What is the voice of Los Vendidos?
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A representative of of "Teatro Campesino",Los Vendidosis a one-act play by Luis (Miguel) Valdez which treats the complex and delicate topics of labeling and stereotyping, under the perspective of Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans.
In the play, a woman named Ms. Jimenez, also known as "The Secretary", is a lady who works for the office of Governor Reagan. Her mission is to go to Honest Sancho's Used Lot shop to find a "Mexican prototype" sample (represented as a model, or a robot) which can be programmed well-enough to earn Reagan the Latino vote.
Just when this sounds politically incorrect enough, we realize that Ms. Jimenez is, herself, a Chicana who has been so indoctrinated in the mainstream American way that she does not even realize to which extent her requests are blatantly racist and discriminating.
The voice of the play is rampant with sarcasm and innuendos, not only in the language used, but also in the way that descriptions are used to covey onto the audience the myriad of stereotypical assumptions that many people have about Mexicans.
This is a powerful stylistic device, since Valdez aims to mirror back to the audience every joke, comment, or belief that he has heard people say about Mexicans and Mexican Americans. Therefore, the voice of the play is represented through Ms. Jimenez's ignorant and belittling point of view, hence characterizing every single person who has ever been like Ms. Jimenez.
However, the use of humor appeases all animosity. The scenario and setting are as impossible as they are ridiculous. Each model that is presented to Ms. Jimenez is exaggerated in terms of mannerisms, use of language, and behavior. This is a direct hit to the audience, for it shows our own use of exaggeration when we choose to be prejudiced against the behaviors and mannerisms of other races.
Therefore, the theme of racial stereotyping is expressed throughout the play in a voice that reflects the feelings and ignorance of anyone who has ever been prejudiced against Mexicans, or against any other race of which they really know very little.
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