What do you get when you cross a cursed pistol, a price on your head and an extremely angry girlfriend? Definitely not a Mexican.
You may recall the posters in the movie theaters for the movie, “The Mexican,” which opens today. Two pretty white people (Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts) nuzzled against a tattered brick wall looking anything but Brown.
According to previews for the movie, Pitt stars as Jerry Welbach, a man who is given an ultimatum from his mob boss. Roberts plays his frustrated girlfriend, who wants him to stop affiliating with the mafia. The “Mexican” in the movie is not played by anyone because its role in the movie is not human, but instead, is a priceless, antique pistol. To top it off, the weapon, which has taken the name of my ethnicity, supposedly carries a legendary curse. Is anyone else thinking twice before paying to watch this?
The movie, taglined, “Love with the safety off,” has been described as “incredibly romantic” by those involved with the film. If the movie is meant to create puddles on the floor, then why was it not titled something that would identify it as such, instead of linking a race to a weapon?
The website for the film is even more ridiculous. After visiting themexican.cannery.com, the plot is described and actors are introduced. When the ‘Mexican’ is revealed, the trigger is released and a gun shot rings out. The Spanish gunfighting music in the background really adds a nice touch to the site. But, I must admit that I felt most ethnically in touch with myself when I watched a cartoon salamander crawl up the side of the screen asking me to wait “un momento por favor.”
I never have considered myself one to call out discrimination, or stupidity for that matter, on a whim. However, this movie seems to combine both before it has even opened to the public.
I have not seen the film, I also do not intend to watch it. I do, however, believe that it is important to shed light on films that take advantage of diversity. I am a firm believer that minorities are not represented fairly in the entertainment world. I admit, we come in spurts, sometimes making it seem that minorities, for brief moments, have a strong hold on various leading roles in the arts. Then a movie is released in 2001 that needs its writers to explain that the “Mexican” in the film is a gun in all references, whether published, online or commercial.
People, when hearing about this column, have said that Mexican actors do appear throughout the film, since many of the scenes take place in Mexico. Well, I hope that the director would at least use Mexicans for scenes in Mexico, it being their country and all.
It is not only a matter of being Mexican and seeing Hollywood officials take ethnicity for granted that bothers me, but it is also the fact that a movie title has been given to a film that has nothing to do with the Mexican people. After all, movie after movie could be made in regard to the culture, lifestyle and talents of Mexican Americans. Dozens of writers, such as Sandra Cisneros and Victor Villaseñor capture stories that are worth making movies about in regard to Mexican families and Latin lifestyles. Yet directors choose to create a film that opens no one’s eyes to another culture. Instead of creating awareness, this movie’s creators used an inanimate object, a weapon, a mean of violence to take on a new name as well as a new identity that is the same as my own.
When I think of a Mexican, the last thing that comes to mind is a weapon. In fact, images of my grandfather, my sister and my aunts gossiping in the kitchen come to mind. I envision a strong family embraced in unity, love and loyalty. I hear laughter and I smell homemade tortillas. I think of progress and the struggles it took to obtain it. I never envision Julia Roberts as the leading lady in anything Mexican, nor do I picture Brad Pitt in any of the above situations.
When I think of a Mexican, I think of myself, where I have been and what I plan to do with my life. Then I think of other minorities facing discrimination and wonder when, if ever, will it stop?
Alisha Rosas, a junior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.