Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A close look at the "Latinos Are" graphic (yes, I have a problem with it)

Alright, we are so powerful! There are a lot of us, we have a lot of babies, and we buy a lot of stuff... plus obviously we all eat Jalepenos because the picture says so...

I HIGHLY implore you to think about the picture for a second... let's categorize each stat and see where it leads us...
  • The top 3 pics are different ways of quantifying our number in the U.S. How much we take up in space, how we compare with the rest of our neighbors, and how many of us are children and adults. I call this category the "Dead Weight" Category
  • The first two on the bottom row are uber simplistic representations of our economic capital and capacity to reproduce. I call this "What the Mainstream Wants Us For" 
  • The sixth pic is a bit tricky. The language makes sense of "Latinos in the U.S." versues "U.S Latinos." So, providing nationality is fair game, but this brings up questions of purpose of the stat, citizenship, nationalism, etc. I call this one "Huh?"
  • The very last pic is a logo from Latino Branding Pwer, the organization that made this graphic. Their role, as stated in their site, "... delivers culturally relevant insights about Hispanic marketing and Latino culture" Unfortunately, this graphic doesn't show culture at all, but numbers and statistics... If you want better use of numbers, check out the Pew Hispanic Center. Anyways, Culture is influences, values, worldview, perspective, etc that manifest in cultural products (a simple way of putting it)... This graphic is not culture. A Jalepeno is not culture. I call this category "A Commercial."
My issue with this pic is the SIMPLE indicators of how strong we are. We become satisfied that buying our starbucks and having lots of cousins means we are good Americans, that we are contributing... this is too weak of a case to make. The big theme along all of these categories is showing Latino power by producing bodies and spending money, making us look like commodities. These are bare minimum requirements in a capitalist democracy. And, it makes our worth equitable only through assimilating to the mainstream culture. Fact is, we are not them, they are not us... that doesn't mean we cannot contribute, but we must contribute in our own way, that my friends, is what makes us a true member of a democratic society.This graphic leaves out our true stengths, our unique roles, and our potential in ways beyond assimilation.

1 comment:

Ana said...

I really liked your analysis. Unfortunately, we see this all the time from personalities and agencies that "advocate" for the Latino community. The infographic exemplifies their talking points. It is not my intention to insult or belittle the work that they do, as their work, I am sure, brings more progress than having no advocates at all. I agree with you that the graphic leaves out a lot, but perhaps the intended audience doesn't care about what was left out. or, we are underestimating the intended audience. And is an infographic really going to be able to capture what was left out? Even Latinos can't agree on a definition of the word Latino, because there is no one definition that can encompass such diversity that doesn't leave something out. But I diverge. So what was left out? What should the next thing to "Latinos in the US are..." I hope you post more on this. :)