by Smriti Vijay (’25) and Katherine Winton (’25) | October 7, 2022
From September 15 to October 15, the United States celebrates Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual commemoration of the contributions of Latinx Hispanic Americans to the history of the United States. Throughout the month, the country observes culture from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
These important contributions include various forms of media, such as television shows, movies, novels, and music. It is crucial to consume these diverse forms of content to educate ourselves on other communities and support Latinx Hispanic creators. An inclusive and representative piece of media can help people understand the lives of others of different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and more. Diverse pieces of media can also serve as a mirror for people of marginalized groups, giving them the opportunity to see themselves in recent and age-targeted literature and feel included. For Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month, we gathered multiple recommendations and explored what makes Latinx Hispanic media so influential in our lives.
Some novels and movies treat characters’ Latinx Hispanic identity as the centerpiece of the story, displaying different parts of the culture. This may mean examining cultural expectations, the lives of people in these cultures, or those struggling to fit in while being part of a minority culture. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, a young adult novel by Erika Sánchez, emphasizes the characters’ Mexican identities and the expectations they face, while still being entertaining through suspense. The movie Real Women Have Curves also falls under this category, portraying the process of growing into adulthood while focusing on overcoming traditional insecurities, gender stereotypes, and more.
Other forms of media focus on different aspects of identity as viewed through the lens of a Latinx Hispanic character. This allows for a deeper representation of and view into the ways in which Latinx Hispanic communities live their daily lives. For example, The Poet X, a novel in verse by Elizabeth Acevedo, centers more on the main character’s struggle with finding her identity as a female poet. Clap When You Land, another novel by the same author, focuses not only on the socioeconomic aspects and culture of the neighborhood the book is set in but also on self-discovery after a severe loss.
From musicians like Shakira and Marc Anthony to authors like Pablo Neruda and Sandra Cisneros to filmmakers like Alfonso Cuarón and Celina Murga, Latinx Hispanic creators have a significant impact on our modern society. Similar to the novels and movies mentioned earlier, these popular artists increase the presence of Latinx Hispanic works in the entertainment industry, allowing for better education on and representation of Latinx Hispanic culture. Still, it is crucial to further diversify media to increase representation for minority groups and their various cultures.
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