Another award show, another opportunity to make Sofía Vergara’s accented English the butt of the joke.
At Sunday night’s Golden Globes, the Colombian star introduced this year’s Misses Golden Globes, Sylvester Stallone’s daughters Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet. During her speech, however, the Modern Family actress deliberately mispronounced "annual" as "anal."
Apparently, hearing a native Spanish-speaker stumble on a word we all know she can pronounce is funny because, well, racism is just hilarious – except it’s not.
Currently, we are living in a time when Spanish accents are viewed as intrinsically criminal. In Nevada, a xenophobic local called the police on some construction workers because he believed their accents somehow meant they were undocumented. In Colorado, a family was harassed for speaking Spanish and later for speaking English with an accent.
Across the country, Latinxs, and other non-English natives, are denied opportunities, experience verbal and physical attacks, and are viewed with suspicion because of their accented English, problems that are expected to swell once Donald Trump takes office.
Even more, Vergara, who, like other Latina Hollywood stars, has been constructed as a sex symbol, didn’t just mispronounce any word. She turned an entirely sexless moment erotic by confusing “annual” for “anal,” because she’s just so smokin’ hot she couldn’t help herself.
It’s not the first time Vergara was turned into a sexual object at an award show for entertainment, either. At the 2014 Emmys, the colombiana stood on a rotating pedestal as the president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences stood beside her talking about the organization’s commitment to diversity. “If that’s how you do it in American television, OK,” Vergara said, “jokingly.”
Here’s the thing: racism and sexism aren’t funny, and it’s straight-up lazy to continue giving an actress as successful as Vergara the same role – especially when no one, except maybe the unimaginative white, male writers, is laughing anymore.
Do better, Golden Globes.