Lots of political statements were made at the Golden Globes last night, with some of our favorite stars using their platforms to talk about issues happening around the world that are important to them. One statement, in particular, was not as overt as say, a stirring speech, but it was just as powerful: when Diego Luna spoke Spanish during the presentation. It was thrilling to watch, especially after Meryl Streep’s inspiring speech on how Hollywood is comprised of people from all over the world.
We all know by now how important representation in film is — whether it be women or people of color. And the mere fact that Diego Luna kept his accent in Rogue One has been important for so many of us. It was badass to see him embracing his culture and identity completely unabashedly. We love how proud he is of his heritage and know it means so much to other Latinos both in Mexico and here in the states. Especially since so often we are both underrepresented and vilified.
We weren’t alone in our thrill of seeing Diego bust out his Spanish, as Twitter was all aflutter with joy and pride!
We need as many positive Latino role models as we can get, and Diego has certainly done his part, both on screen and in real life.
Conversely, it was such a bummer to see Sofia Vergara roll out yet another tired, racist skit, making her accent the butt of the joke. It’s difficult to understand why she participates in a skit that degrades her and that is ultimately just not funny. It’s the kind of joke that punches down, and only serves to humiliate her and other people of color who have accents. As many on Twitter pointed out, she deserves better, as do we all!
And the fact of the matter is, we know better by now. This isn’t Lucy making a joke at Ricky Ricardo’s expense in the 1950s about his accent. Sofia needs to stop being complicit in these hackneyed “jokes” that only put down an entire culture.
Which isn’t to say the blame is entirely on her, as we can only imagine that this is the only type of thing she is constantly offered. It’s a reflection of how far the industry truly has to go on this issue. And it’s frustrating for people of color because it constantly feels like we’re going one step forward then two steps back.
We have to keep pushing the industry to hold them accountable, to give us more characters like the ones Diego Luna plays. Instead of less tired, racist jokes. There’s just too much at stake for us all to let a small “joke” like that roll off our backs. When there is a large swath of the country that still questions our humanity, our right to live in this country, then there’s no room here for anything other than respect.