Racist TV Characters Permitted to Remain on the Air in Peru

Remember when we posted about the TV characters “negro mama” and ““Paisana Jacinta” on Peruvian television?


You’ll remember the portrayals were blatantly racist and sexist, reiterating tired and offensive stereotypes, with “Negro Mama”, a Black man, presented as a thief and a liar, and “Paisana Jacinta”, an indigenous Peruvian woman, presented as ignorant, dirty, and toothless.

The Peruvian organization LUNDÚ had been working on a campaign to protest these racist portrayals.

Originally, as the BBC reported, LUNDU was  successful and the Lima-based TV station suspended the characters.

But unfortunately, after a counter-campaign to bring the characters back on-air, including a facebook group whose name means, roughly translated, “LUNDU are just black people suffering from complexes,” the characters will be permitted to stay on television, as we learned earlier this month.

This, despite a commitment from a group of media companies not to use words or content that ridicule, denigrate or otherwise offend the human dignity (of their audiences) in late August at a panel organized by LUNDÚ.

LUNDU President Monica Carrillo said, and I agree, that the media companies should be more responsible for the harmfulness of their content, pointing out that the depictions only “reiterate the view of the Afro-Peruvian population as animalistic and a stereotype of African women as predisposed to sex and fun”.

Having lived in Chile for a time, I can attest to the fact that racism in Latin America is a present but complicated beast that shares both similarities and differences with racism in the States. I will keep you updated as soon as I hear about next steps or ways we can help create pressure to remove racism from television. In the meantime, for more on this issue, I recommend this article that explores some roots of the racism minorities face in Peru.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to serving as an Executive Director at Feministing, Lori is the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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