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

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Gina Rodriguez poses in ~ a screening because that the film "Someone Great" in Los Angeles on April 17, 2019.Mario Anzuoni / Reuters file
It didn’t take it me very long to figure out which “Gina” the tweets on mine timeline to be referencing Tuesday. Gina Rodriguez, known for the titular duty on the CW’s beloved “Jane the Virgin,” has a history of, shall we say, missing the point when it involves conversations around race despite the truth that she is of Puerto Rican heritage. Given this context, it take it me every one of three minute to locate the now-deleted Instagram video where Rodriguez raps along (I’m gift generous) come the Fugees" top “Ready or Not” and — prevent me if you heard this one prior to — claims the N-word.

I am not interested in litigating who is “allowed” to use the N-word; it’s a conversation we have had for years, and also I honestly don’t understand how anyone could still be perplexed right below in 2019. However I to be a tiny shocked that Rodriguez posted the video with her singing the word and also didn’t have a friend who texted her automatically with, “Oh no, baby, what is you doing?” (The video stayed up for what felt choose days, though it was only a couple of hours.)


There is a risk in assuming every minorities space the same, in assuming the battles of someone that is Latinx are similar to the battles of a black person.


For the most part, the black color folks upset on Twitter were annoyed the she had actually made it harder to root because that her ongoing success. Rodriguez is an extremely talented actress — in less qualified hands, Jane could be slapstick and silly, however she grounds the duty with charm and also warmth. The irritation only intensified after she initial apology: “I am i m really sorry if i offended anyone by singing along to The Fugees, to a tune I love the I grew up on,” she stated in a video clip that has additionally now to be deleted. It to be a classic “I’m i m really sorry you to be offended” apology, the type where you deserve to feel the shaping hand of a publicist.


A couple of hours later, Rodriguez do a slightly much better effort the still no hit the mark. A new text write-up on her Instagram read in part: “I thoughtlessly sang follow me to the text of a favorite song, and even worse, i posted it.” She walk on to say that words she stated “carries a heritage of hurt and pain” and also assures readers the she feels “deeply protective and responsible come the neighborhood of color,” vowing to carry out better.

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The expression “Community that color” is concurrently the silliest thing I have ever before heard and also exactly the problem with Gina Rodriguez’s expertise of race. Refusing to say “black people” or “the black community” once apologizing for making use of the N-word is, at best, an i can not qualify to know what she is apologizing because that and, in ~ worst, a intentionally misleading tactic come brush beside the ache she caused. Unfortunately, the is additionally not uncommon. While it can be tempting to 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 ar of color” is funny because it is so perfect meaningless. “The community” leader the leader to believe there is one supercommunity that Gina is referencing and also is herself a component of. However the follow-up “of color” leader one come ask: What color? the is her inability to especially name the human being who to be hurt by her thoughtless use of the N-word — black world — that makes the 2nd apology ring for this reason hollow. Over there is just one “community of color” the was in history labeled that way, that had the word hurled at them because that centuries as they to be enslaved, beaten and killed.

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There is a danger in assuming all minorities are the same, in suspect the battles of someone who is Latino are similar to the battles of a black color person. Together language has shifted and also evolved, we have actually moved toward using person-first terminology; instead of speak “homeless people,” for instance, we say “people enduring homelessness.” wherein we once can have provided “nonwhite people” or “minorities,” indigenous that specify populations by the negative, there has been a press to usage “people the color.” however the trouble with the recent uptick in the usage of that expression is the it’s imprecise, and also speakers can elide the intricacy inherent in conversations about race.


When you are talking around a team of people who room of miscellaneous races, saying “people the color” renders sense. To refer to one details black human being as a “person that color,” however, means that the speaker has efficiently erased the distinctive struggles of the separation, personal, instance in prior of them. The a expression that white folks use to feel more comfortable in conversations around race; together Rachelle Hampton wrote in Slate previously this year, “Suggesting the newsrooms or corporate boards need to hire more people of color when there room specifically no Latino world or southeast Asians ~ above the payroll suggests that any nonwhite person will do, that we space all the same and bring the same experience come the table.” The absence of specificity is the problem.


Cast your mind earlier to the Sundance film festival luncheon in 2017 that celebrated women in Hollywood. Salma Hayek, the mexico American actress recognized for she Oscar-nominated function as Frida Kahlo, to be talking around the prestige of rental women yet urged her fellow attendees no “to loss into victimization.” Jessica Willams that “The daily Show” and “2 Dope Queens” had actually a various take. Gift black and a mrs wasn’t something she feel victimized by per se, however it also wasn’t something she felt she can ignore — in big part since she knew the others wouldn’t.

Hayek’s i can not qualify to check out Williams’ point, and her call for women to adopt the same perspective she has, was her refusing to see exactly how the distinctions in their experiences together “people of color” matter. Hayek has a various experience together a light-skinned mexican American woman. Williams’ endure is no Hayek’s, and also that’s fine: They gain to have various experiences! What’s no fine is when we try to group the 2 together and also flatten the details experiences of one in ~ the price of another.

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Of course, i am not saying that the methods in i m sorry discussions around race acquire simplified come one “community of color” is the error of Gina Rodriguez. I don’t think her thoughtless video is the cause of antiblack sentiment amongst communities of color. But I carry out think the her inability to particularly name the ar she has actually offended originates from an eagerness to assume all “communities that color” are the same. After ~ all, it would be much simpler to drown the job-related of white dominance if the were true. However we aren’t over there yet, and also to erase the blackness that the civilization to who she expected to to apologize is to erase the heritage of the N-word.


When it involves apologies, ns think she fan it to the “community that color” she alleges to support to do the bare minimum. It do not do it be so straightforward for who to speak the N-word, yet impossible for them come say “black.”


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