5 Ethnic Labels Hispanic: In the U.S., ‘Hispanic’ – a government sanctioned term – refers to people whose ancestry is from one or more Spanish-speaking countries. Latino: ‘Latino,’ predominantly a U.S. grassroots term, embraces resistant politics, pan-ethnic awareness (more than Spanish- speaking origins), and recognizes the heterogeneity of the people it identifies.
6 Problem w/ “Hispanic” Tends to Ignore Diversity –Race –Class –Linguistic –Gender Tends to Ignore Historical Specificity –Chicanos/as vs Puerto Ricans –Native Born vs Recently Arrived
7 Obler’s Big Point “ … the term homogenizes class experiences and neglects many different linguistic racial and ethnic groups within the different nationalities themselves, various indigenous populations, the descendants of enslaved Africans, waves of immigrant populations from every country in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.”homogenizes – Susanne Obler
8 What’s in a name? “Like other ethnic labels currently used to identify minority groups in this country, the term Hispanic raises the question of how people are defined and classified in this society and in turn how they identify themselves in the United States. It points to the gap between the self-identification of people of Latin American descent and their definition through a label created and used by others.” – Susanne Obler
9 “Latinismo” What about pan-ethnic commonalities? What about political issues like resistance? What about self-definition? “ … the reality and significance of ethnicity in structuring minority groups' access to better housing, to improved socioeconomic and educational resources, and to political power has also fostered recognition of a much-needed pan- ethnic unity…” – Susanne Obler
10 The Big Point “The Latino-conscious person sees himself as a Latino/a sometimes and as Puerto Rican, Mexican American, Cuban and the like at other times." – Felix Padilla Benicio Del Toro Edward James OlmosRaquel Welch
11 Specific Case of Chicanos and Puerto Ricans “Highlighting the significance of recognizing the historical presence of Puerto Ricans and Chicanos in U.S. society, the authors of one report explain, ‘Hispanic resistance to assimilation is fueled by a consciousness of the wrongs of recent history... Other migrants have never had to swallow the memory of territorial loss of their homeland to the United States to become committed United States citizens.’" – Susanne Obler
12 Review: What is a Stereotype? Lesson 15: Part 2
13 Working Definition of Stereotype Social Scientific Theory –Sociological (socio-political formation) –Psychological –(cognitive & behavioral processes) Cultural Theory –Questions of Representation & Discourse –Questions of Narration and Myth
14 Value-Neutral Process Cognitive Mechanism Creates Categories to Manage Data “…the attempt to see all things freshly and in detail, rather than as types and generalities, is exhausting, and among busy affairs practically out of the question.” – Walter LippmannWalter Lippmann
15 The Big Point We All Stereotype We Have to Stereotype “It is important to accumulate experiences and be able to distinguish a door from a window, a male from a female, a snake from a twig.” – Charles Ramírez Berg
16 Value-Laden Process Ethnocentrism: “View of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled or rated with reference to it.” –We are superior –They are inferior Prejudice: “Judging Others as innately inferior based on ethnocentrically determined difference.” –They cannot change
17 Graphing the Process Category Making + Ethnocentrism + Prejudice = Stereotyping “A stereotype is the result of this process and can be defined as a negative generalization used by an in-group (Us) about an out-group (Them).” – Charles Ramírez Berg Note: Review Lesson 3 for the 11 Theses about Stereotypes
18 Highlights of the 11 Theses 1.Applied with Rigid Logic –Reductive Logic (one size fits all) –“All or Nothing” (all fit the one size) –Fixed (nothing can be done about it) 2.Basis in Fact –“Kernel of Truth” –Explains Why Masses Agree on Stereotype
19 Highlights of the 11 Theses Simplified Generalizations that Assume Out-Group Homogeneity 3. Simplified Generalizations that Assume Out-Group Homogeneity –Simplifies Out-Group Experience –Select Only Traits that Signifies Difference –Traits Applied to All to Effect Homogeneity 4. Too General to be Predictive –Unfair (reductive & simplified) Generalization –Poor Predictor of Out-Group Individuals
20 Highlights of the 11 Theses Uncontexualized & aHistorical 5. Uncontexualized & aHistorical –Omit Out-Group’s History Social Political Economic Repetition Normalizes Stereotypes 6. Repetition Normalizes Stereotypes –Is Hollywood “only” fiction? Representation Narration –Hollywood Repeats Images / –Vicious Cycle
21 Highlights of the 11 Theses Stereotypes are Believed 7. Stereotypes are Believed –Note Just Frames of Mind / Beliefs –Attitude (which comes first) Fixed Belief Stereotypes Go Both Ways 8. Stereotypes Go Both Ways –In-Group Stereotypes –Out-Group Stereotypes
22 Highlights of the 11 Theses Stereotypes are Ideological 9. Stereotypes are Ideological – – Indicate a Power Relationship – Vestige of Colonialism The In-Group Stereotypes Itself 10. The In-Group Stereotypes Itself –Dominant Finds Unacceptable in Ranks –Youth & Beauty are In
23 Highlights of the 11 Theses 11. The Antidote is Knowledge “‘If’, as Chicano historian Michael R. Ornelas has said, ‘stereotypes fill the void created by ignorance, then more information about the Other makes the stereotype's simplified generalities less and less applicable’. In the best-case scenario, stereotyping breaks down as a useful category. ‘Experience, contact and maturity usually erase [stereotypical] images among reasonable people’, concluded Ornelas.” – Charles Ramírez Berg
24 The Big Point Whiteness “These are whites who do not posses the requisite amount of the in-group’s superior characteristics, those WASPs who, in Richard Dyer’s phrase, have failed ‘to attain whiteness and are consequencly excommunicated’.” – Charles Ramírez Berg
25 Dominant Group / Dominant Media Hollywood Cinema is Dominant Media/Privileges Dominant Ideology Dominant Ideology Is Representation of Dominant Group (“white”) as Homogenous/Monolithic Despite Diversity Hollywood Cinema is (at times) Conflicted/Self-Reflective/Artistic Struggle Over Dominant Ideology Exists
26 Semiotics Semiotics is both a theory of communication, of sign systems, and a method of analysis, i.e., how to study meanings produced by signs and sign systems. In film and media studies, semiotics is concerned with the way signs and sign systems facilitate and influence the production of meaning through various cinematic codes: from framing to lighting to acting.
27 The Sign Signifier: Recognizable Part of the Sign Signified: Mental Image After Receiving the Signifier/The Concept it Represents For example: The word or image "cat" is the signifier, and the concept of a cat is the signified. The two together constitute a sign.
29 Signified/Meanings Denotative: Definitional, literal, obvious or commonsense meaning of a sign. Connotative: Cultural, personal, ideological associations of the sign “While we may find it useful to distinguish between the two, “…in practice such meanings cannot be neatly separated. Most semioticians argue that no sign is purely denotative - lacking connotation.” – Semiotics for BeginnersSemiotics for Beginners
30 Denotative Meanings “From a semiotic perspective, we can say that the cinematic image of el bandido is the signifier, the recognizable part of the sign. At its most basic, most ideologically innocent, denotative level, what it signifies is simply a dark-skinned male with bullet belts adorning his chest and a sombrero on his head.” – Charles Ramírez Berg
31 Connotative Meaning “But at the connotative level much more is signified. There are a host of meanings that the image has accrued over nearly a century of repeated representations, and it is here that the movie stereotype carries most of its informational – and ideological – freight.” – Charles Ramírez Berg
32 The Big Point Throughout the history of Hollywood cinema, the use of stereotypes has been engaged to tell stories and to provide the social trajectory to maintain the status quo reflective of the dominant source of control in the United States. As the Chicano/Latino community moves further from its redefinition of power, spawned by the movement in the sixties, and as the population continues to grow, Chicano/Latino self- representation has become eminent.