REFLECTION…on finding the Latino Waldo.

I was finishing my analysis on diversity and television for an upcoming conference and I was surprised by how many police/detective drama shows are on CBS.  There are 10 police, 2 law, no medical, and 3 variety one-hour shows this Fall.  Seriously, do we really want to see bad guys chased around, shot at, arrested, tried and convicted only?  Not counting 2 new half-hour comedy shows from its total of 6, and 2 returning news-related programs, only 2 of those police/detective shows, “Hawaii 5-0” and “Blue Bloods”, are new.  The remaining 8 have several seasons in the bag.  What was of particular interest to me was learning that of the 10 cop/detective CBS shows, 7 take place in cities with a large Latino population (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and New York), yet only 3 supporting characters are Latino.  In fact, of the 15 one-hour dramatic and variety shows on  CBS this Fall, there are a total of 4 Latinos cast in co-starring roles…just 4.  For heaven’s sake, even “Survivor”, which is currently in Nicaragua, doesn’t have any.

I know I sound like a broken record, but surely you can understand how frustrating it is to sit there and play “Where’s Waldo” when there really isn’t a “Latino Waldo” to find.  Yes the season is just starting and I’m sure there will be plenty of Latinos being handcuffed, rolled away on a medical gurney, running from the law, or just standing on the streets minding their own business while tv cameras film the next episode.  But seriously, can Latinos have at least 1 show on network tv starring a Latin@ actor (other than NBC’s OUTLAW — which by the way, Jimmy Smits is the only one) that doesn’t necessarily have actors playing stereotypical roles? Is that too much to ask?

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