Author: Demi Duenes
Right now, all eyes are on presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has captured everyone’s attention with his xenophobic and sexist views and has been slotted to host Saturday Night Live (SNL) Nov. 7. For the past few months, Donald Trump has dominated headlines for making blatantly racist comments against Latino and Black individuals (among other groups) and sexist comments regarding women. He labeled Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists. In addition to the statements’ reprehensible content, Trump fails to consider that immigrants come from many other parts of the world aside from Mexico.
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” Trump said during the announcement of his presidential bid. He later claimed this statement was completely accurate and that he does not have a “racist bone” in his body.
Despite his highly offensive and inflammatory comments, Trump remains a topic of hot discussion and relevance. Whether through a magazine cover, interview or guest appearance, the media seems bent on keeping Trump in everyone’s face. The continued attention he receives by the media in some way validates his bigoted views.
The announcement of Trump’s appearance on SNL rightfully produced outrage from several Latino and immigrant advocacy organizations. Allowing Trump to host the show is wrong and offensive. His immigration policy calls for the tearing apart and destruction of countless Latino and immigrant families. The political candidate’s future appearance on the show reveals that NBC, the company that broadcasts the program, does not care about its Latino viewers.
SNL is no stranger to controversy — the most award-nominated show in Emmy history has never strayed from tackling challenging subject matter, such as sexuality, domestic violence and racism. While the majority of the show’s approaches have been light-hearted, some have been tactless. Feb. 25 saw the airing of a highly controversial skit featuring actress Dakota Johnson leaving home to join ISIS. Many viewers did not find the performance funny in the slightest, considering that the sketch was making light of an international crisis. While this is just one example of SNL crossing the line, it is safe to say that, despite negative viewer responses, the show and its writers have yet to learn from their past mistakes and to establish what is appropriate material to present to viewers.
It is not hard to predict that Trump’s future SNL gig will have massive viewership. While SNL was once a very popular show, known for its pop culture references, its viewership has dwindled over the years. In hopes of raising ratings, the show and network has enabled the controversial and highly-publicized Trump and his racist views.
Regarding the political climate, SNL has a strong impact on its viewers during presidential elections. According to voters, the political sketches have influenced their choices. An example of the “SNL Effect”: during the 2008 presidential campaign, two-thirds of voters in a poll stated they had seen a politically-charged sketch, and 10 percent stated it had a made a difference in their decision. Whether viewers notice or not, the “funny” sketches mean much more. SNL is a publicity machine and produces mass distortion. Although the media’s power is limited, it can construct a reality that heavily influences voters.
An online petition has been created by America’s Voice and MoveOn.org to drop Trump as host of SNL. The petition has received nearly 140,000 signatures. Despite the outrage and controversy amid the announcement of Trump’s appearance on SNL, he has remained relatively calm, stating that he will win the majority of the Latino vote in both the primary campaign and the general election. Trump has even stated he has a fantastic relationship with Hispanics and loves their “spirit.” Trump can say all he wants, but the fact is there is no coming back from his past comments. An apology would be a first step, but even then there will have to be an undoing of the destructive “white power” rallying that Trump has started.
Donald Trump has proved from his past actions and comments that he is not only a bad option for SNL host, but for this country. Racism should not be embodied by a potential candidate. If America is truly to become great again, the first step in this point in time is to “dump Trump.”
Demi Escalante-Duenes is an undeclared sophomore. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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