Our favorite girl Gina Rodriguez, from the hit show Jane The Virgin, recently shared photos from her People En Espanol photoshoot on Instagram. In one of her posts, Rodriguez wrote a sweet message of thanks to the magazine (in Spanish) for alway supporting her. She captioned the post: “Gracias @peopleenespanol por todo el apoyo. Por tener fe en mi carrera y elevar la comunidad Latina . Por favor de recoger su copia!!! Thank you to @peopleenespanol for believing in my journey. For putting faith behind my career and uplifting the many hard working and successful Latinos in this country. Pick up for copy in just a few days!!!!”
Although there was nothing wrong with Rodriguez’s gesture, a few aborrecedores (haters) decided to mock her Spanish writing skills, looks and even told her she was not “Latino enough.” When her post became flooded with hurtful comments, Rodriguez decided to tactfully respond to the negativity and address the “intraracial Latino racism” she experienced:
“You know what saddens my heart, is when you try and celebrate an accomplishment with those that have helped you achieve it and no matter what, someone, anyone, has something negative to say. Whether it was from the way my toes curled under to the way I typed my spanish. We desire to project our own insecurities and hatred on another. When did we decide social media was for hating, for putting others down rather than lifting them up. I refuse to participate in that kind of world. Before you write a comment today on anyone’s picture or anyone’s page ask yourself would you want others to say that about yourself? What am I getting out of being mean to another person I have never met? Yesterday I shared my joy for the cover of @peopleenespanol and I was blown away at the immediate hate projected on my page. My question to you today is this, do you know the power you have in this world and do you desire to use it for good? I do. #NoToKeyboardCourage”
Although Rodriguez focused on responding to cyber-bullying in her post, I think it is also important to address the prejudice of those who believe there is only one way to represent a cultures. Like Rodriguez, I too, am a first-generation child of immigrant parents. I am fairly knowledgeable of my cultural dialect and customs but occasionally I come across a member of the “heritage police” who will tell me I am not Caribbean or Guyanese enough because I was not born there, don’t wear enough gold or eat enough rice. Although these are silly examples, the issue is very real. And, interestingly enough, these same people are often offended when someone doesn’t reveal their cultural background when in predominantly White spaces or in positions in power.
By Rodriguez exposing intraracial racism with the Latino community, she reveals how many don’t know the complexity of the Spanish language. Though all Latin American countries speak Spanish, there are different dialects due to location, slavery and indigenous culture. But of course, if her trolls knew that, they too, would be “enough.”