Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Trump needs to be confronted with the truth from all to end this disgrace of the office he illegitimately holds: At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

When Donald Trump’s former legal mentor, the notorious red-baiter Roy Cohn—who served as Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man—once more asserted that the Army was harboring persons it knew to be active “Communists” and “subversives,” Joseph Welch, who was serving as the Army’s chief counsel, had had enough. During the course of the Senate hearings on June 9, 1954 he demanded that Cohn hand over the list that McCarthy claimed named 130 such persons; Cohn didn’t have such a list, and neither did McCarthy. Challenged to prove their lies, McCarthy accused Welch of “hypocrisy” because he knowingly harbored a “Communist” in his own law firm in Boston, a Harvard Law School graduate named Fred Fisher. Welch knew of Fisher’s former connection with the National Lawyers Guild, which apparently supported progressive causes that those on the far-right would then and now label as “socialist.” 

Welch believed that such open accusations against a young attorney was unjust, and when McCarthy launched his attack against Fisher, he responded

Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us....Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.

McCarthy—who up to this point had been allowed so much rope by his Republican colleagues that he was bound to “hang” himself eventually because of his arrogance, disregard for the truth and a vile compulsion to destroy the lives of much better people than himself—had finally encountered a man who had the courage to tell him so to his face and the world: “Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild ... Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

That was beginning of the end of McCarthy; what many had been thinking had come out into the open. The only persons still afraid of the truth were fanatics like McCarthy and Cohn—the latter who was not finished by any means. Cohn would go on to continue to use the character-assassinating tactics and complete indifference to the truth in his subsequent career. Trump sought his “legal” advice during the investigation into housing discrimination at his properties during the 1970s, and Cohn taught him that long and loud denials and personal attacks would eventually “wear down” his accusers, who simply moved on to others. But the truth lives on, and no one save Trump’s most pathetic supporters believe anything that comes out of his mouth—save the fact of his inhuman cruelty, sadism and racism, which everyone should believe is part and parcel of his being.

Trump’s latest twitter assaults against Robert Mueller and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe continue to demonstrate that this man occupies the lowest levels of human depravity. Perhaps he didn’t need to prod Jeff Sessions too much to fire McCabe over what is essentially political “indiscretions” just a few days before his retirement; but for Sessions to claim he acted in the “interests” of “ethics” makes a mockery of the den of immorality and injustice that he has created in the Justice Department. Let us remember that the Clintons endured years of independent prosecution into their Whitewater dealings and Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades which pale in comparison to Trump’s; the difference for Trump is that he unblinkingly dumps people  who aided and abetted him overboard, and they are more willing to talk then serve prison terms for him as many Clinton associates apparently did. His business dealings are so vast and so shadowy that it is no wonder that that he insists that Mueller’s investigation is a “witch hunt” against him personally. If he has nothing to hide, why is he acting like he does? 

Meanwhile, Trump never ceases to insult and degrade those he believes are of a lesser “quality” of humanity than he is, whether individually or entire groups. This braggart loves to hear himself brag about his “greatness,” and when the cheers are not loud enough for that he remembers what brought him his loudest cheering section alive, spreading his “gospel” of racial hate. This is part and parcel of his whole being; he claims he is not racist, but only in the sense that he occasionally is diverted when under attack by people who happened to be white. But whenever he talks to “his people,” he knows what they want to hear; if David Duke thinks Trump is a racist, then who better than he to know the truth? And let’s not “reason away” Trump’s whole “excuse” for running for president in the first place: He wanted to destroy the legacy of the country’s first non-white president. What has he offered in its place? Nothing but destructiveness with total disregard for ethics and morality—and that includes the Republican tax “reform,” which will perhaps sooner than later prove to be the downfall of the latest iteration of Republican hegemony, once the country feels its whirlwind.

And now we hear that Trump is congratulating Russian dictator Vladimir Putin on his “election” victory. Most people in this country know that Putin is the greatest menace to world order today, but with Trump continuing to view him as a personal “friend,” one wonders where his true loyalties lay. While he insults and attempt harm on our international friends, Trump believes that aiding and abetting Putin is in the U.S. “interest”; it only proves that Trump is a menace to this country. Of course, his "backup," Mike Pence, is in many ways an even greater menace given that unlike Trump he is a "true believer" in far-right social radicalism, but we haven't reached the point that we have to be concerned about him, at least not yet.

So while Trump cozies up to the West’s greatest long-term threat, he “deals” with those “threatening” him personally by degrading decent people with the interests of the country in mind. If that interest means forcing the resignation of or marginalizing for good the most destructive president this country has seen since the antebellum days leading up to the Civil War, then all the better for all of us. It may take, ultimately, for enough people in his “party” to stand up to him and say enough of his reckless cruelty to people who are more “American” than he will ever be. Trump has no sense of decency, not just in regard to individuals but in his thoughtless actions with the ACA, DACA, environmental protection and perhaps worst of all, the disaster-in-the-making that will be monstrous deficits his tax cuts (that will continue to benefit the already wealthy) that Republicans promise will be “paid for” by every American vulnerable to an economic downturn. 

And being a man with no sense of decency, neither should Trump or his abettors expect to be forgiven for it.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Just another day in the life of America’s national nightmare

This past Tuesday, the news went something like this: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was abruptly fired to deny him the “honorable” way out by just asking him to send in his resignation; Tea Party bigot and far-right hardliner Michael Pompeo is to replace him; Gina Haspel, his second-in-command at the CIA, is tapped to replace him; another senior Trump aide with no government experience was shown the door; during his trip to California to spread the Trump gospel of hatred and xenophobia, one of his supporters were caught on camera tearing up a Mexican flag and attempting to burn it; and Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, announced new sanctions against Russia.

Well, so what you say. This is all part of the “fake” news about nothing, right? Who cares that the Trump administration is fast running out of “adults” in the room. The “last straw” for Trump was Tillerson supporting May’s claim that the Russian government was behind the poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter with the deadly Russian-made nerve agent Novichok. Since May announced the expelling of 23 Russian “diplomats” who are suspected of being undeclared intelligence agents and other sanctions, Trump has hypocritically decided to back those actions after the fact. Tillerson was on the “outs” with Trump anyways, so was this a case of a petulant Trump unhappy with a “rogue” player who wasn’t getting proper “guidance” on how not to upset Trump with more evidence of his good buddy Vladimir Putin’s shenanigans? For that matter, why is Trump so desperate to keep the Mueller investigation from crossing the “redline” into his financial dealings with Russia, if he has done nothing “wrong”?

Trump proposes to replace Tillerson with the current CIA director, Pompeo, a man who has no known diplomatic experience. Pompeo rode the Tea Party wave into the House of Representatives in 2010, and his ideology is typical of that “movement,” with far-right proclivities on every issue. He was an early and vociferous supporter of Trump, and was naturally “properly” rewarded. As CIA director, he knew how to coddle Trump, a man who values “loyalty”—which, of course, means being blind to his many faults and feeding his narcissism; Trump has shown time and again that his own loyalty comes at a serious moral and ethical cost. For example, it was learned that during his briefings with Trump, Pompeo was careful never to mention intelligence about Russian activities out loud. Not so fortunate was long-time aide John McEntee, who fell into Trump’s trap of skirting ethical considerations in business dealings, finding out the hard way that Trump has no loyalty toward people “dumb” enough to get caught; before he could confront Trump, McEntee received a personal escort out of the building. Maybe he’ll talk, which is a cost Trump will have to face.

Pompeo may run into trouble at his confirmation hearings. At least one Republican, Rand Paul, has said he will vote against confirming him as Secretary of State. Paul claims that he (and Haspel) is too much the warhawk who wants “to manipulate the president into the sphere of the neocons who never met a war they didn’t want to star in.” Others have noted that in terms of his military credentials and support of torture, he fits Trump’s requirements supporting the engagement of naked power over compromise. Richard Boucher, a former diplomat who teaches at Brown University, has been quoted as saying that in Pompeo Trump sees a man “who see every problem as a threat that needs to be dealt with by military force, rather than an issue that can be countered through diplomacy. There’s an over-all failure by this Administration to understand what diplomacy can do for the country—and the world.”

No sooner did Trump tap Pompeo as Tillerson’s replacement he announced that he had the privilege to tap Haspel as the first female as head of the CIA. Unfortunately, this is another example of being the “first” doesn’t do much to advance the cause of gender politics.  Perhaps gender advocates will applaud this, although there is every possibility that it will only further undermine their credibility—in Trump lingo, “victory” at any cost. Haspel was an undercover CIA operative and her record is technically “secret.” But we know that in 2002 she personally oversaw a “black site” in Thailand where two alleged Al-Qaeda detainees were not only tortured, but tortured under the personal supervision of Haspel. One interrogation tape that was not illegally destroyed by Haspel showed that she took personal delight in the performance of torture of at least one of the two detainees held there, despite his protestations that he was just a low-level operative. According to former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou on Democracy Now,

We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. You know, there was a group of officers in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, when I was—when I was serving there, who—I hate to even make the accusation out loud, but I’m going to say it: who enjoyed using force. Yeah, everybody knew that torture didn’t work. That’s not even the issue. Lots of different things work. Was it moral, and was it ethical, and was it legal? I think the answers to those questions are very clearly no. But Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information.

For “lighter” news on Tuesday, Trump’s visit to California was the occasion for the usual scenes we’d expect from Trump supporters. At the border, a group of white (well, almost all white) people were shouting “USA, USA” and then “Burn it, Burn it” when a man who appears to be Filipino grabbed a Mexican flag, proceeded to rip it to shreds, and attempted to set the pieces on fire—although not too successfully with a cigarette lighter. He can be heard declaring in an amusing accent “This is America.” Apparently a woman tried to stop him, not because she disagreed with his sentiments, but because people watching this might get the wrong “message”—as if the xenophobic message of this bunch wasn’t clear enough.

The reason why I mentioned that a Filipino was a part of this narrative is because this is one of those “clean-up your own house” situations. Current Philippines president Rodrigo Duarte was elected on his vow to kill 100.000 “criminals,” offering bounties of anywhere from $1,400 for killing a drug peddler, to $85,000 for a “drug lord.” He’s even urged “citizens” to double or triple their killing count of real or suspected drug dealers. Even women are getting into the act; in one story I read a woman boasted of the all the money she has made for her nocturnal human hunting activities, claiming it is the only “job” available. Perhaps not surprisingly, church and human rights groups have charged that no evidence of criminality is required to carry out these killings, with the victims more likely random targets or simply someone’s personal enemy.

So that was the news for one day this week. Just another day in the life of the nightmare that is the Trump presidency.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Trump's lousy ratings means his "show" needs to be cancelled, the sooner the better

It is being reported that Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imports was the result of another instance of his mental and emotional instability, becoming “angry” and “unglued” after another round of bad news, such as his model/security blanket Hope Hicks leaving him after admitting to a Congressional committee that she had told “white lies” on his behalf, and having admitted that felt an early exit was in her best interest. “Gunning for a fight,” Trump decided that starting a trade war that will be “easy to win” would upset a lot of people right now. He likes “conflict,” but most observers are calling it “chaos.” Trump didn’t vet this decision for common sense; he just wants to get “even” like any petulant schoolyard bully. Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions is in California doing the same, performing his racist madman act before a local law enforcement convention.

To add to this insanity, many economists are predicting a recession next year, and Trump’s tax cuts and proposed tariffs will likely make it more likely to happen. I would agree that it would be “nice” if this country was “self-sufficient” and made everything it needs for its own consumers, but this has never been the reality; trade is as old as human civilization. If prices on steel and aluminum go up for everyday products, low-income people (which basically encompasses all household incomes below the median) will likely purchase fewer such products. If other countries decide to “retaliate,” the end result might be limited to particularly targeted industries in which there will inevitably be job losses—or the disruption could spread like a virus across the global economic spectrum. Whatever the result is, it won’t be “good” for a lot of people. 

Other issues to consider: It certainly isn’t a “bad” thing for wages to go up, but economists worry that paying for those wage increases (we have already been “paying” for the enormous incomes of the top one percent) depends on greater spending both here and in trade, and every time Trump tweets some nonsense things just seem to become less certain. Without that easing of the pressure on companies’ bottom lines, inflation, cutting back on inventory and subsequent job cuts are sure to follow. 

And then what? The tax cuts for businesses should have been accompanied by slight increases in income taxes on the top one percent. What are businesses using their tax cuts for? Most are not investing in their companies or workers, but giving it away to shareholders and to greedy executives (meaning to themselves). Not only that, because of the decrease in revenue, this country will face the largest budget deficits by percentage of GDP since World War II—and this is supposed to be “peacetime,” although you’d hardly tell by all the hate and division that Trump has deliberately inflamed for the benefit of his racist base. And when that recession comes, what do you think Trump and Paul Ryan will do? They will follow the Herbert Hoover model of contempt for working people, and watch in immoral glee as millions are forced to fend for themselves and their families (but will Ryan’s family “fortune,” dependent on federal contracts, feel the “pain” too?).  Trump and most Republicans wants to gut social safety net programs to “pay” for their mistakes, and Ryan wants to gut Medicare and Medicaid so that “unfit” to live people will die-off quicker. What do you think of that? 

Unfortunately, Trump loves his new “reality” show so much that he is already campaigning for 2020. He’s even sending out “feelers” to judge the electorate’s mood on certain subjects, via a survey that is unsubtle to say the least. Do you feel safer from terrorists attacks under President Trump’s leadership? (No) Are you optimistic about the new direction of our economy? (No) Have you seen your economic life improve from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act? (No) Should merit-based legal immigration be increased if unemployment continues to drop? (What does merit-based mean? There is “merit” in agricultural and construction labor. Why is there more “merit” in taking away high-paying technical jobs from Americans just because businesses don’t want to pay them?) Has excessive government regulations, rules, and red tape burdened you personally (No) Do you believe that that many universities indoctrinate rather than teach students (No) Do you trust the media? (Yes—or no if you are talking about Fox News) Do you find the news to be generally too negative/hateful? (No) Do you think our country is too divided? (Yes—and Trump’s too blame) Is Russia a concern to you? (Yes) Has illegal immigration had a negative impact on your community? (No) And there a few more, some which attempt to gauge support for Trump personally” Do you feel you cannot publicly admit you support Trump? (No). 

This survey (and an almost identical one issued by a GOP website) is apparently attempting to gauge support for potential campaign strategies later this year and in 2020. It is obvious that Trump and the Republicans want to mine the usual provincial tropes they have been using for decades to mobilize the “troops” on their far-right, because if they are not sufficiently motivated, they might just stay home this time. Trump and the Republicans don’t believe that despite all the bad names that Trump has given the politics of xenophobia, nativism, white nationalism and fascist “America First” policies that have done nothing but ruin this country’s power and standing in the world, they will continue to stay this course until they are burned by it. 

Will that happen this mid-term? We can hope that at the least the Senate will be regained by the Democrats, but that won’t stop Trump from. Steve Bannon claimed that in his opinion Trump had only a 30 percent chance of remaining in office until 2020, but having gotten “comfortable” in the Oval Office, and perhaps somehow realizing that his image has gone from merely media buffoon to a bull in a china shop, he’s afraid that history will be unkind to him if he doesn’t have more “time,” and being reelected as president will at least give him the false fig leaf of “credibility.”

We can’t afford to allow Trump four more years to doom this country here and abroad for decades to come, maybe for all time. This “reality” show doesn’t merit a return season; based on its “merits” this show should have been cancelled even before it first aired.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The hypocrisy of the politics of "inclusion" in Hollywood: Frances McDormand, white woman, has won more Best Actor Oscars—two—than all Hispanic actors combined.

Before I get to the main topic, a refresher course: Donald Trump, following the “guidance” of the racist tag-team of Jeff Sessions and Steven Miller, ended DACA on September 5, providing himself the “fig leaf” of giving Congress six months to pass a law “officially” legalizing the Obama era order. After six months, nothing was done; this shouldn’t have been a surprise, given Trump being “convinced” that he could use DACA as leverage to pass the anti-immigrant agenda supported by the likes of Miller and John Kelly when he could have easily ignored Republican extremists. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has no personal interest in passing an immigration bill, and thus we saw how the “effort” died a quick death in the Senate. A leading supporter of immigrants, Sen. Dick Durbin, has declared that given that the status of “Dreamers” is currently on hold due to two court decisions and the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear the case until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals renders a decision, likely next summer, it is likely no congressional action will be taken until after the mid-term election. 

In the meantime, a petulant Sessions is determined to expend every ounce of his puny excuse of something in human form for “advancing” his racist agenda, particularly against Hispanic immigrants (his ICE man in Seattle, Marc J. Moore, looks like Heinrich Himmler's clone). I mean, this is a man who 170 law professors wrote in opposition to his confirmation as Attorney General because “We are convinced that Jeff Sessions will not fairly enforce our nation’s laws and promote justice and equality in the United States. Nothing in Senator Sessions’ public life since 1986 has convinced us that he is a different man than the 39-year-old attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district court judge.” Another statement by a conglomeration of human rights groups noted that “Senator Sessions has a 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law and hostility to the protection of civil rights that makes him unfit to serve as the attorney general of the United States.” 

This is the reality that Hispanics face in this country; if women were the object of this kind of hate, Sessions wouldn’t have had a prayer of being confirmed in the current gender-politicized climate. And it isn’t just about Hispanic immigrants, it is all Hispanics. Ann Coulter’s whole being these days seems consumed by her anti-Hispanic phobias, while the “mainstream” racist Pat Buchanan has fulminated “Hispanics are out to destroy America,” and he didn’t bother to distinguish between their legal status.  And there are many people who believe that as well, and some of them are successful, educated white women who still see themselves as “victims.” Even the most “obvious” examples of race hate, such as the “random” execution of three Hispanics by a white male at a Colorado Walmart, and last month’s “random” selection of two Hispanic males attending a co-worker’s party at a club in Seattle for cold-blooded murder by a black thug, are still not viewed for what they are: bigotry against Hispanics in white and black.

At last night’s Academy Awards ceremony, we saw this hypocrisy up close. According to The Guardian’s U.S. bureau take, the goings-on marked a “seismic change”: “a celebration and exhortation of representation and inclusion, after a year marked by seismic cultural change in Hollywood that rippled across the world…Frances McDormand who won the best actress award for playing a grieving, furious mother in Three Billboards, created one of the night’s most memorable tableaux by asking all the female nominees in the Dolby theatre to stand up. ‘Look around,’ she said. ‘We all have stories to tell and projects we need financing.’”

Of course, the “seismic change” that is being talked about here is further “empowering” women in Hollywood, in which the recent sexual crime allegations against many of Hollywood’s male “powerbrokers” has been the catalyst. The hypocrisy of white female Hollywood—which the inclusion of ‘me-too’ minority women simply ignores the reality—is that they have been significant “actors” in the film industry since the very beginning. I have a large trove of films on DVD dating from the silent era into the 1970s, and in many if not most it was the female actors who were the principle “attraction” for watching these films. I personally believe that in recent times the insistence on “personal” politics and juvenile revenge fantasies in the kind of films that McDormand believes needs “financing” does little but impress politically-correct critics, feed into the victim mythology of a limited audience, and alienate male viewers.

But McDormand’s—and that of gender advocates in general—hypocrisy is even more insidious than that. McDormand won her second best actress award last night, and this is “significant” for a reason that most people would not even be aware of. Her second award is one more than what all Hispanic actors and actresses combined have won in 90 years, with Jose Ferrer winning Best Actor for playing a Frenchman in Cyrano de Bergerac; although Ferrer often played "foreign" characters--he was a Nazi in Ship of Fools--he rarely played Hispanic characters (just to make things "fair" we'll throw in the number of Asian actors who have won either Best Actor or Actress; nope, McDormand still has won more than all combined). We are talking about 17 percent of the population with the spending power of $1.6 trillion, yet Hispanic actors have virtually no chance—particularly since they have had only 1.4 percent of the “lead” roles in the 150 top-grossing films since 2000.

Salma Hayek seems to think that aligning herself with “oppressed” white women will help her find “better” work, but nothing could be further from the truth. Her problem is that she isn’t “white” and she speaks with an obvious Spanish accent—and she is competing with white (and black) women for roles that call for “real Americans.” Who does she think is going to win the competition for jobs, especially when Hollywood thinks only in terms of money and the politics of pacification? Her problem isn’t enough roles for women—there are plenty of those—but almost no roles that cater to a Hispanic sensibility. Instead of fighting for Hispanics to have a larger role in Hollywood, she merely hurts the cause of Hispanics by “helping” white (and black) actresses who couldn’t give a rat’s ass if Hispanics like herself had a larger role or not, and this has been demonstrated time and again with all this “diversity” and “inclusion” talk that has led to nothing for Hispanic actors—just like there was a lot of nothing coming out of Congress about protecting “Dreamers.”

I am of the opinion, and I frankly think this is quite obvious, that this is about the egotism of one group of social “elites”—current and former white female acting “royalty”—and their hypocritical need to use a “social statement” to shame the powers-that-be to even further their "need" to elevate themselves above the common run; some, like Rose McGowan, have the nerve to claim that they are "one of you" when their real complaint is that they are has-beens without a job. While I agree that behavior by men who seek to take sexual advantage of their positions is a mistake in this gender-politicized climate, and in a few cases even criminal, I also believe this is being used as “leverage” to force personal politics into films few really want to have to sit through. I wouldn’t be surprised if under that scenario more films like 2015’s Return to Sender would be made, which critic Peter Sobczynski noted he rather do 6 billion other things than watch again. This female revenge fantasy film (scripted by a woman) starring a supposedly “A-list” British actress (Rosamund Pike) is “a sleazy exploitation film that is all the worse because it has somehow convinced itself it is thoughtful and profound” in a gender political way. The rape plot device was apparently just an excuse for an even more nauseating action turned-in by the “victim.”

Even Hayek is being reduced to making completely idiotic and nonsensical revenge films like Everly, in which she supposedly was a “sex slave” for some Japanese gangsters for years before she decided it was time to leave, and instead of actually leaving the building, she sits in a room, just so she can wipe-out hundreds of “assassins” sent to kill her. I guess this is supposed to be about female “empowerment,” or something; I thought it was just asinine. But then again, I think she is kind of full of it; Hayek complaint that "It was unimaginable for a Mexican actress to aspire to a place in Hollywood" is not entirely accurate; being a film buff I have not only heard of, but have seen movies featuring Mexican-born actresses who had successful Hollywood careers, such as Dolores del Rio, Lupe Velez and Katy Jurado. But it was a different time--a time when Hollywood cast such actresses as del Rio and Velez because of their "exotic" presence, and during the 1950s when studios first stepped into race relations, Jurado appeared in such films as Man From Del Rio (with fellow Mexican-born actor Anthony Quinn, whose career was extended playing "ethnic" characters) and Trial, two films in which anti-Hispanic bigotry in America was a major part of the story line.

If the rules of the game are set by just another version of white, then Hispanic actors and actresses are once more the biggest losers. As I mentioned a few posts ago, Hollywood has done almost nothing to cultivate Hispanic talent into the film mainstream. Last December after the Oscar nominations came out, Carolina Moreno in the Huffington Post wrote that the whole focus of complaint about the all-white nominees concerned the lack of nominations for the black-oriented Selma, while “Few people brought up the issues of the snubbed Latino actors.” She noted that while Hispanic actors are barely represented in Oscar-nominated or top box office films, it isn’t much better in the generality of films, with less than 5 percent of roles, few of which were “lead” roles.

Roles for Hispanics also tend to be “subservient” to white characters. Felix Sanchez of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts noted that in the film Boyhood, a Hispanic yard worker is “advised” by the wife of the film’s main character (white, of course) to go back to school, and later when they meet up he “thanks” her for her advice. Besides being patronizing to Hispanics, Sanchez believes that Hollywood overall has done a horrible job in highlighting the Hispanic experience in America, especially since the feeble attempt in the 1956 film Giant:

“It’s appalling that in the 50 years between (Giant and Boyhood) we still haven’t understood who Latinos are,” Sanchez said. “‘Giant’ was almost more correct at talking about the Latino condition, because it showed all the biases that people had and the fears they had about intermarriage — but once there was a child, it melted away that anger and that inability to conceive what this would be like... And then you compare that to ‘Boyhood,’ and we’re still in this ‘we need a white character to save us’ mode.” Instead, 69 percent of “the most iconic TV and movie maids” in the last 20 years have been Hispanic, and nearly twenty percent of Hispanics are portrayed as criminals, gangsters or thugs.

And it gets worse, because Spaniards (like Javier Bardem) and other foreign-born Hispanics are used to “pad” the already low numbers for Hispanic representation in Hollywood. Only 12 of the 29 Hispanics nominated for Oscars in all acting categories were or are U.S.-born. Like Indians who come to this country, most non-U.S. born Hispanic actors and directors come from privileged socio-economic backgrounds, and have never faced the kind of prejudice Hispanics in this country face every day. This social class prejudice is painfully obvious when discussing Hollywood’s backslapping for awarding the best director Oscar to Mexican-born directors four times in the past five years, Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman and The Revenant, and this year Guillermo del Toro The Shape of Water. In none of those films was a Hispanic actor or actress cast. None of these directors has even attempted to leverage their success into making films about the Hispanic experience, because they belong to the Euro-elite social class that is as racist as any white person can be expected to be.

The bottom line here is that I have only contempt for this “seismic shift” that not only just favors women over minority representation, but favors white women almost wholly, using minority women in the usual cynical fashion. Underrepresented Hispanic actresses are fools to believe that aligning themselves with white actresses will improve their positions; they need to separate themselves from white female-led gender advocacy and fight the real battle, which is Hispanic representation and films that tell the Hispanic experience. From what I can see, the fight for white female privilege is fighting over the same territory already held by white male privilege, with no room for minorities, maybe even less. All this amounts to discrimination against non-whites—especially Hispanics who don’t yet even have the political voice of blacks to fight back. McDormand talked about stories to be told; Hispanics are still waiting for the opportunity to tell their story.