Netflix Inspires with Cultural Identity in “On My Block”

There are not many television shows that have accurate representations of Jewish people. Image courtesy of freestocks.org via Unsplash.

The show “On My Block” which aired in 2018 explored diversity and culture of many underrepresented populations in the United States. The plot follows a group of four friends, Monse, Ruby, Jamal and Cesar. They each come from culturally different backgrounds but are the best of friends. The show’s cast inlcludes: Sierra CapriJason GenaoBrett Gray, Diego Tinoco, and Jessica Marie Garcia

Some identities within the Netflix show are Multiracial and Latinx. On the surface, these are regular identities but as the show digs deeper, it shows the effects of the cultural differences between the characters within these identities.

Two characters that have completely opposite cultural backgrounds are Monse and Olivia. Monse’s character is multiracial and has her latinx family and her white family. Olivia is the daughter of two immigrants and has moved to U.S. without them in hopes of a better life.

Monse’s Culture

Sierra Capri’s character, Monse is multiracial. She identifies as Black, Latinx and White in the show. Monse always grew up in an underfunded area going to public school. She was always around gangs and didn’t know life outside of that. While visiting her mom’s side of the family (who is white) she had a culture shock. All-of-a-sudden she was around white kids her age and she noticed the differences of how they lived and what they believed compared to her friends of different backgrounds.

Many multiracial people feel this way when it comes to being mixed and identifying with two different types of cultures.

In an interview with “Vulture” Capri spoke on her character saying, “Monse was thrown into her mother’s new life, and just having to deal with all of these things at one time kind of took her for a spin. I don’t think she knew how to handle it.”

Olivia’s Culture

Olivia was a character in the first season and came to the U.S. to get a better life for herself. She is the daughter of immigrants and has to Facetime her parents in order to stay in contact because they are still in Mexico. She struggled with the cultural differences between the U.S. and Mexico and through that she created representation of what Hispanic communities really go through.

In one of the episodes, the group is trying to plan a Quinceanera for her because she is turning 15 and that is a tradition. This representation really hit some of the viewers.

Yuridia Lozano is a fourth year Social Work student at Colorado State University. She is a fan of “On My Block” because her culture was finally being represented.

“I like the Quinceanera scene a lot because it shows the work that families have to put in to make those events happen, and how significant that is in our culture” Lozano says. “To be able to see something that actually represents my culture and have it be accurate on a show that’s mainstream is crazy to me. We’re finally more than just housekeepers.”


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