Friday, March 28, 2014

Sobredosis de TV – Fiction or Racism?

Sobredosis de TV is our occasional look at television shows in the Americas.  It is also the name of a song from famed Argentine rock music group Soda Stereo.
A Peruvian television show that showcases the misadventures of an indigenous woman in the big city has not sat well with some people in the Andean country including one politician who spoke out this week.

Hilaria Supa, a Peruvian member of the Andean Parliament, sent a letter to local television channel Frecuencia Latina requesting that the La Paisana Jacinta program get taken off the air.

“It is outrageous that in the middle of the twenty first century, when we believe that we are advancing, you can see racist attitudes in stadiums, public places, schools, and on the media with Frecuencia Latina which offends us as citizens when it reprograms like ‘El Negro Mama’ or ‘La Paisana Jacinta’”, said Supa who is of indigenous background.

“These programs defame us, they make us seem like stupid, unkempt people, and that has to stop,” she added against the program that retuned to the airwaves in mid-February.

Other critics of the program have used the hashtag #NoalaPaisanaJacinta to organize protests such as one scheduled to take place outside of the Frecuencia Latina studios in Lima today.   

Not everyone sees eye-to-eye with Supa including several Twitter users who responded by launching racist insults against her. 

“Hilaria Supa, learn to read and write,” “Go back to your hometown and plant potatoes” and “Shitty Chola” were just some of the messages issued against the legislator. 

A more measured reply was provided by actress Magaly Solier who said that La Paisana Jacinta “is fiction and acting because Andean women are not like that.”

Jorge Benavides, the male comic who portrays the protagonist of La Paisana Jacinta, is no stranger to controversy.  Last year he defended his portrayal of “Negro Mama,” a blackface character with a prosthetic wide nose and thick lips as “a character with an established name. Therefore, you can’t accuse us of generalizing and saying that all black people are thieves.” Peru’s television regulatory body did not agree and fined Frecuencia Latina over $26,000 for airing sketches with “Negro Mama.”

Should La Paisana Jacinta be yanked off the air permanently?  Judge for yourself below the page break by watching an episode where Jacinta becomes a construction worker:

Video Source– YouTube users CapitanArgentario and Frecuencia Latina

Online Sources – Peru this Week; Terra Peru; Peru21; Urban Dictionary;

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