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 Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

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

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