Homework 10/23/17

In this chapter, Rivera-Rideau argues that the racialization of reggaetón creates negative stereotypes that apply to all people of Latin American descent. The author seems to be incredibly frustrated with the way American media represents reggaetón and Latin Americans in general as well as hip hop and African Americans in general. The term “Hurban”, a combination of Hispanic and urban, is often used to describe the audience of reggaetón. However, the author argues that the association of reggaetón with urban areas is problematic. This is because in American media urban areas are typically depicted as being unsafe areas of crime, drugs, and violence. In terms of race, categorizing the music as “urban” marks it as being connected to Latin American and African American culture, which thus allows people to stereotype these cultures as being naturally violent and criminal. Additionally, the author argues that the term hurban marks reggaetón as a Hispanic only music genre, which completely ignores the African disaporatic roots of the music. The American media views reggaetón as being not quite black, which the author claims is bad because it has black roots but also is not a completely black genre. It is difficult to understand what the author is finding a problem with, because to claim that reggaetón is black music would be to ignore all of its non-black roots, but regardless the author finds fault with calling reggaetón “not quite black”.

In terms of class, the author argues that because reggaeton is described as being urban, and because the words “urban” and “inner-city” are associated with blacks, Latinos, violence, and crime, reggaeton is stereotyped as being “lower-class” as are black people, Latinos, hip-hop, and urban areas. The classification of the genre based on class and race force a connection between the two, and thus most American media coverage of urban areas overlooks the racist policies that created the economic issues in the urban areas and instead the blame is put on the black and Latino communities.

Finally, the author seems to argue that reggaeton and hip-hop are wrongly depicted in the American media as being inherently misogynistic music genres. The author argues that the media depicts Latin American women (as well as Latin Americans in general) as being hypersexualized, promiscuous party people, which are negative stereotypes that affect Latin Americans as a whole. “Urban” men are typically depicted as violent thugs, and thus as a result, those who perform and create reggaeton are also considered violent thugs at times.

These negative stereotypes of the music genre and the cultures it was born out of prevent the public from truly understanding the diverse roots of the genre and the people that create it.

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