Review: ‘The Emerging Majority: Mexican Americans in Los Angeles’

Channel 9, building on its September vidseries observing National Hispanic Month, returns to demonstrate how the Mexican American has moved into places of strength in L.A. With 40% of L.A. county residents now Latinos, and 70% of that number Mexican Americans, it's time the subject gets such a thorough look.

Channel 9, building on its September vidseries observing National Hispanic Month, returns to demonstrate how the Mexican American has moved into places of strength in L.A. With 40% of L.A. county residents now Latinos, and 70% of that number Mexican Americans, it’s time the subject gets such a thorough look.

Program traces the history of Mexican immigration, legal and illegal, into L.A. county and spotlights activists, journalists, lawyers, actors (Paul Rodriquez in particular) and students. Docu reminds how immigrants pay income and sales taxes, looks at hard-working arrivals — and points out that some 800, 000 immigrants will be legal voters before the end of 1994 thanks to the 1986 amnesty law.

Program notes increase of reps on the L.A. City Council, in the assembly and Congress, on the school board, and looks back at the 1970 Chicano concerns with Vietnam, racism, inferior public education and the lack of officials to help. Now there is that muscle.

The impact on L.A. industry is summarized, including the sad losses of Latino businesses during the 1992 riots. And talents like Vikki Carr had to fight to record in Spanish because her company thought there were no customers. Rodriquez and several others mention that non-Latinos enjoy Mexican cultural activities but are not interested in the artists as persons.

The near-insurrection over casting an Italian actress in a film bio of Frida Kahlo, described in the docu as the “revered Mexican artist” (she was half Hungarian), showed the fervent nationalism among Mexicans, and displays how that carries over into the Mexican American life in L.A.

Family life is tight, education extraordinarily important, pride of being Mexican dominates. Educational, “Emerging Majority” also turns out to be engrossing.

Tech credits are superior.

The Emerging Majority: Mexican Americans in Los Angeles

(Mon. (3), 9-10 p.m. , KCAL-TV)

Production

Taped in So. Calif. by Prime 9 News. Exec producer, Laura Carter; producers, Stephanie Medina, Sylvia Lopez; director, Ron Magdaleno; writers, Carter, Lopez, Medina; art director, Blake Bryant.

Cast

Host: Sylvia Lopez.
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