By Jesse Lopez
Growing up in a large Mexican family, I would frequently watch something on Telemundo or Univision, like a “Novelas” with an older family member. I never saw the same commercials that I would see when I watched American English-speaking channels. You often see commercials in Spanish like Pepto-Bismol or Tylenol but not Apoquel a medication for dogs with irritated skin. These types of commercials appear five times a day on my most watched news network but cannot be found anywhere online in a Spanish version. So, I guess Big Pharma thinks all Hispanic people do not care if our dog has an itch, and White people do.
The Latino population makes up a large portion of the United States. About an estimated 60 million residents equaling 18% of our overall population according to the most recent Census conducted in 2018. The Black population comes in at 13.4% of the overall US population, shadowed by the (non-Hispanic) white people that manage the majority of this country equaling 59.7% of our overall US population. If you watch TV or internet videos in the US for over an hour and a half period, chances are high that you’ll end up watching some type of pharmaceutical commercial interrupting your selected programming. We’ve all seen a borderline inappropriate Cialis or Viagra commercial while watching TV with a friend or a loved one like “Nana”, creating a few awkward moments of silence. Big Pharma loves to advertise, and it seems white people are their target demographic.
If you look up “pharmaceutical commercials in Spanish” online, there are a limited number of choices. For example, if you look up commercials for a medication for post-menopausal osteoporosis named Prolia you’ll find several options in English, each aimed at different white demographics. Unfortunately, that same marketing team will decide to make one commercial in Spanish. Then refuse to show one Hispanic woman because I guess Big Pharma thinks there is only one basic type of Mexican female, who are not as socially evolved or diverse as white women. The same version of the commercial and same stock footage is used in the Vietnams, Korean, and Chinese versions as well. So, it’s kind of make sense that there are so much confusion and disinformation in our nation’s Latino communities surrounding the Corona Virus vaccine and the entire pandemic as a whole. No one’s speaking to them. English speaking citizens have Dr. Fauci, who do the Hispanics people have?
The fears many in the black community harbor around the Covid-19 vaccine steaming from horrible racist medical practices that took place during the Tuskegee project have scared the black community from 1932 to our present-day is influencing many of today’s younger Hispanic population. The message is being spread throughout their homes, and the neighborhood’s just as fast as Coronavirus is. The older generations of Hispanic citizens depend on the younger generations for help with technology like cellphones, computers, and smart TVs. So, the influence of black culture is now becoming present in today’s Hispanic communities. This current younger Latino generation is keen on this modern hip-hop pop culture and is heavily influenced by it. We see this profound influence in new Latino music artists like Bad Bunny, Cardi B, and even that rat Tekashi 69.
The problem is, when we single out certain cultures from medical advancements and do not provide fact over opinion, we leave many of the less educated and vivid imaginers to allow their minds to wander and become easily predisposed to anything that seems legit. As a society, we should stop misleading and misguiding those who need the helping hand the most. My colleague Chib said in a recent staff meeting, “even though we are living in the age of information, we are also living in the era of disinformation”. We the people need to hold a certain responsibility to one another and stop letting this disinformation be thought of as education.