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Dora the Explorer’s link to Immigration Debate; Do you agree?

<!--:en-->Dora the Explorer’s link to Immigration Debate; Do you agree?<!--:-->

They are popular searches on Google, “dora the explorer illegal immigrant” and “dora the explorer mug shot.” You may have seen her mug shot that has been making the rounds online, on Facebook and in immigration debates. Dora’s alleged  crime? “Illegal Border Crossing Resisting Arrest.”

No matter your opinion, according to a recent Associated Press article, experts say the pictures and the rhetoric surrounding them online, in newspapers and at public rallies, reveal some Americans’ attitudes about race, immigrants and where some of immigration reform debate may be headed.

Our team checked and more people have liked the Facebook page “Dora the Explorer is soo an Illegal Immigrant…” (52,273 likes) than the official Facebook community page for Dora the Explorer with only 31,759 likes.

What does Dora the Explorer represent to you? Should children’s characters be brought into a serious debate? Don’t forget others like Tinky Winky and Bert and Ernie who have been thrown into debates for allegedly being gay. Leave a comment and don’t forget to join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Click below to see her mug shot and read additional excerpts of the article:

“Dora is kind of like a blank screen onto which people can project their thoughts and feelings about Latinos,” said Erynn Masi de Casanova, a sociology professor at the University of Cincinnati. “They feel like they can say negative things because she’s only a cartoon character.”

The depictions, whether through irony or protest, are being used by those who oppose and support Arizona’s law. On one hand she’s a likable symbol who many can relate to, and at the same time, perceived as an outsider who doesn’t belong anywhere.

Many of the Dora images assume the Latina character is an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

But that’s where it gets complicated.

Representatives from Nickelodeon declined to comment on Dora’s background, and her place of birth or citizenship have never been clear.” She has brown skin, dark hair and some experts who have studied the show say she speaks Spanish with an American accent.

“She’s always been ambiguously constructed,” said Angharad Valdivia, who teaches media studies at the University of Illinois and has explored the issue. “In the U.S. the way we understand race is about putting people in categories and we’re uncomfortable with people we can’t put into categories.”

Dora lives in an unidentified location with pyramids that suggest Mexico, but also tropical elements such as palm trees and her friends, Isa the iguana and Boots the monkey. Does that mean she’s from South America or Florida?

Many immigrant families, particularly Latinos, see Dora as a symbol of freedom, someone to relate to. She’s a young girl with brown skin who lives in a borderless world and can travel anywhere she wants without consequence.

“It’s symbolic of the way many Latinos live ambiguously in the United States,” said Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez who teaches gender studies at the University of Arizona. “It’s a shorthand for claiming our lives in the United States, especially for children.”

At the same time, Guidotti-Hernandez says the ambiguity and negative imagery makes Dora susceptible to being used by those who support the Arizona law.

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    Jon Byington manages the editorial and business operations for Jon is also on Google +