Hi y’all! Welcome to this edition of the Mosaic E-digest blog! I hope you’re having a great March so far! Today, with events that have happened in the entertainment industry, I think it is important to have a discussion about solidarity in POC communities.
About a month ago, a Mexican-American comedian named George Lopez took the stage at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix for a stand up performance. As a long time fan of George Lopez’s combined with the feeling of nostalgia I experience when watching the TV show George Lopez, I was excited to watch his stand up performance. I was shocked when I heard in his stand up
performance that he made a joke dragging black people. The ‘joke’ was: “There’s still two rules in the f**king Latino family. “Don’t marry somebody black, and don’t park in front of our house.” A woman offended, proceeds to give George Lopez the middle finger and attempts to leave, where George Lopez then begins cursing her out and telling her to “sit her ass back down” as well as a slew of derogatory slurs. George Lopez has defended his banter in the name of comedy. The video of the event can be seen here.
My initial gut reaction was to scream “NO!” at the top of my lungs. How could this man of color, who made it big in the world of comedy despite its lack of diversity, say something so awful and bigoted?!
Unfortunately, I’ve heard this sentiment in most non black communities. Many non black people say that they fear what their parents would say or more specifically, their disapproval. I was just hurt to see a man who I liked so much say such an awful thing. Reading the Youtube comments comments, it also seemed that many black viewers were questioning their own allyship with the Latinx community because of his comment. This made me just as uncomfortable.
I understand that I cannot excuse people of my own race who have also offended other communities of color. In 2016, during the Oscars Chris Rock did a bit where he brought out three Asian children. The joke in question was following how the Oscars failed to include any people of color to be nominated. In the bit Chris Rock did, he brought out the three Asian children to play the “finest bankers” from the Pricewaterhouse Coopers. He then introduced the names of these children (Ming Zhu, Bao Ling, and David Moskowitz) and proceeded to say “if you were offended by this joke, then you can tweet about it on the phone they also made.” Rock playing up two stereotypes about Asian Americans was met with offense and disgust. Celebrities also voiced their concerns with not only the act, but with the Oscars themselves for not stopping this ahead of time.
What bothers me about these actions of these comedians is that it shows the troubling power dynamic between minorities in the US. That we as people of color in this country feel that they need to fight amongst each other so we can “be on top”. The reality is we would only be knocked down by those in power once we get there. Recently, on y trip to Leadership Today, I learned a concept called “Horizontal Oppression”. What this basically means is when POCs have internalized oppression and are prejudiced and discriminatory towards each other, it goes nowhere. It’s not helping anyone and the oppression simply stays on the horizontal line that POCs in the US are on. Nobody moves up and it only helps keep one group down. This type of behavior is never good nor helpful. If we want to fight against racism, POCs have to work together to dismantle systems of injustice, not encourage them. Don’t let these systems divide us, but instead let’s fight them together. Thanks for reading this addition of the Mosaic E-digest!