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Latino Cultural Perceptions

Latino Cultural Perceptions

Cultural Identity

Latinos are a category of persons that have Latin-American descent. The values of the Latino culture include unifying characteristics. Latinos, unlike the American culture, are collectivist. They focus their energy on the well-being of the family as opposed to the opportunities an individual is presented with. The traditional patriarchal structure gives the oldest male or the father the highest authority, while women are expected to submit to the males.

Language among Latinos has more to do with cultural meaning and less with competency. For Latinos, the Spanish language is a significant marker of identity at the politics, society, and individual levels. Consequently, TV stations continue to have the Spanish language in their programs for people who are fluent in English and watch TV in English.

When communicating with Latinos, it is not about communicating in Spanish or not; instead, it is about carefully integrating both languages to communicate in the most effective way with Latino consumers (Tracy, 2004). Research shows that although Latinos consume every type of media, they are especially attracted to radio as well as television. These have been proven to be effective channels that advertisers can use to target Latinos (Sonderup, 2010). Because Latinos have collectivist values as well as a tendency to look at others for decision-making guidance and opinions, reaching Latinos can be effectively executed through social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. These facilitate the collective sharing of communication and information (Korzenny & Vann, 2009)

Symbolic Representations In The U.S. Media And Academic Research Findings

In his 1984 song No Chucanos on TV, Lalo Guerrero said, “There are Chicanos in real life/ Doctors, lawyers, husbands, wives/ But all they show us on TV/ are illegal aliens as they flee”, (Humes, 2011). Several psychologists at the end of the 20th century shared this observation, and so too a number of media specialists and activists. They observed that many Latino protagonists on screen had been designated lower jobs, mostly servants, gardeners, and nannies. Latinos have also designated characters that were villains or secondary characters whose role in the plot was irrelevant. The observers concluded that there was a severe under-representation of Latino characters, and when they were, they were often portrayed negatively and superficially. Shoemaker and Reese (2013) point out that the 21st century is marked by changes in the Latinos’ social reality as the media portrays it. Although the reality shown on the media screen is yet to match that in the demographics, most Latino-themed American shows offer a number of positive secondary and lead characters to Latinos.

The past decades have seen an evolution in the qualitative and quantitative research methods in media and psychology studies. Three approaches can be used to classify these studies: message system analyses, institutional analyses, and empirical cultivation analyses. The empirical cultivation analysis focuses on the socio-cognitive effects that continuous misrepresentation or under-representation of ethnic minorities and proceeds to determine the impact on the viewer by the TV content on their social reality perception. Results from such studies have shown that racial reality misrepresentation leaves children from ethnic communities with a negative self-image. Children lack a constructive role model from their ethnic group, which creates an impression of the culture that is false, contributing to the reality of discrimination (Arias & Hellmueller, 2016). On the other hand, media institutional analysis investigates how messages relayed on TV are produced and later distributed. Research from this type of approach shows that there is an underrepresentation of Latinos in the media, which calls for a higher presence of ethnic minorities. Lastly, the content analyses or message system analyses look at TV programs samples sourced from prime time and include headcounts as well as the systematic Latinos classification in narrative and scout-demographic categories. Findings from all these show that there has been an improvement in the media representation of Latinos, with several characters of Latino descent in a number of Latino-themed and mixed-themed shows.

The Role of Mass Media Channels In Intercultural Communication

The distinctive features of the 21st-century media have brought society to a complex and interconnected level while simultaneously challenging man’s communication’s very existence. Compared to the traditional way of communicating, the new media impacts the content and form of messages and information. It also impacts how people understand each other as they communicate and, more so, ethnic minorities and those from different cultural backgrounds. On the other hand, the new 21st-century culture in media creates a gap in continuity between innovations and traditions (Chen, 2012). Before the emergence of new media, according to Bagdasaryan (2011), societal innovations and traditions existed alongside each other. This was achieved in a synchronized dynamism; however, new media’s impact and speed resulted in the inability of traditional values to parallel the values of the new cultural values that the new media produces.

The cultural gap brought about challenges in communication and understanding between generations. These have been witnessed among people who have the same cultural background. New media also create communication gaps between different ethnic and cultural groups. Further, new media’s fragmented nature has altered traditional cultural maps, cultural themes, and cultural grammar to new patterns. These alterations have resulted in the loss of traditional cultural logic. The restructuring or worldviews of cultural patterns demands that members of a culture change their patterns of communication. These changes in patterns should occur within their respective communities. Members of a community are also expected to interact with people from diverse cultures. A new culture has been enforced by new media where uncertainty and ambiguity are reshuffled, making it reach the peak point. This cultural reshuffling has occurred in intercultural communication processes (Chen, 2012).

The Impact Of Mass Media On Intercultural Perceptions And Interactions

According to (UNESCO, 2016), one of the challenges that come with the freedom of expression advocacy is a result of the tensions when such expression is an offense to another’s culture or confrontation with their identity. This also is a frequent challenge in the way of understanding and tolerance. Respect for cultural differences while preserving a person’s right to express themselves freely will always appear as a debatable tension that needs a democratic society to debate soberly.

Regarding Latinos in media, it is common to see them portrayed as immigrants with a lot of sensationalizing, stereotypes, and negative tones. Research shows that, on average, Latinos in media are portrayed in the light of being undocumented immigrants, name immigration as a crisis, and lack significant content (Noorani, 2019). These frames created by media are important as human thinking depends a lot on metaphors and images. These metaphors and images are the building blocks for society’s mentality of the world people live in. Considering the average American is poorly informed as regards immigration issues, they tend to rely on politicians and the media, who, in turn, create metaphors by which the Americans come to understand immigration, changes in demographics, and Latinos. These metaphors can also set the content, tenor, and range of law maker’s proposed and passed public policies at all government levels. In particular, according to Noorani (2019), Americans who consume conservative media are more likely to agree with negative stereotypes and whose opinions of immigrants and Latinos are less favorable than those who consume liberal media.


Arias, S., & Hellmueller, L. (2016). Hispanics-and-Latinos and the US media: New issues for future research. Communication Research Trends35(2), 4-21.

Bagdasaryn, N. G. (2011). Intercultural communication in the context of new media. Retrieved November 20, 2011, from

Chen, G. M. (2012). The impact of new media on intercultural communication in global context.

Korzenny, F. & Vann, L. (2009, June). Tapping into their connections: The multicultural world of social media marketing. Quirk’s Marketing Research Review available at

Noorani, A. (2019).Out of Many One: Immigration Identity and the American Dream. Available at

Shoemaker, P. J., & Reese, S. D. (2013). Mediating the message in the 21st century: A media sociology perspective. Routledge.

Sonderup, L. (2010). Hispanic marketing: a critical market segment. Advertising and Marketing Review.

Tracy, K. (2004). Reaching the U.S. Hispanic audience is easier said than done. Video Age International, 24(5). Available at:

UNESCO (2016). World Press Freedom Day 2016. Available at


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Latino Cultural Perceptions

In 1,000-1,250 words, complete the following:

  1. Describe the cultural identity of a particular cultural group and how the culture’s identity is represented
    Latino Cultural Perceptions

    Latino Cultural Perceptions

    symbolically in the culture’s communication patterns, values, language, architecture, pastimes, art, relational roles, societal systems, behaviors, etc. (Comp 2.1 Interpret the meaning of symbols across cultures.).

  2. Compare and contrast symbolic representations of a particular cultural group via media channels in that culture, in the U.S. media, and academic research findings.
  3. Evaluate the role of mass media channels in intercultural communication. What impact do mass media have on intercultural perceptions and interactions?

The project must have a minimum of five scholarly sources.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

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