Is “Glee” Racist?

Don’t get me wrong—I love FOX’s musical comedy, Glee. One of my favorite shows on TV these days, it’s funny, sweet, heartwarming and the music is brilliant! But there is one thing I don’t like about the show and that’s the way it portrays Latinas.

A couple of months ago, when the news broke at this year’s Golden Globes that Glee creator, Ryan Murphy wanted Jennifer Lopez to play a cafeteria lunch lady on an upcoming episode, my initial reaction was that it was a funny idea to have someone as glamorous as La Lopez put on an apron and a hairnet while serving up mashed potatoes to the kids at McKinley high school.

But then I remembered that Glee’s cast is about 90% White, and that the only other Latina featured on the show is Santana Lopez (played by Naya Rivera), who’s given nothing to do on the show besides skank it up with football players.

Last week, Glee announced that it was looking for a fifty-something Hispanic actress to play the recurring role of Amelda, a Latina maid who would be cleaning up after Sue Sylvestor. That’s when I started to wonder if maybe the show's producers only think of Latinas as maids, background singers and cafeteria ladies.

Over the next few months, Glee will welcome a parade of guest stars, including Neil Patrick Harris and Molly Shannon. Harris will play Will Schuester’s (Matthew Morrison) rival at the high school, while Shannon will rival Sue Sylvestor. So, why is the biggest Latin star on the planet relegated to the role of lunch lady?

Here’s an idea: Why not make Harris and Shannon the lunch lady and the maid, and give J-Lo the better role of Will or Sue’s nemesis? After all, Lopez is a much bigger star than Shannon will ever be.

I hope that this show, which I love very much, starts to be more aware of how its casting choices make people feel. Latinas are more than maids and cafeteria ladies.

What do you think of Glee’s decision to cast Latinas in these roles? Do you think the show is type-casting?

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