Rep. Castro: Mainstream Media Has Run ‘Equivalent of Negative Political Ad For Decades’ Against Latinos

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WASHINGTON — “Americans don’t know who Latinos are,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said during his remarks on Wednesday morning at the National Press Club concerning a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The report is the second installment of a deep dive into the decades-old dilemma of Latino representation in the media.

“There is a danger to having that void in narrative, that black hole, because then it gets filed by all of these media stereotypes, and then it gets twisted by unscrupulous and malevolent politicians who use it for their own political gain,” Castro said.

Castro blamed “a flat-out corporate resistance to change” for the persistent Latino exclusion over the decades. “To not understand this community is dangerous, not only to Latinos but to non-Latinos,” said Castro, citing the Wal-Mart massacre in El Paso in 2019, in which an anti-immigrant gunman killed 22 people.

GOP fear-mongering against Latino migrants went mainstream during the Trump presidency, and now migrants generally are frowned upon by policymakers. Republicans answer questions about immigrant relief proposals with diatribes of border falsehoods.

Democrats mostly avoid discussing past promises of immigrant relief while border enforcement dominates the political discussion, practically criminalizing Latinos.

According to the GAO report, only three percent of senior and executive management at media companies is Latino.

The GAO recommends increased data sharing between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about discrimination charges against cable and satellite broadcasters, with the EEOC enforcing mandatory data collection on local unions.

“It’s a plea to stop characterizing all Latinos as criminals and prostitutes and convicts and so forth,” Castro said when asked by moderator Michele Salcedo if the report is the first step toward government control and censorship. “I’m not trying to tell anybody exactly how many people to hire, exactly how many stories to run. I’m not saying you’re never gonna see another Mexican American drug dealer on television or on screen, but … an entire industry runs what is the equivalent of a negative political ad for decades.“


Featured image: Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-TX (Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Pablo Manríquez covers Congress for MANO and is the former Capitol Hill correspondent for Latino Rebels. In his free time, Pablo oil paints with his dog Queen Maybel.

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