Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Brown is the New Green|
Director: Jennifer Craig Kobzik
Genres: Television, Documentary
Latinos, this nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group, are big business. This smart, fast-paced program examines how efforts to profit from this group are shaping the contemporary Latino identity. The documenta... more »
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 01/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"George Lopez had a successful show on English-language TV and has a successful standup routine. His success is used as both the present and future potential of Latinos as viewers and as a market.
This documentary fleshes out facts about the Latino consumer. It emphasizes that not all Latinos solely watch Spanish-language TV. It emphasizes that many Latinos are bilingual and pursue entertainment in both Spanish and English. It also says that Latino youth are embracing the Internet just as much as young people of other races.
Still, I have two main concerns with this work. First, it derides businesses for advertising to a Latino market, as if the businesses' only motive was to profit off this group. When advertisers pay attention to a market, in our capitalist country, that's a good thing. Gay and lesbian publications had to beg advertisers to pay attention to them because advertisers ignored them fearing their products would be seen as "gay products." Advertisements help fund magazines and TV shows. Those entities who want to speak to Latinos embrace marketing, not avoid it.
Second, the work starts by saying so many ethnicities are just swept into this mega-term "Latino." True, but many are empowered by that. I heard Che Guevara encouraged countries to see themselves as Latino. Dr. Suzanne Oboler wrote that middle-class Latinos often embrace the term. In this very documentary, interviewees often say "Latino this and that" and don't spell out their ethnicities. As most Latinos in the US are of Mexican ancestry, like George Lopez, that group has the focus in this work and non-Chicanos may feel a bit left out.
The work sometimes flashes facts and translations on the screen, very similar to the satire "A Day without a Mexican." The work tries to be diverse in terms of gender, age, and celebrity status. A Caucasian who had a show on TV decades ago in which he pretended to be Latino is interviewed. This was radical in that I've never seen Amos 'n' Andy interviewed on a Black production. I think most Caucasian actors who appeared in "blackface" or "yellowface" try to hide that fact or downplay it. If you look very carefully, almost all of the Latino media executives interviewed here are of European phenotype. I wonder if Latinos of darker complexion have access to the heights of media like that group.
George Lopez states that he can't get many roles that white-skinned Latinos get. Absolutely true and on point! However, this work could dig further. It spoke of indigenous and white Latinos in this regard. But what about Black and Asian Latinos? There are many of them in real life, but you almost never seen them on TV defined as such. They interview a Latina who works for BET, but they never say BET is an African-American network. She may have some African ancestry, but I really think George Lopez's comment should have been expanded to Black-phenotyped Latinos. Plus, Spanish-language channels have been critiqued by many for focusing on the white-skinned but this documentary said nothing of that."