Antonio Banderas, The Latin Lover, & Other Latin Stereotypes

Antonio Banderas, The Latin Lover, & Other Latin Stereotypes

Let's Not Get Comfortable Being a Stereotype

Being an English major has taught me so much. Not only have I read dozens of books, written dozens of essays, but what has stuck with me the most has been the lessons taught in class. This summer, I had the opportunity to take a course, Latino/as in Children's Literature and Film, this by far has been one of the best classes I have ever taken.

Throughout this course we were required to watch children's movies, popular titles such as The Lion King, Thumbelina, The Road to El Dorado, The Emperor's New Groove, The Book of Life, and the trilogy of Spy Kids. We were also required to read theory and children's books. This class was so packed with information, class felt overwhelming sometimes. The minute I found out we were required to watch these films, I couldn't help but think what was so important about these titles. I only seen these movies as just a form of child entertainment.

First class I remember the professor acknowledging that exact question. He explained that although these movies are made for kids, they are made by adults, it isn't just a children's movie. As much as one may think it's just an innocent movie, and "don't think so much about it", that's the problem. So many of us are blinded by being entertained, we just consume the movie, and do't have time to think about what is really important. This class taught me how to deconstruct a movie like I have never thought of doing before.

Since the primary subject of this course was the way Latinos and Latina, were represented in children's film, I was shocked to the analysis of each of the characters, plots, and music. As a child, I watched these films, and even as an adult I watched these movies without even thinking about the way Latinos were portrayed. Through our analysis, we were portrayed as savages, less intelligent, stereo-typically "spicy", darker in skin color, darker hair, heavy fake accents, big mustaches, just to name a few. In Spy Kids, we have Antonio Banderas, casted as Gregorio Cortez, there are many times when he enters, guitar stricken music is in the background. Is it a coincidence? I think not, producers, directors and editors know what they are doing, and they either play with that stereotype or counteract it.

Antonio Banderas is known for being the Latin lover, and although there is a lot of stereotype around his character, the counteract of the stereotype is he is also perceived as being extremely smart. Is Machete's character a coincidence? No it's not, in Spy Kids he is known to be the best inventor for spy equipment, yet he isn't acknowledged for it. Let's think about it, if Machete wasn't dark, had an accent, with long black hair, his character would've had some acknowledgement for his accomplishments. Some characters were played by Latino actors, and some also played by Americans. It was mostly focused on Latino actors being portrayed as the less of, in retrospect with the white savior.Many of these films played too much with the stereotypes many face every day, as a class we couldn't help but ask "Is this okay?"

As an audience, we need to be careful about the way in which we watch things. How do we process the film in front of our eyes? How do children process it? Are we being conditioned to laugh at the stereotype or are we fighting the stereotype by laughing at it? There''s nothing wrong with watching films with stereotypes, it is more the concept of understanding the fact that there is layered information being broadcasted. As a viewer its our job to understand what is being shown on that screen.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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12 Things You Pronounce Weird If You're From NJ

Our accents are just as big as our egos... and our hair.

All of my life, I never thought I had a Jersey accent until I went away to school in Pennsylvania. My Pennsylvanian friends have a field day when they hear the “weird” ways I pronounce certain words. I am constantly the butt of all the jokes and have been asked way too many times to pronounce certain words for others so they can hear how “weird” I speak, but if you’re from Jersey then you know what I mean when I say these things.

NOTE: The words in parenthesis are the way we say it. Which is also the correct and best way to say them.

1. Water (wader)

Okay, so maybe I say water a little differently than others, but this is the way my family has said it for generations. This one is sort of a dead give away. When I’m on vacation and ask for “water” people will always know where I’m from.

2. Drawer (Draw)

I’ve gotten into many screaming matches with people about this. It is a "draw"! This causes many fights between me and my roommate, but I know for sure I’m not the only New Jersian who pronounces it like this.

3. Coffee (Cawfee)

I can’t even explain this without getting angry. It is most certainly not pronounced “Cahfee.” I will fight to my death that coffee should just be spelled the way it’s pronounced which adds a nice “aw” sound instead of that harsh, awkward “ah” sound.

4. Pork Roll (Correct term: Taylor Ham)

Considering most people on campus here call Taylor Ham “pork roll” I am always outnumbered, but don’t think I won’t go to war on this. It is absolutely called Taylor Ham! No, it’s not just the brand. What is a “pork roll”? I assume if you call it pork roll you’re from South Jersey or Philly and I can also guess you don’t even know what real Taylor Ham tastes like. I’m sorry I’m getting way too heated typing this…

5. Dog (Dawg)

OK, I just don’t even know any other way to say dog without adding the typical “aw” sound to it. Is there any other way? I’m pretty sure us New Jersians are not wrong about this one.

6. Talk (Tawk)

This one speaks for itself (pun intended).

7. City (Ciddy)

First of all, when I reference the “city” I am always 100% talking about New York City. Never ever am I talking about Philly. Never. Maybe us Jersians confuse the letters “T” and “D” but you can definitely distinguish my New Jersey background anytime I say “city”.

8. You (Yew)

This term most usually follows a common curse word us New Jersians say frequently. Expect this phrase when you’re driving on the parkway in the summer trying to maneuver your way through the boatloads of shore traffic.

9. Sandwich (Sub)

It pains me when I hear someone go up to a counter and ask for a hoagie. It sends shivers down my spine and makes me question my existence. It’s a sub-short for submarine sandwich-where does the term hoagie even come from?

10. All (Awl)

My roommate truly enjoys making fun of me for this one. Commonly used in the phrase “awl of a sudden”. This is great for story-telling and helps create a dramatic mood.

11. Chocolate (Chawcolate)

The only thing I can say is it sounds a lot better than saying “chakolate.”

12. Jersey (Jerzee)

Please, please, please, and I seriously mean please, do not ever, under any sort of circumstance come up to me and say “Joisey.” I think I would rather have someone call Taylor Ham a “Pork Roll” and insult my favorite pizzeria than ever say that word. I can assure you that no one, and I mean not one person who is from Jersy says “Joisey.” I do however add a nice hard Z to my pronunciation. Sometimes we call it “Dirty Jerz” too.

But no matter what I call it: Jersey, New Jersey, The Garden State or whatever other amazing nicknames there are, my favorite thing to call New Jersey is home.

Cover Image Credit: lostinsuburbiablog / WordPress

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FSU's Pi Kappa Phi Disgraces Its Name Even More In A Very Racist Instagram Post

To the (revoked) FSU Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity... We do not stand for racism or cultural appropriation.


Last November, in 2017, the Pi Kappa Phi (also known as Pi Kapp) chapter at Florida State University was shut down, in which the 150 or so members were revoked of their membership. They were shut down after the unfortunate and unnecessary death of Pi Kappa Phi pledge Andrew Coffey.

Regardless, this did not stop some of them from having a "reunion" one year later. Pi Kappa Phi, as well as Florida State University, has garnered a very large audience, all of whom are enraged by an Instagram post made by Nick Napoli.

In this specific Instagram post (now deleted), shown below, a group of 18 boys can be seen posing in traditional Mexican ponchos and sombreros.

Aside from their obvious cultural attire, Napoli also went as far as to caption his Instagram photo as, "We don't pay cover or taxes," in addition to also tagging his location as "FSU Pi Kappa Phi Reunion."

Nick Napoli and the other 17 boys in the photo, Pi Kappa Phi, and even Florida State University have been on the receiving end of a multitude of backlash. FSU students; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter at FSU; the Beta Iota Chapter of Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity; the Hispanic/Latino Student Union (HLSU); and even the general public, have all released a multitude of statements and comments in order for Florida State University to take the appropriate actions necessary.

According to the letter written by the HLSU, the actions of the former Pi Kappa Phi are prohibiting the "inclusive and safe environment for all [on campus]." Moreover, as 20% of the student body at Florida State University consists of the Hispanic population, the NAACP finds Napoli at fault for cultural appropriation.

Nick Napoli and his friend group, all of whom appear to not be a part of the Hispanic population, purposefully adopt the traditional attire and maracas for the sole purpose of this "reunion." Worse off, in conjunction with their adopted attire, the caption makes a racial dig at the minority group, otherwise insinuating that, as a whole, the Hispanic population does not pay their taxes. In the eyes of many, especially the Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity, Napoli is "perpetuat[ing] a negative image of the Latino community" and "slander[ing] immigrants" and their lives and places within the United States.

What makes matters even worse is that Napoli holds a seat on the Student Body Senate. As a member of the Student Body Senate (Fall Business Seat 5), under the Legislative branch, many argue that he should have known better than to participate in such discriminatory behavior. According to the Student Government Association website, their mission "is to provide FSU students with representation, services, and advocacy within the university structure" as well as provide "quality leadership for, and accountability to, its constituency by recognizing that strength arises from diversity, engagement, and dialogue."

With that in mind, Napoli's actions absolutely do not "provide students with representation," nor does it call upon "quality leadership" on his part. While some groups call for Florida State University to act by forcing him to give a formal and public apology or forcing him to give up his seat on the Student Body Senate, it is undoubtedly clear that these 18 boys must reap the consequences of their inappropriate actions. While these boys and their fraternity may no longer be officially recognized, many argue that the university should still act, and punish accordingly, as these boys are still FSU students, endangering the safe environment of the Hispanic community.

Currently, Nick Napoli's Instagram has been deactivated and none of the 18 boys have made any statements in their defense. This second strike against this particular fraternity at Florida State University, following the death of a pledge and approximately five-month suspension of all Greek Life within the last year, dredges up the questions of what their actual purpose is and the benefits they pose. As of this instant, many students, the different organizations, and the general public are still waiting for Florida State University to make an official statement and take the appropriate action.

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