Victor Landa at NewsTaco recently wrote this open letter to comedian George Lopez.
Pretty much every Latino in the U.S. has heard about you calling out Sheriff Arpaio by now. It was great TV. A great laugh. You went on HBO, did a national comedy show, got paid good money for it I’m sure, and said what many of us were probably thinking. That would explain the giddy howls from the crowd – it was a cathartic release. I get it, why complicate things with a drawn out set-up when you can get to the punch line in two words that start with “f” and “p.”
I also get your frustration. You’re not alone in that. Many of us are tired at the constant bashing and anti-Latino rhetoric. And yeah, they’ll say it’s not anti-Latino or anti-immigrant, but then they’ll look at someone like you or me and see “illegal” before they see anything else. And like you, I was born in this country – it’s as much ours as it is theirs. So yes, it affects us and bothers us. That segment of your special where you went off on Sheriff Joe has gone all over the Internets, I bet HBO is happy. And Sheriff Joe took your bait; he called you out and wants you to say what you did to his face. Props to him for knowing how to ride a publicity wave. You know he’s raised $1 million for his re-election? I’m sure this will help his fund raising effort, so I’ll bet he was smiling when he thought of the “to my face” thing.
It’s all been great fun and in the media life cycle this should begin to die off today or tomorrow. You’ll have to think of something more outrageous as a follow-up. But you’re a pro so I’m not worried. But if I could make a suggestion… Hear me out before you delete this.
People listen to you, so what you say matters. I’m wondering how many of the people in the audience in Los Angeles when you recorded your show were registered to vote? How many of the folks who watched on TV, will watch on TV or have seen the Sheriff Joe segment online are registered to vote? Here’s what I’m getting at: the fact that there are so many Latinos who are eligible to vote but haven’t registered is as outrageous as anything that Joe Arpaio can or will do. It’s just as frustrating, just as tiring.
You’re incredibly good at pointing out Latino idiosyncrasies – our drug and alcohol abuse, our child abuse, our rowdiness, our poverty and lack of education. You’ve made a pretty good living pointing these things out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s funny stuff. How about pointing that critical eye on our lack of participation? How about making light of the fact that we’re our own political enemy because we don’t bother to register and vote? Why is that? I’m sure you can find a nuance that’s hilarious and that’ll make us think about it enough to get up and do something about it.
See, Joe Arpaio is a huge target, but he’s a small man. He will eventually go away. Your voice is many times larger than Joe’s, use it for a larger purpose. All the gente that follow you and admire you and spend their hard earned money to go to your shows and buy your CD’s and subscribe to HBO, they could use a little motivation because they’re tired as well. They’re just as frustrated as you and me – they showed you as much when they roared their laughter at your jokes. How about waking them up with a laugh? How about holding a mirror up so they can see how they can help themselves? And how about having voter registration tables at your shows?
You don’t have to do special PSA’s – no one really pays attention to those things. No, do your thing, make people laugh at themselves and move them to act. I bet it’ll be hilarious!
Anyway. Thanks for the laughs.