In a constantly shifting U.S. immigration landscape, Immigrants and Immigration: A Guide for Entertainment Professionals is written as a resource for writers, producers, directors, and creators who want to tell stories that are both accurate and humanizing about immigrants in our country today.
We are living in an unprecedented cultural moment in this country. While we’re becoming demographically more diverse, “Americans have been clustering themselves into cultural bubbles just as they have clustered in political bubbles,” says The New York Times reporter Josh Katz, with our TV preferences reflecting just that. According a 2014 study by MTV and PRRI, 91% of White people in America do not have meaningful relationships with non-White people. This means that careless media stories about immigrants, Muslims, and people of color help shape the broader cultural narrative in powerful and dangerous ways. Entertainment and pop culture are often the lenses through which we see the world, and Hollywood has the power to tell stories that help us understand how to feel about other cultures, traditions, and people with differing world views from our own. In this current cultural moment, bridges between people of different backgrounds and cultures are far more likely to be torn down than constructed. Pop culture has the opportunity to build those bridges and be the connector to drive positive change in our society. While much has changed in the past year, one thing is certain: anti-immigrant rhetoric and misinformation still dominate the news cycle. With new and added topics like family separation, climate change refugees and detention and mass incarceration, along with case studies from current television programs, this updated Media Reference Guide is more relevant than ever. We hope you will find it not only useful, but also inspiring, as we work toward a more inclusive future together.