JOSEP LLUÍS GÓMEZ: “TODAY, PEOPLE AREN´T ASHAMED BUT RATHER PROUD OF BEING LATINO AND LIVING IN NEW YORK”
The Dialogue ‘Communication and Cultural Diversity,’ moderated by Pedro Aguilera of the Fundación Secretariado General Gitano (General Secretarial Foundation of Roma People) analyzed minorities and their identities in very different contexts, such as Latinos in New York or minorities in Poland. The debate also dealt with the role satellite television plays in promoting minority languages.
Professor Josep Lluís Gómez explained that “the rules of the game have changed” in relation to Latinos living in the United States, specifically in New York. “Today, people aren’t ashamed but rather proud of being Latino and living in New York” Gómez pointed out, explaining that the reasons for this change are the group’s economic potential and their exponential growth in the last decade. Technology and globalization have been key in this change of perception, because they fostered the birth of a new Pan-Hispanic identity.
Along these lines, Gómez said that “Latinos no longer live in ghettos but in neighborhoods where they can reinvent the urban space with their products, colors and celebrations; now they can be global while still being local.”
This evolution has a very important framework, the mainstream Latino press published in New York. An analysis of the La Prensa, Hoy and Noticias del Mundo shows that hey offer a kinder, more plural image of Latinos than American newspapers published in English. The Latino press deals with sports, performances and politics but above all services. Thanks to the advertisements, the press serves a social purpose because it offers Latinos a way to find basic goods and services.
Magdalena Ratajczak, of the Institute of International Studies at the University of Wroclaw in Polond, discussed Polish public television’s treatment of ethnic minorities. The professor explained that most Polish people are not familiar with these ethnic groups from countries such as the Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. Ratajczak explained that Polish television has been broadcasting programs in the minority languages since 1995 with programs of interest for these group. Moreover, there is council representing these groups.
Magdalena Ratajczak stated that “globalization is a real challenge for these minorities, but it is also a way to promote them.” The Polish professor thinks that dissemination of such programs helps promote customs, fights against stereotypes, calls for respect among communities and integrates the groups into the democracy.
The representative from the Universidad del País Vasco, Josu Amezaga Albizu, dealt with satellite television. There are approximately 160 signals of satellite television that constitute nearly 6,000 TV channels and 3,000 radio stations. Using these channels with other techniques could help change the current cultural spaces and should make us more aware of the effect of the dominance of linguas francas over minority languages that do not have access to satellite television.
Josu Amezaga pointed out that the reasons a minority language and its speaker do not have access to the satellite are “economic, at first glance, but are really political; there are governments who are not interested in them.” According to Josu Amezaga Al-Jazeera is a good example of the benefits of satellite television, which “has allowed for a new space of public opinion to open, although it has also caused censorship of a lot of media by the Bush Administration.”