What a week. Just when I was recuperating from Lorne Michaels SNL’s Latino Problem, now it’s Vanity Fair and Jerry Seinfeld. If you’ve been under a rock, Vanity Fair is getting a lot of kudos for its latest “diverse” cover. As Salon puts it: “This is the best of Hollywood — a diverse array of stars emerging and established, black and white alike.” Let that sink in, pueblo. The same ol’ black and white paradigm. Qué cojones.
You know what they’re trying to tell us, right? That we don’t exist, familia. That we don’t matter. But you know what matters? Your money. So hit them where it hurts. Make your money as invisible as they make us. Disappear. Whatever Latino, White, Black, or Asian you see with a Vanity Fair issue, give them the side eye. Mal de Ojo for you.
Every time I run into a Latino, Black, and Asian kid, it’s bittersweet. On one hand, I admire their optimism. Their goals and dreams. On the other hand, it pains me to know that they won’t be given the same opportunity to accomplish them because some douche bags with a lot of pull will say that they don’t have what it takes.
- César Vargas
Now, I know what some of you are going to ask me: But who would you have chosen to be on the cover, César? Since the burden of proof is on me because some of you are too lazy to relinquish your privilege of ignorance: Melonie Diaz and Oscar Isaac. George Clooney doesn’t count even though he’s working a great tan there. Seriously, why is Melonie Diaz being left out of that picture? I’m not even going to get into the “Fruitvale Station” Oscar snubs because that’s just going to raise my pressure, but I will talk about Oscar Isaac. Christopher Rosen named him our next great movie star for his role in the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewin Davis.” The man was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Davis. The man learned how to play classical guitar for that part. What. The. Hell. Vanity. Fair. Photoshop him into the damn “iconic” picture.
Then, on cue, comes Jerry Seinfeld. The Great White Knight. The poster child for white exceptionalism. Hey, Jerry, speaking of meritocracy, if you didn't care about the gender, or race of your guests in your web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – only that someone is funny – then your guests would actually reflect the diversity of America. Not mostly white guys. And how the hell do you expect others to show the world and you, your majesty, how funny they are if they aren’t given a platform? Way to taint the Seinfeld legacy. You should've just said the n-word while you're at it. Que no, Michael Richards? You know who cares? We care. You hurt me, Jerry. I like Larry David better, anyway. Now that's a funny guy. Not the hole of the Seinfeld comedic doughnut. Which a lot of people think was you, Bizarro.
I still love you despite yourself, Jerry, but please, don’t open your mouth to utter such clueless nonsense again. You don’t have the answers. When people (especially women and POC) talk and question the lack of diversity, you shut up, listen, and rectify. Or pull a Colbert and plead the fifth. Say you don’t know. Don’t get all prissy about it. That just betrays your cognitive dissonance. It means you’re wrong. And you are wrong. Those who agree with you are wrong too. Not surprisingly, it’s mostly white males who do.
To Vanity Fair and Jerry Seinfeld: You are what’s wrong with the liberal “allies.” You epitomize the clueless racist. Because of you, every time I run into a Latino, Black, and Asian kid, it’s bittersweet. On one hand, I admire their optimism. Their goals and dreams. On the other hand, it pains me to know that they won’t be given the same opportunity to accomplish them because some people with a lot of pull will say that they don’t have what it takes. While others – with the power to help prove them wrong – will take that meritocracy myth as gospel and will close doors and put obstacles in their paths instead. We’re not going to take this anymore — your lies, your myths, your incomplete stories.
Pueblo, destroy and rebuild.
César Vargas is a producer, writer, director, and social media strategist. He founded UPLIFTT (United People for Latinos in Film TV and Theater) and is president of Burning Ones Productions. You can reach him on Twitter at /CesarVargas365.