Opinion: Saturday Night Live's "Jewelry Party" Segment Shines A Light On Bigotry

Lorne Michael's Saturday Night Live's "Jewelry Party" segment shines a light on bigotry.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Our basic assumption is that comedy should be funny, but Saturday Night Live had Cecily Strong, a non-Latina, pretending to act like a Latina stereotype for laughs. see the clip below.  </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>What's the point and where are the laugh lines?  Is Marisol's name a laugh line?  Being from Venezuela?  Speaking with a "Latin" accent?  Being naive? Being an immigrant? Falling for a guy over the internet? Is it the condescension shown by the other non-Latina female characters? </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Why does this segment offend us?  In the history of Saturday Night Live's 39 years on the air, there has never been a Latina cast on the show, there has never been a Latina writer hired on the show.  In fact, there have only been two Latino males hired as cast members:  Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen.  </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Last year, NHFA wrote Lorne Michael the show's executive producer to discuss the lack of Latino inclusion on the show.  This season, there are zero Latinos--male or female--cast members or writers on the show.  This season there have been zero Latino musical guests or hosts.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Before anyone offers any of the following suggestions, let me explain what's wrong with this kind of thinking.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>1.  There aren't any talented Latino or Latina comedians.  And if you listen to Jerry Seinfeld, who cares about diversity.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>There are plenty of up and coming Latinos in New York City, in fact Latinos make up 27.5 percent of the New York City's population.  CBS has an annual comedy showcase directed by Rick Najera and there are definitely Latino comedians in that showcase; SNL has hired several cast members directly from that show case.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>2.  Why don't we just start our own show? Network? </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The goal is inclusion, not isolation.  These shows are important because as you know the alumni from these shows have made it big in films and TV.  It's not just a stepping stone, it's a launching pad for young comics to jettison into the entertainment stratosphere.  You think that's going to come out of youtube?  If you have a public platform, you can use comedy to bring insight and understanding to our community.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>3.  We are all Americans, we shouldn't be trying to distinguish ourselves?  </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>You think they see an American in the character Marisol below?  You think our accents and sun baked skin say: USA?  </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>You think they understand the Mexican American War of 1846-1848, when Alta California and New Mexico were forcibly bought by the U.S. from Mexico for $15 million.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Do you think they understand that the 1917 Jones Act granted U.S. citizenship to all Puerto Ricans.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Do you think they recall 1960-62, CIA Operation Pedro Pan that fooled Cuban parents out of fear into sending over 14,000 of their children to 35 US states.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Do you think they understand the 1979-1990s, Carter/Reagan Administrations' support of the Salvadoran government and Nicaraguan contras that resulted in an influx of Central American Refugees to the U.S.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Friends, we not only belong here, we have a history that is not told or understood.  We need to hold the entertainment industry accountable for their misdeeds.  Lorne Michael needs to be held accountable, Saturday Night Live, NBC, Comcast and all the folks who refuse to meet with us and who continue to perpetuate the false images of a "Venezuelan Marisol," by a non-Latino, like Cecily Strong, who is not playing a comedic role, but is simply insulting an entire community of more than 50 million strong. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Felix Sanchez<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
@[204844905820:274:National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts]</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>SNL Video Clip:  http://bit.ly/1nCfV2e
Felix Sanchez
National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts
 
Our basic assumption is that comedy should be funny, but Saturday Night Live had Cecily Strong, a non-Latina, pretending to act like a Latina stereotype for laughs. (see the clip below).
What’s the point and where are the laugh lines?  Is Marisol’s name a laugh line?  Being from Venezuela?  Speaking with a “Latin” accent?  Being naive? Being an immigrant? Falling for a guy over the internet? Is it the condescension shown by the other non-Latina female characters?
Why does this segment offend us?  In the history of Saturday Night Live’s 39 years on the air, there has never been a Latina cast on the show, there has never been a Latina writer hired on the show.  In fact, there have only been two Latino males hired as cast members:  Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen.
Last year, NHFA wrote Lorne Michaels, the show’s executive producer, to discuss the lack of Latino inclusion on the show.  This season, there are zero Latinos–male or female–cast members or writers on the show.  This season there have been zero Latino musical guests or hosts.
Before anyone offers any of the following suggestions, let me explain what’s wrong with this kind of thinking.
1.  There aren’t any talented Latino or Latina comedians.  And if you listen to Jerry Seinfeld, who cares about diversity.
There are plenty of up and coming Latinos in New York City, in fact Latinos make up 27.5 percent of the New York City’s population.  CBS has an annual comedy showcase directed by Rick Najera and there are definitely Latino comedians in that showcase; SNL has hired several cast members directly from that showcase.
2.  Why don’t we just start our own show? Network?
The goal is inclusion, not isolation.  These shows are important because as you know the alumni from these shows have made it big in films and TV.  It’s not just a stepping stone, it’s a launching pad for young comics to jettison into the entertainment stratosphere.  You think that’s going to come out of youtube?  If you have a public platform, you can use comedy to bring insight and understanding to our community.
3.  We are all Americans, we shouldn’t be trying to distinguish ourselves?
You think they see an American in the character Marisol below?  You think our accents and sun baked skin say: USA?
You think they understand the Mexican American War of 1846-1848, when Alta California and New Mexico were forcibly bought by the U.S. from Mexico for $15 million.
Do you think they understand that the 1917 Jones Act granted U.S. citizenship to all Puerto Ricans?
Do you think they recall 1960-62, CIA Operation Pedro Pan that fooled Cuban parents out of fear into sending over 14,000 of their children to 35 US states?
Do you think they understand the 1979-1990s, Carter/Reagan Administrations’ support of the Salvadoran government and Nicaraguan contras that resulted in an influx of Central American Refugees to the U.S.?
Friends, we not only belong here, we have a history that is not told or understood.  We need to hold the entertainment industry accountable for their misdeeds.  Lorne Michaels needs to be held accountable, Saturday Night Live, NBC, Comcast and all the folks who refuse to meet with us and who continue to perpetuate the false images of a “Venezuelan Marisol,” by a non-Latino, like Cecily Strong, who is not playing a comedic role, but is simply insulting an entire community of more than 50 million strong.
 

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3 thoughts on “Opinion: Saturday Night Live's "Jewelry Party" Segment Shines A Light On Bigotry

  1. This was one of the worst examples of stereotyping Latinos I have seen in SNL for a long time. First the African=American community had to complain to SNL producers to include a black cast member, now they make fun of a Latina with a TERRIBLE accent acting stupid. Please Lorne Michaels what are you thinking? I’ve been watching this show since it started years ago and it only gets worse Don’t know why I even bother anymore.

  2. Señor Sánchez: Go ahead, please, keep on perpetuating the lie that Cuban parents separated from their offspring in the early 1960s exclusively because of a baseless CIA-fabricated rumor. In the final analysis, you’re just as bad as the people you’re criticizing by spreading a mischaracterization of the facts. Undisputedly, the so-called “Patria Potestad” rumor turned out to be true in the long run, because although the government did not take children away from their parents permanently, it did send them away from home to the countryside an other urban areas for long periods of time to be indoctrinated; but more importantly yet, it took away from the parents the right to educate their children with values that differed from those of imposed by the government under penalty of law (Read the rights and obligations of parents under the Cuban Constitution of 1976). Lastly, Operation Pedro Pan, consisting of 14,000 children, pales in comparison with the nearly 100,000 Cuban children and youths who were spread all over the Eastern European communist block countries between 1960 and 1985 to be indoctrinated in Marxism-Leninism (see: Mette Louise Berg, Cuba’s Diasporic Children of the Revolution, Fonds D’Analyse Des Sociétés Politiques, Paris, 2006). By the way, thousands of these youths refused to go back to Cuba with the collapse of communism in 1989 and were living illegally without papers in Spain and other western European nations as late as 2005. They were also shunned by Cuba’s foreign service personnel in these countries. Faced with the bleak prospect of losing their children to the imperatives and dictates of Castro’s totalitarian communist revolution, what were Cuban parents to do?

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