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As the veil began lifting, I started to see that award shows are an integral cog in a misogynistic media machine driven by capitalism. And it started to make me sick.

When I was young and an aspiring actress all I wanted was to have my work honored at an awards show one day. This fairy tale was part self-care, an escape from a dysfunctional home life as well as the difficulties of being a biracial Third Culture Kid constantly negotiating worlds. It was also part revenge against people who bullied me and told me I’d never be worth anything. More importantly than all that, fame was a means to an end: celebrity offers an instant platform, and once I became a successful actress, my ultimate goals were to be a writer and eventual philanthropist. Being famous was an aspiration in itself, but it was my road to being able to promote social consciousness and be beneficial to the world other than just my bank account and accruing material possessions.  I ended up dropping my theatre major and instead focused on anthropology, deciding I would be a writer from the get-go instead of hoping for a celebrity platform to jump-start my writing career. But even though I gave up my silver screen dreams, each year I would strap in for the opulent displays of "award season" no matter where in the world I might have been watching from.
Related: THE GOLDEN AGE OF TV DOESN’T BEGIN OR END WITH WHITE MEN

The conversation about erasure in the Latinx community cannot be centered on white Latinx voices.

By Mariana Viera Latina magazine recently published an article titled “Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Question My Latina Culture.” The piece details the frustrations of Alexis, a U.S. born-Latina woman who feels that her light skin robs her of Latinx authenticity in the eyes of the Latinx community. She claims that white Americans exoticize and tokenize her, while other Latinxs see her as “just una blanca.” In a world where white Latinxs are already overrepresented in Latinx media and white Latinx voices are magnified at the cost of black and brown Latinxs, Alexis feels it is critical that her “struggles” as a white Latina woman be given a major platform. She begins, “What you don’t understand about being a light-skinned Latina is that my ‘legitimacy’ is always being questioned by both sides.” In some ways, white Latinxs’ frustrations with having their identity “denied” do speak to an important issue. There is such a thing as white Latinxs. Latin America is not a racial monolith, and there needs to be discussion around that. It is not the racially homogenous, post-race society that people like to imagine it as (nobody knows this better than black and indigenous Latinxs). But if there is a proper way to discuss this issue from the perspective of a white Latinx, this isn’t it. For reasons beyond the scope of this piece, mixing between black, indigenous, and white groups did occur in Latin American countries more than in the United States. But by no means did this result in the expiration of a racial hierarchy that continues to place white Latinxs like Alexis at the very top and black and indigenous Latinxs at the very bottom. “Latinx” is not a race, and Latinxs are not a unified group. White Latinxs exist. Indigenous Latinxs exist. Black Latinxs exist. The racial makeup of countries like Brazil, which has one of the largest afro-descendant populations in the world, and Argentina, a 90% white country, speak to this reality. At one point, the article boldly remonstrates, “When people give me a skeptical look when I say ‘person of color’ or puertorriqueña in reference to myself I want to be able to hand them a pre-made list of all the things I know and do that ensure my acceptance into this culture — my culture.” Alexis can claim Latinxness, but she is gravely mistaken in her claim to a “person of color” identity. To equate being Latinx with being a person of color is to erase the centuries-long, unabated violent oppression experienced by black and indigenous people at the hands of white Latinxs in Latin America.
Related: THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF TELENOVELAS

We live in a society where empathy and compassion is limited for Black, Indigenous, and children of color and it is instead reserved to white children, who only have agency due to their white privilege, period.

It’s hard not to look at the viral video of Keaton Jones, an elementary school boy, looking straight into the camera, completely distraught over the kids who bully him at school. In first watching the video, my initial instincts were those of pain and understanding, I too was a victim of bullying throughout grade school. Within days, Keaton’s video had gone viral — from celebrity invitations to a GoFundMe page that currently has over $56,000 in donations. Yes, it seemed that America’s compassion for Keaton was strong, but that’s just the way it seemed. It didn’t take long before the real story surfaced. A Facebook post, by Keaton’s mother, Kimberly Jones, showing family members posing with a confederate flag as she scathingly insults opposition — in short, supporting white supremacy as she bullied black people. The story of how the Jones family finessed the country began to unfold. But is it really finesse? Or another example of white supremacy supporting itself? You may just now be hearing about the story of Ashawnty Davis, a 10-year old black girl who was the victim of bullycide. But Ashawnty’s story came almost two weeks before the faux-bullying of Keaton Jones and a GoFundMe page set up by her family to cover funeral expenses, has exceeded its original goal of $10,000, but only after the wake of Keaton’s story. When you compare the coverage between Ashawnty and Keaton it reveals a lot: Ashawnty’s GoFundMe currently stands at $36,000 of its $10,000 goal, while Keaton stands at roughly over $56,000 of his $20,000 goal. On the surface it may seem  as if this is only about money, but it’s far more than just about how many donations have been received — there were no celebrities pleading for justice, there were few funds raised, there was little coverage, and no viral video for the funeral of Ashawnty Davis. We live in a society where empathy and compassion is limited for Black, Indigenous, and children of color and it is instead reserved to white children, who only have agency due to their white privilege, period.
Related: WE DON’T CARE ABOUT BLACK WOMEN AND FEMMES, SO WE NEED #SAYHERNAME

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