I don’t watch The Bachelor. I don’t agree with the concept of the show at all. However, I understand that most of these women don’t believe in fighting over a man, they’re simply taking advantage of the exposure to pursue their dreams as actresses, singers, and models. With that, and in their romantic endeavors, I wish them the best!
This year, when The Bachelor announced their first Latin Bachelor contestant, I couldn’t help myself and took a peek at the two first episodes. I’m Latina so of course I felt proud and excited to know that our culture would be well represented for the first time on this program.
Our Latin Bachelor is good looking, physically fit, and has a beautiful daughter and family.We all liked that. I don’t care about the show but I do care about his comments on twitter. What follows is my open letter to the Latin Bachelor to explain to him that the R word is unacceptable in any country and every culture around the world, and there is no excuse for what he has publicly said.
Dear Latin Bachelor,
I cried while listening to your father’s advice to you before you left for the show. I recognized my community when your sisters and cousins were making jokes and having fun with you. Being loud and spending time all together as a family, those are things that make us proud as Latinos.
What came next wasn’t good at all, but you were not hurting anyone directly. Again, I know this is a show! Something that wasn´t part of the broadcast but made you look bad, and something that made me and every other Latino look like insensitive people, is your tasteless comment after making fun of a biased joke that victimizes people with a disability:
Discúlpame Querido! (Excuse me, honey!) But there isn’t a place in the world, including Venezuela, where the R word doesn’t offend. Yes, it’s used commonly but you know perfectly well that its only goal is to offend and diminish people’s dignity. I’m taking a stand to say how dare you?!
I’m the mother of two children with Down syndrome, and they are no different from any other child. You’d be surprised to learn that they are kids first, disability not even second. Their extra chromosome doesn’t alter the love that I have for them. I would bet as a parent, you know this feeling, and you also understand how it feels when your child is offended or hurt. But you cannot understand how much more painful it is to be judged for having intellectual disabilities.
English is my second language too. However, since I immigrated to this country 10 years ago, and after becoming the mother of two kids with special needs, I’ve worked hard to educate others, to promote acceptance, and to spread the message to stop the using the R word. Even prior to all that, I would never attempt to excuse my ignorance by using my culture.
Many people are now making comments about our shared cultural roots. They don’t think of you as an individual, but as someone who’s using Latino Culture as an excuse to justify his own mistakes. Like it or not, putting yourself on television as the Latin Bachelor made you the representation of us all, and you have wronged us. And now you should fix this.
It would be a great demonstration of respect to us (Latino parents of individuals with disabilities), if you could clarify that your choice of words and lack of education on this matter, is not culturally related.
It would be a great act of nobility to all of us (all parents of individuals with disabilities worldwide) if you were to apologize for your insensitivity and complete disregard for the feelings of others.
It would behoove you (and therefore all of us) to think twice before speaking publicly, including through your keyboard, again, remembering just who it is you’re speaking for.
It’s never too late to learn and it’s never too late to apologize. It’s never too late to use your influence and position in the public eye to educate, instead of creating prejudices among an already often-divided people. I cordially invite you to visit this page and take the pledge R-WORD.ORG They have great examples of tweets, like this:
“I pledge #Respect thru my words & actions. Will you? Pledge now to create communities of inclusion for people with ID http://r-word.org” Letting others know you pledged and that you are proud to support Spread The Word to End the Word Day is the most powerful message you can send.
And please excuse me if I can’t just #relax! I’m sure you now understand why.
De una madre Latina a un padre Latino!