THR 300 California State University Latino Americans in Film Industry Research


I would like you to consider the history of the Latino/a American experience that we have looked over for this module. You all have your own POV on this topic living in so cal. and I would like you to research and find out more of how Latino/a Americans have been, and are represented in our Arts and entertainment. The history of certain stereotypes and character tropes that were commonly seen, used and always reinforced in TV and film from the 50’s through the early 2000’s in TV and film. This can be topics of:1. The Issue of “Hyper Masculine Male” Or “Criminal”and it’s affects on modern Cinema 2. Insufficient roles for Latino/a’s in Cinema, T.V. and Theatre 3. Pay gap for Latino/a actors compared to white actors, 4. How many of the common stereotypes that we discussed are still seen and expressed in film and TV. today. 5. Highlighting an Individual Artist and their impact on pop culture and elevating Latino/a culture in some way: – Director(s) – Actor(s) – Playwright(s)/Screenwriter(s) – Director/Producer – Any article or video you feel are relevant to our topic and this assignment that you can write a reaction to in line with this assignmentPlease culminate your research into a 2-3 page paper, double spaced and cited.You may embed 1-2 small pictures with your paper as examples of your work.

Image is
map of
with the
Spanish Expansion
Map shows North America south of present day Canada. The
boundaries of the Spanish empire in the 17th century are shown,
encompassing present day California, New Mexico, Arizona, the
Texas & Louisiana coast and Florida in addition to Mexico.
American Expansionism
Map shows westward expansion of U.S.
Territory between 1783 and 1853.
The Spanish Colonization
began the genocide of the indigenous
Californian peoples, decimating their numbers
through epidemics of various diseases for
which the indigenous peoples had no natural
immunity, such as measles and diphtheria.
California under Mexican
Map showing Alta California in 1838 when it
was a sparsely populated Mexican province.
In 1821, the Mexican War of
Independence gave Mexico (including
California) independence from Spain. For the
next 25 years, Alta California remained as a
remote, sparsely populated, northwestern
administrative district of the newly
independent country of Mexico.
From the 1820s, trappers and settlers from
the United States and the future Canada
arrived in Northern California.
The Mexican–American
War also known in the United States
as the Mexican War and in Mexico as
the American intervention in Mexico,
was an armed conflict between
the United States of
America and Mexico from 1846 to
• In 1845, newly elected U.S.
President James K. Polk sent troops
to the disputed area and a diplomatic
mission to Mexico. After Mexican
forces attacked American forces, Polk
cited this in his request
that Congress declare war.
• The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo, forced onto the remnant
Mexican government, ended the war
and enforced the Mexican Cession of
the northern territories.
• Mexico acknowledged the loss of
what became the State of Texas and
accepted the Rio Grande as its
northern border with the U.S.
The Mexican Cession
Mexico had to
give up a great
deal of land at the
conclusion of the
This territory
included all of the
present-day states
of California,
Nevada, and Utah
and also parts of
Arizona, Colorado,
New Mexico, Utah,
and Wyoming.
American Views
of Mexico
• Manifest Destiny
• The Black Legend
• Opposition to the War &
the “All Mexico” lobby
• anti-Slavery
• anti-Mexican
• “an Indian race”
• “mongrel”
• They will not remain
“idle spectators”
Pro-War Pamphlet, 1847
Against the “All Mexico” Lobby
“I know sir we have never dreamt of
incorporating into our Union any but
the Caucasian race-the free white
race. To incorporate Mexico would be
the very first instance of the kind of
incorporating an Indian race . . . I
protest against such a union as that!
Ours, sir, is the Government of the
White race. The greatest misfortunes
of Spanish America are to be traced
to the fatal error of placing these
colored races on equality with the
white race.”
-Senator -John C. Calhoun
Economic Results of Continued Segregation
– The economic differences between Mexican Americans and White
Americans in 1960.
– The per capita income of Mexican Americans was $968, for White
Americans $2047.
– The percent of Mexican Americans who lived in “deteriorated
housing” was 29.7%, for White Americans it was 7.5%.
– The median family size was 4.77 for Mexican Americans and 3.39
for White Americans.
– The median grade completed in school for Mexican Americans was
8.1, for Mexican Americans in Texas it was 4.8. For White Americans
the median grade completed in school was 12.
Source: Leo Grebler, The Mexican American People, as quoted in Acuna pg. 287.
Latino is a term often used in the United States to refer to people with
cultural ties to Latin America, in contrast to Hispanic which is a demonym
that includes Spaniards and other speakers of the Spanish language.
“Latino” as a category used in the United States may be understood as a
shorthand for the Spanish word latinoamericano or
the Portuguese phrase latino americano, thus excluding speakers of
Spanish or Portuguese from Europe.
Both Hispanic and Latino are generally used to denote people living in the
United States, so much so that “Outside the United States, we don’t speak
of Latinos; we speak of Mexicans, Colombians, Peruvians, and so forth. In
Latin America, the term latino is restricted to the Latin Americandescended population of the United States.
The United States Census uses the ethnonym Hispanic or Latino to refer
to “a person of Dominican, Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or
Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race”.
Chicano or Chicana is a chosen
identity of some Mexican Americans in the
United States. The term Chicano is sometimes
used interchangeably with Mexican-American.
Both names are chosen identities within the
Mexican-American community in the United
States; however, these terms have a wide
range of meanings in various parts of
the Southwest. The term became widely used
during the Chicano Movement by Mexican
Americans to express pride in a shared
cultural, ethnic and community identity.
The term Chicano had negative connotations
before the Chicano Movement, and still is
viewed negatively and archaic by more
conservative members of this community.
Over time, it has gained some acceptance as
an identity of pride within the MexicanAmerican community in the United States.
The Zoot Suit
Decked out in wide brim hats,
baggy pants, high boots and
long-tailed coats, these “zootsuiters” called each other “mad
cats.” They were “Terrific as the
Pacific” and “Frantic as the
Atlantic.” Crossing cultural lines
and pushing the boundaries of
race and class, they were trying
to define for themselves what it
meant to be an American in
1942 Los Angeles. Even though
there was no evidence to
connect “zoot-suiters” to crime,
the kids’ posturing and selfassurance made Anglos nervous.
The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of riots
that erupted in Los Angeles, California
during World War II, between sailors and
soldiers stationed in the city and
Hispanic youths, who were recognizable
by the zoot suits they favored.
While Mexican Americans were
mostly beaten, African American
and Filipino American youths were
also targeted.
The riots began in Los Angeles,
amidst a period of rising racial
tensions between American
servicemen stationed in
southern California and the Los
Angeles’ Chicano community.
Many of the tensions between the
Chicano community and the sailors
existed because the servicemen
walked through Chicano
neighborhoods on the way back to
their barracks after nights of
The discrimination against the
Chicano minority community was
compounded by robberies and
fights during these drunken
In July 1942, a group of Hispanic youths
fought back against the police who
attempted to break up a street corner
gambling game.
In October 1942, over 600 Chicano youth were arrested, and
dozens charged, in the killing of Jose Diaz in a supposed
gang brawl at the Sleepy Lagoon reservoir.
Jose Diaz
Henry Leyvas arrested and convicted
in a police round-up for the murder of Jose Diaz.
Later, the courts would reverse his conviction.
The following year, clashes
This led to a court trial whose
between white servicemen and
convictions were later
overturned. During the case, Hispanic youths increased. In May
sensationalist press accounts 1943, sailors claimed that “zoot
(yellow journalism) inflamed suiters” stabbed a sailor, and they
hostility towards young
retaliated by beating young
Hispanics leaving a local dance.
On May 31, 1943, a group of white sailors on
leave clashed with a group of young
Hispanics in the downtown area. One sailor,
Joe Dacy Coleman, was badly injured. In
response, 50 white sailors gathered and
headed out to downtown and East Los
Angeles, which was the center of the
Hispanic community.
The sailors attacked young people,
especially targeting males in “zoot
suits.” In many instances, the police
intervened by arresting Hispanic
youths for disturbing the peace. The
police left the sailors to the military
justice system.
The violence escalated over the
ensuing days. Thousands of
servicemen joined the attack.
Many African Americans assisted
the Chicano community by
providing vehicles and weapons
to fight back against the
Caucasian sailors.
Several hundred “pachucos” (as
the young Hispanic men were
known) and nine sailors were
arrested as a result of the fighting
that occurred over the next few
The local press commended the
attacks by the servicemen,
describing the assaults as having
a “cleansing effect” that were
ridding Los Angeles of
“miscreants” and “hoodlums.”
The violence only subsided when military
authorities intervened on June 7. They
declared that Los Angeles would be offlimits to all military personnel. Of the nine
sailors that were arrested, eight were
released with no charges and one had to pay
a small fine.
“Two pachuco zoot-suiters,
one stripped to his underwear,
lie beaten and humiliated in a
Los Angeles street.”
Carey McWilliams. “Blood on the Pavements.” In: Fool’s Paradise: A Carey McWilliams
Reader. Heyday Books, 2001.

An eyewitness to the attacks,
journalist Carey McWilliams,
described the scene as follows.
“Marching through the
streets of downtown Los
Angeles, a mob of several
thousand soldiers, sailors,
and civilians, proceeded to
beat up every zoot suiter
they could find. Pushing its
way into the important
motion picture theaters,
the mob ordered the
management to turn on the
house lights and then ran
up and down the aisles
dragging Mexicans out of
their seats. Streetcars were
halted while Mexicans, and
some Filipinos and
Negroes, were jerked off
their seats, pushed into the
streets and beaten with a
sadistic frenzy.”
Carey McWilliams. North From Mexico. Quoted in Richard Griswold del Castillo.
The Los Angeles “Zoot Suit Riots” Revisited: Mexican Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2
(Summer, 2000), pp. 367-391.
A week later, First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt
characterized the riots,
which the local press
had largely attributed
to criminal actions by
the Mexican American
community, as in fact
being “race riots”
rooted in long-term
discrimination against
Mexican Americans.
This led to an outraged
response by the Los
Angeles Times, which
accused Mrs. Roosevelt
of stirring up “racial
The Bracero Program meaning (“manual laborer“) was a series of laws and
diplomatic agreements, initiated on August 4, 1942, when the United States
signed the Mexican Farm Labor Agreement with Mexico. The agreement
guaranteed decent living conditions sanitation, adequate shelter and food
and a minimum wage of 30 cents an hour.
The agreement also stated that braceros would not be subject to discrimination
such as exclusion from “white” areas. This program was intended to fill the labor
shortage in agriculture. The program lasted 22 years and offered employment
contracts to 5 million braceros in 24 U.S. states—becoming the largest foreign
worker program in U.S. history.
The United States ultimately got to decide how the workers would enter the
country by way of reception centers set up in various Mexican states and at the
United States border. At these reception centers, potential braceros had to pass
a series of examinations. Lastly, at the U.S. reception centers, workers were
inspected by health departments, sprayed with DDT and then were sent to
contractors that were looking for workers.
• To address the overwhelming amount of
undocumented migrants in the United States,
the Immigration and Naturalization Service
launched Operation Wetback in June 1954, as a
way to repatriate illegal laborers back to Mexico.
• The illegal workers who came over to the states
at the initial start of the program were not the
only ones affected by this operation, there were
also massive groups of workers who felt the need
to extend their stay in the U.S. well after their
labor contracts were terminated.
• The criticisms of unions and churches made their
way to the U.S. Department of Labor, as they
lamented that the braceros were negatively
affecting the U.S. farmworkers in the 1950s. The
Department of Labor acted upon these criticisms
and began closing numerous bracero camps in
1957–1958, they also imposed new minimum
wage standards and in 1959 they demanded that
American workers recruited through the
Employment Service be entitled to the same
wages and benefits as the braceros.
Major Themes

Although progress had been made prior to the Chicano Movement, Mexicans in the
U.S. were still much poorer than white Americans, and segregation persisted in
some schools, neighborhoods and public facilities.

Many white Americans, from academics to politicians and journalists, expressed
surprise when they realized Chicanos were beginning to protest their conditions

Currents of confrontational protest and anti-assimilation existed throughout the
20th century in Mexican communities, but they rose to predominance during the
Chicano Movement.

The Chicano Movement emerged from a diverse array of political issues that were
sometimes contradictory.

Many Chicano Movement leaders had prior experience advocating for change in the
late 1950s and early 1960s.

The Black Civil Rights Movement (1955-1974) and opposition to the War in Vietnam(
1961-1975) were an important context for the rise of the Chicano Movement.
United Farm Workers
From the left clockwise: Cesar Chavez on the cover of Time Magazine in 1969, Dolores
Huerta speaking to workers on the Delano strike lines in 1966, Cesar Chavez and
Dolores Huerta at the funeral of UFW member Juan de la Cruz killed during the second
grape strike in 1973.
Delano Grape Strike
On left: Delano striker pleading with other farm workers to join the strike. Top right: a picket line in Delano,
in the foreground are workers who were not yet on strike, the picketers carry signs saying “Huelga” which
means strike. Bottom right: a picket line in Delano with many Filipino strikers.
The Brown
Berets and
met in the
UFW and Public Support
From upper left clockwise: Grape Boycott and UFW support actions in Montreal, Canada;
Honolulu, Rhode Island, Boston, Milwaukee and Seattle all between 1967 and 1970.
UFW and La Causa
From Upper Right Clockwise: Fence painted by UFW supporters in Delano, CA ~1967; Supporters of the
UFW in Wautoma, Wisconsin, 1968 who later organized other Chicano Movement activities in
Milwaukee; advertisement in the Silverton-Appeal Tribune Mt. Angel News 9/11/80 for the Colegio
Cesar Chavez located in Mt. Angel, Oregon from 1973-1983.
Education and the Movement
From Top Left Clockwise: Chicano Student High School Blowouts Los Angeles-1968; article from the Los
Angeles Times about the 1968 Chicano Blowouts; Crystal City, TX High School Blowout, 1969; Students
Protest Police Presence at Los Angeles High School 1970; Sal Castro, 1970.
Higher Education and the Movement
From Upper Left Clockwise: Chicana students
at Colorado State University in Pueblo,
Colorado protest in 1970s; Francisco Martinez a
member of the university group United
Mexican American Students (UMAS) speaking
to high school students in 1968; Newspaper
article from Seattle discussing the decision of a
University of Washington chapter of UMAS to
become MEChA; A Chicano Studies class
taught by Raul Ruiz in 1983, Ruiz had been a
key Chicano Movement activist.
Chicano Youth Liberation Conference
From Top Left Clockwise: Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez speaking in Denver in early 1970s; March to the Capitol
building that took place at the end of the Chicano Youth Liberation Conference; Cover of the 1972 mass
market edition of the epic poem “Yo Soy Joaquin”; the poet Alurista circa 1970.
The Death of Ruben Salazar
On upper left: Photo outside the
Silver Dollar Bar just prior to
Salazar’s death; On upper right:
Ruben Salazar; On bottom left:
An Chicano Anti- War March in
Seattle in 1971, note the call to
“Remember Reuben Salazar” on
the left of the banner. Despite
the spelling the intent was to
memorialize Salazar, a sentiment
that was widespread amongst
Many Branches: Defining the Chicano Movement
From Left Clockwise: an example of Chicano Movement art, etching by Esther Hernandez entitled
“Liberty”; Boy protesting the imprisonment of members of the New Mexico organization La Alianza
Federal de Mercedes; members of La Raza Unida Party supporting their candidate for the governor of
Texas Ramsey Muniz; members of Catolicos por La Raza in 1969.
El Teatro Campesino
“Farmworkers’ theater”), is
a theatrical troupe founded in 1965 as
the cultural arm of the United Farm
Workers with the “full support of Cesar
Chavez.” The original actors were all
farmworkers, and El Teatro Campesino
enacted events inspired by the lives of
their audience.
Early performances were on flat bed
trucks in the middle of the fields
in Delano, California, and the theater is
now located in San Juan Bautista,

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