When I saw The Hollywood Reporter’s headline giving ABC props for casting its first non-White Bachelor, I clicked the link to see who broke the dating colorline. But when I saw the accompanying image of Venezuelan heartthrob Juan Pablo Galavis, I thought I was being punked.
Sure, Galavis has a Spanish surname and was raised in South America (he was born in New York), but that doesn’t mean the former professional soccer player isn’t White.
The Hollywood Reporter’s willingness to give The Bachelor kudos for finally having a non-White star (after being sued for discrimination by would-be Black bachelors), speaks to the larger issue of people continuing to confuse race and nationality (and ethnicity).
The fact that The Hollywood Reporter, and many Americans, fail realize is that one can be both Hispanic and White (or Hispanic and Black or Hispanic and Asian). One does not cancel out the other. Why? Hispanic is not a race.
It’s a fact that got lost in the muddled conversations about race during George Zimmerman’s trial for the slaying of Trayvon Martin. After being accused of racially profiling Martin, Zimmerman claimed he could not possibly be racist because as a Latino (well, half-Latino) he is a minority as well. Only Zimmerman, like Galavis, is White.
Again, having a Spanish name does not prevent one from being White. Spain is in Europe after all. And like many countries in South America, Venezuela had an influx of European immigrants in the early 20th century. Moreover, approximately 42% of Venezuelans self-identified as White during the last census, and according to a DNA study conducted by the University of Brasilia, over 60% of Venezuelans’ DNA comes from European contribution (23% of Amerindian, 16.30% of African).
So no, The Bachelor does not get kudos for finally casting a person of color by picking a White Hispanic man, no matter how handsome.
If anything, I’m giving them the side-eye for trying to fool viewers into thinking the show was finally becoming more diverse.