Access: The Daily Show
Summary: In recognizing that race entails socially constructed categories as opposed to biological groupings of people, sociologists understand that race is not only subjective, but also relative to a subjective standpoint. For example, many racial categories used in the US, such as “Asian” or “Caucasian,” are “catch-all categories” for many cultural or ethnic groups who, from their own self-identified subjective position, see themselves as unique. In this clip from The Daily Show, Al Madrigal critiques the idea of treating Latinos as a culturally homogenous group. He emphasizes the diversity among Latinos, noting their diverse political positions as similar to the broader population, and identifies ways in which treating them as a homogenous group is offensive (adding "it's even offensive that you'd have me cover this because I am Latino"). He goes further to interview “Latinos” to illustrate how individuals from (or who trace their ancestry from places in) Latin America not only 1) see themselves as culturally (and perhaps also racially in the biological sense) unique; but 2) actually harbor prejudices and stereotypes toward other supposed “Latinos” from cultures different than their own. Accordingly, while Latinos are socially constructed as being quite different from “Mainstream Americans,” Madrigal concludes that perhaps supposed “Latinos” are actually quite similar to other ethnic groups (e.g. whites with European ancestry) in the US because they share a core cultural belief with many in our society: prejudice towards “Latinos.” Viewers should also be critical of the way The Daily Show, like much comedy, uses stereotypes to get laughs (e.g. Latinos liking "ultimate fighting and pigeon racing") at the same time it critiques them.
Submitted By: Jason T. Eastman