The status of the minorities on daytime

 Soap Opera Digest, 1989

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How accurately do soap operas represent the diverse ethnic and radical population of the United States ? Do their characters exist in a white middle or upper-class vacuum ? Do they perpetuate damaging, dated stereotypes about minorities - including people with disabilities ? A good way to measure a character's importance is to look at their home. Many minor characters are only seen in the workplace.

Santa Barbara

The show's hero, Cruz Castillo (A Martinez) is of Mexican descent, and he is married to the daughter of a well-established upper-class white family. This is a first for daytime. In addition, Cruz's family has been seen and integrated into a number of plots. His heritage has not been made an issue, but it has not been swept under the carpet, either. When Cruz took custody of his baby son, Spanish words of endearment were used to comfort the child.

There is currently a hot-headed black cop, Boswell (Russel Curry), whose methods are at odds with Cruz's approach to the law. Not too long ago, the show presented a story about a teenage girl, who was raised by her white mother, coping with the discovery that her father was a black inmate.

Last year, Cain (Scott Jaeck) believed he was reunited with his grown Amerasian daughter. Extra and under-fives are racially mixed.

But Santa Barbara is still haunted by the ghosts of the Andrade family, Santana's clan. When the show first aired, much was made of the fact that for the first time a soap was introducing a core family that was Hispanic. Unfortunately, the Andrades have been written off Santa Barbara.