What do see when you take a look at a Latino? Do you notice what they are wearing? Or how they walk? Or maybe you just jump into a conclusion and stereotype him/her as an illegal immigrant. Throughout the years Latinos have faced many challenges because of their skin color, the way they dress, or because of the way they talk. Many films have shown Latinos as illegal immigrants to show us how the world views them, but a specific film “Born in East L. A” shows us how even though a Latino can be an American Citizen they still face many racist stereotypes.
Even though a Latinos parents or grandparents have immigrated into the United States years ago and have permanent residency in the United States, they can still face push and pull factors that can motivate them to either go back to their country of origin or motivate them into staying in the United States. In this paper I will show how Born in East L. A represents Latinos as illegal immigrants through the techniques of stereotyping, immigration, and push/pull factors.
Born in East L. A shows us the story of a Chicano named Rudy (Cheech Marin) is deported after being caught in a police raid at toy factory while looking for his cousin. Because of the police raid Rudy is caught and is deported to Mexico even though he is an American citizen. Rudy tries to explain to the police that he is an American citizen but when is asked to show proof of citizenship he figures out that he does not have his wallet and is forced to stay in Mexico. Even though Rudy is an American citizen but is of Mexican descent, he is stereotyped as an illegal immigrant because of his accent and because of the way he looks.
One particular scene in the movie that shows massive stereotyping about Latinos is the scene where the French woman appears walking through the city and is gazed upon all the Latino men. This is an example of stereotyping because the woman represents the sexual desire for a white woman by Latino men (Lizzberry). The woman is being tracked across the city to represent how Latinos chase the American dream and how badly they desire the need to assimilate in America (Lizzberry).
Another scene from the film that depicts stereotypes is the scene in which the INS officers raid a toy factory and quickly assume that all the Mexicans working in the factory are illegal. The film shows this stereotype by labeling the INS officers “La Migra” which is Spanish for immigration officers, and all the workers begin to run out the factory trying to avoid being caught and deported. From that particular scene the audience can already assume that everyone that was working in the toy factory was an illegal immigrant because all the workers were being show cased as illegals because they began to run away from the INS officers.
In America immigration has become a major problem over the years causing many states to create their own immigration laws which do not allow illegal immigrants to have jobs, own a house, or own a car without proper documentation. In Born in East L. A we are shown how Mexican immigrants continue to try to cross over the border to the United States by having them run across a hill and avoiding the border patrol agents. The role of immigrants in this movie was to portray how Latinos are being classified as illegal immigrants throughout America because of their skin color and background.
Towards the finale of the film Rudy gathers a group of illegal immigrants to help him cross the border by having them all rush down the hills in large groups which end up scaring off the border patrol agents allowing Rudy and the other people to safely cross the border (Fregoso 61) Even though Latinos cross the border into America they still face many challenges that can push them back towards their home countries. One factor that pushes Latinos back in the film is how the film showcases Rudy and all his attempts to try to cross over to the United States but fails many times.
By showcasing this people can see why many immigrants suffer to try to cross the border on a daily basis. Even though it is hard to cross the border into America, many immigrants still try to do so because they are being pulled in by the opportunities that await them in America. Another factor that pulls Latinos into this country is the chance to get ahead in society; many immigrants come to America for a better education and high paying jobs that they couldn’t receive back in their countries.
In the film we are shown how Rudy is forced to cross over south of the border to Mexico thus showing us how hard it is to cross the border (Fregoso 67). Throughout the movie we are being showed many stereotypes that fall into the Latino category such as being called an illegal immigrant. We are also being showed how immigration can cause Latinos to be deported because of their skin color and we also see how different push/pull factors affect the Latinos.
From the film we can tell that many Latinos want to come to America ecause of job opportunities that the Anglos offer because they always end up losing workers because of INS raids. Because of the raids company owners are forced to quickly hire workers who can work at low wages so they are forced to hire Latinos because they view the Latinos as illegal immigrants seeking quick employment for mostly any rate of pay. Since many job opportunities open up for the Latinos they keep crossing over the border on a daily basis to pursue the American Dream and to better their lives.
Courtney from Study Moose
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