“Jokes” about diseases that kill thousands, using the deaths of millions of immigrants and deportation just to satisfy an audience with humor.
That’s exactly what Pitch Perfect 2 did.
The sequel to the famous 2012 movie premiered May 15 and millions flocked to the theaters to see if their favorite a capella group will defy all odds to win the prestigious World A Capella Championship Title.
Or something like that.
New characters were introduced, one of whom was called Flo Fuentes, a Latina whose nationality is never revealed. However, there was a vague implication she was from Guatemala because apparently, “Puerto Rican, Mexican, whatever, they all are the same thing once we toss them over the border,” according to one of the announcers at the competition.
Flo’s character is used throughout the film to bring comfort to the Bellas, the all-female a capella group – a “you might have it bad but I have it worse” kind of thing.
For example, the Bellas were all worrying about their future and they spoke about their hope over a campfire, each of them saying what they wanted to achieve.
Flo stood up and said “after I graduate college I will probably get deported and try to find my way back into this country, but I’ll probably die at sea.” She sits back down with a blank look on her face and the rest of her “a ca-sisters” carry on like it was nothing.
The plight of immigrants is not a laughable matter.
Students who are undocumented are most likely to suffer from depression, poverty, anxiety and other mental health problems. The pressure of being part of both worlds, the one you left behind and the one you are living in, is an exhausting and frustrating experience.
“60 percent of the students still in school indicated low levels of emotional support from their parents,” according to LatinPost.com.
According to the Carolina Population Center, 31 percent of Latino adolescents in North Carolina showed signs of sub-clinical or clinical anxiety and 18 percent showed signs of depression.
Even immigrants who do have citizenship still have to battle constant racism, the “model minority” stamped on their foreheads, trying to achieve academically and become the first of his or her family to graduate from college.
The second part of her “joke” completely ridicules immigrants who die at sea, the deserts or the mountains, while attempting to cross onto a land they believe will give them opportunity.
Will you laugh about the hundreds of immigrants who plunged to their deaths near the coast of Italy a few months ago? Will you laugh at the fact that their bodies may not be found and that their families may never know if they reached the “Promised Land”?
When one dissects a film and points out these racist “jokes,” individuals often lash out and say to not pay too much attention to them – that “you’re over-analyzing things.”
Did you know after the movie Jaws premiered, the slaughter of sharks worldwide increased tremendously?
The effect of the media is astronomical on society. If the only representation of Latinos the public sees in the media is women being hyper-sexualized, men being perverts and making punch lines about the sufferings going on in our native countries, that is what people are going to believe.
If you’re not offended, it means you are part of the insensitive jokes. You are contributing to the injustice that is being inflicted on this demographic.
These “jokes” do not create awareness about malaria, immigration, deportation or the diseases and violence that ravage Latin America. Creating awareness would mean Flo discussing her experience and saying how she has surpassed the obstacles, her friends becoming conscious of her trials.
The Hollywood Reporter in its review claimed the “casual racism throughout is even funnier this go-round,” referring to the comments of the announcer.
Therefore, “casual racism” is totally acceptable in our society. What’s the definition of “hardcore racism” then?
Racism is racism.
Latinos aren’t the only ones attacked in the film. Indians are as well. Comments such as “look at them, running over to take over our jobs,” were said as Indian singers performed during the a capella competition.
This creates hatred and stereotypes. I have met dozens of individuals who firmly believe the roots all of these “jokes” and pass the underlying hatred on to their family members, their children and continue the racism in the United States and beyond.
Chrissie Fit, the actress who played Flo, is of Cuban heritage and has made her fame by playing Latina roles. I haven’t watched any of her other works but if it’s anything like what’s in Pitch Perfect 2, I will not be seeing them any time soon.
In a recent Adam Sandler movie called Ridiculous Six, which will be featured on Netflix, Native American actors walked off the set due to the offensive script, depicting false representation of the Native American Apache tribes.
No longer will people of color stand to be exploited and ridiculed for the amusement of others.
Photo courtesy of screencapped.net.
Karla Casique is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.