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NCIS: LA and the Stereotyping of Latinos

Sep 29th, 2009 | By | Category: revewz, snewz
No, not that kind of stereotypical Mexican.

No, not that kind of stereotypical Mexican.

Perhaps I’m being unfair. Maybe it’s a little early in the show. I might even be acting a little over-sensitive to the subject. That’s what I thought last week when watching NCIS: Los Angeles for the first time.

After watching the second episode, I realize that I’m probably right, though.

Right about what? The fact that apparently the writers of NCIS: Los Angeles consider the ‘bad guys’ to be the Latinos.

The first episode had a bunch of drama, a whole lot of story-line, and there’s a pretty good write-up of it on tv.com. Overall, I enjoyed it with one minor exception and one major one.

The minor exception was the occasionally trite musical accompaniment to some of the scenes. On the whole, the music was alright, but there were a few occasions in which they threw in some sort of cheesy jazz-like stuff when they were trying to set some sort of atmosphere to the relationships among the group. Of course, calling the sounds ‘jazz-like’ is an insult to a great genre of music, so that isn’t really the best way to describe it, but it includes a bass, some drums, and an electric keyboard putzing along to shitty dialogue.

This would actually be an improvement

This would actually be an improvement

I think they began to come to their senses in the second episode, as they only used this once and for only a few seconds. I like to think that they just missed that bit as they were trying to eradicate the disaster that made the show feel rather corny.

The major exception: Evil drug-dealing Mexicans.

Although I was looking forward to NCIS: Los Angeles, I had a feeling this was going to happen. You have your innocent, white mother of some missing girl, whose daughter was ‘kidnapped’ and her loving brother died trying to save her. Who is the bad guy? The drug-dealing Hispanic dad.

Maaaaybe I would have overlooked the whole thing if the team didn’t consist of a bunch of white guys, 2 black guys, a Portuguese woman (admittedly, they might have thought that Portugal was in South America. Gob did), and Linda Hunt as Gimli. If only they’d thought to let just ONE Latino, or even a Latina into the team.

It was wise of her to shave for the role.

It was wise of her to shave for the role.

I guess as long as you’ve got a bunch of crackers and some blackers, you’re ethnically diverse enough for CBS.

Wait a second.... There's one too many Asians in there, too.

Wait a second.... There's one too many Asians in there, too.

Of course, I wouldn’t be complaining about this right now if I didn’t get the exact opening I expected from the second episode. A gunfight. Drug-dealing Latinos vs. Whites and African Americans.

As the episode progresses, we find out that some of the drug-dealing Latinos were actually cops, so their deaths were actually meaningful. The fact that the other Latinos were killed in the episode really doesn’t even hit the radar.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There is the case of Ramirez, the Hispanic Navy Seal who doesn’t actually get into the episode, but there are some pictures of him. His death sparks all of the actions against the stereotypical drug-dealing Latinos. It’s nice that they threw a token Uncle Jose in there to stem the tide of blatant racism.

//

I guess I might be overreacting, but it just upsets me, as an Hispanic male with a long heritage of Hispanic family members who have served the United States in various branches of the Armed Forces, to see this kind of thing picking up steam on yet another new show.

Then again, I suppose if I were Muslim, I’d hate NCIS.

Actually, many Muslims are not prone to project hatred towards a TV show.

Actually, many Muslims are not prone to project hatred towards a TV show.

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  1. Mirrors the real NCIS. Not many Hispanic agents and even less Senior Leaders.

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