"Deal or No Deal?" : negotiating the commodification and representation of Latinx race/ethnicity in 21st century U.S. gameshows

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2023-04-20

Authors

Arteaga, René X.

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Abstract

In this research project, I interrogate whether the increased representation of Latinx minorities in mainstream U.S. television shows, and gameshows more specifically, can lead to possibilities of challenging or disrupting the structural power of white corporate hegemony. I do this by exploring how American mainstream television networks, advertisement agencies, and white corporate culture more broadly work in the 21st century to commodify race and ethnicity by portraying racialized minorities through stereotypical but highly marketable images. I am aligned with scholars, such as Shalini Shankar, Arlene Dávila, and Isabel Molina-Guzman, who are critical of post-racial-era television producers’ strategies for appropriating racial minorities’ cultural differences in their television shows without acknowledging the racial and economic inequalities that can underpin racial difference. Ultimately, I illustrate how fleeting moments do exist in which “racial minorities” can disrupt white corporate hegemony through television before their “unruly” behavior is co-opted by mainstream media and rendered unthreatening. Thus, I argue, we must pay more attention to these moments of disruption and study the radical potential that they carry.

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