The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has been tracking diversity and representation in films since 2007. The school’s latest study pulled together 900 films from 2007 to 2016 and examined the representation of several demographics, including women, LGBTQ, Latinos, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans.
USC’s “Inequality in 900 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race/Ethnicity, LGBT, and Disability from 2007-2016” paints a picture of what Hollywood was up to last year and the results show that white characters continue to dominate film roles. The study found that out of the 100 top-grossing films of 2016, 54 of them had no Latino speaking characters. The study further found that out of all the roles in the top 100 films, only 3.1 percent of the roles being Latino. Considering that Latinos make up 17.8 percent of the U.S. population, the film industry underrepresented the total of Latinos in film by 14.7 percent. According to the study, Latino representation in film reached its lowest number in 2016 since USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism started the study in 2007. The highest number of Latino representation took place in 2015 with 5.3 percent of the roles in films being Latino.
“You have a huge Latino story in America that’s being forgotten,” Rick Najera, a screenwriter told LA Weekly. “The putting down of Latinos is so prevalent in our country. Look at the president. Subconsciously, if America is saying, ‘We don’t want Latinos,’ it’s not a stretch for Hollywood to say, ‘Does the character have to be Sanchez?'”
Read the full study here.