They've made us a joke. Merely placeholders, second rate characters, cholos in the background. The bad guy. The poor woman begging in Spanish. The joke of the movie. Something for the masses to laugh at and the minority to cringe at.
They've made our men out to be thugs and now just the sight of a brown skinned man in a white wife beater and shirt makes the audience move to just the edge of their seats. The ensuing menacing Spanish growls are accompanied by rising music- and then a sideways gun appears in the man's hand, and his crew surrounds him and the poor sap they're threatening.
The victim is always different- it could be a white man, a black man, or one of our own.
Our men are indiscriminate in this medium. They will attack when and where and who they will. Race does not matter, but the concept behind it does.
Our men are a running joke- always named Juan, Jose, Robert, Miguel. Always relegated the position of poolboy, criminal, thug, gardener and if they manage to break through the glass ceiling of supporting roles… they have to be funny.
Tell me, can you name one of our men who has never had to play one of those roles? They say that all actors have to climb to the top, but is it mere coincidence that our men are forever stuck at the bottom of a ladder that's missing the middle rungs.
Our men are a menace to all other men, but at least they got a few things right- a few very important things that they think are merely part of the stereotype.
Large, loud families where the woman sit and cook with babies in their lap in a cozy kitchen, gossiping, sharing, living- loving. Where the men and boys cook outside, where the children run underfoot, smiles on all their faces. Music blasting, mariachis, corridos and cumbias… and the atmosphere is warm. La familia, the family- all these men always go on about family, their family.
Our men, are loving and loyal and yes we have our share of miscreants and cheaters- deadbeats and criminals. But that is something that no mainstream movie that would ever dare show that our men… that are men are just as good as all the rest.