BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA premieres tonight on PBS at 8 p.m.

“Upward of 120 million people of African descent live in Latin America today,’’ says Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who, even though he is a scholar of African-American history, says he was staggered by the number when he first learned of it.

Africans vs African Americans

Africa is not a country, and Africans generally do not live in trees or hunt game with spears. Nor do they all walk around in the nude among lions and zebras.

African immigrants to the United States say cartoonish caricatures and a Western media penchant for reporting on Africa’s disease, hunger and war — rather than the continent’s successes — trivialize their cultures. They complain they have trouble dispelling the stereotypes once they arrive in the States.