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VCU Professor Speaks Out On Latinx Stereotypes And Respecting The Culture

Vivian Medina-Messner
Vivian Medina-Messner (Photo: Malcolm Key/VPM)

VPM Intern Malcolm Key wrote and produced this story.

Virginia Commonwealth University is celebrating Latinx Heritage Month. As part of the commemoration events instructor Vivian Medina-Messner gave a presentation on Latin stereotypes in the media, their history and how to discuss them.

Medina-Messner said Latinx stereotypes have a long history, dating back to at least the 1960s, and that it’s important for those in the community to talk about them. She’s also calling for journalists and others in the media to create new narratives that will create change within the Latinx community.

“I think it’s important to have these conversations and create spaces where we break down all these stereotypes and we break down all these negative narratives,” she said. “Because we’re experiencing a lot of constructed fear. Fear about immigrants, fear of the other...and as an educator, that’s what I want to change.”

Medina-Messner said that it is necessary for educators and those in the media to help lead the way for Latinx minorities to embrace their talents and show what they can “bring to the table,” instead of dismissing them. After The New York Times canceled it’s Spanish-language platform, NYT en Español, Messner mentioned how crucial it is to accept the Latinx community as a part of the country.

“I think it’s important to understand that the Latinx community in the U.S. is prominent. That we have contributed to constructing the U.S. as well, throughout history in different areas,” said Medina-Messner.  I think it’s important as journalists that we tell the stories of the different communities...the different Latinx communities, and their contributions to the U.S.” 

Events at VCU for Latinx Heritage Month will continue until October 15.

*VCU is a sponsor of VPM.

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