The actress's phrase “community the color” is concurrently the silliest thing ever before uttered and exactly the problem with her understanding of race.

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Gina Rodriguez poses in ~ a screening for the movie "Someone Great" in Los Angeles top top April 17, 2019.Mario Anzuoni / Reuters file
It didn’t take it me an extremely long to figure out i m sorry “Gina” the tweets on mine timeline to be referencing Tuesday. Gina Rodriguez, well-known for the titular duty on the CW’s lovely “Jane the Virgin,” has a background of, shall we say, missing the allude when it pertains to conversations about race despite the truth that she is of Puerto Rican heritage. Given this context, it take it me every one of three minute to situate the now-deleted Instagram video where Rodriguez raps follow me (I’m being generous) to the Fugees" iconic “Ready or Not” and — stop me if you heard this one before — states the N-word.

I am not interested in litigating who is “allowed” to use the N-word; it’s a conversation us have had for years, and also I honestly don’t understand exactly how anyone could still be confused right right here in 2019. But I to be a small shocked that Rodriguez posted the video with her singing the word and didn’t have actually a friend who texted her instantly with, “Oh no, baby, what is girlfriend doing?” (The video stayed up because that what felt choose days, despite it was only a few hours.)


There is a danger in assuming all minorities room the same, in assuming the struggles of someone who is Latinx are comparable to the struggles of a black color person.


For the most part, the black folks uncomfortable on Twitter were annoyed that she had made the harder to root for her continued success. Rodriguez is an extremely talented actress — in less capable hands, Jane can be slapstick and silly, however she grounds the function with charm and warmth. The irritation just intensified after her initial apology: “I am i m really sorry if ns offended anyone by singing along to The Fugees, to a tune I love the I prospered up on,” she stated in a video clip that has likewise now been deleted. It was a classic “I’m sorry you to be offended” apology, the kind where you deserve to feel the shaping hand of a publicist.


A couple of hours later, Rodriguez make a slightly far better effort that still no hit the mark. A new text post on her Instagram review in part: “I thoughtlessly sang along to the lyrics of a favorite song, and even worse, ns posted it.” She goes on come say that words she claimed “carries a heritage of hurt and also pain” and also assures readers that she feels “deeply protective and responsible come the community of color,” vowing to do better.

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The expression “Community the color” is concurrently the silliest thing I have ever heard and exactly the trouble with Gina Rodriguez’s understanding of race. Refusing to say “black people” or “the black color community” once apologizing for utilizing the N-word is, at best, an inability to recognize what she is apologizing for and, at worst, a intentionally misleading tactic come brush aside the ache she caused. Unfortunately, the is additionally not uncommon. While it have the right to be tempting come want world of color to work-related together against white supremacy and racism, antiblack racism is persistent in every communities, not simply white ones.

The phrase “the neighborhood of color” is funny due to the fact that it is so perfect meaningless. “The community” leads the leader to believe there is one supercommunity the Gina is referencing and also is herself a part of. However the follow-up “of color” leads one come ask: What color? it is her inability to especially name the world who were hurt by she thoughtless use of the N-word — black human being — that makes the 2nd apology ring for this reason hollow. There is only one “community the color” the was in the history labeled the way, that had actually the word hurled at them for centuries as they to be enslaved, beaten and killed.

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There is a hazard in assuming every minorities are the same, in suspect the struggles of someone that is Latino are similar to the battles of a black person. As language has actually shifted and evolved, we have actually moved towards using person-first terminology; rather of saying “homeless people,” because that instance, we say “people experiencing homelessness.” where we once can have offered “nonwhite people” or “minorities,” native that define populations by the negative, there has actually been a push to usage “people the color.” however the problem with the recent uptick in the usage of that expression is that it’s imprecise, and also speakers deserve to elide the intricacy inherent in conversations around race.


When you are talking about a team of civilization who are of various races, saying “people that color” makes sense. To refer to one particular black human as a “person the color,” however, method that the speaker has efficiently erased the distinct struggles of the separation, personal, instance in prior of them. It’s a phrase that white folks use to feel more comfortable in conversations about race; as Rachelle Hampton wrote in Slate previously this year, “Suggesting that newsrooms or this firm boards should hire an ext people of shade when there room specifically no Latino civilization or south east Asians ~ above the payroll suggests that any nonwhite human being will do, the we space all the same and also bring the exact same experience to the table.” The absence of specificity is the problem.


Cast your mind earlier to the Sundance movie festival luncheon in 2017 that celebrated women in Hollywood. Salma Hayek, the mexican American actress well-known for her Oscar-nominated duty as Frida Kahlo, to be talking around the prominence of hiring women yet urged her fellow attendees not “to fall into victimization.” Jessica Willams of “The daily Show” and “2 Dope Queens” had actually a different take. Gift black and also a woman wasn’t something she feeling victimized by per se, yet it likewise wasn’t miscellaneous she felt she could ignore — in large part due to the fact that she knew the others wouldn’t.

Hayek’s inability to watch Williams’ point, and her contact for women to adopt the same mindset she has, was her refusing come see just how the differences in your experiences as “people the color” matter. Hayek has a various experience together a light-skinned mexico American woman. Williams’ endure is not Hayek’s, and also that’s fine: They get to have different experiences! What’s not fine is when we shot to team the two together and flatten the specific experiences that one in ~ the expense of another.

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Of course, ns am no saying the the ways in i beg your pardon discussions around race acquire simplified come one “community the color” is the error of Gina Rodriguez. Ns don’t think she thoughtless video clip is the reason of antiblack sentiment among communities of color. Yet I perform think that her inability to specifically name the neighborhood she has actually offended comes from an eagerness to assume all “communities that color” space the same. After all, it would be much less complicated to drown the occupational of white dominance if that were true. But we aren’t over there yet, and also to erase the blackness the the civilization to whom she expected to to apologize is to erase the tradition of the N-word.


When it concerns apologies, i think she owes it to the “community the color” she alleges to assistance to execute the ceiling minimum. It shouldn’t be so basic for someone to to speak the N-word, yet impossible for them to say “black.”


Christina Tucker is one half of the “Unfriendly black color Hotties,” a podcast around the intersection that race, gender and sexuality in greater education, pop society and politics. She is additionally a rotating fourth chair top top NPR’s "Pop society Happy Hour" and also the society media manager because that the “Food 4 Thot” podcast.