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Dump Trump: SNL and the Bigger Issue of Racism

Saturday Night Live has staked its reputation on being edgy and fresh, but has Saturday’s show gone too far?

On Saturday, November 7, SNL welcomed Donald Trump as host, to the dismay of pretty much everyone. Trump, whose frightening campaign of terror and stupidity has captured the attention of everyone in America, has made headlines for his outspokenness and ridiculous opposition to political correctness. Even more terrifying than the things he says is that it appears to be working. Trump is considered the front-runner of the Republicans, alongside Ben Carson – another inexperienced loud mouth.

The decision to have Trump host was announced earlier this month and met with intense backlash from the public, specifically from the Latino community. Not a surprise considering Trump’s openly racist comments regarding Mexican people, including calling them all rapists, killers, and criminals, among others. The list goes on and on.

Protestors stood outside NBC studios in New York for days preceding the show, chanting and holding signs demanding the show “DUMP TRUMP.” Public figures have condemned the variety show. Comedian John Leguizamo stated in an interview that he would no longer watch the show at all due to the blatant disrespect it has shown to the Latino community.

“This is celebrating someone [who doesn’t deserve it]” Leguizamo said, “If he had said those things about any other ethnic group he would not be on that SNL.”

And he isn’t wrong. Latinos repeatedly get the short end of the stick. Other ethnic groups, or just marginalized groups like women, have far more support when they are attacked. After SNL received backlash for the lack of women in their cast, four women have been added in the past four seasons. SNL has received criticism for years for not having many Latino actors and actresses, yet their cast remains spectacularly stagnant.

The whole Trump situation is eerily similar to one in August earlier this year when The View’s host Kelly Osbourne made an openly racist comment and was met with little to no repercussions from ABC. Funny enough, the comment was because of a different comment made by Donald Trump – where he had the exceptionally bright idea of deporting every undocumented immigrant from the country. It prompted Osbourne to come back with the real zinger, “If you kick all the Latinos out of the country, who will be cleaning your toilets, Donald Trump?” In fact, The View’s only Latina host Rosie Perez was forced to apologize to Osbourne for “overreacting” to the comments.

The same seemed to go for Donald Trump this week. Despite the extreme opposition, SNL proceeded as planned. The show went pretty much how everyone expected. Trump’s monologue was equal parts smarmy and offensive, the man not missing the chance to be a misogamist on live television or make fun of Rosie O’Donald. The sketches both made fun of Trump (in a light-hearted way, mind you) and painted him as a fun, wacky guy! You know, forgetting the part where he hates women, Latinos, and gays, of course. In fact, they even joked about the opposition to Trump’s hosting, referencing the $5,000 reward Latino activist group DeportRacism.com promised anyone who heckled the presidential hopeful.

Overall, the decision by SNL was extremely poor, and made for even worse ratings. In their never-ending quest to be trendy, SNL might have pissed off enough of their viewers to experience a severe decrease in ratings. SNL should take this as a hint. Racists are never funny, and Latinos are not anyone’s punching bag.

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