Stereotypes In West Side Story

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What is a stereotype? A stereotype can be defined as a generalization from a specific trait or behavior that is common by members of a group (Dictionary). Latino stereotypes are no different. Charles Ramírez-Berg lists six basic Latino stereotypes that were prevalent then and are still used today. They were first popularized in the 1900s; they twisted the public’s view on Latinos and gave Latinos a negative reputation. One movie in particular that depicts Latinos as the “bad guy” in an unfair manner is West Side Story. West Side Story tells the tale of Romeo and Juliet with a Hispanic twist. The Capulets and the Montagues are replaced by the Sharks and the Jets. María became Juliet and Tony played Romeo. In this movie you can visually see a difference between the Sharks and the Jets. Not only did they dress differently, there was a stereotype used in differentiating each side. The Sharks were all represented as brown-skinned Puerto Ricans with jet black hair, while the Jets were all fair-skinned with overly blonde hair. However, not every Shark was an actual Puerto Rican. Bernardo and María, George Chakiris and Natalie Wood, had been …show more content…
This phrase is not one of my own but one that was created by Charles Ramírez-Berg. Out of the two variations of the Hollywood bandido, Ramírez-Berg’s second version fits the movie better, the “inner-city gang member”. This type of gang member is different because it isn’t the same as the first one. Ramírez-Berg states, “… the Latin American gangster/ drug runner… He is slicker, of course, and he has traded in his black hat for a white suit, his tired house for a glitzy car, but he still ruthlessly pursues his vulgar cravings – for money, power, and sexual pleasure – and routinely employs vicious and illegal means to obtain them.” This G-rated movie wouldn’t allow such a thing to be shown to children of that time so the inner-city gang member had a better

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