identity

8 Book Characters Who Could Honestly Be Latino

With the casting of a black actress as Hermione Granger in the upcoming play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” there’s been a lot of talk as to whether that’s true to the canon or not.


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Credit: Pottermore / Twitter

While many a faceless person on the internet was outraged by the fact that a black woman was portraying one of literature’s most beloved characters, author J.K. Rowling shut down the haters immediately:


Credit: Twitter / J.K. Rowling

This brings up an interesting thought: How many of our favorite literary characters could actually be people of color, and more specifically, Latino? Without Hollywood’s habit of whitewashing, could there be more opportunity for beloved book characters to shine as Latinos on the big screen?

Here are eight book characters who could totally be Latino (hint hint, Hollywood):


1. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

Credit: Jason Chan / JasonChanArt.com

Everyone’s favorite dystopian YA character is described as being slender with “black hair, grey eyes and olive skin.” Seriously — olive skin and black hair? Sounds like quite a few Latinas I’ve known! What’s a little upsetting is that the casting call for Everdeen asked specifically for a Caucasian actress (who is “underfed but strong”), despite the fact that an olive complexion and dark hair could open the door to many ethnicities. But, hey, it’s Hollywood after all.


2. Hazel Grace Lancaster, The Fault in Our Stars

Credit: 20th Century Fox

If just reading the name of the protagonist from John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” made you cry, hang in there. The only physical descriptions of Hazel Grace are that she has brown hair and green eyes. Who’s to say this character couldn’t be portrayed by a Latina? No hate to Shailene Woodley, who is a true queen; we’re just dreaming here!


3. Bella Swan, Twilight

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Credit: Summit Entertainment

Bella is described as having brown hair, brown eyes and pale skin, which totally leaves the door open for Bella being Latina. Also, it’d give her name that much more impact! It might feel like a stretch, but look at this way: So much of mainstream pop culture automatically assumes the default human is a white gringo. (Spoiler alert: There’s some pale Latinos out there, too!)


4. Jonas, The Giver

Credit: The Weinstein Company

OK, let’s put aside the fact that in the film adaption of “The Giver,” they tried to make Jonas into some sort of One Direction understudy heartthrob even though he’s literally an 11-year-old boy, people! Regardless, he’s really only described as having brown hair. You know who else has brown hair? LOTS OF LATINOS. I mean, if you’re asking me, it’s pretty obvious Lois Lowry wrote her protagonist as a young, Latino boy, yeah?


5. Elisa, The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Credit: Green Willow Books

Elisa (full name: Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza) is the main character in Rae Carson’s series, “The Girl of Fire and Thorns.” Despite what the cover art might lead you to believe, Elisa is described as “overweight” and “brown-skinned.” So what’s a skinny white girl doing on the cover? Who can really say, beyond causing all of us thick Latinas to roll our eyes, I guess. No movie has been made of this series yet, so if it ever does head to the big screen, here’s hoping for casting that stays true to the source.


6. Elliot North, For Darkness Shows the Stars

Credit: Balzer + Bray

Ahhh yes, another book where the cover depicts the protagonist as a willowy, nearly translucent woman when in fact she’s described as having dark skin, almond-shaped eyes and dark hair. This is another book that has yet to see a film adaption, so this is another chance for casting to get it right.


7. Sam, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Listen, I’m all about the casting of Emma Watson in anything. But Sam is a character that could’ve easily been a number of different races and backgrounds. Charlie describes her as beautiful and dark-haired, with green eyes. There’s not much else to speculate on, and yet it’s one of those things where she could’ve just as easily been a Latina. The point is: WHY NOT?!


8. Johanna Mason, The Hunger Games

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Credit: Lionsgate

Only Johanna’s hair color and physical strength are described in the books. Noticing a trend here? There’s so much room for diversity in books, and the ones that are made into movies could easily include people of color. All of the characters here just happened to have dark hair, but who’s to say that if a character has, say, blonde hair she automatically has to be white? We Latinos come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Hollywood might still be stuck in the ’50s in a number of ways, but here’s hoping for a more open mindset.


READ: 7 Young Adult Authors You Need To Read Before You’re 30

Who are some book characters you think could be Latino? Let us know in the comments below!

In Texas, Undocumented Construction Workers Are The New Slaves

Things That Matter

In Texas, Undocumented Construction Workers Are The New Slaves

Credit: Chelsea Hernandez / Vimeo

It’s difficult to watch the crowdfunding trailer to “Building The American Dream” and not get angry. The film highlights the key role that undocumented construction workers have had in Texas’ economic boom. Even as immigrants are propping up the state’s economic growth, they face harsh working conditions that fall well into the realm of exploitation. Every day, they face dangerous environments, low pay, uncertainty, no benefits of any kind, and if that wasn’t enough, these overburdened workers are constantly being vilified on television by politicians in need of a platform.

If you want to politicize their existence, that’s on you. But these are people motivated by what we all want: A place to call our own and the ability to live a life with some level of self-determination. Sadly, these high-risk, low-paying jobs are what is typically available for men and women who don’t happen to have that piece of paper. If there is one bit of inspiration in their struggle, it’s the fortitude and dignity with which they carry themselves in spite of the conditions they endure. If these workers are able to achieve this much with so many restrictions facing them, imagine the level of greatness this country could achieve if they’re given a fighting chance.

Show your support by checking out the campaign here.


READ: After Being Exploited By His Boss, This Undocumented Worker Fought Back

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