir. Glatzer R. Sony Pictures Classics, 2006. Film
Romero, Mary. Maid in the U.S.A.. New York: Routledge, 1992. Print.
Soto, Rosa E.. Looking Latina cultural perspectives on images and representations of Latinas in film, television and popular culture. Gainesville, Fla.: University of Florida, 2006. Print.
Spanglish. Dir. Brooks James L.. Columbia Pictures, 2004. Film.
Valdez, Inés. "Reel Latinas? Race, gender, and asymmetric recognition in contemporary film." Politics, Groups and Identities 1.2 (2013): 181-198. Print.



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