I remember the first time I saw you onscreen; it was the first season of Jane the Virgin and though a few episodes behind I decided to finally dive in. The show grabbed me by my heartstrings immediately. The reality of seeing a beautiful brown woman leading a TV show on a major network was a bit overwhelming, in the most beautiful way. I sat in my living room and cried as you won your first Golden Globe, following your journey has been such an inspiring experience. As an aspiring Mexican screenwriter, you make the possibility that my projects will get made extremely real.
The thing is, I want to support every single project you release, I want to celebrate every single creative endeavor you make but you are making it extremely difficult. A few times now, you have made anti-black remarks and though I don’t believe they are coming from a malicious place, I do think they deserve to be acknowledged.
I saw your interview on Sway’s radio show, I witnessed the way you broke down and (again) dismissed the very real problem with the things you say. I think the most problematic thing about the interview was when you said that white women and asian women weren’t the ones upset with you, which again misses the point: you didn’t offend white or asian women. You cannot dismiss the pain of one community by reminding them that they were the only ones offended. You can mention your heart and your “true” intentions a thousand times but unfortunately, your actions continue to speak louder.
It isn’t difficult to celebrate the representation of other marginalized groups without making it about you; because a win for some, is a step in the right direction for all. You forgot this when you asked about LATINX superheroes after Black Panther was released and you forgot this when you dismissed an interviewer’s praise of Yara Shahidi by interrupting and saying that she was an inspiration to all women when he meant to black women.
We are all learning here, I don’t have all the answers (some would say that I have very little answers) but I can hear the ignorance in your statements. You said in Sway’s interview how we shouldn’t be comparing who is more oppressed, but is that not what you are doing by comparing how much black women make as opposed to asian and latin women? If we are fighting for equality across the board, then maybe actively lift up the Afro-Latinx community, maybe celebrate the victories of the black community and maybe stop dismissing people’s pain by saying they misunderstood what you meant.
I wish you would take a minute from your pain to see how hurtful your words have been. This is coming from a fellow brown girl who wishes nothing but success for you. I wish you would step out of your way for a minute to see that your comments have had a pattern and your lack of acknowledging that is detrimental to the progress you are attempting to make.
While we’re here, you are starring in Miss Bala, a remake based on the 2011 Mexican film; should the role not have gone to a Mexican actress? Latinx actors are not interchangeable and though you’re extremely talented maybe use some of your activism to give roles to someone who is of the right ethnicity.
In closing, I just need to say: do better.