During prime time, Univision and Telemundo are always airing new episodes of Latin American soap operas. Univision and Telemundo are both networks whose audience are American Hispanics and Latinos. In 2015, soap opera titled “”Celia,”” aired on Telemundo.
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According to Olga Segura associate editor of America magazine, who identifies as Afro-Latina stated, “” It was not until 2015 that we saw black Latinos starring as protagonists in Telemundo’s “”Celia,”” which stars Jeimy Osorio as the Cuban singer Celia Cruz. The series, which also features the Afro-Latino actors Ayme Nuviola and Modesto Lacn, follows the singer’s journey as she becomes one of the most successful salsa singers of all time.””(Seguro). For many Afro-Latinos this show was seen as positive direction to change. The telenovela industry in Latin America only cast Latinos who are white or have european features. When African decent Latinos are casted, then they are usually playing background roles,such as maids and gardeners. “”Celia”” breaks the stereotypical representation of Afro-Latinos, which is a result of the history of colonialism which produced colorims and the negative portrayal of afro-latinos through blackface. Consequently, society produced stereotypes of this racial and ethnic group of people, same way stereotypes were made of African Americans.
The caste system was implemented during the colonization of Latin America, which divided race and gave the societal message that dark is demeaning. 1492 was the estimated date that Christopher Columbus was purported to have “”discovered America.”” Many historians disagree and argue that he actually landed in the Caribbean. The Caste system was launched after African slaves were brought into the country. Gustavo Lopez does research analysis for Pew Research, and found that, “”In Latin America’s colonial period, about 15 times as many African slaves were taken to Spanish and Portuguese colonies than to the U.S. Today, about 130 million people of African descent live in Latin America, making up roughly a quarter of the total population, according to estimates from the Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA) at Princeton University “” (Lopez). In other words, there was a large African population in Latin America. Consequently, there was racial mixtures amongst the natives, Spaniards, and Africans. The caste system divided people by racial mixture groups, which dictated an individual’s job and level in society. This system was a form to control the mixtures, since these different worlds were coming together creating “”new people,”” or in other words, a new complexion and physical characteristics that the Spanish, Tainos and African may not have been accustomed to seeing. Historian Maria Elena Martinez studied the system and stated, “”To preserve their wealth, power, and privileges, the Spanish created a caste-like system, the “”Sistema de Castas,”” with Spaniards in the top group. Others were ranked below based on their percentage of Spanish blood.”” ( Martinez 2).
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