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April 27 2010

15 TV stars you never knew were Latino. Latina magazine lists some Latino TV stars. Includes Charisma and Morena.

Hmm, I thought Latino only applied to countries where Spanish was spoken, not Brazil. Interesting.

[ edited by kishi on 2010-04-28 00:31 ]
Had no idea Charisma was of Latino heritage.

I guess J. August Richards isn't on the pulse so much anymore these days.
Interesting indeed, kishi. The Wikipedia entry on "Hispanic and Latino Americans" supports your initial take. The relevant section reads, "As employed by the Census Bureau, Hispanic or Latino does not include Brazilian Americans, and specifically refers to 'Spanish culture or origin'; Brazilian Americans appear as a separate ancestry group." (Footnotes omitted.) Here's one Brazilian's take, also agreeing with that view. And here's one apparently contrary view. Yeah, overkill in the research, I know. :-). I happen to find issues of cultural self-identification quite fascinating. In any case, I'm happy to defer to Latina magazine on this one.
Brazilians sort of go back and forth, depending on who's doing teh classifying. Hispanic specifically does exclude European and Cape Verde Island Portuguese.

I get conflicting info (dpending on which article I'm reading) if Charisma has MExican on her mother's side and Cherokee on her father's or if both are from her mother. Either way, I'd love to see her play a First Nations role someday. Just because I want to see her Caucasian potential love interest say she's "almost the perfect woman" and she replies "What you mean 'almost,' white man?"
Yeah, I didn't know about Charisma. But even more shocking to me is that Alexis Bledel is half-Mexican and half-Argentinean... I had no idea!
Gina Torres is also Latina and was featured in an article about Black Latinas.
kasadilla, I totally agree about J August Richards. I would love to see him play a Latino role.
Charisma is 1/4 Spanish and that makes her "Latina"? What if she were 1/8? 1/16?
The only real surprise on that list was Alexis Bledel. Cool!
All right, these are my people, ese! But seriously, Charisma Carpenter? Didn't expect that one. That explains the total hotness....
So Aubrey Plaza draws inspiration for her lively and colorful April from real life, eh?
my husband is south american but not 'hispanic' or 'latino' because the official language of his country is dutch (which is his first language), so he always makes a big deal out of the fact that racial questionnaires don't allow for the fact that not all south americans speak spanish, so he always makes a show of 'i'm gonna check hispanic; i'm gonna do it!'

but he doesn't.

my husband is surinamese,BTW; the country that is mentioned in the xica bahia blog.

[ edited by tjbw on 2010-04-28 07:39 ]
In some of these cases I sort of wonder to what degree people are supposed to be surprised. I mean in some cases the last names seem like they'd give some indication.

It's sort of interesting seeing how messy some other groups have in terms of constructing a cohesive group identity though. (Like do Brazilians count or would they even want to be?) Like even before his little scandal, there were so many mixed responses from different Asians groups/nationalities about whether or not we wanted a stake in him as a personal figurehead. (I'm pretty sure he is technically more Asian assuming he inherited from his grandparents equally. Though I forget if he's also part-Indian as in from the subcontinent or Native American, and whether that falls under the general usage of Asia.)
I don't know any of these people, other than Charisma & Morena. I don't really watch that much TV.

Had no idea that J. was Panamanian - thanks for that link kasidilla. I would so love to see him land a good role again, he's been excellent in everything he's done.
I think Orangewaxlion is referring to Tiger Woods. I do claim him as Asian, and alas, he's showing us all that Asian Americans aren't always the goody-two shoes and model minority we're made out to be.

And as much as I love Firefly, I always have to add the caveat that a show set in a world where US and China meld, and there are no Asian-American characters? WTF?
I could be wrong here but I think China had delibrately retreated to its own world once the new solar system had been populated.
red said:

And as much as I love Firefly, I always have to add the caveat that a show set in a world where US and China meld, and there are no Asian-American characters? WTF?

it's so good to hear this from the perspective of another minority group; makes me feel like i am not just making this type of behavior up.

simon said:

...I think China had delibrately retreated to its own world once the new solar system had been populated.

which means that none of them came into the part of the universe that we see on firefly? not one? i dunno, seems convenient, especially because it's a made up world; the writers can make anything happen that they want to happen, key phrase being 'that they want'. which then begs the question, 'why didn't/don't the writers want ____ characters on the show?'

it's a hurt feeling to realize that in someone's fantasy world, people that look like one's self don't exist.

i'm done!
Kinda like how a Latina feels to see Latinos not playing Latino roles. Since being Latin is more an ethnicity than race we don't fit into a certain 'look' as evidenced by Alexis Bliedel and J August Richards. I've got blond haired blue eyed cousins as well as those on the opposite end of the spectrum.

which means that none of them came into the part of the universe that we see on firefly? not one?

In Firefly's defence, we did only get half a season. So we'll never know if the writers did intend to have Asian-Americans on the show. I would guess they probably would have.

However I think Buffy could be more fairly criticised for its lack of minorities as that show went to seven seasons.
more like "and never cared". we're all human, get over it.
That's...simplifying the matter just a bit, savage. World hasn't quite reached "we're all human, we're over it" status yet and I don't think it's easy for some people to put it out of their heads all the time (nor should we?). Until race is no longer an issue for a large number of people in the world (can't see it happening in my lifetime, despite most regions of the world having made leaps in progress), it's going to continue to be cared about and discussed by both those it concerns and those who are sympathetic to those concerned.

Re: Firefly & Serenity

Apparently the former was cast color-blind, no ? Could've sworn I read, back in the day, that the role of Zoe, for example, wasn't specified as "statuesque, strong, black latina" (the first two qualifications, likely, but not the ethnicity part), they simply happened to get lucky enough to have Gina Torres apply for the job.

The only Asians I spotted on Firefly were background extras (in the pilot, during the crew's first visit to Persephone in the series) and one guy with a speaking part on the crew of one of those big-ass Alliance cruisers (it was either in the pilot, "The Train Job", or "Safe", I think). Nandi may've had an Asian woman in her employ in "Heart of Gold" as well.

Yeah, it would've been nice, given the US/China background set-up of the series, to have some visible Asians in the series, rather than just implied (if Simon's right about it being revealed through the writers that China retreated to its own planet), but if they were casting exclusively by judging on those who gave the best auditions/had the most impressive demo reels...

There was speculation while the series was running that there was maybe some far-back Asian ancestry in the Tam family. Just due to the last name and the opinion of many viewers that River/Summer Glau looked potentially mixed with some Asian in her, maybe (and of the two actors that portrayed younger-River, the original in the TV series, moreso than the one in Serenity, looked potentially mixed-race), so that maybe River inherited some recessive traits from her mother or father ('cause Simon and the parents sure don't look like they inherited any). But I think I also read (way back in 2002 to 2004), from one fan who'd done a bit of searching, that Tam exists as a last name in caucasian countries as well, independant of Asian ancestry.
Race and ethnicity are still a very real problem on American tv and in scifi in all formats. It's gotten better in some ways but then SciFi even made Sparrowhawk white in the Earthsea miniseries.
How about Hat Trickster Carlos Jacott? Does anybody know? Should I even care?
AngelDiva : I'm puzzled and intrigued by what your post meant and what comemnt above it was an answer to. Are you saying you're Latina and you think actors who are themselves Hispanic should only paly Hispanic characters? I'm sure I'm badly missing something. (Given that one of my favorite living actors, Hector ELizondo, plays many ethnicities.)
Sunfire, that one annoyed me. I like Shawn Ashmore just fine, but he's nowhere near what I had in mind for what Sparrowhawk looked like when I read the first Earthsea book. First Nations folks (Native Americans/Canadians) have few enough opportunities as it is, so taking away a major opportunity in a big Sci-fi fantasy epic seemed like a pretty big put-down (really it was just about the business decision of it--get a hot, fresh-young-face X=Men actor--but even so).
DaddyCatALSO: I was addressing the comment immediately above mine. I am in no way saying that Hispanics should only play Hispanic characters. Nor am I saying that that roles of Hispanic characters need to be played by solely Hispanic actors.
My point was that (and not trying to get all soapboxy) is the media still does a crappy job portraying minority characters. Hispanics and blacks each represent about 14% of the US population but only 2% in the media.
Cordelia Chase could have easily been Cordelia Chavez without changing anything else about the character and still represent the Latino community without stooping to the 'stereotypes' used to define them.
Gee, I never would've guessed that somebody with the last name of Vega would be Hispanic.

@AngelDiva: The problem with making characters (especially originally unlikeable characters like Cordelia) minorities is that there is suddenly new attention brought to how those characters are portrayed that wouldn't be an issue if they're all just white. And, let's be honest, it's pretty clear from Angel that the writers (all white, I believe) can't write good minority characters (see: Gunn).

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