Week 7

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“Performers of partial Latino ancestry such as Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson thus are at times pulled into the wave of popular interest, gaining acting and promotional opportunities in the midst of the Mulatto Millennium, at least in part because of their ethnically ambiguous appearance…As such they are possibly portraying Latinos but just as likely are meant to be interpreted as Filipino, Samoan, half African American or Asian, or simply light-skinned “ethnic” types. While is it could be argued that this amounts to increased casting opportunities for Latino actors and actresses and thus should be interpreted as a progressive development, it is important to examine what happens to the representation of Latinidad, or Latinness, in the process.” (Mary Beltran, Mixed Race in Latinowood, pg. 253)

This reading mentioned celebrities like Jessica Alba, but I think Zoe Saldana should also be a topic of interest. Recently. she’s been in recent controversy over her casting as Nina Simone and people were upset at the “black-Latina” fulfilling the role. What’s unfair is that Zoe Saldana is often asked to identify herself by a racial or ethnic label, sometimes being asked to choose between Hispanic roots and black heritage. She’s not black enough for this Nina Simone role but as mentioned in the quote above, she doesn’t have an “ethically ambiguous appearance” to be accepted in Latino roles either. This becomes troublesome for black-Latina actresses is an industry that favors light-skinned and white appearances Latina actresses, such as Jessica Alba or Jennifer Lopez. The last part of the quote I chose also mentions “what happens to the representation of Latinidad, or Latinness,” I believe it’s starting to revolve around skin color again. Skin color, the usual characteristic people use in order to identify them and essentially, racially profile.

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