La Lucha Sigue: Latina and Latino Labor in the US Media Industries

Mari Castañeda

Abstract


Given the present contradictions in which Latinos are both celebrated as the next top consumers and reviled as the least-wanted citizens, this article examines the state of Latina and Latino labor in the US media industry and the ways in which we continue to be an invisible and fragmented workforce. By understanding the ways in which capitalist practices divide cultural labor into disparate parts in order to benefit industries while simultaneously producing negative consequences for not only workers but also the sociocultural milieu, we are better able to recognize the role of Latina/o labor in communications. The fact that Latina/os are nearly nonexistent in the English-language media sector—and in the Spanish-language sector, executives prefer Latin American professionals with excellent Spanish literacy skills—is not inconsequential. These material conditions communicate something important about how Latino labor is valued differentially according to the needs of the media sector, the imperatives of the global economy, and the cultural politics of media in the United States. These issues must be examined closely if all Latino Americanos, from the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America, are to be full participants in the dismantling of media exploitation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15367/kf.v1i2.41

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