Latinas have had to overcome surmount obstacles throughout our history, especially when it comes to the world of Hollywood. Latinas have had to change their names to avoid being type-casted and sometimes change their Latina features to fight for better roles. Which is why the viral video of acting coach Lisa Kahn telling one of her students to change her name to "Rosa Ramirez" and "go to the headshot shop and tell them you’re Latin. Wear something f*cking red. Wear some f*cking sparkly earrings" has caused massive uproar.
The video was recorded by an anonymous student and sent to Hyper RPG host Dani Fernandez.
This is the other part that was sent to me.
I am shaking.
Our culture is not something for white people to “try on” for fun.
This is beyond upsetting and happens at agencies and studios.
This has to stop.
This doesn’t fix anything. This hurts us pic.twitter.com/VhIcOdobmw
— Dani Fernandez (@msdanifernandez) February 25, 2018
This prejudiced mindset helps drive the harmful narrative that Latinas are "stealing jobs" and has helped the aggressive push for a hate-filled wall. One Day At A Time showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett called out the illusion that being a POC automatically gains you an entryway in Hollywood.
It’s pilot season & I’m hearing the lie again. “Gloria, I would have gotten the part but they are going Latin.”
People, listen to FACTS, Latinx make up 5.8% of all speaking roles on TV. Including co-star, guest star & series regulars.
We are not taking your roles.
— Gloria Calderón Kellett (@everythingloria) February 27, 2018
To assume that successful Latina actresses are only successful because they earned a studio a diversity point is utterly disrespectful and a lazy attempt to discredit someone's hard work out of sheer envy. Many successful Latinas have been called the 'affirmative action' hire one too many times across a myriad of industries. In a world where whitening your resume boosts your chances of landing an interview, Khan's comments are the highest form of ignorance. Also, let's not forget that it was only two years ago that #OscarsSoWhite started due to the lack of recognition being given to POC in Hollywood. While there has been progress, there is still much more that needs to be done.
POC have had to fight until they were bruised and sometimes broken in order to find medium success in an industry that would rather have stereotypes on screen for laughs instead of authentic in-depth POC characters. Khan telling her Jewish student to "wear something red" and some "sparkling earrings" is a shallow stereotype that has been used tirelessly.
Khan has since issued an apology via her Twitter.
— Lesly Kahn (@leslykahn) February 26, 2018
Whether sincere or not, it is important to focus not on those who discriminate, but on ways to end discrimination.