Fear and Latino Stereotypes on the Campaign Trail

From the very start of his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump summoned up images of Latino criminality.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said in his presidential announcement speech. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems [to] us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

A year and a half later, after making mass deportations and a new border wall two of the main pillars of his campaign, Trump would end up winning a remarkable 58% of the non-Hispanic white vote, enough to elect him President of the United States.

If you’re an educator or activist looking for resources to help make sense of all of this, we highly recommend our film Latinos Beyond Reel.

Directed by award-winning filmmakers Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun, Latinos Beyond Reel draws on the insights of Latino scholars, journalists, news producers, actors, directors, and community leaders to break down the origins and effects of Latino stereotypes in American culture.

It shows how Latinos have been depicted for decades in Hollywood movies, television news, and other commercial media as gangsters and Mexican bandits, harlots and prostitutes, drug dealers and welfare-leeching illegals. It reveals how, at key moments in American history, these pathological and one-dimensional media narratives have contributed to anti-Latino attitudes, a toxic political culture, and regressive public policies. And it offers a reality-based take on Latinos, challenging viewers to build counter-narratives that break stereotypes and do justice to the diversity and humanity of Latinx people.

If you’re looking for a film to inspire discussion about how fear-based racial and ethnic stereotypes function in American political culture, this is it.