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Color Isn't the Point

Pointing blame on Kingpin's non-Latino writer is zenophobic

By Concerned Writer
Published on LatinoLA: February 10, 2003


Color Isn't the Point


I found Jose Luis Zuazua?s offhand comment (No Pleasing the Unpleasable at (http://latinola.com/story.php?story=734) that ?extremely negative depictions of Latinos? are to be expected 'from a show written by white guys' to be highly offensive and unenlightened.

In an earlier letter, Frank Arzaga (Is It Me? at http://latinola.com/story.php?story=722) also implies that 'a bunch of white guys' will always be responsible for poor depictions of Latinos.

Of course NBC?s Kingpin is a pathetic waste of TV. But as an Anglo writer with a passion for multicultural stories, I refuse to be lumped in with Kingpin?s creators because of Arzuaga and Zuazua?s racist generalizations. Claming that 'white guys' will always use negative stereotypes when writing about other cultures is an insult to my craft, and the hard work I do to explore, celebrate and honor the characters and cultures whose stories I?m telling. And it prepetuates the zenophobic notion that writers should only be 'allowed' to write about their own race.

Would Zuazua accept someone telling him that because his film company is made up of a bunch of 'brown guys.' he?ll never be expected to create positive portrayals of whites or blacks, etc. in his film projects? I think not. Kingpin doesn?t suck because its writer (only ONE 'white guy', David Mills) is Anglo. (Editor's note: David Mills is African-American). Kingpin sucks because Mills is a bad writer, period ? an exploitive hack raised on bad TV.

Color isn?t the point.

There are good Latino writers and there are bad Latino writers (Resurrection Blvd and American Family ? written and produced by Latinos ? were both so drenched with goofy cultural stereotypes and all-around poor storytelling that one couldn?t last past a couple seasons and another couldn?t even make it to the major networks at all. Not to mention the generation of negative images thanks to all the narconovellas y narcocorridos invented & perpetuated by a generation of Mexicanos?)

There are bad non-Latino writers like Mills, but there are also plenty of wonderful non-Latino writers (Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi: crazy/beautiful; Anna Thomas: El Norte; Karyn Kusama ? whose neither latino OR a boxer - for Girlfight, etc?) The list goes on and on.

And the list is vibrantly diverse, in spite of the offhanded insults by Argaza and Zuazua to those of us ?white guys? who take our craft seriously, and are devoted to providing realistic and positive portrayals of ALL cultures and colors.





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