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National Geographic Channel website promotes online game featuring Latinos as the “bad guys”

LatinaLista — When you think of the National Geographic Channel (NGC), you think high-quality, innovative and original. You don’t think sensationalism, uninspired and cheesy but a new series starting Sunday on the National Geographic channel titled Border Wars shows that even a prestigious organization like National Geographic is easy prey for a story idea that revolves around “tracking, catching and deporting” undocumented immigrants.

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The camera crew of the weekly series was given special access to go on duty with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers along the Arizona/Mexico border as they use every means at their disposal — from high-tech stealth planes to basic wilderness skills — to track, catch and deport illegal immigrants. We are there as officers and agents race to save illegal immigrants from possible death in desert heat, uncover a shocking smuggling strategy involving children and find a cache of narcotics that sets a new record for a single seizure

Overall, the series itself has merit if it shows how things are for these border agents as equally as it does for the undocumented immigrants trying to enter the country to work and the consequences that befall them — either heat stroke in the desert or intimidation, rape, blackmail and coercion by coyotes or organized drug and human trafficking gangs.

In fact, the series would have a lot more merit if the NGC didn’t insist on letting visitors to the site play “Defend the Border.”

While the premise of the game is to get a feel for what a border agent experiences on a daily basis, what is happening with the game is that it is reinforcing a negative perception among Americans, who don’t know Latinos, that Hispanics, mainly Mexicans, are never up to any good.

By playing a game where the “bad guys” are Hispanic, the NGC is doing a disservice to Latino citizens everywhere by propagating the idea on a weekly basis that all Latinos must have drug contraband in their cars or are illegally here or are guilty of being guilty because they are Latino.

Advice to NGC, keep the series and lose the game!

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