A recent Center for Disease Control report indicates that a Hispanic born in 2006 has a life expectancy of 80 years, which is two years longer than whites and seven years longer than African Americans. Apparently this phenomenon is known as the “Hispanic Paradox,” thanks to the fact that researchers anticipated Hispanics to have a life expectancy akin to African Americans due to Hispanics’ overall lower levels of education, income and access to health care. Ultimately, Hispanics’ longevity is attributed to the ‘healthy migrant effect,” which is the idea that newcomers to the US tend to make healthier food choices, such as rice and beans instead of processed foods, and are accustomed to walking more than the average American.
Interesting. I just watched a video about these findings on ABC World News, in a report entitled, “Why do Hispanics Outlive White and Black Americans?” And I quickly became annoyed at how much the video relied on mainstream stereotypes about Hispanics. Check it out for yourself. (Warning: If you click on that link, you first will have to sit through an advertisement, and I hope for your sake the ad is not Emmy Rossum singing about cotton as “The Fabric of My Life,” because you will have that stupid jingle in your head for the rest of the day). You will observe the following stereotypical images and sounds:
- Cumbia music kicking off the report (because no Hispanic ever listens to non-Spanish language music)
- Brown-skinned pedestrians of an unnamed city walking past a huge sign that says “PESOS” (because that’s our preferred form of currency)
- General urban scenes (because none of us grows up in the suburbs)
- A Mexican plaza, which I think is Olvera St in Los Angeles (because Hispanics = Mexicans = living in East LA)
- This plaza is full of trashy but colorful trinkets and two guitar-strumming balladeers singing (of course) in Spanish
- A large family in a dingy kitchen (because we all live with untold numbers of extended relatives)
- Finally, towards the end, reporter David Wright mentions “a little salsa dancing” as older folks dance to music that is most certainly not salsa (because all Spanish language music can be labeled “salsa”)
Thanks, ABC World News, for doing your part to ensure that stereotypical portrayals of “Hispanics” enjoy just as long a life as the people you’re talking about.
By the way, the best part of the video is when Wright is stumped when interviewee Elaine Hernandez says her 82-year-old grandmother’s apple-a-day is that “good ol’ red and white can.” He doesn’t get it. “Budweiser!” she says. Classic.