Latinos in the media are almost non existent.
It's uh it's hard to say because we're now more than 16% of the
But we're less than 2% of the images that we see on film and television
Let's begin with everyone if you would and let's start off
with your name and nationality.
My name is Carlos Santana.
But sometimes they mistake me for George Lopez.
But uh they used to think I was Geraldo Rivera but uh really
Pleasure to have you here with us.
Tell me, tell me a little bit about your childhood.
Um childhood was incredible because of my uh uh ability to
be with my great grandparents.
My grandparents, my parents, my siblings had a brother and
a sister and we all lived uh in one house and uh wasn't a very
It's really uh a wonderful time.
We had everything we needed.
We were in Boyle Heights on first in Indiana, right there in
And it became a really um probably the most extraordinary
understanding of my existence because of the fact that uh
the diversity was total.
We live right next door to a, um, an Apache family.
And then, uh that was to the right of us as you're looking at
my front door to the right then to the left of us was a, um, a Mexican
family and they had uh 14 kids and uh right across the street
was a Japanese American family.
They had uh three kids and then right up the street used to end
on first street, East Berlin.
And on top of First Street, it was a hill and on the hill there
was two homes, one of them was um orthodox Russian orthodox
And they were really extraordinary because they dressed
They always wore white cossacks, white pants, white shoes
They had, they were albino kind of people.
They had white hair with white, white skin and there was about
four of them in that family, plus the mother and the father
And then right next door to them in the same driveway to go up
He uh a a drive, the same driveway would go up to the other house
So one driveway for two houses and on the other house was uh
an african-american family and they were um extraordinary
They are actually so pristinely beautifully dark that they
They were almost blue in, in their color.
It was so beautiful and they were African Americans and they
And then uh right below their house was the, which was uh the
little store that was right in the front.
And then to the right of that store, a little market owned by
uh the Pacheco family was all the way to the corner of Lorena
and first street was a uh Chinese store.
They own the store in the Chinese, owned the store on the corner
And then if you were going to the left of the, on the corner was
So in a matter of, you know, maybe 100 yards of, of everybody
that was, you know, six or seven nationalities, indigenous
Asians, Africans, Europeans and uh Latinos, there was um
every, every Wednesday or Tuesday morning, seven o'clock
that would be the uh Jehovah Witnesses selling the or giving
the Watch Tower away at the corner of cheese on first street
And um La Gloria, the uh was right on the corner and it's still
It's still one of the finest tortilla makers in all the United
If not in North America, it's called La Gloria.
And they, they producing.
So I've seen their tortillas in New York.
I've seen it all over the country and they're really good.
And um so it was a, it was an incredible, incredible what I call
It was a um where it was never a melting pot.
No one ever lost their identity.
You know, I always said that you know, and I, I couldn't understand
what was interesting about our place is that we were a salad
bowl where the onion stayed, the onion, the tomato stayed
the tomato, the olives stayed the olive, the, you know, lettuce
stayed lettuce and, you know, on top of it was a Russian dressing
or French dressing, you know, or Italian dressing and it was
all mixed up and delicious salad of culture.
Soon as I crossed over the first street bridge into downtown
Los Angeles and got into West L A, I found the salad was still
there, but the olives lived in South Central, the onion lived
in Palisades, you know, the Latinos lived in Pacoima and they
all lived in different parts of the plate, but nobody lived
And uh we were the only place Boyle Heights right there where
we all mixed and molded from, you know, I was born in uh I'm a
you know, baby boomer.
So I was born in 47.
So it was a very, very beautiful existence and uh much different
than anybody and any stories that I've heard about what diversity
really is all about.
And uh so for us, I mean, there was Jews, there was Catholics
there was, we were raised first, we were American Baptists
the very first religion that I knew of was a Baptist.
My uh great grandparents were Baptists.
And uh so I went to Baptist church for a long time till about
And then my father said, uh we should, we should go to the Catholic
church because I'm Catholic.
So we went to the Catholic church and we went in there and we
sat down and then we stood up and then we sat down, then we stood
up and then we kneeled down and uh the priest was talking in
So I don't know how many people in that audience at San Alfonso
are, would know Latin.
But, you know, we sat there and, you know, I didn't know what
Nobody knew what he was saying.
Then we, you know, did the side of the cross and we left and um
in Baptist church, we used to go from oh seven o'clock in the
morning, we would arrive, my, my great grandfather was a custodial
keeper of the church.
He had the keys to the church and he would open and close it.
So we'd go in there and he'd open the church up and we'd walk
in with him and I was four or five years old and we make sure all
the seats were up and we'd clean the, the, the, you know, the
the carpet and then we'd make sure that all the books were
set in uh in the uh on the chairs and the seats, those hymn, hymn
And um then we'd get all the church all fixed up and open the
windows and, and get everything ready.
And then about nine o'clock people would, at 8 30 people started
to come by nine o'clock, the service started and, uh, it was
Spanish, uh, fire and brimstone.
I mean, it was real Baptist fire and brimstone.
But in Spanish and man, it was intense people speaking in tongues
and was really an experience and we'd go until about one o'clock
and then at one o'clock we'd break for lunch and then we'd all
go into the main dining hall, huge dining hall where everybody
in the church, 100 and 10 people, 100 and 50 people would go
A bunch of kids running around would go and eat and they would
make big vats huge, huge.
I mean, the, this big, easily they would make.