In my last two articles, titled Breaking the Stereotype Part 1 and Part 2, I discussed four characters who I feel do a good job of representing black males and black females in shows that I watch. Now, the characters portrayed aren’t perfect and free of stereotypes but they’re a welcome change of pace from what is usually seen on TV aka negative stereotypes.
For Part 3, I will be discussing a Latino character that I think has positive characteristics. This is another character from the CW. I probably should mention that I don’t endorse The CW, I just watch shows from that network. A lot. Anyway, on to discussing positive portrayals of characters.
Stereotype Broken: Latin Lover
Rogelio De La Vega, played by Jamie Camil, is dramatic and generous. He’s a lot more than that but describing him in full detail may take some time. He portrays a telenovela star in the show. Which is great because Jamie Camil is actually a telenovela star.
Anyway, Rogelio had a daughter with Xiomara named Jane. They end up together after years of not seeing each other. Rogelio in his drama and general awesomeness is also very vain, but omg he’s so fab and hilarious.
Anyway, the Latin Lover stereotype consists of a man always being romantic. Which due to Rogelio being “charmingly vain” he’s only really romantic with Xiomara not with every single woman he meets. Another part of the stereotype is that they are usually up to no good. This is the farthest thing about Rogelio. Not only does he give Jane a fake scholarship so that she can go to grad school, but he is always giving Xiomara support to pursue her dreams. There’s a lot more to the Latin Lover stereotype, but that would also take a lot of time to go over, so not going to do that.
The whole reason I’m bringing this up is because Latino men tend to fall into two main categories in television. Either the extremely macho man or the not so manly macho man. Rogelio falls somewhere in between, and that’s a good representation about the Latino male compared to all the negative representations in television.
Okay, so I’m going to be honest. Most of the shows I watch don’t have a lot of Latino men. Unless I head over to Univision and watch some awesome telenovelas like Tres Veces Ana. Some shows that I watch have Latino men but they make them so racially ambiguous that I honestly couldn’t tell you what their race was.
For example, Blake Jenner–not related to those Jenners–is Cuban-American. But in the all the shows I’ve seen him in, (Supergirl and Glee), never once has his Cubanness (is that a word?) shown through. Sure, it doesn’t “need” to, but that’s the problem.
Latinos and other minorities have the blessing or curse, whichever way you want to look at it, of being racially ambiguous. Meaning you honestly couldn’t tell what race we are just by looking at us. Maybe we’re Latino, maybe we’re white, maybe we’re Black, or maybe we’re Asian. Some people may say that’s a good thing. Others may say not so much.
Let’s be real, racism isn’t going away in the next few years, maybe not for centuries, and maybe it will never disappear which is precisely the reason that we need Latino representation on television. And not the typical negative representations. No. We need positive portrayals. Latino boys need to be able to see someone like them on television in a positive light.
In both Part 1 and Part 2, I discussed two characters but when going over the shows that I watch, there are either no Latino men or they are so racially ambiguous that I don’t even know if they are Latino. So, I leave you with Rogelio. I hope to find more positive portrayals of Latino men soon. And when I do, I’ll write an article about them.
This is the thirteenth article of the column titled “Living in White America.” Every month there will be new articles discussing how minorities live in America. This column will have articles dealing with anything and everything that concerns the under-represented groups of White America. This could include political and social talks. Some articles may discuss cultures of different groups and interviews with a variety of people including those of the racial majority. Discrimination against everybody but the racial majority has gone on long enough and now it’s time people get a look into the worlds of those they dislike so much.