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Don’t overlook Gina Rodriguez’s anti-blackness

Don’t overlook Gina Rodriguez’s anti-blackness

Don’t overlook Gina Rodriguez’s anti-blackness
October 29
11:08 2019

Gina Rodriguez is in hot water once again after she posted a video of her singing along to “Ready or Not” by the Fugees where she full on says the N-word in the song.

Rodriguez has had quite a history of being involved in anti-black scandalsAs you could imagine, the public wasn’t too happy about this. Yes, her ancestors might have been black since she’s Puerto Rican. Sure, her dad might be Afro-Latino.

But if you’re a big name celebrity and are aware of what the word means to black people, and very recently cried your way out of an anti-black scandal, why would you shoot yourself in the foot? 

I was baffled and wondered how it crossed her mind to think it was okay to record it in the first place and then post it on her Instagram story. She skipped over other words in the song but not the one with the most negative connotation. In Rodriguez’s case, this is a much deeper issue of her being anti-black and still joyfully singing the word.

She apologized to the “community of color” in her second apology since her first one apologizing for offending people didn’t suffice. Rodriguez separates herself from the black community but expects people to not be offended by her use of it, even if she did just sing it from a song she enjoys. Instead, she tries to justify her use of it instead of properly apologizing for it.

Being Puerto Rican doesn’t mean she’s accepted any form of blackness in her. Her dad being Afro-Latino shouldn’t warrant her a “pass.” 

People have so much trouble not saying the N-word and for what? There are words that have stopped being said, but there’s so much of an issue with doing away with the N-word apparently. It’s not hard to skip over it. It’s not hard to avoid saying it. But, there’s always this need from non-blacks to find an ounce of justification for using such a weighted word. 

There always seems to be the issue of Latinos freely using the word or believing that it’s okay to use it. Along with the same tired excuse of growing up hearing the word, so the usage is “normalized.” I have a Black dad and a Mexican mom, I grew up in different parts of Dallas hearing the word all the time by both communities. For me, it’s uncomfortable being around Mexican acquaintances who freely say it without missing a beat, meanwhile, I don’t even use the word at all. The word always seems to be used angrily or as an insult when it comes out of their mouths. 

I had a black teacher in high school who advocated against using the word. She told this specifically to her black students. I had a friend who told me that if I didn’t understand the word and the history behind it to not use it. 

Growing up around a community of black people doesn’t give you a pass on saying the N-word, either. People want to be black without being involved in the negative aspects of the black experience. Being on good terms with the community and having them give you an honorary “pass” to use it is ridiculous. 

We grow up and realize there are things we used to say or do that aren’t OK now. We learn to make conscious decisions about things that are wrong. 

Because of her controversial statements in the past, it can come across as coming from a negative place, especially because of the way she incorrectly said the lyrics. Rodriguez is only of African descent when convenient for her. She refers to herself as Latina and her dad as Afro-Latino. Other people say that she is black because she’s Puerto Rican, but has she ever addressed that? No. She mentioned that she saw herself in the black community growing up because there was no Latino representation in the media, but that’s about it.

If you’re not sure if you should be using the N-word or not, don’t use it. If you have a disdain for the black community, don’t use it. It’s that simple. 

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas

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