Spanish in the media

Linguistic erasures and brownface: Span(gl)ish in mainstream television

With Rosalyn Negrón, University of Massachusetts-Boston

The growing influence of a diverse U.S. Latina/o population is changing both the quantity and quality of their representations on TV. However, the limited inclusion of Latina/o writers, producers, and actors on television has meant that their identities and language continue to be caricatured, misrepresented, or omitted entirely. To examine these trends, we analyze the content of 10 TV shows that feature Latina/o characters in recurring roles*, integrating theory and methods from linguistics, anthropology, and media studies. With linguistic discrimination continuing to fester across the U.S., this project is motivated by a commitment to fostering ethnolinguistic pride among Latina/os and stemming the intergenerational loss of Spanish.

Cristela, Devious Maids, Jane the Virgin, Law and Order SVI, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, Rosewood, Superstore, Telenovela, and Ugly Betty.

Read the proposal here.

See a presentation delivered by Dr. Potowski on this topic in March 2017 at the University of Illinois at Chicago.