LA Weekly: Latinos Get a Measly 1 in 25 Speaking Roles in Top Films

Jill Stewart of the LA Weekly writes on FB about this article: “There’s just no excuse for this. Hollywood studio heads, and TV executive producers in Los Angeles are as knuckle-dragging and backwards as the old hillbilly stereotype. But they live a lot nicer. For shame.”

Hollywood gives people what they want. The biggest movie going demographic is Hispanic teens but they show no interest in supporting Hispanic themes or characters. Their interests lie elsewhere. If there was a big hunger in the huge Hispanic audience for Hispanic characters in movies, Hispanics could create such movies, but there is no evident hunger in the Hispanic movie-going audience for Hispanic stories. Look at the movies Hispanics choose to patronize. They vote with their dollars.

The more people get to know Mexicans, the less interest they have in general in Latinos. Fair or not. In the 1980s, Central America was a big concern in the USA, but with the flood of illegal immigration, as soon as regular Americans hear a Mexican accent, they tune out. I’m not saying this is a good thing, I’m just saying that is what I see.

You can say many things about blacks, but boring is not one of them.

There are very few Latino lawyers and doctors and thought leaders. As Steve Sailer writes, there’s a giant Latino talent shortage.

Gregory Rodriguez wrote in the L.A. Times: “In Los Angeles, home to more Mexicans than any other city in the U.S., there is not one ethnic Mexican hospital, college, cemetery, or broad-based charity.” [“Mexican Americans Are Building No Walls,” February 29, 2004]

Jill: “Stereotypes live, too: Latinas were the most likely to be shown nude or in sexy attire.”

If you want stereotypes, look at Spanish-language TV which traffics far more in Latino stereotypes than regular Hollywood does. It’s far sexier material as well. Look at Beverly Hills Chihuaha, Mexican-Americans found it hilarious.

Jill: “What about the (94% male) execs in Hollywood insisting the world is mostly white — while call themselves the most open-minded and giving liberals? The Valley is among the most diverse places in the world. Where are my Indian, Thai and Latino neighbors, who are consistently excised from these executives’ dull world? They’re over on YouTube.”

I interviewed over 100 movie/TV producers for my book and they told me that with the exception of Will Smith and Denzel Washington, overseas audiences don’t generally want to see movies with blacks in lead roles.

Magazine covers of general interest magazines don’t put latinos, blacks, Thais, Indians on the cover and news magazines don’t give them much interest either. Why not? Because these topics don’t garner a wide audience, generally speaking, when compared to focusing on star whites like Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, etc.

The LA Weekly article that spurred my blog post has so far failed to gain a single comment. Most people don’t care.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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