Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lack of Latinos In Media Called 'Dangerous'

Joaquin Castro
Latinos hold just 12 percent of the jobs in American media, though they make up 18 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to The Houston Chronicle citing a new federal report highlighting how badly the nation’s largest minority group is underrepresented in industries producing news, movies, books and other communications.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a San Antonio Democrat who requested the Government Accountability Office probe, said the findings, which he unveiled Tuesday, show a “dangerous” exclusion of Latinos in an industry that is the “main image-defining and narrative-creating institution of American society.”

The GAO report found that Latino representation in the media industry has remained relatively flat in recent years, going from just 11 to 12 percent from 2014 to 2019. The news and publishing industry was even worse, with just 8 percent.

The report also found large gaps within the industry itself. Latinos were most represented in service jobs, such as custodians, at media companies, at 22 percent. They held just 4 percent of management jobs. Service jobs were the only category that saw an increase between 2014 and 2018, growing 6 percentage points.

“What this represents is a void in narrative in American society for a group that is almost 20 percent of the American population,” Castro said. “The systemic exclusion of Latinos in American society is dangerous.”

Castro pointed to the 2019 El Paso mass shooting as evidence of the danger of allowing that void to be filled by stereotypes of “Latinos as gangbangers, as drug dealers, as ‘illegals.’”

Castro called for greater pressure on the industry, including potentially requiring companies to meet certain criteria to qualify for tax breaks and other incentives in states such as Texas. He did not say what those criteria should be, saying he’s not calling for quotas. He also called for media executives to be brought in front of Congress to testify about what they’re doing to diversify.

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