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9 Things TV And Movies Actually Have To Understand About Latinos In 2016

It's about time, guys.

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1. Expand your ideas of what your characters' backgrounds could be...

Why not have a kickass space pilot who happens to be Latinx, you know? It turns out that space pilot is pretty good at bringing home awards.
beneffleck.tumblr.com / Via NBC

Why not have a kickass space pilot who happens to be Latinx, you know? It turns out that space pilot is pretty good at bringing home awards.

...and give us a wider variety of roles!

Warner Bros. Pictures

That means

1) expanding the KIND of parts that call for Latinx actors (because, according to a 2014 Columbia University Study, "17.7% of Latino film characters and 24.2% of TV characters were linked to crime,” a number which has quadrupled since 1994), AND

2) featuring more Latinx actors in roles that don't necessarily require a specific ethnicity.

2. Understand that we are not interchangeable.

buzzfeed.com / Via NBC

You'd think that's pretty obvious, but we live in a time where even big awards shows are still confusing one Latina for another.

3. Cast a variety of Latinx to display how diverse we truly are.

Telemundo

America and Eva's joke about the mix-up was pretty damn funny, but it also unintentionally highlighted that every woman mentioned in their bit is similarly lightly tanned, with wavy hair. So, where are the black, indigenous, and Asian Latinx performers? Where are their stories and spotlights? We wanna see!

4. Know and show that a fully-formed, multi-dimensional Latinx character is not JUST Latinx.

NBC

No one wakes up each morning going through their multiple identities and picking one to be that day. Offer us characters who are Latinx, and also so much more.*

*Like an awkward cop who hasn't outgrown punk. Sir.

5. Don't. Pander.

Paramount Pictures

This is a lesson learned from Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which was essentially "the franchise audiences across demos liked, except for Latinxs." Don't tell us what's for us. Everything is for u$.

6. Good Lord, get the accents right.

Netflix

If you're not able to cast, say, a Colombian to play a Colombian, at least do the work of consulting with a dialect or accent coach. You wouldn’t cast someone from New York to play a British person and expect no one to notice that they didn’t change their accent accordingly!

7. Give us weirdos.

NBC

We've seen a whole lot of stories featuring "Spicy Latinas." According to a 2014 study from USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, Latinas were the group most likely to be shown partially dressed or nude on the big screen. But what about those of us who are, say, awkward or nerdy or creepy or just trying figure this all out? MORE WEIRDOS, PLEASE.

8. Put us front and center.

There are already exciting new shows about Latinxs and Latinx families to look forward to on TV: Jennifer Lopez stars in Shades of Blue, America Ferrera in Superstore, Eva Longoria in Telenovela, and Netflix is set to give us a Cuban-American remake of Norman Lear's One Day at a Time. Plus, we have plenty more Jane the Virgin, Brooklyn-99, Rosewood, and OITNB to check out. YOU'RE NEXT, BIG SCREEN.

And finally:

9. HIRE. LATINX. WRITERS.

Netflix

We have stories to tell, and we have built-in bullshit detectors that help when a writer's room begins to, say, dabble in stereotypes. According the aforementioned study from Columbia University, from 2010 to 2013, Latinos made up a scant 6% of all writers, despite being approximately 17% of the U.S. population -- and growing.

Come on, 2016. We got this.

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