Many of you may know Gina Rodriguez as the star of Jane the Virgin. While I had never watched the show, I had heard great things about it and was really interested in supporting a popular show with a Latinx lead. However, she’s started to say a few things that have really pissed me off.
There was the time she and her Smallfoot co-star Yara Shahidi did an interview together. The interview told Yara that she was an inspiration to Black woman, and Rodriguez decided to jump in with “all women.” Thankfully the interviewer corrected her saying yes for all but still more so for Black women, and he’s right. Black women are among one of the most disrespected groups in America. It’s nice to have such a young, outspoken, confident, role model like Yara. We need that. She’s also Iranian and very much embraces both parts of her identity.
And of course, when Black Panther was released it was a huge moment for the Black community. A major franchise like Marvel putting out a movie with a Black lead, majority Black cast, located in Africa……see for those of you who don’t know, when your setting is in Africa, your cast should be primarily Black. I know that’s a hard concept for some people……The way that African garb, tradition and language were woven into this movie was huge for us.
And then here comes Gina Rodriguez. Saying, “Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women but where are the Latinos?! Asking for a friend…”
Here’s the issue with her statement. First and foremost, we just got Black Panther and your initial reaction is to take it away from us? There was no showing support for the movie, just her “what about me?” comment.
Second, to answer her question: Zoe Saldana who plays Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy/Avengers is Puerto Rican and Dominican. Tessa Thompson who plays Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnorak has Panamanian and Mexican roots. While I absolutely agree that this is nowhere near enough, it is a start. Don’t say you want representation and then ignore it when it’s right in front of your face.
Third, many…..MANY Latinx people also identify as Black. Especially given the way that race and nationality are defined. Ever notice how when you fill out demographic information, you check Black, Caucasian, Asian/Pacific Islander, etc. in one section and there’s a separate section for whether you identify as Hispanic/Latinx? That’s because the first group mentioned defines race, and second is nationality (I can explain this further another time). Anyway, she has pretty much decided that intersectionality doesn’t matter to her which is pretty fucking ironic because as a Puerto Rican, she probably has some African roots too.
The bottom line is, Gina Rodriguez need to stop trying to step on Black people in order to advance Latinx people. You can do both. You can support both. You need to support both because many people are both.