Experiencing Interruptions?

My America

  • James Barbosa
  • James Barbosa
  • James Barbosa
  • James Barbosa
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student, Television
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 5, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - James Barbosa

Being a U.S Latinx American citizen, I am always represented as an ethnic other. It feels like no matter what I do like obey the law, speak English in public, eat an American breakfast, or even joining the military stills limits me from acquiring the full American status. As a child of five in a single-parent home and growing up in the welfare system, I had a hard time with my identity as an American. I grew up in Linden, New Jersey and in the early 1990’s the demographics of the area where primarily White and Polish. Hardly did I encounter anyone that spoke Spanish or was of Latino heritage, expect in my household. I grew up in a Colombian household, primarily women; my mother, grandmother, and three sisters (my little brother came years later). I had no one to relate to, which alone created a lot of anxiety because the kids I went to school with had both parents. Meanwhile, my family had no father figure, and at times, my classmates would use the word “spic” as a way to make fun of me. They would ask me if I knew what it meant, and I would reply with a "no". In response, they would say that is what you are. This was my first encounter feeling like an ethnic other. I could not understand why I was not considered to be American like my classmates. Since I could not find identity within my surroundings, I turned to television to train myself into becoming an American. I remember watching a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial, with a white child eating breakfast; a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with milk. On the side, there was scrambled eggs and bacon, and a glass of orange juice with a carton of Tropicana orange juice on top of the kitchen counter. After watching this commercial, I did my best to replicate this style of breakfast the following morning. I thought by doing this was a way of achieving that status of being an American. Little did I know that in the social world that I was part of, I was being told that I wasn't. As I grew older, I kind of ignored it and let my feelings become dormant to the fact that my social world did not see me as an American even though I did believe I was.

It wasn't until 2009, at the age of 24, that I joined the United States Army and began wearing the uniform where my social world considered me an American. However, it was only when I was deployed to Afghanistan from May 2011- May 2012, that I was called by the local population American, first and foremost as an identity. I was confused and based on what I experienced, I started to question what it is considered to be an American in the United States. Is American only white? Why did I have to travel to Afghanistan to be called an American? Did I not have the right to be considered an American in the United States? Was this based on my cultural practices? What it because I spoke Spanish in public? I was curious to find out what makes someone American. Unfortunately, these questions have always existed and have been faced by several individuals including my community, and around the country. I believe that studying the dynamics, and systems of why some are considered Americans while others are not, might not ever give me definitive answers, they will give me a language to describe the unjust world I and several members of my community are in; with the hope to create a new uniform like the one I was given in the United States Army.

Currently, I am acquiring an education in the Media, Culture, Communication Masters program at New York University ( My undergrad was completely here too). My objective at NYU is to not only gain knowledge but also assist me to enter a career where I can create a new uniform that helps change the definition of what American means in mainstream media and my social world.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

While a student of the New York University Masters program. I would like to expand my research on and to understand the broader dynamics of how the U.S Latinx population came to be so under-represented within the mainstream. I want to develop a language where I can communicate to the dormant or misinformed population about why Lopez, Quinteros, Barbosa, Rodriguez, Perez, Colòn's do not have to be synonymous with drug cartels, banditos, or the hyper-sexualization of women only. I want to communicate that there is a platform for the US Latino populations, that are not limited and can become medical professionals, attorney’s, Television personalities, producers, and writers to name a few. I want to learn how to become a resource for the US Latinx population that were born in the United States, raised on American costumes, speak English and Spanish and yet still feel like an ethnic other as supposed to feeling American.