Open Letter to Tamra Barney and Bravo for “Beaner” Comments on Housewives Episode

We received the following open letter from writer/comedian Cesar Zamora about the recent episode of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” where Tamra Barney says that a trip to a Mexican restaurant brought out the “inner beaner” of Eddie Judge, her Latino fianceé.

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Here is what Cesar sent to Bravo, the network that broadcasts the show:

I personally will never define myself by the word “beaner” and have never met a Mexican or Latino that would. I do consider myself Latino and I’m very proud of it. I’ve never been called a beaner and have never really faced any real racial tension. But a recent incident on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County made me react in a way that surprised even me.

I won’t go into detailed specifics of the incident, needless to say Tamra Barney used the word “beaner” and it really got my attention. I was shocked and offended and just as shocked at how I was even capable of being offended by a person whose opinion means less to me than ants to a foot. But I was offended and that’s okay.

I’m not a fan of the show but I do watch it with my girlfriend(who is white by the way) and I’ll admit it was a borderline guilty pleasure. Obviously it was more about having a bonding experience with my girlfriend than actually considering the show valid entertainment. So, for it to get to me is more than just the face value of a word. It goes way beyond that, it points to a way bigger issue, and I may be reaching but this is an “opinion” based letter.

What really gets to me is that she said the word and that’s that, nobody seemed to care. Sure Mexicans cared but the mainstream media, not so much. If she had casually said “nigger” or “faggot”, even in the cutesy context she’s hiding behind, Bravo would not have aired the footage, and if it had those word would’ve been bleeped. Not only that but the use of those words would’ve gotten National media coverage, slow news day or not. But that’s how much we rate in the scheme of things, it’s just “beaner”.

As a comedian maybe I shouldn’t be this sensitive, I use offensive language sometimes on stage and off and even broach taboo subjects from time to time. Should I be this touchy? I know that when she said the word, they way she said it, and in the context that she said it, I was dumbstruck and hurt. Bravo let that happen, Bravo made that decision and judgement call and should (but probably won’t) be held accountable. Tamra may have said it but I don’t think she puts much thought into what comes out of her mouth or into anything really.

Bravo has made no statements, hasn’t apologized and probably won’t. Tamra of course has done what could only have been expected of her, she justified her actions and publicly stated she won’t apologize for them. Good for her, why break character and make a good decision? Not her style.

Whether or not this points to a greater issue of discrimination against Latinos may be a huge leap on my part but I can’t control how I feel. How I feel means little to a lot of people, but it matters to me. I doubt if I’ll even reach that many people at all with this statement but if this country defends Tamra Barney’s right to be a moron on television then it surely won’t have a problem with me being offended by her. Maybe I will be heard, maybe Bravo will issue a statement, and maybe even bleep the word in future airings. Doubtful but if you’ve read this far maybe my reward is that you agree with me, maybe.

Sincerely,

Cesar Zamora

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