Read Related: For Latinos, Negative Media Stereotypes Persist“I think [my] doing the column is helping us move past stereotypes, of course some people don’t agree with that,” says Arellano. “But if I didn’t think it was attacking and destroying these stereotypes, I wouldn’t be doing the column.” Arellano’s top three stereotypes are: Mexicans don’t assimilate (“Which is preposterous”); that parents don’t care about their children’s education (“Which isn’t true”); and that Mexican music only consists of mariachi or banda music (“People are actually astounded that we like music that doesn’t involve tubas or freaking accordions!”). For Arellano, talking constantly about stereotypes can get tiresome, but he hopes his column is somehow contributing to the fight for more awareness.
In practice, making people laugh using stereotypes takes a lot of talent. We spoke to two critically-acclaimed Latino artists who use stereotypes as an important ingredient in their work. The cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz and illustrator of Latino USA: A Cartoon History and the writer Gustavo Arellano, who pens a column called Ask a Mexican and whose most recent book, Taco USA discusses the influence of Mexican food in U.S. culture.