Daniel Villarreal

LOGO Treats Accented English Speakers Like Bad Jokes

Filed By Daniel Villarreal | February 16, 2012 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: broken English, Kenya Michaels, LOGO, Rodiney Santiago, RuPaul's Drag Race, The A-List: New York


Anyone who watched this week's installment of RuPaul's Drag Race and its drunken companion Untucked knows that the accented and slightly broken English of Puerto Rican competitor Kenya Michaels (pictured right) supposedly created a "language barrier" that made her incapable of directing an infomercial.

Michael's English isn't unintelligible; it's exceeds that of Rodiney Santiago (pictured left), the Brazilian-born eye-candy who regularly had his English subtitled on The A-List: New York.

So I've started to wonder, "Does LOGO just not know how to deal with its accented English characters?"

While Michaels' and Santiago's English ain't perfect, anyone actually watching their shows can understand them. Rather its their co-stars that seem to criticize their English abilities most: the privileged morons of The A-List regularly mocked Santiago for his speech and Milan, Ru and Santino Rice of Drag Race all commented on Michaels' language barrier as if it were some great hurdle to overcome (when the show's prior seasons have all featured queens with even thicker accents--Bebe Zahara and Yara Sofia for instance).

We could blame the shows' producers for unnecessarily subtitling Santiago--not as a way to clarify his words but to highlight his errors--and for choosing melodramatic scenes that overemphasize Michaels' language abilities. But ultimately it's LOGO that airs these episodes without asking why their producers and co-stars treat their accented characters like dimwits.

After all, the mocking of Santiago and condemnation of Michaels' English as a liability both reinforce social prejudices against accented English. Speakers of so-called broken English aren't idiots, rather they're evidence of the LGBT community's rich international heritage that should be respected, not ridiculed.

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