Latino in America: The Horror Movie?

OK, tell me that this CNN promo does not sound just a little bit like the trailer for a horror movie:

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.3810859&w=425&h=350&fv=affiliateSiteId%3D18188%26amp%3BwidgetId%3D27552%26amp%3Bwidth%3D420%26amp%3Bheight%3D338%26amp%3BkaShare%3D1%26amp%3BautoPlay%3D0%26amp%3BmediaType_mediaID%3Dvideo_807910] If the video does not appear, you may need to download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

The first time I saw this ad, I was sitting on the couch with my roomate. “Oh my God,” she said, “I can’t believe how racist that sounded.”

However comprehensive and well-done the actual program may be, I can’t help thinking that this promo makes Latinos sound kind of like aliens in some 1950s horror flick coming to take over the country. Like they’re about to crawl in through the windows during Thanksgiving dinner or something.




Why do they have to make it sound so scary? “It made it sound like an outtake from the grindhouse movie,” said Arturo Garcia, who reviewed the program in this week’s Addicted to Race podcast. “They’re coming, they’re in your neighborhoods.”

Now I know part of it is just the way media works, the way everything needs to be made into a story, with urgency and drama and all the rest. But I think promos like this can be damaging in a very real way. “Forget keeping up with the Joneses,” the voice-over says. “You better keep up with the Garcias.” And to me this implies that the intended audience for the promo is exclusively non-Latinos—or, in other words, the “majority” that’s going to become the “minority.” And it establishes a sort of us vs. them mentality. The majority vs. the minority. The Joneses vs. the Garcias. And worst of all, I think it makes people feel defensive and panicky, like the influx of Latino immigrants is something they have to prepare themselves for.

I know, I know, it’s just a promo. It’s only 30 seconds. But I do feel like the repetition of these ideas over and over makes people afraid, and makes it even harder to embrace the diverse mix of cultures that make up this country.

4 thoughts on “Latino in America: The Horror Movie?”

  1. I agree! Sounds like “The Attack of the Latinos!” Me and my wife were thinking the same thing when saw the promos. I did not like the voice-over at all. Sounds like the movie trailer guy.. “In a world…..” but with a slight spanish accent. huh..Really.

    Thanks CNN for scaring the hell out of the rest of the United States.

  2. WoW,they make it sound like some epidemic is about to take over our country. There’s an Optimun Online commercial that’s overplayed that makes Latino’s look ghetto and cheap.
    I either mute or pause the tivo when that commercial comes on.

  3. So right, Robert. And if Latinos are an epidemic, the implication is that white people need to worry about being infected.

    All this stuff implying that the US being a melting pot is a bad things drive me crazy. Of course mainstream American culture—in all its skin tones—incorporates aspects of the many cultures of our many immigrants. And that’s a strength, not a weakness.

  4. I felt the same way when the ever ubiquitous Soledad O’Brien did the series featuring African Americans (which describes my race.)

    If CNN is trying to be controversial, they’ve succeeded. But I’ve found the series does little to promote racial diversity or understanding of positive cultural differences.

    One only needs to look at CNN’s staff to know that you now must have an extremely ethnic sounding name to be in front of the camera. It’s their way of saying “we’re hip and cool.”

    They try too hard and – as a result – are seeing their poll numbers go down as people like me declare “bored now” and opt for Rachel Maddow instead.

    Diversity requires a serious discussion – I don’t think promos that play on people’s fears is the way to do it.

Comments are closed.