Damn! If you are a Latino character on the television show “Heroes” you will not live long (unless you are an attractive woman). Maybe I’m fogetting somebody here but it seems that the “death to life” ratio on my favorite hour of sci-fi television is running 3 to 1. That’s 75% dead Latinos to one alive.
We began our series with mister Isaac Mendez, played by Santiago Cabrera. He had the artistic power of being able to paint the future in comic book form. (I love how as of this post, the two characters we have encountered with this power both work in the same graphic style. It seems the power to prognosticate the future via art does not include impressionists or realists or…) Before the season had ended, hermano wasn’t just dead, he was missing his brain.
In season 2 we were introduced to the brother/sister team of Alejandro and Maya Herrera. Played by Shalim Ortiz and Dania Ramirez, respectively, she has a strange power to kill everyone in her proximity when entering an emotional transe and he seemed to have the skill to abate her power. Half way into season 2, he was left dead (via the hand of Sylar) and she remains an active force in superpower land.
[“Heroes” is already carving out new ground when it comes to the use and depiction of people of color on series television. That said, it is not completely free from the classic and limiting stereotypes of people of color on television. An attractive female being cast in a role is not a bad thing; that she remains alive as a character–the only Latino character–isn’t either. But it does it challenge the old? And how about her power? That beauty turns to death when she is emotionally charged. Got it yet? C’mon, I’ll wait for you…there you go! The classic Latina stereotype of being overly (and uncontrollably) emotional just became a superpower.]
Finally, this season we were introduced to Jesse Murphy. Though he is played by the Italian American actor Francis Capra, and though his last name as a character is not “Latino,” Jesse looks like the iconic image of the Chicano gangbanger. And, according to Heroes Interactive, the character is a half Latino (his father is Jess Murphy but his mother is a non-English speaker living in Las Vegas with her children). If you watched last Monday’s episode, you saw Jesse begin the process of literally losing his head.
That’s 3 out of 4 Latinos dead, and that ain’t good.