Gina Rodriguez Made a Mistake, But She’s Not Anti-Black
Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez is under fire for singing the n-word in an Instagram story.
!?!?!?? how is she so stupid pic.twitter.com/yZLg5KGtH9
— marioblanquista88 (@bIcncas) October 15, 2019
Hours later, Rodriguez made a video apologizing for it and then later a written statement on her profile.
The African-American community was not accepting either the initial or the second apology that Rodriguez made. Many of them were quick to connect this event with her old problematic behavior.
Why Rogriguez Is Accused of Anti-Black
The primary reason people are quick to dismiss the apology of Rogriguez is because of her rather controversial past when it comes to the topic of racism.
In 2017, Jane the Virgin actress received backlash for making an anti-black comment about the Marvel movie Black Panther. In a now-deleted tweet she stated:
Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women but where are the Latinos?! Asking for a friend…
Last year in September, she made another controversial comment whilst promoting a movie Smallfoot. Yara Shahidi and Gina Rodriguez were discussing the movie with a website Blogxilla. The website stated that Shahidi was an inspiration to ‘so many Black women’.
But Rogriguez cut in and stated,
‘So many women‘.
Though, the Blogxilla journalist explained their point of view:
For black women, we need people on a whole ‘another level
The critics took this incident to state that Gina Rodriguez was trying to co-opt a conversation regarding black identity.
Then in November of 2019, the actress made an incorrect assumption in a roundtable discussion of diversity and pay equality in Hollywood. Gina Rodriguez said that black and Asian actresses receive higher pay than Latina actresses. This was later found to be false because at the time Sofia Vergara, a Latina actress on a hit sitcom Modern Family, was the highest-paid actress on TV. While only one black actress Kerry Washington managed to make the list.
Gina Rodriguez Associates With the African American Community
Whenever she made the statements that were deemed anti-black, Rogriguez has been quick to apologize. After the roundtable controversy, the actress made public and tearful apology regarding the incident:
The black community was the only community I looked towards growing up. We didn’t have many Latino shows, and the black community made me feel like I was seen. To get [called] anti-black is [like] saying I’m anti-family. My father is dark-skinned, he’s Afro-Latino. My cousins — Puerto Ricans are African, Taino, and Spaniard, and it’s in my blood. So that was devastating to me. And I know my heart. I know what I meant. And I really wish we weren’t living in a culture where we’re clickbait, because I’ve never said anything controversial about anybody.
The African-American community feels especially hurt at these anti-black sentiments and ‘tone-deaf’ apologies.
While Rodriguez should not have interjected conversations about Black representation in Hollywood with Latinx conversations, she does not have an agenda to diminish an entire race and ethnicity.
Rodriguez’ Understands Marginalization
Her being from a minority group herself, the Latinx community, means that she is aware of the harm racism can have. For this reason, she’s made countless efforts to empower the Latinx community time and time again.
During the border crisis in the United States of America, the actress has spread support to Latinx families being displaced due to racist policies implemented.
She’s a firm believer of empowering minority communities:
Unification is the only way in which Latinos can rise in this country positively and successfully. We must protect those that are being hurt on the border, that are being hurt all over our country, no matter what ethnicity they are, no matter what culture they come from. Latinos have the opportunity to unite and be very powerful.
Her production company ‘I Can and I Will’, focuses on giving the Latinx community more roles and representation in the competitive world of Hollywood:
I was twelve years old and I did not see myself on the screen…I created those spaces myself. And I will continue to create those places so other young men and women of Latino descent can have a place to play and realize we are in every facet of life, just like everyone else. We feel, just like everyone else. And the human story is just that, human.
It’s clear that Gina Rodriguez knows the importance of empowering a misrepresented and marginalized community.
Rodriguez Did Make a Mistake, But She’s Learning
Of course, this doesn’t mean that she cannot make mistakes and unintentionally say words that hurt another marginalized community. But it must be noted that she’s not denying that she made a mistake in her apologies nor is she claiming to be the victim:
Whatever consequences I face for my actions today, none will be more hurtful than the personal remorse I feel.
Furthermore, she acknowledged the hurt her words caused by stating:
the word I sang carries with it a legacy of hurt and pain that I cannot even imagine
In no way is she not owning up to her mistake. She is apologetic about her anti-black statements and she is willing to learn and correct her errors in judgment:
a much deserved lesson … I have some serious learning and growing to do and I am so deeply sorry for the pain I have caused.
Everyone can hold a different opinion of Rodriguez and the incident. But it can’t be denied that she’s not trying hard to learn from her mistakes.