When they are not drug traffickers or domestic workers, they are silent and almost non-existent: Latin Americans, who represent more than 18% of the population of the United States, are considerably underrepresented and often caricature in films, denounces a study that is Monday August 26 published.
Under the title Latinos in the Movies , this research examined the hundred films that each year, from 2007 to 2018, generated the most revenue on the American market. However, in these 1,200 most popular films, only 4.5% of the roles that pronounced at least one word were in the hands of Latin American actors, notes the study conducted by the think tank Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the University of Southern California (USC) ).
3% of these films (35 in total) contained a leading comedian of Latin American descent, but for women, three actresses had almost all these roles: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba. And in the specific case of Cameron Diaz, none of his five roles referred to his Latin American descent. Whether the main roles or just one word of text, the Latino community is unfortunately absent from the stories told by regular fiction films, comment the study authors.
The statistics speak for themselves: 47% of the 1200 films considered are completely devoid of Latin American characters. And if they are lucky enough to appear on the screen, Latin American comedians are often limited to stereotypes: criminals (24% of cases, mainly drug traffickers or gang members), unskilled jobs (domestic staff) … or police officers.
Only 4% of the directors are of Latin origin (71% of them are foreign) and 3% of the producers
On the other side of the camera, the situation is not more pleasant. Only 4% of the directors are of Latin origin (71% of them with foreign nationality) and 3% of producers. There is only one director on the sample selected by the study.
To address this under-representation, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative urges the film industry to strengthen the presence of Latin American actors in the small-role auditions. A film has an average of 40 characters, most of which are not directly related to the plot.
These studies consider these roles could be played by actors of different ethnicities , which would contribute to creating a path through which actors can gain experience and access to better opportunities throughout their careers.