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Hollywood Has a Problem with Latinos

By Christian Cintron, Hollywood Staff

At the 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Rita Moreno added The Lifetime Achievement Award to her heavily populated display. That same night, Sofia Vergara also won an award as part of the Modern Family ensemble. In the 50 years since Moreno's iconic role in West Side Story, things haven't changed much for Latinos in Hollywood. Women have swapped bare feet and cascading skirts for high heels and mini skirts. Men have gone from playing fieldhands and gang members to... also playing dishwashers. White actors still act in brownface portraying Latinos as loud and ignorant. When are things going to change?

Latinos are 17 percent of the U.S. population and the largest minority group. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. And yet, Latinos are not widely represented in American media. The Spanish speaking populace has somehow become synonymous with ignorance on TV. When Latinos are represented they are often portrayed as violent, quick-tempered, and hypersexual. Case in point: Vergara's character in Modern Family is prone to outbursts and is often half-naked, and the lion's share of her jokes is about her trouble with English.