NBC Comedy Serves Up Racism with Salsa

December 29th, 2015 4:02 AM

The focus of NBC’s “Shots and Salsa” episode of the big-box-store comedy Superstore was racism. According to Amy (America Ferrera), the request from her boss, Glenn (Mark McKinney) to pass out salsa samples is racist because she is a Latina. She refuses and the boss goes to another Latina, Carmen (Grace Parra), who is willing to do the task. 

In the real world, Amy would be fired for not doing her job. Instead, we are subjected to an entire episode of Amy's perpetual self-righteous victimhood. Carmen tells Amy that Amy isn’t the “Latino police” and that passing out salsa samples isn’t demeaning to her or her heritage. She even uses a fake Mexican accent. If it weren’t for over-exaggerations, this show would have no dialogue at all. 

Amy: Hey, you know Glenn's not allowed to ask you to put on that accent, right? I mean, I know he's the manager, but it just means he can use the bathroom without asking anyone.
Carmen: No, I know that. I decided on the accent. Oh my God, people love it.
[In thick accent] Hola, señorita, you want to make your day a fiesta?
Customer:  Sure. Thank you.
Carmen: See?
Amy:  Yep, some people love it, and, uh, and some people might find it offensive.
Carmen:  Offensive? Like, who?
Amy:  Oh, I don't know... Maybe Latino people who would think that you're exploiting your heritage and demeaning yourself.
Carmen:  Okay, all right, I don't know who made you Latino police, Amy, but I'm just trying to sell salsa.
Amy: No, I am not policing you. - Okay, if you could keep--
- I'm merely suggesting that maybe you don't need to resort--
Carmen: Hola, señorita! Como estas?
Customer: Ooh, is that Mexican ketchup?
Carmen:  "Jess, es berry" good.
Amy: You mean, "Yes, it's very good."
Customer: Oh, don't listen to her. You speak the language beautifully.
Carmen: Gracias, señorita. You want to try something special? This is, cómo se dice, pineapple.

That’s right. The script has Amy saying that bosses are only different from their employees because they can take a bathroom break whenever they want and the customer, a white woman, called salsa “Mexican ketchup.” Sigh.

It spirals down from there. The result is one dumb line after another on racism - an old white lady even says, "White people help their own" - leading to the employees having to watch a video on racism in the workplace as a group. Even that is made into buffoonish snark. “Color blind is color kind.” Yeah, that is the slogan the employees are reciting at the end of the session.

In the end, Amy dons a sombrero and uses a fake accent while dancing and passing out salsa because she finds out it's for charity. Then she lectures the customers that Latinos are people, too, and occupy all paths in life. You know, because the white people are too racist to know that. 

Both: Olé!
Amy:  Yes, yes, we are so happy you liked our dance, but it is also important to remember that Latinos can be doctors, and lawyers, and architects. Never mind, I'm just playing. You should see the look on your gringo faces. Arriba!
- Uno mas!
[Plays "La Cucaracha"]

"Gringo faces." Seems like Amy is rather racist herself. In Hollywood, though, racism only applies to white people.