Latinx representation in the popular imagination has infuriated and befuddled the Latinx community for decades. These misrepresentations and stereotypes soon became as American as apple pie. But these cardboard cutouts and examples of lazy storytelling could never embody the rich traditions and histories of Latinx peoples. Not seeing real Latinxs on TV and film reels as kids inspired the authors to dive deep into the world of mainstream television and film to uncover examples of representation, good and bad. The result: a riveting ride through televisual and celluloid reels that make up mainstream culture.
As pop culture experts Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher González show, the way Latinx peoples have appeared and are still represented in mainstream TV and film narratives is as frustrating as it is illuminating. Stereotypes such as drug lords, petty criminals, buffoons, and sexed-up lovers have filled both small and silver screens—and the minds of the public. Aldama and González blaze new paths through Latinx cultural phenomena that disrupt stereotypes, breathing complexity into real Latinx subjectivities and experiences. In this grand sleuthing sweep of Latinx representation in mainstream TV and film that continues to shape the imagination of U.S. society, these two Latinx pop culture authorities call us all to scholarly action.