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Why casting Sofia Vergara to play drug queenpin Griselda Blanco amounts to "whitewashing"

  • "White Hollywood execs (so basically, nearly all Hollywood execs) need to understand once and for goddamned all that Latine is not a race, and that a sexy tan, accent and brown eyes don’t make you a Person and Latine of Color," says Alberto Cox Délano. "Latin American whiteness originates from a different matrix and implies a whole other level of racialized privilege. That’s something everyone in Latin America, especially if you’re white, will learn through microaggressions and osmosis, regardless if you were raised in a progressive household or in an Opus Dei private school. I needed the Maddowing before to explain why the announcement that Sofía Vergara will play Griselda Blanco in a Netflix miniseries isn’t just a case of the miscast, it is a case of whitewashing. Because Sofía Vergara is a white Latina woman, one of the most accomplished, certainly, but white. Raised in a cattle-ranching family, which in Latin America, means well-off and white. Griselda Blanco was born into poverty, a brown Colombian woman. It’s important you understand that throughout Latin America, poverty is heavily if not overwhelmingly racialized. But regardless of where each of these women was born and raised, the important thing is Latino actors of Color, which represent the vast majority of the population, have been systematically erased from the film and TV industry in Latin America. Look at any Telenovela. That is also the case in the US Industry, however, for reasons I don’t think I can explain correctly. Latina actresses of Color have managed to reach levels of stardom in Hollywood that would’ve been impossible in Telemundo/Univisión-land. That makes this case of whitewashing doubly egregious because there are plenty of Latinas of Color in Hollywood or transitioning into that market that would’ve been much more suitable to play Griselda Blanco, a meaty role."

    TOPICS: Sofia Vergara, Netflix, Griselda, Griselda Blanco, Latinx TV