Social media becomes a powder keg after Antonio Banderas was called a man "of color" in the nominations for the Oscars
Some media described the protagonist of " Pain and Glory " as the only actor of color to be nominated for an Oscar. Can he be considered a Latino Spaniard?
They had to rectify and that's what they did, but social media won't forgive. It happened after the usual criticism of the lack of diversity in the nominations for the 2020 Oscars, when some media such as 'Vanity Fair' and 'Deadline', in their eagerness to globalize, wrote that only two actors "of color" entered the roster: the African-American actress Cynthia Erivo and Spanish Antonio Banderas. The result was an avalanche of comments on Twitter from Spanish Internet users, who, according to El País, described the U.S. press as "racist" and "hillbilly."
The controversy brought us all a slight hint of the past MTV Awards, where Rosalía triumphed as "best Latin performer," prompting a heated debate over whether or not a Spanish artist, being European, can be considered Latin.
The response was resounding. "No." Because, of course, her roots are not Latin American, even though she shares a common language.
An Internet user wrote on Twitter:
"In the United States, they included Antonio Banderas in the group of people of color nominated for an Oscar. They do not consider him white, because he is Spanish. What a rare obsession they have with Mediterranean pigmentation." While the Spanish writer Maruja Torres joked: "What strikes me most about Antonio Banderas being considered a "colored" candidate for the Oscars is that they think Pedro Almodóvar is white."
En Estados Unidos incluyeron a Antonio Banderas en el grupo de personas de color nominadas al Óscar. No lo consideran blanco, porque es Español. Qué rara obsesión con la pigmentación mediterránea tienen.
— Oscar Contardo (@OscarContardo) January 15, 2020
A mí lo que más me extraña de lo de Antonio Banderas considerado candidato “de color” a los Oscar es que crean que Pedro Almodóvar es blanco
— Maruja Torres (@MistralS) January 14, 2020
However, for Fordham University sociologist and professor Clara Rodriguez, an ethnicity specialist, there is one basic question that only you can answer: "What are you?
"Race is a social construct that varies depending on where a person grows up and the country they live in," she told El País.
"Ricky Martin is not brown and identifies himself as a person of color because of his Puerto Rican origin."
Thus, the only person who could be outraged or proud as a person "of color" is Banderas himself, since race is subjective, according to ethnicity experts. This is in spite of the political weight of ethnic labels and the historical struggle for recognition of the particularities of each racial minority, which for a long time were included in the category of "non-whites" and that was enough to discriminate against them.
The irony is that, in trying to criticize the lack of diversity of the Oscars, they have achieved the opposite: to sound racist and exclusionary.
The person writing this traced their ancestors back to Brazil. Can I be labeled a Latina? How far should we dig in search of roots? Why, instead of helping us to forge community and see in all of us that which unites us, does it serve to create labels and divide us?
As Malcolm X said, and as professor Ramon A. Gutierrez from the University of Chicago used to quote him, "The idea of race in the United States is like the Cadillac brand, there is a new model every year, but the discrimination continues."