The Growing Importance of Diverse Representations of Hispanics

By: Gabriela Sosa, Social Media Department, @itsgabywith1b

“You don’t look Hispanic!” is a seemingly harmless statement that many individuals who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino may have encountered or continue to encounter in everyday life. Maybe that’s because the demographic landscape of the United States is ever evolving: by 2050 it is projected that Hispanics/Latinos will make up 30 percent of the population. It should come as no surprise then that as diversity in the United States grows, diversity within the Hispanic and Latino population also continues to grow—whether it is in regards to language, religion, race or nationality. Essentially, the Hispanic and Latino populations embody the idea of diversity within diversity.

Despite this, Hispanics still push back against misrepresentation of Hispanics and Latinos in the media. Prominent Afro-Latino actors Christina Milian, Gina Torres and Tatyana Ali, among several others, were featured in a short video discussing their own issues as they navigate a Hollywood rife with ideas and notions of what being Hispanic and Latino is all about. It is important to do away with preconceived notions of what it means to look and be Hispanic and Latino; ultimately, there is no single way to be either.

Understanding the richness in diversity amongst Hispanic and Latinos and rejecting a mainstream idea of a Hispanic monolith is incredibly vital in the connected world. Diverse representation of an equally diverse Hispanic and Latino population is key to both breaking down potentially harmful stereotypes and misconceptions while also demonstrating an understanding that Hispanics and Latinos are not a one-size-fits-all audience.