The Five Biggest Fictional Latinos in American Pop Culture

With the passage of time Hispanic Heritage Month (currently taking place) has become increasingly less observed.  This is actually more than likely a positive because it represents how Hispanic heritage has actually transcended unto the mainstream culture.  

There may be no better manner by which to honor Hispanic heritage and acknowledge Hispanic cultural presence in the United States than to list the five biggest fictional Latinos in American pop culture.  Thus I have compiled such a list.  It was a lot more complicated than originally considered.  There were many figures that came to mind.  Unfortunately quite a few did not make the cut. 

Not one of these people is a real life person and as such are most suitable to show how the image of the Latino is projected in America.    

Presenting in ascending order, American pop culture’s greatest fictional Hispanics…

5) Ricky Ricardo

On I Love Lucy the Cuban night club owner added a unique personal palette to a then very monochromatic television world. His heavy accent was an object of endearment and to this day is imitated with much gusto. His dignified conga drum playing introduced America to Afro-Latino rhythms. Additionally Ricky and Lucy had the first significant cross-ethnic relationship on American television.  It was done so seamlessly no one noticed. Thus a Latino as head of household would be introduced to generations.

4) Betty Suarez

New York has had many television series to tell her many tales.  However, unlike say Friends or Sex and the City, Ugly Betty told the story about the great socioeconomic and ethnic divides of New York through the experiences of cultural commuter Betty crossing through the worlds of the Queens and Manhattan boroughs.  An unconventional beauty, Mexican American Betty was the Mary Tyler Moore of the Millennial Generation.

3) Tony Montana

If The Godfather was a liberal morality tale on unfettered American capitalism, Scarface was its libertine gospel counterpart.  Cuban refugee Montana serves as the story’s hero, a man who really makes the world his.  The exploits of Montana made the movie a classic of the gangster genre.  For better or worse, Montana’s outlaw brazenness greatly contributed to molding American hip hop culture.

2) Dora

In the fantasy adventure world where the pan-Latino Dora lives, all things are limitless and bilingual. Where cartoons typically fail at being both vehicles of entertainment and education for children watching, Dora the Explorer excels. Credit the star of the show for that.  Very young children across America have likely grown up learning two languages because of this spunky Hispanic girl. 

1) Zorro

The set up was of a classic swashbuckler in the tradition of an Alexander Dumas novel but Zorro was a Spanish Californian and consequently an American hero not unlike the real-life Davie Crockett. Crossing over into just about every artistic medium, Zorro would become a figure of vigilante justice that would directly inspire the creation of Batman. Perhaps no other fictional character has been portrayed in as many films, television series and stage shows and in so many languages all around the world as Zorro.


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