Minority groups and their portrayal in the media
Josh Falcone – General Assignment Reporter
The Southern Connecticut State University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists held a “Journalism on the Fringe” event in the student center. The event was created in part to discuss how some minority group’s feelings on how the media portrays them.
Members of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) made up the panel last Thursday. OLAS President Chanise Ortega said that she had noticed a recent media article dealing with a Latino stereotype.
“They pointed out that Latinos are binge drinkers and it was like, why are Latinos considered binge drinkers, when every culture likes to drink Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday,” Ortega said.
It is a part of the culture to have a drink, she added
“So I think Latinos or Hispanics, we do it as a cultural thing,” Ortega said, “but from what I’ve experienced, because I grew up around it, we don’t abuse it. So for them to classify us as binge drinkers, it’s like, what?”
The issue of stereotypes for Latinos being portrayed in the media does not stop at alcohol consumption, they also like to perpetrate another popular stereotype, Ortega said.
“There is things out there that Latina’s are mostly getting pregnant,” Ortega said. “And they try and portray us as the natural mothers we are, but who doesn’t have motherly instincts as a woman?”
According to OLAS member Juliemar Ortiz, another issue that the media has misconstrued is the culture of language among Latinos themselves and other minorities. Ortiz said that she still remembered a moment from her youth when a security guard from her local high school was let go after a school guest overheard him teasing a student by calling him a “f-ing Puerto Rican,” and the media got wind of it and wrote a story damning the security guard as a racist.
“When I got to that high school, I understood how the media was wrong,” Ortiz said. “Because being in that school, I’m not saying what he said was okay, but that is just the culture of how people talk in the inner-city and the community I lived in.”
Ortiz said she believes if the media had interviewed those that had actually known the security guard, they would have gotten a clearer picture.
“I think if they would have gotten the student’s perspectives, I bet you there were a lot of students who thought it was okay for him to say that because that’s how people talk,” she said. “I think the media could have done a better job getting the students and other faculty perspectives rather than that lady who came from the outside in.”
In addition to the discussion on what the media misrepresents in regards to Latinos, the event also had a lively dialogue that included all those in attendance, on the state of race issues in the United States currently.
Megan Lawrence when the question of does a someone have to be of a certain ethnicity to report, said she did not believe that was the case at all.
“You don’t have to be from a certain community or of a certain race to report on issues,” Lawrence said. “I think that is kind of closed minded, especially in the world nowadays, where everybody is around everybody. Like there is no White community, there is no Black community, there is no Hispanic community. I think we’re around so many people.”