Remember when Gina Rodríguez wowed us all with her speech at the Golden Globes? She did it again at a recent appearance for Jane the Virgin. You can read the whole Vulture piece here, but we share an excerpt about what she said:
So the industry says ‘let’s hire a Latino,’ and then the Latinos say ‘well, you want a Mexican and I’m Puerto Rican; you want a Guatemalan and I’m from El Salvador; you want a Cuban and I’m Dominican’…We need to have the conversation; if they’re going to put us under one umbrella—now I’m talking to the Latino community in this country; that means your ancestors spoke Spanish, right? That’s what makes you a Latino? If we want to be considered and we want to show and use our power to the fullest, we need to unite…They see us as one community and we need to be one community, because we all share the same struggle. That’s what we do as human beings—we celebrate each other, we celebrate each other’s culture, we celebrate each other’s religion, but we also unite as human beings. Let’s do that, let’s use our power as women, as Latinos, as whatever subculture you identify with, and at the same time celebrate being human.
We agree: no matter what our differences are (and there are plenty, and we are sure some will jump at the whole “Your ancestors spoke Spanish, right?”), there is more than unites us than divides us. Those critics who think that a call for more unity is some massive conspiracy to erase our different past histories are completely wrong. It is quite the opposite. It is about having real conversations about those differences, speaking out against those past injustices (and current one, too) and understanding that that “we need to be one community” for this very simple reason: there is strength in numbers. Nonetheless, it is about never forgetting where you come from either (that is just as important) and understanding that if we fall into the trap of a “divide and conquer” here in the United States, we will never move forward. (Yes, that means all of your Latinos who fall into the false political left-right binary.) We said it four years ago and it still rings true: We all come from different places, but we do share more of a commonality. Is it really that hard to recognize and act on it?
Celebrate what unites us yet continue to lift up the community in whatever you do. It’s not that complicated.
With that said, as much as Rodríguez’s comments will resonate with many, comments like those of her fellow actor Ivonne Coll (“I am proud to put a human face on the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who are here who are not criminals, [who] are hard-working people”), whether said in jest or not, don’t help.
Here’s a thought: stop with the “illegal aliens” talk? That didn’t help and goes against what your colleague said.
We can do better.
We can always do better.