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Latin American/Latino Television Panel

In 2016, Ira Madison III called the reality show Big Brother “a weird microcosm of the American experience itself and how we’re all represented by the media. White men are heroes, sometimes white women can be, and everyone else is just there.” About to approach it’s 20th season, with an upcoming first time American celebrity season, Big Brother may be an international hit, beginning in the Netherlands and franchised in over 54 countries, but it provides a true insight into our current American culture. Simultaneously, while Big Brother has established itself as an American summer mainstay, there has been relatively little academic writing on the subject. Instead, most of the writing has taken place across gossip sites like TMZ, and the intermediate writings of academic celebrity writers, such as Madison's. In Madison’s extensive discussion, he specifically focuses on race, a seemingly obvious subject, given the multiple displays of racism that have occurred across the seasons: usually highlighted by audience members who watch the live feeds and TMZ, rarely seen on the televised episodes of the show (with the exception being season 15 and, to an extent, season 19). Madison mentions the raced mocking of Asian contestants and the vilification of black contestants (also known as Houseguests), but completely misses the representation (or lack thereof) of Latinx and Native American contestants. Now, with the first Latinx win (and only second POC win), we can review how Latinidad worked for and against season 19 winner, Josh Martinez and contextualize past Latinx Houseguests and how they fit in the microcosm of America seen through the 80 camera lenses of the Big Brother House.